Family car buyers looking to save a little money in a spacious, comfortable mid-size sedan, both upfront in the purchase price and down the way at the gas pump may find the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco just the ticket.
The base price for the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco is $25,995, which includes destination charge of $760, but excludes tax, title, license and registration fees and any options.
What do you get for $25,995? Here’s the rundown.
Under the hood
The 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco uses the GM eAssist mild hybrid system, though GM isn’t really playing that name up. Eco is where it’s at, and is reflected in the Ecotec 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and equipped with eAssist.
What the eAssist system does is provide the Malibu Eco with additional power via an electric motor that does double duty as a generator. Power for the motor comes from lithium-ion batteries, which are recharged partially through regenerative braking. While adding power in this fashion, the Malibu Eco consumes less gasoline, thus saving on fuel costs.
As for the fuel economy estimates, they’re projected by GM to be 26 mpg city and 38 mpg highway. As reported in our sister publication TheCarConnection, that’s better highway fuel economy than the Ford Fusion Hybrid’s 36 mpg highway, but it’s a far cry from the Fusion Hybrid’s stellar 41 mpg city cycle rating.
Price-wise, the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco undercuts the $28,700 starting price for the 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid ($29,495 with $795 destination charge). The all-new Malibu Eco is also less than other 2012 five-passenger mid-size family sedans in the 40 mpg highway range, including the 39 mpg highway 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid starting at $26,660, the 40 mpg highway 2012 Hyundai Sonata starting at $26,545, and the 40 mpg highway 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE diesel (with automatic transmission), priced from $28,665. These starting prices all include the destination charge.
The Malibu Eco makes use of other features in order to achieve its fuel economy numbers, including a start-stop system, grille shutters providing active aerodynamics, lightweight aluminum hood and rear bumper beam, low-rolling-resistance Goodyear tires, even low-mass carpeting.
On the inside
The interior of the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco features higher-quality materials than Chevy has used in the past. The “dual-cockpit” interior, Chevy says, is also roomier than before and is among the quietest cabins in the mid-size segment.
Malibu Eco is also the first Chevy passenger car to offer the new Chevrolet MyLink connectivity, which integrates popular services such as Pandora Internet Radio and Stitcher SmartRadio.
Chevy says the Malibu Eco is well-equipped in standard form and offers four available packages.
Standard safety features and technologies include eight airbags, rearview camera, ultra-high-strength steel, OnStar with six months of Directions and Connections, safety belt pretensioners, a tire pressure monitoring system, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and panic brake assist.
Bottom line here: If you regularly drive on the highway, travel with three or four others in the car, and like the styling, comfort, ride and handling and other features in the Malibu Eco, maybe that’s a better deal in a family car.
The 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco will be in dealer showrooms in the first quarter of 2012.