KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 8/2/2012
For 2013, Chevrolet has remade its popular Malibu and Malibu Eco sedans, infusing them with more distinctive styling both inside and out. Complementing the new styling are improved technologies, such as the MyLink infotainment system that allows voice control of the phone, radio, navigation and iPod interface. In a nod to maximum fuel economy, the Malibu Eco sedan employs a small electric motor and lithium-ion battery to assist the gasoline engine for improved fuel economy and power. Although the Malibu Eco does not deliver the remarkable city fuel economy of pure hybrids like the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid, it does do well on the highway. The third and final member of the 2013 lineup is the Malibu Turbo, which sacrifices only a negligible amount of fuel economy in favor of an all-new 259-horsepower turbocharged engine.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you are looking for an American-built mid-size sedan with good fuel economy, excellent handling and a remarkably quiet cabin, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will fit the bill.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If outstanding fuel economy is at the top of your list, the Toyota Camry Hybrid (as high as 43 mpg in the city, 39 on the highway) might be worth a closer look. The Camry Hybrid offers 30-percent better fuel economy and more horsepower at a mere $700 premium over the Malibu Eco.
What's New for 2013
The all-new-for-2013 Chevrolet Malibu features an evolutionary redesign with new drivetrains, fresh interior and exterior styling, and refined dynamics. Since the majority of leading mid-size sedans supplement their mainstream models with a more fuel-efficient version and a performance variant, the new Chevy Malibu is offered in three distinct flavors: Standard, Turbo and Eco.
A composed, quiet ride characterizes the 2013 Malibu's on-road demeanor. Although fuel efficiency is one of its fundamental roles, the standard 4-cylinder's 197 horsepower is sufficient for any practical purpose. Unlike many of its performance-based rivals, the Malibu Turbo delivers strong acceleration, yet maintains the exceptional ride quality of the standard model. Instead of offering a full-hybrid option, the 2013 Chevy Malibu makes use of GM's new eAssist system, which consists of an air-cooled lithium-ion battery and an Auto-Stop feature that automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle is stopped. Especially handy in stop-and-go traffic, the eAssist battery waits to restart the gasoline engine until the moment your foot lifts off the brake pedal. The transition is virtually imperceptible, and eAssist further improves fuel economy by utilizing a 15-horsepower electric motor under heavy acceleration. While we observed admirable highway fuel economy with our test vehicle, the Malibu Eco returned a rather mediocre 22 miles per gallon in the city under normal driving conditions.
MYLINK INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM
Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system features one of the most user-friendly multimedia interfaces on the market. MyLink's various features, including smartphone integration for Pandora and Stitcher applications, Bluetooth streaming audio for wireless MP3/WMA connectivity and a comprehensive Gracenote database for simple music related voice-commands, are clearly displayed on a large 7-inch touch-screen that flips open to reveal a hidden storage compartment.
AMBIENT INTERIOR LIGHTING
The Malibu's blue ambient lighting reflects off of strategically-located chrome accents throughout the cabin to create a modern, inviting ambiance.
The 5-passenger Chevy Malibu provides an airy upscale cabin, where available leather-appointed seating surfaces and coordinating soft-touch materials are complemented by metallic silver trim and chrome accents. The front seats are adequately comfortable, with the driver's seat offering 8-way power adjustability and 4-way power-operated lumbar support. Despite their pleasant appearance, the placements of the chrome accents are not ideal, as they reflect a considerable amount of glare on sunshiny days. The rear seats feature a 60/40-split design, but legroom is average at best, thanks to bulky front seats and a shorter wheelbase than its predecessor.
Chevrolet strived to give the 2013 Malibu mid-size sedan a sportier look by borrowing numerous styling cues from its close relatives, the Camaro and Corvette. The new exterior architecture, while stylish, is actually functional and provides the Malibu with one of the lowest coefficient of drag ratings in its class along with reduced wind noise. The Malibu Eco is an example of the notion that wider is truly better, boasting a broad, aggressive stance with front and rear tracks that are over two inches wider than those of the 2012 model. The Malibu Eco rides on standard 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in low-rolling-resistance rubber to enhance fuel economy and reduce tire noise.
Notable Standard Equipment
The generously-equipped 2013 Malibu Eco offers a broad array of standard features. Highlights include 17-inch alloy wheels, heated outside mirrors, fabric-trimmed seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, a full-color driver-information display, MyLink infotainment system with a high-resolution 7-inch touch-screen, a USB port for your MP3/WMA player and blue ambient interior lighting. The Malibu 2LT is similarly-equipped as the Eco 2SA, while the LTZ offers such luxuries as an 8-way power passenger seat, leather seating and 18-inch wheels. Key standard safety features include 10 airbags and GM's OnStar emergency services with a complimentary 6-month trial subscription.
Notable Optional Equipment
Most feature content varies by trim level and include Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch-screen display, a premium 9-speaker Pioneer audio system, a rear backup camera, 19-inch alloy wheels, an 8-way power driver's seat, a full-color driver information center, and a Homelink universal garage door opener. The 2SA trim offers a Navigation Package option, which includes an SD-based navigation system, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats and a driver's-seat memory. These options are also available on the LT and LTZ trims.
Under the Hood
The 2013 Chevy Malibu offers a trio of engine choices: the base 2.5-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, and the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder paired with GM's eAssist system found in the 2013 Malibu Eco. The Malibu's lone transmission offering is a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. On the Eco models, the compact eAssist battery resides behind the rear seats. The 15-horsepower electric motor assists the 182 horsepower engine, though it is not capable of independently driving the front wheels like a traditional hybrid.
182 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg
197 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
191 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
259 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu mid-size sedan carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $23,000, while the 1LT model starts closer to $25,000. The Malibu Eco 1SA starts close to $26,000, with an additional $1,500 for the 2SA model. A fully-loaded turbocharged 2LTZ tops out around $34,000. To get a better idea of what people in your area are paying for the Malibu, check out Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. Aside from fuel economy, the Malibu's significant competitive disadvantage, in comparison to its rivals the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata is projected residual value. Kelley Blue Book used-car residual values indicate that the majority of the Malibu's competitors will fare better down the road.