Alan Cesar Associate Editor
Aug. 2, 2012 1:01 p.m.

Chevy's Malibu has been a depressing rental-fleet favorite for years. This all-new car is finally catching the competition. It might not be tops, but it's not bad if you're cross-shopping appliances.

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/new-cars/2013-chevy-malibu-eco/

N Sperlo PowerDork
Aug. 2, 2012 1:06 p.m.

I had a family member point out the super sweet "camaro tail lamps." I've heard them referred to as this, but it appears to me that their not actually Camaro lamps. Their IMPOSTORS!

DrBoost UberDork
Aug. 2, 2012 1:27 p.m.

I hope these rental fleet cars are our penance for some truly grM vehicles in the future

David S. Wallens Editorial Director
Aug. 2, 2012 1:56 p.m.

I hope I don't lose some street cred, but I really enjoyed this one. Am I going to autocross it? No. Track it? No. But it comfortably delivered us to a pair of concerts. I have been harsh on GM before, but this is definitely a step up in a big way. Plus in high school I drove my parents' Malibu, so that nameplate has a little something for me.

N Sperlo PowerDork
Aug. 2, 2012 1:58 p.m.

Its OK, David. pats David's head softly. As a Ford guy, I called that car a step in the right direction.

belteshazzar UltraDork
Aug. 2, 2012 2:53 p.m.

let me know what ownership is like when it's a four year old car

Vigo SuperDork
Aug. 2, 2012 4:43 p.m.
let me know what ownership is like when it's a four year old car

I can give you a pretty good guess right now... 40% cheaper.

Let some other goon pay the new car price.

Vigo SuperDork
Aug. 2, 2012 4:44 p.m.
Still basing your impressions of the company on the Lumuna and other travesties of the ‘90s and ‘00s?

So you DO read our comments.. (I always knew you did)

Zomby Woof UltraDork
Aug. 2, 2012 6:45 p.m.

Hey, the Lumina was actually a good car.

Vigo SuperDork
Aug. 2, 2012 11:31 p.m.

Oddly enough i thought the early ones were ok and the later ones were total junk. Weird E36 M3, eh?

Vigo SuperDork
Aug. 2, 2012 11:32 p.m.

I think mild hybrids are really interesting although the setup in this car has been panned in other magazines.

I have to agree that id rather have one of it's competitors.

But i do think the top-level brown leather interiors on malibus look pretty kick ass to me.

ansonivan Dork
Aug. 3, 2012 2:48 a.m.

Press car on a gravel road? Please post the sideways gravel spitting pictures :)

1988RedT2 UltraDork
Aug. 3, 2012 7:31 a.m.

My brother had a previous generation Malibu before it was destroyed by a vicious deer. He says his new Nissan Altima feels like a cheap tin can in comparison.

Yes, I know. Completely irrelevant.

Vigo SuperDork
Aug. 3, 2012 5:27 p.m.

You mean like that time i posted in a fiat 500 thread that it felt a little too cheap and cheesy and it was decided by a majority of nutswingers to be a completely irrelevant comment?

Im sure the Nissan Altima Brigade will be coming for you soon!

integraguy UltraDork
Aug. 3, 2012 8:13 p.m.

As someone who has driven Malibus of several different vintages, I think that like other cars they have had years when they were great (68-70, and '78/'79) and years when they were pretty good (the 2008-2012) and years when they were gawd-awful ('73-'77). I'd say the newest one, the 2013, is pretty good...tho to be fair, I haven't even seen one at a dealers yet. I don't really see the point of hybrids that can't run electric-only, which is what I thought the ECO was. It seems like more expense with little resultant pay-back. Like a diesel-engined car that gets gasoline-engined fuel economy.

I am seriously thinking of getting a late model example, but mostly for it's "appliance at a bargain price" appeal. That, and it isn't as bad as a Camry to look at.

ProDarwin SuperDork
Aug. 3, 2012 8:31 p.m.

I like the car, but I feel this hybrid concept would've been better executed several years back, when other hybrids weren't as cheap and/or as refined. While this seems like a good product, comparing it to other brands makes it seem like too-little too-late. GM behind the technology curve again :(

The Malibu Eco is only $3k less than the Fusion Hybrid, which crushes it in fuel economy, and is actually a pretty decent car overall from what I understand (I have limited experience with them). The Camry Hybrid, which is a much better performer, (15.0 in the 1/4 ) can be had for the same price, and also gets better economy (better than the Fusion as well).

I haven't compared the trim-levels, just base prices. Is the Malibu much more loaded at the base level than the other two?

Side note: This board has so much hate for the Camry, I'm surprised that A) this board doesn't censor the word "Camry" or B) the word "Boring" isn't automatically replaced with "Camry"

Side note 2: Why does the wide-eyed emoticon have to take up a separate line?

novaderrik SuperDork
Aug. 3, 2012 10:52 p.m.
Zomby Woof wrote: Hey, the Lumina was actually a good car.

i've had 2 Luminas- a 93 2 door with the 3.1 and a 94 4 door with the 3.4.. both had the Euro package which meant better suspension and 16" alloy wheels and a real interior with buckets and gauges.. i loved both of those cars, and the DOHC 3.4 powered 4 door was a pretty stealthy and quick beast.

am i wrong in thinking that the new Malibu would actually be something like the 4th gen Corsica?

Zomby Woof UltraDork
Aug. 4, 2012 8:53 a.m.

You don't see Lumina's or Corsica's at all anymore. They disappeared fast. I did some fleet repair in the 90's on predominantly Lumina cars and vans. other than the seizing rear calipers, they were very reliable.

In reply to integraguy:

I owned every gen of Malibu (and Chevelle) up to the 80's. I liked my 77. Being full frame, they made great stock cars too. I drove the last gen Malibu for a week. It had the 2.4 motor, and I was impressed.

Vigo SuperDork
Aug. 4, 2012 11:44 a.m.
but I feel this hybrid concept would've been better executed several years back, when other hybrids weren't as cheap and/or as refined

Actually, it IS an OLD system. I cant disagree with the comments made on it here.. In fact, since the new car was released ONLY as this mild hybrid until the 2.5 became available, i have to wonder if they were trying to push all these old components out the door!

I think there's definitely a place for mild hybrids that cant move electric-only. The main thing is auto stop/start. The other thing i see (dont know if it's true) is being able to handle the small load changes of cruising with electric power and throttling the gas engine up more slowly. The ICE usually burns unnecessarily rich during throttle changes and the electric assist could smooth that out. You COULD get rid of the conventional starter, the ring gear, and the alternator with this system, as well as majorly downsizing the 12v battery, but i dont think they do. Also, regenerative braking just feels good to me.

But yeah, i think the Camry is setting the standard for mid size hybrid powertrains right now. I really wish they would put that hybrid drivetrain in the CT200h so it would actually be fast enough to justify it's looks. Honestly the f-sport version is pretty badass but it really needs the muscle to back it and doesnt have it.

plance1 Dork
Aug. 4, 2012 3:37 p.m.

I work weekends in car rental. I posted about the malibu before, great car, looks like they messed it up

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