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2013 Chevrolet Malibu Review

A high reliability rating, good safety scores, and precise handling help place the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu in the upper half of its class. Still, its underpowered engine and tight rear-seat legroom keep it from reaching the top of our rankings. 

Pros & Cons

  • Precise steering and controlled handling
  • Strong reliability rating
  • Underpowered base engine
  • Disappointing fuel economy with Eco model
  • Tight rear legroom

New for 2013

  • Completely redesigned
  • Malibu Eco model became available
  • Turbocharged four-cylinder engine became available 




Critics' Rating: 7.3
Performance: 7.1
Interior: 7.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.2
Safety: 9.2
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Overview

Is the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu a Good Used Car?

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu is a good choice in the affordable midsize car class. It has an easy-to-use infotainment system and comfortable, high-quality front seats. Still, some rivals have more interior space and quicker acceleration.

Used 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Performance and Interior

The Malibu comes with a four-cylinder engine that puts out 197 horsepower. The base engine is adequate enough for everyday driving, but it suffers from insufficient power when going uphill and passing cars on the highway. Handling and ride quality are comfortable and composed, but rivals like the Mazda6 have athletic handling. The base Malibu delivers an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway – average ratings in the class. You might find a model with a new-for-2013 turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers a more powerful 259 horsepower. A mild-hybrid Eco model (which features aspects of a hybrid powertrain) was introduced in 2013; it increases fuel efficiency to 25/26 mpg city/highway. However, that rating is low for a hybrid. Additionally, the Eco model’s lithium-ion battery pack makes its trunk space smaller, and it feels sluggish to drive. Every 2013 Malibu comes with a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

Read more about Malibu performance »

The 2013 Chevy Malibu seats five in two rows. The first row has supportive seats and plenty of room, but many midsize sedans have more legroom in the rear. The Malibu has an attractive cabin, and some models come with a simple infotainment system. Redundant buttons for audio and climate controls are found on the control panel; they make it easy to perform common tasks, like adjusting the stereo volume or turning up the heater. There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the outboard rear seats. The middle seat has an upper tether as well as a lower anchor, and it can borrow an additional anchor from the driver’s side rear seat.  

Standard features include Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a six-speaker audio system. Some models offer heated front seats, leather seats, a premium audio system, push-button start, a USB port, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable front seats, navigation, and heated, power-adjustable mirrors.

Read more about Malibu interior »

Used 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Prices

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu ranges from about $10,180 to roughly $13,550. Prices vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, and demand.

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We Did the Research for You: 30 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 30 Chevrolet Malibu reviews, as well as fuel economy estimates, reliability ratings, crash test results, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain impartial, we do not accept extravagant gifts from automakers, and an outside source handles our advertising.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu?

The Chevy Malibu has an above-average reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power. Rivals like the Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry have the same rating.

See Malibu reliability scores »

How Safe Is the Malibu?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Malibu the highest rating of Good in four crash safety tests and a Marginal rating in the fifth – the small overlap front test. The Malibu was also awarded a 2013 Top Safety Pick designation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Malibu four out of five stars in the rollover test and five stars in front and side crash tests, earning it a five-star overall rating.

There are no standard active safety features, but some used 2013 Malibus may come equipped with optional safety features like a rearview camera, rear park assist, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning.

See Malibu safety scores »

Is the 2013 Malibu the Best Model Year to Buy?

The 2013 Chevy Malibu marks the beginning of a generation that includes the 2015 model. The 2013 Malibu was completely redesigned, so older models will vastly differ. The 2014 Malibu gained updated exterior styling, an improved suspension system, blind spot monitoring and iPhone integration, and increased rear-seat legroom.

Compare the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Malibu »

Which Used Chevrolet Malibu Is Right for Me?

There are four main trim levels for the 2013 Malibu: LS, LT, LTZ, and Eco. The LT comes in three sub-trims: 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT. The base LS trim offers some decent features, but you’ll have to step up to the 1LT to get the user-friendly infotainment system. This trim also adds a USB port and heated outside mirrors.

The Malibu has a great reliability rating, but you may still want to consider a certified pre-owned model for added peace of mind. For all of its certified pre-owned vehicles, Chevy extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to six years or 100,000 miles and provides a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. Chevrolet CPO vehicles must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read Chevy’s warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether or not it is eligible for the CPO program.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Chevrolet certified pre-owned program » 

2013 Chevrolet Malibu and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu or 2013 Ford Fusion?

The 2013 Ford Fusion boasts sporty driving dynamics, with a powerful engine lineup and lithe handling. Unlike the Chevy, the Ford gets a standard infotainment system, but it’s difficult to use. Both cars have good safety scores and similar ownership costs and trunk space. The downside of the Fusion is its poor reliability score. In the end, the Malibu is the better option.

Which Is Better: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu or 2013 Chevrolet Cruze?

The 2013 Chevy Cruze is part of the compact car class, but it is very similar to the larger Malibu. It gets good safety scores and has composed handling, but it suffers from lackluster acceleration. The Cruze receives higher fuel economy ratings and marginally lower ownership costs, while the Malibu has a slightly higher reliability rating and extra cargo and passenger space. If you need the extra room, go with the Malibu. Otherwise, the Cruze is a great lower-priced alternative.

Which Is Better: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu or 2013 Nissan Altima?

The 2013 Nissan Altima is an affordable midsize car with athletic handling, higher fuel economy estimates, and lower ownership costs than the Malibu. Both cars get good safety scores, but the Chevy has more cargo room, an easier-to-use infotainment system, and a much higher reliability score. Both cars are neck and neck in our rankings, so give them both a test drive to see which one better fits your needs.

Compare the Malibu, Fusion, and Cruze »

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