General Motors doesn’t call the new 2013 Malibu Eco with e-assist a hybrid, and although that is what it is, I would call it a “soft hybrid”. It is an interesting setup and sort of complicated, yet the transitions between the different sources of power are seamless.
In simple terms, e-assist starts with a 4-cylinder, 2.4-liter engine. In addition, it has a hybrid battery in the trunk that powers a 15-horse electric motor. The electric motor doesn’t power the car, but instead assists the engine with additional horsepower when needed, and runs some of the accessories, especially when the car is stopped, at a red light for instance. When you stop, no gas is being used, the electric motor powers everything. The best part of the stop/start system on this car is you can’t feel or hear any difference, unlike other cars I have driven with this technology. The end result of all this is a 25% increase in fuel-efficiency for the new Malibu. I have driven this engine in the Buick, but forgotten how smooth it was.
The e-assist is hooked to a six-speed automatic transmission to also improve fuel-efficiency. Other tweaks were made to lighten Malibu and allow it to get the 25 miles per gallon in town, and 37 on the highway I am getting in the car. This is outstanding mileage for a car this size. The Chevrolet Malibu itself underwent some REALLY nice changes for 2013. This eighth-generation Malibu underwent some serious changes inside, with much attention to detail, something GM has been lacking in for years. They got it right with the new Malibu. Everything from the driver’s seat is easy to reach and easy to operate. The gauges are terrific and easy to read. Everything you need runs from a 7” color touchscreen monitor. The press car has leather interior that looks stunning.
My test car has the Chevy MyLink system, which is an integrated infotainment system that connects to your smartphone and allows you to access apps through either the steering wheel controls or the aforementioned color touchscreen. MyLink is only compatible with Stitcher and Pandora radio at this time, but other apps are due to be released later this year. This car also has OnStar and SiriusXM Satelite radio, as do all GM cars.
With Malibu, you get 8 airbags, and electronic parking brakes, all power equipment, remote keyless entry, a Pioneer stereo system, and steering wheel controls. My test vehicle has the Power Convenience Package which gives you remote starting, power driver’s seat, a rear backup camera, and Universal Home Remote.
Perhaps the most impactful change in Malibu cannot be seen. This car rides and handles better than any Chevy I have ever driven. It is also quieter than any I have ever been in. All said and done, the 2013 Malibu is a joy to drive. What you can see, however, is the exterior redesign with which Chevy did a great job. You can actually see hints of the Camaro in this 3620-pound sedan.
Since 1964, over eight and a half million Malibus have been built in the United States and there is no doubt this is the best one ever built.
What I liked most: Changes to interior and exterior, fuel economy!
What I would change: Nothing I can think of!
MSRP: $29,100 as equipped.
Fuel Economy: Rated at 25 city and 37 highway and doing it.
2013 Malibu Eco in a few words: A real contender for the mid-sized car crown in 2013.