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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Interactive Review: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    William Maley

    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com

    May 11, 2012

    Spending the next few days here in the Cheers and Gears Detroit garage is the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco. This is Chevrolet's second hybrid sedan; the first being the last generation Malibu Hybrid sold from 2008-2009.

    The Malibu Eco comes equipped with GM's eAssist mild hybrid system. The system provides a 15 HP and 79 ft-lb of torque boost to the 2.4L four-cylinder engine's 182 HP and 171 lb-ft of torque.

    So how does it drive? It drives pretty nice. The eAssist setup provides enough low-end torque to get off the line. Once going, the 2.4L is more than adequate to get you around town.

    I have some more updates throughout the weekend dealing with fuel economy, driving, and Chevrolet's new MyLink infotainment system. In the meantime, send your questions in.


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    my own checking and many other places i see many gripes on rear seat foot and leg room.....please weigh in....

    I found the foot and leg room to be ok.. though, I'm about 5'6, 5'7. Headroom, I will say could be tight for tall people.

    Do you hear a jet engine noise under full throttle?

    Haven't tried that yet.. Will get back to you tommrow

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    All of the professional reviews I've read give very faint praise for the e-Assist setup, saying it is not worth the money, complication, and robbed trunk space with respect to the pitiful return on fuel mileage. In direct comparison with Chevrolet's own Cruze Eco, for example, the Malibu has some arguably serious shortcomings, including real-world fuel mileage and a trunk that is nearly 3 cubic feet smaller.

    It is clear to this observer that the upcoming 2.5L version of the Malibu will be the one to have, but will the car have to be "re-launched" due to GM's failure to have a competitive powerplant ready at introduction?

    How will your review differ from all the rest?

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    All of the professional reviews I've read give very faint praise for the e-Assist setup, saying it is not worth the money, complication, and robbed trunk space with respect to the pitiful return on fuel mileage. In direct comparison with Chevrolet's own Cruze Eco, for example, the Malibu has some arguably serious shortcomings, including real-world fuel mileage and a trunk that is nearly 3 cubic feet smaller.

    It is clear to this observer that the upcoming 2.5L version of the Malibu will be the one to have, but will the car have to be "re-launched" due to GM's failure to have a competitive powerplant ready at introduction?

    How will your review differ from all the rest?

    I don't know how my review will differ, if at all, from the others. The only way I'll know is when I finish writing the review up.

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    in theory the two have the same backseat but the regal seems to have more leg room and footspace..... GM can't build a front seat that preserves toe room for the rear to save their lives

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    The only way out of this mess is to put the diesel engine out of the Cruze in the Malibu for mileage freaks, and simply do away with the weak eek-Assist junk.

    • Agree 1
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    So compared to 10 years ago, how has this model faired?

    Have they improved or stayed static.

    Compared to the competition in this class, where does it sit.

    In regards to the future, can this model survive a 5 year life or will it have to be dropped and rebooted?

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    So compared to 10 years ago, how has this model faired?

    Have they improved or stayed static.

    I would say it has improved over the past ten years. The last generation Malibu showed GM was going in the right direction and it appears the new one follows it as well.

    Compared to the competition in this class, where does it sit.

    This is a tough question since we only have the Eco to base it on. For now, I think its somewhere in between the middle and top. It has the interior design and quality down, though it sacrifices some of it on space.

    The Eco brings an interesting twist on how to save fuel, though I'm not sure if the mild-hybrid idea GM has is a good one or not.

    In regards to the future, can this model survive a 5 year life or will it have to be dropped and rebooted?

    Ask me again in a year or so. The 2.5L four and turbo will be out then.

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    2.5 will do a lot for the car. turbo four will. i suspect e ASSISt on the Malibu will be like 5% of the volume. The biggest problem the Malibu has is it has no backseat.....i.e. they did not fix the problems from before...they made it worse.

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    2.5 will do a lot for the car. turbo four will. i suspect e ASSISt on the Malibu will be like 5% of the volume. The biggest problem the Malibu has is it has no backseat.....i.e. they did not fix the problems from before...they made it worse.

    I'm trying to figure you out on this one... you complained of the same thing with the Cruze. The Malibu is about .5 of an inch larger than the fusion in each rear seat dimension except legroom where it is 0.2 inches smaller. It is roughly equal to the Accord all around and again equal to the Passat in every thing except legroom. Slightly bigger than Optima/Sonata...

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    The silly question: if you yell inside the car, dies it Eco? :smilewide:

    The serious question: fuel conomy in real world, normal driving - how good is it?

    Edited by ZL-1
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    2.5 will do a lot for the car. turbo four will. i suspect e ASSISt on the Malibu will be like 5% of the volume. The biggest problem the Malibu has is it has no backseat.....i.e. they did not fix the problems from before...they made it worse.

    I'm trying to figure you out on this one... you complained of the same thing with the Cruze. The Malibu is about .5 of an inch larger than the fusion in each rear seat dimension except legroom where it is 0.2 inches smaller. It is roughly equal to the Accord all around and again equal to the Passat in every thing except legroom. Slightly bigger than Optima/Sonata...

    I wonder how the rear legroom compares to the previous generation Malibu, considering they cut the wheelbase about 4-5 inches. The rear door openings look really tiny (I noticed that when I opened a rear door and looked in at a show...)

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    f@#k the statistics go try to wedge yourself into the back seat of one. the cruze and new malibu both have deficient back seats.

    This is the same problem with the Current Escalade. I have the litterally last ESV Platinum produced on the GMT800, the GMT900 dimensions are all better than the 800 and yet I cannot fit in the new escalade sitting upright like I can in my current Escalade. Being one to upgrade every 2-4 years, I am now wondering when I will get a new Full Size SUV Luxury ride as I have to be reclined to sit in the drivers seat. This is a deal breaker. They clearly DID NOT test the new Escalade on Sports figures/Big Guys.

    Same with the Eco, dimensions might be bigger, but clearly the way they are building the car makes it harder to fit into. Try having anyone sit in the back seat if you have big people up front.

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    The silly question: if you yell inside the car, dies it Eco? :smilewide:

    :palm: After reading this, I think the Malibu's alarm went off :P

    The serious question: fuel economy in real world, normal driving - how good is it?

    I got about 26 to 26.5 MPG in mostly urban driving, which many reviews have been getting. My own problem with this is I could get the same fuel economy in a regular sedan.

    If it hasn't gone back yet... with that eAssist hardware in the trunk, can you fit a set of golf clubs in it without lowering the back seat?

    I believe it could, but I couldn't tell you

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