In designing the eighth-generation Malibu, Chevrolet has combined design elements from its sister vehicles, the Camaro and Corvette, but in the same time they have tried to keep the essence and the tradition of the Malibu name.
The 2013 Malibu is more than 2 inches wider than the model it replaces, as it measures 191.5 inches long, 73 inches width and 57.6 inches height.
The most notable design elements are, of course, those Camaro-inspired dual-element taillights, but the 2013 Malibu also received the company’s new dual-port grille, projector-beam headlamps, plus larger Chevrolet bow-tie badges front and rear.
Thanks to its wider track, the new Malibu also offers more interior room. Chevrolet also focused on offering an equipment levels that will put it on top of its competitors, including a seven-inch touch-screen radio display – the first in a U.S.-built midsize car.
Customers will have to choose between lots of metallic paints, chrome and wood accents, while all trim levels provide a cool soft, ice-blue ambient lighting.
Just like with all the new Chevrolet models, the 2013 Malibu will be offered with the new Chevrolet MyLink system which integrates services like Pandora internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio.
Under the hood, Chevrolet placed a choice of three engines. Base trim levels will be offered with an all-new Ecotec 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with direct injection that delivers a total of 197 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. This engine will be mated to a Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission.
Next we have an Ecotec 2.0-liter turbo engine that delivers a total of 259 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This output will transform the Malibu into the most powerful midsize sedans out there.
Finally we have the Ecotec 2.4-liter engine specially developed for the Eco versions. It delivers a total of 182 horsepower and will be mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Every man who tested the 2013 Malibu came to the same conclusion: it has been designed for the family guy and drives accordingly. Still, when compared to other midsized sedans out there, the 2013 Malibu proved itself to be more fun to drive and it had moments - like cornering - where it responds better to driver’s commands.
MotorTrend, for example, found the car a little bit noisy and agrees with everyone else that it has been designed for improved fuel economy by saying "It levels out too much, unfortunately, and feels a bit weak in the mid-range. Once in the real world, the streets around Grand Rapids, Michigan, the noises coming from the new engine prove to be its weak point. Geared for fuel economy, if you put your foot into it, the 2.5 whirrs like a Hamilton-Beach appliance and the transmission feels a bit like a CVT. That’s good for smoothness sake, but not very tactile to the driver." (MotorTrend)
Edmunds finds the 2013 Malibu as pleasant as any other family sedan out there, saying "Handling is about what you’d expect for a family sedan — confidence-inspiring, but we wouldn’t call it fun. The steering is responsive enough and offers an appropriate amount of weighting, but provides little in the way of feel." (Edmunds)
Finding a competitor for the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu can be pretty difficult... Yup, about as difficult as finding a pink elephant in a 10-by-10-foot room. Just by take a short look out there you will see that there are tons of other midsized sedans that do pretty much the same as the Malibu, meaning they will safely take your family from point A to point B.
For the traditional guys out there, we suggest Toyota Camry, but only because for many years it has been the best-selling model on the market. With a price starting from $21,955 — same as base Malibu — the Camry has the disadvantage of offering a less-equipped interior, so for the money, the Malibu is offering much more.
On the other hand, the Camry has the advantage of offering a more powerful engine in the form of a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that delivers a total of 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 248 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm.
A car we think will put the Malibu into lots of trouble is the Hyundai Sonata. There are people out there — we are part of them — that think the Sonata looks a little bit more elegant than the Malibu. With a price starting from just $19,195, the Sonata offers the same equipment level as the Malibu, so it will help you save $1k or $2k. What we do not like about the Sonata is its engine, as it is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers only 198 horsepower, so here the Malibu has the advantage of offering a few more choices.
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu is a car designed for your family and this is pretty much exactly what you should expect from it. It drives like any other sedan designed for improved economy, but when compared to other mid-sized sedans out there, you will discover it responds to your commands a little better. The interior is also a little bit better equipped, so this is another reason why the Malibu is a better choice. But, this is pretty much it: if you want performance driving combined with a family car then you should prepared to pay an extra $20k-30k and look elsewhere.
The all-new 2013 Malibu is Chevrolet’s first global midsize sedan designed and engineered to provide customers from Shanghai to New York and Sydney to Sao Paulo with expressive design, advanced technologies, ride performance and fuel-efficient powertrains. It will eventually be sold in nearly 100 countries on six continents.
In North America, the Malibu comes in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, along with the Malibu Eco, which uses fuel-saving eAssist ™ technology to enable EPA-estimated fuel economy of 25 city / 37 highway, for the best fuel economy of any non-hybrid midsize sedan.
An all-new, fuel-efficient and powerful Ecotec 2.5L four-cylinder engine and next-generation six-speed transmission combination leads Malibu’s powertrain lineup. It’s rated at 197 horsepower (147 kW) and 191 lb.-ft. of torque (259 Nm). A new Ecotec 2.0L turbo, rated at 259 horsepower (193 kW) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (353 Nm), debuts this fall.
Additional product highlights for North American models include:
Expressive exterior design with a wide, athletic stance
Segment-best aerodynamics – close to those of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car – that enhance fuel efficiency and reduce wind noise, including active electronic shutters on Eco and other select models
All-new, Chevrolet-signature dual-cockpit interior that is more spacious, features premium materials and is engineered to be the quietest in the midsize segment
New Chevrolet MyLink connectivity seamlessly integrates online services like Pandora® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®
European-influenced ride and handling traits
New safety features and technologies including 10 standard air bags, ultra-high-strength steel, lane departure warning/forward collision warning and rearview camera system
Ten exterior colors and four interior color combination choices, depending on the model.
The new Malibu Eco is also the first 2013 midsize car to earn double honors for safety, including a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a 2012 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
Malibu Eco details
The Malibu Eco is a smart choice for customers who want a midsize car with excellent fuel economy, but without the higher price of some full hybrid sedans.
Malibu Eco’s eAssist system uses power stored in an air-cooled, lithium-ion battery to provide needed electrical boost in various driving scenarios, optimizing engine and transmission operation. An advanced 115V lithium-ion battery and 15-kW motor-generator unit help increase fuel economy through:
Regenerative braking, which provides up to 15 kW of electricity to charge the battery
Enabling a more-efficient final drive ratio by providing up to 15 hp (11 kW) of electric power assistance during heavier acceleration
Using electricity instead of gasoline when stopped, with automatic and smooth engine start-stop functionality
Aggressive fuel cut-off during deceleration down to zero mph for added fuel savings
Intelligent charge/discharge of the high-voltage battery.
The eAssist system captures up to 15kW of power that would be normally lost during braking and uses it to recharge the lithium-ion battery. The system also shuts down fuel delivery in certain deceleration conditions, further improving fuel economy. While in fuel shut-off mode, the motor-generator unit continues spinning along with the engine to provide immediate and smooth take-off power when the driver presses on the accelerator. As the vehicle comes to a stop, the motor-generator unit brings the engine to a controlled stop to position it properly for a smooth restart when the brake is released.
The eAssist is mated to an Ecotec 2.4L direct-injection four-cylinder engine and next-generation six-speed automatic transmission.
An aerodynamically optimized design and smart use of fuel-saving technologies help increase highway fuel economy, with features including active grille shutters and low-rolling-resistance 17-inch Goodyear tires mounted on lightweight aluminum wheels.
Thanks to eAssist technology and other features, the Malibu Eco can travel up to 580 highway miles (965 km) between fill-ups with a 15.8-gallon (59.9 liters) fuel tank.
Malibu’s exterior designed to stand out
The exterior design of the all-new Malibu carries DNA from its sister vehicles, the Camaro and Corvette, to bring a sporty sensibility to the family sedan segment. A wider stance, broad shoulders and an integrated rear spoiler bring a new athleticism to Malibu and give it a more aggressive appearance. The new Malibu has 62-inch (1,574 mm) front and rear tracks that are more than two inches (51 mm) wider than the model it replaces.
Other exterior design cues include Chevrolet’s dual-port grille, projector-beam headlamps, larger Chevrolet bow-tie badges front and rear, and new Camaro-inspired dual-element taillamps. Malibu LTZ adds LED taillamps, chrome-tipped dual exhaust outlets, 18-inch alloy wheels and available high-intensity discharge headlamps.
The new Malibu exterior is anticipated to be SAE-certified as one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars in the segment, with a coefficient of drag (Cd) rating of.29, near Chevrolet Volt’s Cd of.280. Because of Malibu’s new shape and design, engineers were able to remove 60 counts of wind drag compared to the model it replaces.
Malibu also has electronically controlled and integrated active aero shutters to improve aerodynamics and enhance fuel economy without sacrificing the exterior design. They automatically close airflow through the lower grille opening when air intake is least needed, improving aerodynamic performance and enhancing fuel efficiency. The shutters are standard on Eco and LS models, as well as the 3LT trim.
Roomier, more refined interior
The new Malibu interior was designed to bring an element of sophistication to everyday driving, featuring an all-new, dual-cockpit design that creates an inviting, roomy and comfortable environment.
The increased width of the new Malibu means a more spacious cabin. Compared to the previous model, it has nearly four cubic feet (113 L) of additional interior volume, along with more shoulder and hip room.
The Malibu interior features metallic, chrome or wood accents located around the shifter, surrounding the center stack, around the instrument cluster and on doors and the steering wheel. Soft, ice blue ambient lighting reflects off of and complements chrome accents and ensures even, consistent illumination along the instrument panel and in storage pockets. Ice blue lighting on the center stack dials, exposed ice blue French contrast stitching, soft-touch and textured surfaces, and strategic applications of noise-deadening materials add to Malibu’s interior refinement.
The Malibu also has a number of storage areas, including a radio face that articulates up and down to reveal a six-inch deep storage area behind its seven-inch touch-screen radio display – a U.S. first in a midsize car (Eco, LT and LTZ models). Malibu also offers a full range of the latest infotainment options, including Chevrolet MyLink color touch with available navigation.
Additional interior features include:
Driver information center with color display (Eco, 2LT and LTZ)
Leather-appointed seating with available heated front seats
Two auxiliary power outlets
Leather-wrapped steering wheel (with audio and cruise controls) and shift knob (Eco 2SA, 2LT and LTZ)
Remote vehicle starter (Eco 2SA, 2LT and LTZ).
The new Malibu also offers a spacious trunk, with 16.3 cubic feet (462 L) of cargo room (13.2 cu.-ft. / 374 L with Malibu Eco).
Malibu offers the new Chevrolet MyLink, which seamlessly integrates online services such as Pandora® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio ® using hands-free voice and touch-screen controls via Bluetooth-enabled phones. MyLink adds stereo audio streaming and wireless control of smartphones, building on the voice-activated Bluetooth hands-free calling capability already offered in most Chevy vehicles.
MyLink features a high-resolution, full-color touch screen display designed to manage the number of steps required to complete a task. It also retains all the capabilities of conventional entertainment features, including AM/FM/Sirius XM tuners, CD player with MP3 playback, auxiliary and USB inputs.
All-new Ecotec powertrains
The 2013 Malibu features a lineup of fuel-efficient and powerful four-cylinder Ecotec engines that complements its European-inspired driving characteristics.
An all-new Ecotec 2.5L dual overhead cam, four-cylinder engine with direct injection leads Malibu’s engine lineup in North America. It is expected to be one of the most efficient of its size in the market. New features include enhanced authority continuously variable valve timing, variable-displacement oil pump and electronic thermostat that save fuel, while delivering V-6-like performance. It is rated at an SAE-certified 197 horsepower (147 kW) and 191 lb.-ft. of torque (259 Nm).
The new engine has noise-reducing features such as a cast exhaust manifold, steel crank, low-noise timing chain and direct mount accessories that contribute to a quiet cabin experience. The new 2.5L engine has more standard torque than any midsize car with a four-cylinder engine, and more base horsepower than the new Toyota Camry and the Ford Fusion.
The 2.5L is mated to a Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic with features designed to enhance powertrain efficiency. They include changes to clutch controls and hardware that improve shift response and time. These changes enabled engineers to specify higher gearing to improve cruising efficiency while maintaining acceleration performance and driveability.
For customers who enjoy style and performance, Chevrolet will offer its first-ever Turbo on a Malibu with an all-new Ecotec 2.0L turbo engine rated at 259 horsepower (193 kW) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (353 Nm) between 1,700 and 5,200 rpm. It is the most powerful midsize sedan from a domestic automaker, and more powerful than Malibu’s previous V-6 engines. It will be available later this fall on LT and LTZ models.
The Malibu Eco’s Ecotec 2.4L engine is rated at 182 horsepower (134 kW) and is matched with a next-generation six-speed automatic. The engine is efficient and lightweight, featuring dual-overhead cams, direct injection, continuously variable intake and exhaust timing and electronic throttle control, as well as a lightweight aluminum cylinder block and cylinder head.
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu delivers precise ride and handling. It has been engineered to be best-in-class and on par with more expensive sports sedans.
Benefiting from continuous refinement of an award-winning global architecture, engineers have tested, tuned and calibrated the Malibu on rural roads, highways, freeways and GM validation facilities around the world.
Contributing to the Malibu’s ride and handling characteristics are:
A solid body structure as stiff as any in the global midsize sedan market, allowing for precise tuning and dynamic vehicle control
A premium steering gear for smooth, precise responsiveness and on-center feel
Proven and continuously refined MacPherson strut front and mutli-link rear suspensions
Large, ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes, clamped on by dual-piston front and single-piston rear aluminum calipers, which are expected to deliver segment-best stopping distance
An isolated engine cradle for tuned, refined feedback, without noise or vibration
Fuel-saving electric power rack-and-pinion variable-effort power steering, resulting in effortless low-speed maneuvers and a higher degree of steering feel at higher speeds
Chassis control technologies include four-channel anti-lock brakes, full-function traction control, four-corner electronic stability control, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist system, corner brake control, hydraulic brake fade assist and drag torque control.
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco is the first all-new 2013 midsize car to receive double honors for safety, including a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a 2012 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Both are the highest ratings possible.
The Malibu is also engineered for pedestrian protection compliance in all markets where it is sold and where such requirements exist. Pedestrian protection design in the front of the vehicle reduces the chance of a secondary collision between the pedestrian and engine block in car-pedestrian accidents.
The Malibu will also offer these standard and available safety features:
Dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags
Pelvic/thorax side-impact air bags for all outboard occupants, front and rear
Driver and passenger knee air bags
Roof rail air bags with rollover protection
Available second-row head/thorax side-impact air bags
Available lane departure warning system with forward collision alert
Available rearview camera system.
Six months of OnStar Directions and Connections service is standard on Malibu. OnStar is the global leading provider of connected safety, security and mobility solutions and advanced information technology.
OnStar’s RemoteLink Mobile App allows smartphone users to control vehicle functions, access vehicle information and send directions directly to the vehicle. A new, opt-in service called FamilyLink allows subscribers to stay connected to loved ones by checking the location of their vehicle online or by signing up for vehicle location alerts.
Malibu also features new OnStar button icons. Drivers will notice an updated look for the Hands-Free Calling button, blue OnStar button and red Emergency button.