Although Chevy's hugely successful redesign of the Malibu debuted roughly four years ago, an all-new Malibu is already going into production in early 2012 as a 2013 model. The new Malibu is being touted as the brand's "first global mid-size vehicle," which Chevy has plans to sell on six continents. The exterior is noticeably sleeker, with a wider stance and a Camaro-inspired rear fascia. Chevy designers would probably like to take all the credit, but the sleeker profile was also influenced by engineers who logged hundreds of hours in the wind tunnel. From underbody panels to active shutters in the grille, the new car has numerous aerodynamic aids that improve its drag coefficient by more than .06 over the previous Malibu, bringing it to within .01 of the Volt. Better aerodynamics often result in better fuel economy, but Chevy didn't stop there. A brand-new, more-fuel-efficient 2.5-liter four-cylinder replaces the Malibu's previous roster of powerplants. Power and torque ratings will likely fall somewhere between the old engines', with early estimates from Chevy of 190 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. The changes continue in the cabin, which is more spacious and looks more attractive, with better lighting, better materials, and a more cohesive design. Since its rebirth as a 2008 model, we have awarded the Malibu two All-Stars and have consistently praised its chassis, brakes, and steering as among the best in its class. With our only criticism being addressed by the new powertrain, we expect the new Malibu to improve on its predecessor in every way.
Trim Levels: Eco, LS, LT, LTZ
Body style: Sedan, 5-passenger
Engine: 2.5L I-4 190 hp, 180 lb-ft (est.)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 100.0 cu ft
Cargo space: 16.3 cu ft
The 2013 Malibu (on sale in early 2012) has been redesigned inside and out. It's a clear evolution of the previous design but is far bolder. Inside, Chevy promises better materials and an increase in interior volume. An all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder is the sole engine. Mated to the revised six-speed automatic, the Eco model is estimated to get 40 mpg on the highway. Many revisions were made to the chassis, too, the goal being a sportier, more European ride.
Side, knee, head, and dual-stage front air bags are standard, and rear side air bags are optional. A lane-departure warning system with forward collision sensor is optional. A backup camera is optional in vehicles equipped with a navigation system. ABS, traction and stability control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard.
EPA Fuel Economy
All: 26-28 mpg city/38-40 (est.) mpg highway
- Sleek styling
More cohesive interior design
More efficient four-cylinder
You Won't Like
- Only one engine option
Not available until early 2012
More handsome, more fuel efficient, likely better in every way.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda Accord