The domestic mid-sized sedan battle is on and the first one out the gate is the 2013 Chevy Malibu. Early production of Chevy’s newest family car started late last year, but the first saleable examples were loaded on delivery trucks late last week.
One of the goals General Motors had with the new 2013 Malibu was to beat the 2013 Ford Fusion to the market, which is scheduled to arrive late summer or early fall. That means production was expedited and launch schedules were rearranged to meet an on-sale deadline of February 2012.
Initially, the only Malibu variant available is the Eco , which features GM’s eAssist mild hybrid system paired with a 182-hp, 2.4-liter I-4. The eAssist system also captures energy while braking and restarts the engine during eco start/stop situations. Estimated fuel economy is 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway.
After the Eco rolls into dealers, Chevy will launch two additional engine options. A new 2.5-liter, direct-injection, four-cylinder, rated at 190 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, is expected to arrive this summer. We’re more interested in the turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 that’s in store for later this year. Though GM hasn’t officially rated its output for the Malibu, it’s essentially the same engine found in the 2013 Cadillac ATS, which is tuned to produce 270 hp.