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William Maley

Review: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

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William Maley

Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com

June 13, 2012

All of us have had the experience of something not meeting our expectations. Whether it’s an expensive hotel that provides the same service of a Motel6, a nice restaurant that serves the equivalent of Burger King, or a highly recommended mechanic that somehow charges $650 for an oil change.

This happened to me with the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco. When it arrived onto my driveway for a few days, I was excited at the premise of the Eco model. However when my time with the Malibu Eco was up, I was a bit deflated.

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If it was Ackerson's decision to bring this car forward when it was not ready, he effed up big time. A large majority of these will be sold with the 2.5L engine. By bringing it out with eek-Assist only, real potential customers are going to forget about it by the time the 2.5 is out. It will have to be re-launched with an expensive marketing campaign. That's money GM could be spending on R&D for new products that people WANT.

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Great Review, sad that they cut corners with the engine and mileage.

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I'm not surprised about your disappointment with the new '13 Malibu. I can honestly say I was not "blown away" when I saw it last year at the '11 NYIAS, and the few I've seen on dealer's lots and on the road have not improved on my initial reaction. I still prefer the exterior styling of the outgoing model:

2011_chevrolet_malibu-pic-8925758867857189028.jpeg

2011-Chevrolet-Malibu.jpg

Too bad they couldn't have put the '13 Malibu's interior into a refreshened '11 body.

Edited by GMTruckGuy74

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I saw the '13 first at Barrett-Jackson in January and a couple since then..overall, I like the exterior and interior, but the dumbest mistake was cutting the wheelbase by 5 inches. Epsilon II SWB and LWB both have wheelbases way too short for midsize and full size cars...

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In retrospect, I don't have a big issue with the front-end styling, it's more the issue with the side profile styling and size proportianing:

2011-chevrolet-malibu-side-view-in-motion.jpg

2013-Chevrolet-Malibu-drivers-side-profile.jpg

The '13 looks squished in the middle compared to the '11 model.

I saw the '13 first at Barrett-Jackson in January and a couple since then..overall, I like the exterior and interior, but the dumbest mistake was cutting the wheelbase by 5 inches. Epsilon II SWB and LWB both have wheelbases way too short for midsize and full size cars...

BINGO!!!

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I can't say if I agree or disagree with shortening the 2013 Malibu, but I think I can explain out the reasoning. If you remember, the 2008 Malibu was supposed to take on the volume of both the 04-07 Malibu and the 00-05 Impala, as the Impala was expected to move to Zeta. When the Zeta plans imploded Chevy needed to backtrack on future Malibus to re-accommodate a FWD Impala. I'm thinking that Chevy won't have a problem accommodating people who something roomier than the Malibu via the new Impala or the Cruze.

Personally, I do like the styling of this Malibu. It's to bad about the fuel economy though. All that extra expense for not much in real-world gain. Are there similar complaints about the eAssist-ed Regal?

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That's just it, I got great mileage in the eAssist Lacrosse, pushing 37mpg highway and 27mpg city in a bigger and heavier car. Where did that performance go?!

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I can't say if I agree or disagree with shortening the 2013 Malibu, but I think I can explain out the reasoning. If you remember, the 2008 Malibu was supposed to take on the volume of both the 04-07 Malibu and the 00-05 Impala, as the Impala was expected to move to Zeta. When the Zeta plans imploded Chevy needed to backtrack on future Malibus to re-accommodate a FWD Impala. I'm thinking that Chevy won't have a problem accommodating people who something roomier than the Malibu via the new Impala or the Cruze.

Both the Epsilon II SWB and LWB versions have wheelbases shorter than the new Fusion.. 107.x and 111.x are too short for midsize or full size cars.

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I like the looks, generally, of the new Malibu. A silver one passed me the other day and it looked good rolling. The outgoing one was elegant with no trace of sport, the new one is sporty of line, a trait of successful Chevy sedans of yesteryear. I want to see what they do with the turbo model.

The public is not stupid. They know eek-Assist is junk. I just hope it's not too late for this car to be a success when the real engines arrive.

The new Fusion is very future-think in style, where the Malibu plays on nostalgia and emotion. I like them both for different reasons, but wonder what Ford will do with the Taurus for the next go-round since the Fusion is good-sized. A new RWD Taurus would be like a Boss 302.

Edited by ocnblu

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We had a nearly brand new SHO Taurus out Saturday at the SCCA autocross here...

Very capable car...

A SHO RWD would be lust worthy...

But yeah, I like the fusion a lot better than the Malibu for a midsize four door car.

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A new RWD Taurus would be like a Boss 302.

Something like this (Falcon Boss 315) with a more subtle front end would be nice..

FPV_FG_GT_Boss_315.jpg

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I like that front, actually, but the Falcon bodyshell is cursed with that otherworldly, dated/parallel universe situation that afflicts the Commodore. It's a long-running trait of native Australian cars in relation to their American cousins I cannot quite put my widdle middle finger on. Does anyone know wut I mean?

Edited by ocnblu

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SHO's now are AWD and previously were never RWD.

Malibu, Chevy compromised a lot. They did not want to intrude on the guts of the Impala so they shortened the wheelbase, which did a disservice. It surely did not decrease weight much.

Passats and Altimas now are 3200 pounds. Chevy gets smaller and is major heavy.

Regal has decent toe space and foot space, why did they f@#k up that crucial element on the Malibu with the non-existent leg room and toe and foot space? Chevy is so stupid. It's a family sedan for crying out loud. Neither the Cruze or Malibu have adequate rear space for legs and feet for their class. REAL WORLD SPACE. (see, mazda6 or accord).

Design wise, the new look is decent, but it could have been way better with the same theme. There is not enough glass, the overhangs are too long, the wheel base is too short, windshield needs to come ahead some and the back decklid is too long (rear deck needs to come back some more). All they really needed to do was keep the wheelbase or only cut it a tish. The old Malibu which was a beautiful design (but now is tired) which really only had one flaw....visually it was too narrow.

The aggressive new design is cool but i only give it a B because it could have been a hell of a lot better in terms of proportions and overhangs and amount of glass on the sides.

Interior is nicely improved but still I think there are a few pieces here and there that could be nicer. The corporate woodgrain steering wheel is already looking tacky, for example. I've sat in this car, the textures and plastics are pretty good. SOme of the center stack is a bit cheesy but that's nitpicky. Overall it's a bit of a busy look but really that keeps it from looking Camry dull. The seat cloth could be better but the leather is bang up.

I think GM needed to pay for some amortization on the start stop BAS so they have tried to weasel it into the cars that they can in enough volume to recoup some development costs. Over time like everything else it will get revised and I think they see lots of potential for it in volume production over time. So you got to use some owners as beta testers now. I do believe the 2.5 will probably have the same mpg and better acceleration etc..... and I bet they won't produce any more eco malibus until another year or so and try to mate it to the 2.5. Same in the Regal, Lacrosse and maybe Verano also.

One last word, the Astra....er, Verano, the backseat is easier to get in and out of and feels a bit more legworthy off the bat.

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I like that front, actually, but the Falcon bodyshell is cursed with that otherworldly, dated/parallel universe situation that afflicts the Commodore. It's a long-running trait of native Australian cars in relation to their American cousins I cannot quite put my widdle middle finger on. Does anyone know wut I mean?

One thing that is funny is how similar the Falcon looks to the Commodore in profile...the greenhouse is very similiar. A US-market RWD V8 large Ford in the future based on a Falcon or the NG Mustang platform would be great, but I doubt if it will happen...I suspect the Falcon will be replaced by the NG Taurus as part of the 'One Ford, One FWD World' plan..

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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ew Moltie

yes reg we SHO nuff know sporty Tauruses have been FWD/AWD all their lifes.

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Really it would be nice if Ford could build a really modern, really fullsize RWD car.

right now, looking at a 65 Galaxy 500 XL or 66 Imapala at a local car show is as close as you can get....

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This car could stand to wait until the engine is actually ready. Akerson thought like a software executive, not a car executive. It is better to be a few months late with grade A product than be early with a C+ effort.

Does he not know that first impressions are everything, especially in the hypercompetitive midsize segment?!

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I have quite a bit of beef with this car.....I can see this being a rental queen in the near future....there is only ONE good thing about this car.

GM can be glad I didn't have to review this car...and I think Olds and I'm guessing MM will be a little nicer....

Note: I've driven both mali models (new and old) back to back...

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I'm not sure this is as big an issue as others think....here's why.

Rollouts of any new GM product are typically very slow. Had they waited, the chances are good they would not have rolled that many more in 6 months than the Eco has rolled out so far. In this instance, to roll the car out with the odd duck powertrain to me is not a terrible idea. Gm usually has quite a few glitches on new cars.....if the model is out but not in many people's hands they can stall an epidemic in case something bad happens. They know the Eco is not going to sell a lot but it will get out there a little and be seen and raise eyebrows on the road.

Secondly, GM has a history of rolling out the new models and continuing a production overlap of the existing. Chevy Classic, the 04+, and now the 08+ Malibus all have gone on now, while their successor was being built. Impala will also do that now.

THird, whatever is left of the current bu can go to fleets galore and also sell dirt cheap against all the dirt cheap Altimas and such going out of production soon. You can always catch buyers on the fence who are resistant to the new model. I already can tell you for fact three people I know closely who popped on 12 Fusions or Escapes despite being interested in the 13's....one in particular saw the new Escape and backed up and saved huge money on the 12.

Really this first half year with the Eco lauch is nothing more than a beta testing marketing buzz creation tool and it gets people interested.

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I'm not sure this is as big an issue as others think....here's why.

Rollouts of any new GM product are typically very slow. Had they waited, the chances are good they would not have rolled that many more in 6 months than the Eco has rolled out so far. In this instance, to roll the car out with the odd duck powertrain to me is not a terrible idea. Gm usually has quite a few glitches on new cars.....if the model is out but not in many people's hands they can stall an epidemic in case something bad happens. They know the Eco is not going to sell a lot but it will get out there a little and be seen and raise eyebrows on the road.

Secondly, GM has a history of rolling out the new models and continuing a production overlap of the existing. Chevy Classic, the 04+, and now the 08+ Malibus all have gone on now, while their successor was being built. Impala will also do that now.

THird, whatever is left of the current bu can go to fleets galore and also sell dirt cheap against all the dirt cheap Altimas and such going out of production soon. You can always catch buyers on the fence who are resistant to the new model. I already can tell you for fact three people I know closely who popped on 12 Fusions or Escapes despite being interested in the 13's....one in particular saw the new Escape and backed up and saved huge money on the 12.

Really this first half year with the Eco lauch is nothing more than a beta testing marketing buzz creation tool and it gets people interested.

Some valid and interesting points you make.

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GM can be glad I didn't have to review this car...and I think Olds and I'm guessing MM will be a little nicer....

you may be wrong on the assumption about me....

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GM can be glad I didn't have to review this car...and I think Olds and I'm guessing MM will be a little nicer....

you may be wrong on the assumption about me....

Maybe not...I want to pretty much trash it.....I found NOTHING better about this car compared to the old one...and I tried too.

And I do remember you mentioning that now that you say that....

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