The Chevrolet Malibu has undergone a roller coaster ride regarding its market success. In the early part of the millennium, the midsize sedan’s performance is at most lukewarm. When 2008 came around though, with the generation seven Malibu, has success become synonymous with this model?
Now, the 2013 Malibu is trying to keep the success continue for the line. The new standard 2013 is a new direct injected 2.5 liter base engine produces 197 horsepower and the V-6 is replaced with a two liter four cylinder engine. What takes center stage though is the Eco model, which is a mild hybrid with a premium placed on efficiency.
The Malibu platform is quite wide, with a wheelbase four and half inches shorter than the previous model with a two inch expanded track width. The overall length is the same and interior is well stocked, especially when two tone leather is used for trimmings. There is also a seven inch dashboard touch screen that pivots to open a hidden storage compartment.
Chevrolet says this version of the Malibu is the quietest car the company has ever built. The car has a few sound deadening tricks, especially the ability to keep the 182 horsepower four cylinder spinning at a high rate of revolution. When stopping, the gas engine shuts down automatically and this is where the fifteen horsepower electric motor runs at low revolutions per minute. The car is able to produce seventy nine pound feet of torque to assist the gas engine. This means that the Malibu Eco is never run solely on electric power, as it has only a low capacity of 0.5 kilowatt hour. This makes dashboard checking important especially in recharging the battery using the regenerative braking system.
There is also an attempt by the Malibu Eco to be the middle ground choice between conventionally powered sedans and the full on efficiency marvels such as the Toyota Camry and the Ford Fusion hybrids. While this is a good intention, the high efficiency of current drive trains maximizes efficiency and this is further enhanced by the eAssist system patented by General Motors.
As for the price, the Malibu Eco has a sticker price of U.S. $26,065, which is about six and half hundred dollars of a Toyota Camry Hybrid. The conventional Malibu is about U.S. $1,600 cheaper than the Eco model.