2013 Chevrolet Malibu Preview

Jeff Youngs | Oct 30, 2012
FAST FACTS
  • Wider than outgoing model, but with a shorter wheelbase
  • MyLink infotainment system provides access to apps
  • Three new powertrains, including a mild hybrid
  • Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine replaces V-6
  • Sold on six continents and in almost 100 countries

Introduction

Redesigned for 2013, the Chevrolet Malibu competes in the midsize car segment, the largest segment in the market. It returns as a 4-door sedan and offers three new powertrains, including a mild hybrid. The new Malibu rides an updated version of GM's Epsilon platform. It features a shorter wheelbase, but the car is about as long as and a bit wider than the outgoing model. The 2013 Malibu launched with the mild hybrid Eco model, and Malibus with the two other engines followed in the summer of 2012.

Exterior Features

In an effort to improve fuel economy, the new Chevrolet Malibu is 22 pounds lighter than the outgoing model and the coefficient of drag is improved to 0.29, according to Chevy. The wheelbase is 4.5 inches shorter than last year, but overall length is just 0.3 inch shorter and the front and rear track are up by 2 inches. The shorter wheelbase reduces rear-seat leg room but the wider stance increases shoulder room. Chevrolet says the styling, especially at the rear, is inspired by the Camaro. Wheel sizes range from 16 to 19 inches.

Interior Features

Standard interior equipment in the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu includes cloth upholstery, air conditioning, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, power windows, power mirrors, power door locks, remote keyless entry, AM/FM/CD stereo, satellite radio, and Bluetooth cell phone connectivity. Higher trim levels get heated power mirrors, USB port, auxiliary input jack, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote engine starting, trip computer, power front seats, leather upholstery, sunroof, reversing camera, Pioneer audio system, universal garage door opener, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Optional Features

Much of the equipment on the higher trim levels is offered on lesser trims. Over and above those features, Chevrolet offers a navigation system, driver's seat memory, keyless access and starting, xenon headlights, forward-collision alert, and lane-departure warning.

Under the Hood

The new 2013 Malibu offers three engine choices. The first model to debut is the Malibu Eco mild hybrid, which features a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque and an electric motor generator that can add up to 15 horsepower and 79 lb.-ft. of torque. Chevrolet does not provide combined power output numbers. Two new direct-injected 4-cylinder engines are also offered. The base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder generates 197 horsepower and 191 lb.-ft. of torque, while the turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine delivers 259 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. All three engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu are:

  • Malibu Eco mild hybrid with 4-cylinder engine: 25/37/29 mpg (city/highway/combined)
  • Malibu with 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine: 22/34/26 mpg
  • Malibu with 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine: 21/30/24 mpg

Safety

The redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibu comes standard with 8 air bags, including front knee bags, as well as anti-lock brakes with emergency brake assist, and 6 months of OnStar's Directions and Connections plan, which includes Automatic Crash Response. Optional safety equipment consists of a reversing camera, forward-collision alert, and a lane-departure warning system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has crash tested only the Malibu Eco, which received an overall rating of 5 stars (out of 5). In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Malibu received a "Good" rating--the Institute's highest--for frontal-offset crash protection, as well as a "Top Safety Pick" designation.

Technology

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu comes standard with Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system. It includes a 7-inch touch screen and voice controls, and it pairs with smartphones to provide access to apps, specifically streaming Internet radio through Pandora and Stitcher. This access is enabled by Bluetooth connectivity, so the system can stream the music loaded on the owner's smartphone. MyLink also provides access to other forms of entertainment through satellite radio, an auxiliary input jack, and a USB port.

The Malibu Eco is considered a mild hybrid because the electric motor cannot power the car by itself. The motor generator replaces an alternator, and, thanks to a sturdy serpentine belt, it can aid the engine by turning the crankshaft or provide resistance on the driveline to capture energy through regenerative braking.

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