Highlights: The Malibu is available with Chevy’s signature hybrid-like engine, which is known as eAssist. This hybrid-like fuel-saving technology is only available on the Eco model. With the eAssist engine, the Malibu is able to achieve 37-mpg on the highway. And, for the first time, the 2013 Malibu is only available with a 4-cylinder engine.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $34,050 (Base Model starts at $22,805)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Features: 10-air bags (front, side, knee and head); ABS; an electronic parking brake; and a tire pressure monitoring system; electronic stability control; and OnStar safety concierge system
Standard Equipment: 16-inch wheels; a 6-speed transmission; electric power steering; tilt/telescopic steering wheel; rear armrest with storage; single-zone a/c; cruise control; and remote keyless entry
Standard Audio: a 6-speaker AM/FM stereo with a CD player and a 3-mos. subscription to satellite radio
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 miles
Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder/187-hp (LS model)
Recommended Fuel: Regular Unleaded
Standard Fuel Mileage: 22-city/34-hwy
Eco – eAssist hybrid-like technology
What’s New: For the 2013 model year, the eighth-generation Malibu has been restyled inside and out. Unlike the previous generation Malibu, this one is equipped with an available navigation system, an available rear back up camera, an adjustable sliding front center armrest and an available MyLink smartphone-like infotainment system. The 2013 Malibu also offers the latest high-tech safety features.
Pros: The redesigned Malibu infuses a more upscale, athletic profile which is complimented by an improved suspension system. During the 2013 model year, we have had an opportunity to spend time behind the wheel of the Eco model and the high-end LTZ model which was equipped with a turbo engine.
Our preference is the 4-cylinder turbo model, since it offers a peppy 197-horsepower engine. After spending time driving the Malibu LTZ outfitted with the turbo engine, there is really no need for a 6-cylinder engine. This sure is a sign of the times. Just a few years ago, we would not have considered a midsized American vehicle without having a 6-cylinder. This literally shows the progress GM has made with their vehicles.
In addition to the new turbo model, our vehicle was equipped with 19-inch wheels, a dual-zone ventilation system, a 9-speaker 250-watt audio system, XM satellite, HID headlights, a keyless push-button starter, a power driver’s seat with memory settings, keyless access, a power passenger seat, (heated front) leather seats, a 7-inch screen for the navigation and an infotainment system, dual chrome exhaust tips and a power sunroof.
Besides the premium features noted, Chevy has also incorporated the latest safety features in this year’s Malibu. A Lane Departure Warning system, a Forward Collision Alert system and a rear camera were all available on the LTZ model we reviewed.
Furthermore, the Malibu now includes Chevy’s signature smartphone-like MyLink System. This touchscreen interactive system integrates services such as Pandora and Stitcher with the traditional audio formats. So, consumers no longer have to rely on traditional radio for your musical selection.
Oh yes, we can’t forget the hidden storage compartment located behind the MyLink infotainment system. The interior layout is well thought out.
Cons: While the Ford Fusion, the Hyundai Sonata and the Kia Optima may exude a sense of coolness with their fresh designs, the Malibu would not be described just as a sporty sedan, although it takes some styling cues from the Camaro. The exterior design of the 2013 Malibu has more of a premium-class styling.
Furthermore, the front center sliding armrest console needs to extend out further in order to accommodate height-challenged drivers who may need to sit a little closer to the steering wheel. Moreover, a number of consumers have complained about the limited rear leg room.
Finally, the Malibu lacks such features as a Rear Traffic Cross-alert system and a dual panel roof which can be found on some of its competitors.
The Verdict: This is one of the best Malibu’s to date, offering the perfect mix of upscale styling, quality and content, especially when opting for the high-end LTZ model, with the turbo engine. In fact, the Malibu offers the most upscale interior in its segment, making this a true premium-class midsize vehicle. Besides the world-class interior, the Malibu and the Subaru Legacy are the only vehicles in this segment offering a Forward Collision Alert System and OnStar’s turn-by-turn direction system.
Yes, the 2013 Malibu has stiff competition in this segment. It’s up against the Maserati-like Ford Fusion, the evolutionary Nissan Altima and the segment’s number one volume leader, the Toyota Camry. Buyers in the market for an affordable, well-built, highly-contented vehicle should take the Malibu out for a test drive, before landing on a vehicle. Malibu recently lowered the price to be more competitive with other vehicles in the segment. Later this summer, a refreshed 2014 Malibu is hitting the streets soon. With that being the case, consumers should be able to scoop up the 2013 Malibu for a bargain basement price.
Competition: Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Toyota Camry
About The Reviewer:
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.