Chevrolet introduced the full lineup of the redesigned 2013 Malibu Thursday, highlighting the model’s new powertrains and technology. Chevrolet says in a press release that the 2013 Malibu uses technologies like direct injection and turbocharging to be more fuel-efficient. The new Malibu is in a highly competitive midsize car class, and will go up against the recently redesigned 2012 Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat and upcoming 2013 Ford Fusion and Honda Accord.
The redesigned 2013 Malibu is on sale now, but currently only in Eco trim, which uses a mild hybrid powertrain called eAssist. “The eAssist technology captures lost energy from braking and feeds it back to a small lithium-ion battery to assist in accelerating the vehicle,” writes The Detroit News. “The technology also works to shut off the engine when the car comes to a stop, saving fuel.”
Joining the Malibu Eco this summer will be a conventional gasoline engine that will serve as the base engine. The powerplant is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 197 horsepower, which has 19 more horsepower than the base engine in the 2012 Toyota Camry and one horsepower less than the base engine in the 2012 Hyundai Sonata.
The debut of the base engine will be followed later in the year by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that Chevrolet says will make 259 horsepower. “Not only does the 2.0-liter four pack more power than the outgoing 252-hp V-6-powered Malibu, but it should be even quicker than that car, too,” says Car and Driver. Like Hyundai did with the Sonata, the Malibu’s turbocharged four-cylinder unit replaces the previous model’s V6 engine option to increase fuel economy without sacrificing power. In comparison, the turbocharged engine found in the Sonata Turbo and its corporate cousin, the 2012 Kia Optima, makes 274 horsepower.
The EPA has yet to rate the fuel economy of the base or turbocharged engine, but the Malibu Eco is rated at 25/37 mpg city/highway. By comparison, the EPA rates both the 2012 Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata at 35 mpg highway, neither of which uses a mild hybrid powertrain. The hybrid versions of these models achieve EPA fuel ratings of 43/39 and 35/40 mpg city/highway, respectively.
The 2013 Malibu trim levels should closely mirror those of the 2012 model, with LS, LT and LTZ trims, in addition to the Eco model. Though most of the specifics about standard and optional equipment haven’t yet been released, Chevy says that its infotainment system, called MyLink, is standard on LT, LTZ and Eco models. The 2013 Malibu Eco has eight standard airbags, including knee airbags for front seat occupants.
Pricing for the full 2013 Malibu lineup has not yet been announced, but the 2013 Malibu Eco is already on sale and starts at $25,235.
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