DETROIT – The all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco adds a dose of flavor – and efficiency – to the midsize sedan segment. It has class-challenging ride and handling characteristics; a new, sporty design; new premium interior that’s roomy, comfortable and quiet; and it has better fuel economy than any non-hybrid midsize sedan – a GM-estimated 37 mpg on the highway.
The Malibu Eco is the first model of the all-new 2013 Malibu lineup to reach dealer showrooms in North America, starting in the first quarter of 2012. It has an MSRP of $25,995, including a $760 destination charge. The new Malibu is Chevrolet’s first global midsize sedan and will be sold in nearly 100 countries on six continents.
“The Malibu Eco is a smart choice for customers who want a great looking car inside and out with excellent fuel economy, but without the higher price of some hybrid sedans,” said Russ Clark, director of Chevrolet marketing. “In short, it’s an incredible value.”
The exterior of the Eco – and all Malibu models – has a coupe-like silhouette and carries design DNA from Camaro to bring a sporty sensibility to the family sedan segment.
A wide stance, broad shoulders, a powerdome hood and an integrated rear spoiler bring a new athleticism to Malibu and give it a more aggressive, planted and sporty appearance. The new Malibu has a 4.5-inch (114 mm) shorter wheelbase and 62-inch (1,574 mm) front and rear tracks that are more than 2 inches (51 mm) wider than the model it replaces.
Malibu Eco exterior design cues also include Chevrolet’s dual-port grille, large swept-back projector HID headlamps with three-dimensional execution, larger Chevrolet bowtie badges front and rear, taillamps inspired by the Camaro and a single hidden exhaust outlet. The look is complemented by standard 17-inch alloy wheels and low-rolling-resistance Goodyear tires.
An aerodynamically optimized design and smart use of fuel-saving technologies helps the Malibu Eco be Chevy’s most fuel-efficient midsize ever, as engineers removed about 60 counts of wind drag from the 2013 Malibu’s design, compared to its predecessor.
Malibu Eco is among the first vehicles in the midsize segment with a standard fuel-saving, active shutter system. Located in the lower grille, the Malibu Eco’s active shutter system automatically closes airflow through the lower intake opening when air intake is least needed. When closed, the shutter system enhances aero performance by redirecting airflow around the front of the vehicle and down the sides, rather than through it. The shutter is open or closed based on engine coolant temperature and speed. For example, the shutters open when the car is traveling up a hill, pulling a trailer, or in hot city driving; the shutters close at highway speeds when less engine cooling is required.
Other aerodynamic features on the Malibu Eco include:
- Dual-port grille upper is closed to redirect air flow up and over the hood
- Outside rearview mirrors designed to maximize efficiency
- Taillamps shaped for aero performance without design penalty
- Four underbody panels – more commonly found on premium-priced cars – cover approximately 50 percent of the lower portion of the vehicle and provide a cleaner airflow path beneath the vehicle.
The Malibu Eco features an all-new interior that is roomier, more comfortable and premium, and quieter than the previous generation Malibu. It features an all-new dual cockpit design that is three inches wider than the previous Malibu.
The increased width of the new Malibu means a more spacious cabin. Compared to the previous model, it has nearly four cubic feet (113 L) of additional interior volume, along with more than 1.5 inches (38 mm) of shoulder room in front, 3.2 inches (81 mm) more rear shoulder room and nearly three inches (76 mm) more hip room, front and rear. The trunk has 14.3 cubic feet (405 liters) of capacity, or one more cubic feet than the previous-generation Malibu.
The Malibu Eco’s interior features metallic, chrome or wood accents located around the shifter, surrounding the center stack, around the instrument cluster and on doors and the steering wheel. Soft, ice blue ambient lighting reflects off of and complements chrome accents and ensures even, consistent illumination along the instrument panel. Ice blue lighting on the center stack dials, exposed ice blue French contrast stitching, soft-touch and textured surfaces, and strategic applications of noise-deadening materials add to Malibu’s interior refinement. Seats are sport-sculpted and bolstered with firmer foam and frames made of high-strength steel for long-distance comfort and durability.
The Malibu Eco also has a number of storage areas, including a radio face that swivels up to reveal a six-inch-deep (152 mm) hidden storage area behind a seven-inch (178 mm) touch-screen radio display. Malibu also offers a full range of the latest infotainment options, including new color radio systems and an available navigation system.
Chevrolet’s new MyLink infotainment package and OnStar are standard on the Malibu Eco. They build on the safety and security of OnStar and seamlessly integrate online services like Pandora® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®. MyLink integrates wireless connectivity through Bluetooth to enable hands-free use of selected smart phone apps while the device remains safely stowed.
(Please see the separate Interior and MyLink releases for more details.)
Malibu Eco’s eAssist system is mated to an Ecotec 2.4L direct-injection four-cylinder engine and next-generation six-speed automatic transmission. The 2.4L engine is efficient and lightweight, featuring dual-overhead cams, direct injection, continuously variable intake and exhaust timing and electronic throttle control, as well as a lightweight aluminum cylinder block and cylinder head. It is rated at an estimated 182 horsepower (134 kW) and is a variant of the same engine recognized as one of Ward's Ten Best Engines in 2010.
Along with the Ecotec 2.4L and six-speed transmission, the eAssist system uses power stored in the air-cooled, lithium-ion battery to provide needed electrical boost in various driving scenarios, optimizing engine and transmission operation. An advanced 115V lithium-ion battery and 15-kW motor-generator unit help increase fuel economy through:
- Regenerative braking, which provides up to 15 kW of electricity to charge the battery
- Enabling a more-efficient final drive ratio by providing up to 15 hp (11 kW) of electric power assistance during heavier acceleration
- Using electricity instead of gasoline when stopped, with automatic and smooth engine start-stop functionality
- Aggressive fuel cut-off during deceleration down to zero mph for added fuel savings
- Intelligent charge/discharge of the high-voltage battery.
The eAssist system captures up to 15kW of power that would be normally lost during braking and uses it to recharge the lithium-ion battery. The system also shuts down fuel delivery in certain deceleration conditions, further improving fuel economy. While in fuel shut-off mode, the motor-generator unit continues spinning along with the engine to provide immediate and smooth take-off power when the driver presses on the accelerator. As the vehicle comes to a stop, the motor-generator unit brings the engine to a controlled stop to position it properly for a smooth restart when the brake is released.
Thanks to eAssist technology, the Malibu Eco can travel 580 highway miles (965 km) between fill-ups with a 15.8-gallon (59.9 liters) fuel tank.
(Please see the separate eAssist release for more details.)
Complementing Malibu Eco’s sporty appearance are its European-inspired driving characteristics.
All 2013 Malibu models have been engineered to deliver ride and handling capabilities that are best-in-class and on par with more expensive sports sedans. These include:
- A solid body structure that’s 20-percent stiffer than previous GM models and built on the global midsize architecture. This allows for precise tuning and dynamic vehicle control
- ZF Steering Systems premium electric steering gear that ensures smooth, precise responsiveness and on-center feel
- Proven and continuously refined MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspensions with aluminum components and hollow stabilizer bar to reduce unsprung weight
- Large, 11.7-inch (297 mm) ventilated front disc and 11.5-inch (292 mm) solid rear disc brakes (with aluminum rear calipers), which are expected to deliver best-in-class stopping distance
- An isolated engine cradle for tuned, refined feedback, without noise or vibration
- Fuel-saving electric power rack-and-pinion variable-effort power steering, resulting in effortless low-speed maneuvers and precise steering feel at higher speeds
- Chassis control technologies include four-channel anti-lock brakes, full-function traction control, four-corner electronic stability control, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist system, corner brake control, panic brake assist and drag torque control.
(Please see the Dynamics press release for more details.)
The 2013 Malibu Eco is designed to be one of the safest cars in the segment. It delivers safety before, during and after a crash, with features including:
- StabiliTrak stability control system with full-function traction control
- Four-disc brakes with ABS
- Forward collision alert (late availability)
- Lane departure warning (late availability)
- Eight standard air bags – including knee air bags and full-length side curtain air bags – and available rear thorax/pelvis air bags
- Pedal release system.
Malibu Eco also comes standard with OnStar (with six-month Directions & Connections plan), with Automatic Crash Response – a feature that automatically triggers a response from an OnStar advisor in the event of a crash.
(Please see the Safety press release for more details.)
The new Malibu is the quietest Chevrolet ever and is expected to be one of the quietest cars in the midsize segment. To achieve that, interior engineers used road testing, sound evaluation tools and vehicle components to reduce, block and absorb noise from entering the cabin. Some of the contributors to its quiet driving experience include:
- Malibu’s stiff body structure and isolated engine cradle help reduce noise and vibration from being transmitted to the interior.
- The wind tunnel-tuned exterior has a low coefficient of drag – a low drag count of .30 C d (Eco model) helps reduce wind noise to what is expected to be a segment-best 33 decibels.
- Air leakage into the passenger compartment, a primary noise source for all vehicles, is expected to be the best in the segment, at about 20-25 cubic feet per minute.
- A 5.4-mm acoustic-laminate windshield and 5-mm acoustic-laminated front door glass reduce wind noise by about 3 decibels when compared to conventional tempered glass.
- Sixteen expanding-foam acoustic baffles are placed strategically in cavities throughout the body structure. The foam expands when the body passes through the drying oven in the paint shop, filling the cavities to restrict or eliminate sound paths.
- Liquid-applied sound deadening and melt-on sound deadening materials are used on the floor pan.
(Please see the Interior release for more details.)
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
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