Reviews the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco


Chevrolet has been on a bit of a roll lately producing comfortable and quiet new vehicles like the Equinox, Cruze and Sonic. executive editor Joe Wiesenfelder says the redesigned Chevy Malibu follows that same trend. His review tackles the high-efficiency Eco model that will go on sale next year, but he thinks the Malibu lineup looks promising.

2013 Chevy Malibu Review



When I first saw the exterior photos of this car I rather liked it except for the Camaro"ish" tail lights. I figured they would tone them down a lot for the Bu but I was wrong. Now I think the whole thing just doesn't work. The front and rear overhangs are huge, the rear trunk design is actually ugly to my eyes. The interior is a little better than the old one but that is not saying much. The car also seems heavy. All in all, I'm a lot less impressed than I thought I would be.

As far as this model goes, a 2012 Camry Hybrid costs the same or less, gets avg about 40mpg and, from what I've read, has a little more get up and go.


Why is so much time spent evaluating subjective design elements? The reviewers opinion of obscure design details really has no bearing on the competence of the vehicle. The gauges arent from the camaro and I think they look fine. They are in square binnacles like the camaro but they are hardly the same gauges. I also dont understand the complaining about the rear seat pass through being too small- thats what happens when there is a battery in the trunk. Some hybrids dont even have fold down seats at all. Heck, the new Lexus GS doesn't have a fold down seat period. I for one, am glad this car looks nothing like the "stylish" Sonata or Optima. The Sonata looks like a refined take on a Toyota or Lexus ES while the Optima is just awkward looking in anything but top trim. I do not understand the nearly univeral love of the Optima's styling but the auto media. The Mazda6, Malibu and Passat look better to me.


The camry hybrid costs about the same BUT the cars are not equally equipped. Mylink is standard on the Malibu but you have to upgrade to the camry XLE to get Entune and even than you dont get the full size screen without navigation. Toyota's Onstar equivalent is an option on the XLE, not even available on the base model- but Onstar is standard on the Malibu.

Gary Belcher

I really like the looks of the 2013 Malibu, however I prefer a 2-door car. I think GM has a car here that would make a fantastic 2-dr sport coupe and I would have to buy one. Lot of people like 2-doors & I had no choice this time but to buy a foreign car to get one. Come on Chevy, we need a 2-dr with dual exhaust tips and a trick SS hood model. I sure miss the old SS models.



Not really interested in Entune or Mylink but that is a point of difference. However, I would prefer to focus on the difference in MPG and quickness. The MPG is substantially better in the Camry.

If design wasn't important we would just be driving around in very aerodynamic blobs. That's why people comment on it.

Amuro Ray

@ Lance,

I think that you said it the best. Hybrid buyers are there to buy hybrids, and that translate directly to mpg #s, not a make-up requirement of "similarly equipped" comparison. Otherwise, one can just cross compare lowest price version of the vehicle with whatever features they want, hybrids or not.

Only liars and idiots will try to throw smoke screens and say things about EnTune, MyLink, GPS, etc. in order to hide the weakness of eAssist vehicles.



I didnt say customers dont care about styling- that would be a ridiculous statement. I said spending half a review analyzing and criticizing subjective styling elements is a waste of time. Styling is totally subjective- this reviewer doesnt like the Malibu interior- but other reviewers think it's great. The pet peeves he outlined regarding the interior styling are just his opinion. Better to focus on how the car drives and what it costs than spend your time criticizing subjective design details. Its funny that he seems to assume the Optima and Sonata are the benchmarks in midsize styling when many people don't like either. I personally think the Optima is unattractive in the lower trims and just OK looking in the higher trims with the 18" wheels.


use common sense- this isnt a full hybrid. If you are the market for a full hybrid sedan you arent going to consider this car. You will look at Sonata/Camry/Fusion and not much else. This isnt a direct competitor for those models because it doesnt have the ability to propel itself on battery power alone. This hybrid system is more like Honda's system which requires the engine at all times and yields less impressive mileage gains. If you're looking for a hybrid that gets at least 40mpg city you arent looking at this car. Of course what you and others wont talk about is the fact that the Passat, Accord, Mazda6 and Altima dont offer hybrid models and the ECO will stack well vs those cars.


for anyone really interested in learning more about the new malibu, motortrend has a much better review on their website. they focus more on the way the car drives, highlighting both the positives and listing some of the negatives as well. the only thing missing from their more thorough review (and this one) is the observed fuel economy during the testing.


Anyone who wants to know how they feel about the styling can check out the pics- they really dont need anyone to tell them if a car is attractive or unattractive. Which is why reviews should be mostly about how the car drives, interior space, quietness, etc.

BTW, it wouldve been nice to see a picture of the gauges since they were criticized for being too Camaro like.


check out the MT review. there are quite a few interior picks, including a few of the gauges. the shape and layout are similar to the camaro's, but the trim and font look nicer IMO.

btw, i wasn't saying this review is a bad one...MT's is just more informative.


I saw it. Read the review on C&D (very positive) and Autoblog as well. C&D praised the interior. I wouldnt call this review bad either but space in a review is better allocated when talking about things readers have no way of experiencing- like the driving characteristics. everyone can formulate an opinion about the styling by simply looking at the pics.


yeah, i just finished that C&D review. not bad and it includes the observed fuel economy. 29mpg isn't bad, but somewhere in the 30s would have been nicer. auto reviewers tend to have a heavy right foot, hopefully regular people will be able to spend most of their time north of 30mpg...if so this will be great.

i'm still not a fan of the price though. i think they should have a decontented version that starts around 22k, especially since this will be the only type of malibu released until the new engines are ready.


I think its priced about $2k too high. I wouldnt expect a car with eAssist to start at $22k- that would leave no room for LS and LT models. Im thinking the base car will be about $23k when it comes out. Remember, the current Malibu will stay on sale until summer so there will be Malibus available for those who dont want to spend $26k.


good point. i hope GM keeps working on eAssist and it gets cheaper would be nice to see it offered with more engines across the lineup. it seems like a relatively easy way for GM to increase mpg without expensive full hybrid systems...but in future applications they should engineer a battery location in early on so their not eating up the pass cruze eco doesn't have a about designing the battery to fit there?


There are several issues you have to remember. First of all the battery needs cooling and if it were in the floor of the car it would be hard to pump air into the compartment. On the Eco the fan draws air from the rear package shelf area. Also, we dont know the exact price premium Chevy will charge for eAssist. Buick is charging $2k on the Regal but I doubt the gap will be as large on the Malibu. I can tell you a Malibu ECO fully loaded is about 4 grand cheaper than a comparable Regal Premium 2 with eAssist. I would suspect a lower price for the system is a part of that gap. The trunk pass through on the ECO is better than what you get in most hybrids. I dont even know if the Fusion hybrid has a fold down seat. The camry has an opening that's decent size for 2012 due to smaller battery pack.

billy bob

2011 malibu is a piece of juck i hate this car it rides like a wagon and looks cheap inside wish I never got it will never buy anohter on cant wait to get rid of it


Do you work for GM? Lol

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