2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco new car reviews

The new Malibu is smaller and better looking.
From the rear, it almost looks like a new Camaro.
The driver's seat is a comfortable place to spend your daily commute.

Better than: The Last 15 years of Malibus
But not as good as: Hyundai Sonata
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 70.78

The Malibu, a staple of Chevy's lineup for generations, is receiving a total redo for the 2013 model year. The first one to come our way is powered by their Eco powertain.

The Malibu Eco is what's called a mild hybrid, meaning it has a small electric motor to assist the larger gasoline motor during demanding driving, or at very low speeds where very little power is required. This Malibu's electric motor takes the place of a traditional car's alternator, and is mated to a 2.4 liter gasoline engine. At full throttle, the little electric motor provides an additional 15 horsepower and 79 foot-pounds of torque. Unlike a full hybrid, the Malibu cannot run solely on its electric motor.

Interestingly, the Eco package brings with it a few upgrades that would be at home on the racetrack- an aluminum hood, an aluminum rear bumper beam, and lighter interior materials. These measures combine to save 130 pounds.

Other staff views

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin

In case you haven't noticed, GM is on a comeback. This new Malibu is further proof that General Motors is getting their act together. This new hybrid goes down the road with aplomb, is smooth under all circumstances, and is generally a pleasant place to spend time. No, it isn't a race-car, or even a sports sedan, but it does the job of daily driver quite well.

The Malibu is still let down by some cheap touches inside-- like the squeaky gearshift knob, and the chintzy feeling center console. However, the fit and finish keeps improving with each generation of new GM cars.

I prefer the Fusion Hybrid to this new Chevy, but this new Malibu is at least as good as it's Japanese and Korean competition.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

GM and Chevrolet need to rethink their marketing strategy, and I'm picturing something basic: Have you driven a Chevy lately?

Still basing your impressions of the company on the Lumina and other travesties of the '90s and '00s? The new Malibu Eco stomps them all. It's quiet, it's comfortable, and it even looks good. The fake wood trim was just a bit too fake for my tastes, but the rest of the interior--nicely detailed dash, comfy seats and a great steering wheel--was definitely up to par.

I'm not sure if we can categorize this one as a full-on hybrid, but I'd say it's the smoothest car of that type that I can remember. Where the Prius V jerked and bucked around town, the Malibu Eco drives like a normal car. The auto-shutoff wasn't intrusive.

Economy wasn't bad, either. Chevy reports 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway. Without trying too hard, I saw 28.8 mpg in mixed use--some highway (most of it without cruise control) plus in-town driving.

The big question is how the Malibu will fare in a rather cramped market. Can it rise above the Ford Fusion, Kia Optima and others? Will people cross-shop the Malibu against the Camry and Accord? The Chevy might not be the leader in that pack, but it's now in the mix.

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