Overview

Overview

The completely redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibu features new styling inside and out, new drivetrains, refined driving dynamics, advanced high-tech features, comfortable interior, availability of a new turbocharged engine, and good fuel economy, especially in the Eco model.

What Experts Think

Facing a slew of redesigned models in the segment, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, in the view of most reviewers, comes out with a winning proposition. In short, there is a lot to like and very little to quibble about, although there are a few nits here and there.

"Redesigned for 2013, the new Malibu has crisp styling inside and out. It's marginally smaller than before and the V-6 option is gone; a 220-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine replaces the six. Base versions will have the option of a ‘light' hybrid powertrain that boosts fuel economy slightly." (Car and Driver)

"If you are looking for an American-built mid-size sedan with good fuel economy, excellent handling and a remarkably quiet cabin, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will fit the bill." (Kelley Blue Book)

"The Chevrolet Malibu is completely redesigned and re-engineered for the 2013 model year and the 2013 Malibu is a winner, delivering a smooth ride, responsive handling, cabin comfort and ease of use." (AOL Autos)

"Given the wealth of other benefits that come with the 2013 Malibu, we think Chevrolet has risen to become competitive among other midsize family sedans. It joins the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and Volkswagen Passat as a model to consider heavily." (Edmunds)

"The most definitive conclusion from this short drive is that the '13 Malibu, even in high fuel mileage form, is going to be on the more exciting side of the industry's most boring segment." (Motor Trend, commenting on the Malibu Eco)

"The 2013 Malibu is dynamically as good or better than most competitors, and it ranks at or near the top of the class for ride quality, refinement, quietness, and interior design....Overall, this car is a solid effort, but it faces a class full of strong competitors." (Consumer Guide)

"There's the expected understeer and the car acquits itself reasonably...but it's not a sports sedan. Then, again, it isn't meant to be. This is a cruiser, with a nice ride and quiet environment." (Road and Track)

What Owners Say

Always a telling point is what actual owners of a family sedan have to say about their vehicles, once they've been able to spend some time in them. The overall consensus of owners' postings on sites such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, AOL Autos, and Yahoo Autos, is that the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu is a solid family sedan with comfort, convenience, good fuel economy, lots of high-tech features.

Some of the more notable comments are on the quiet ride, good looks, reliability, excellent technology, great interior, Chevy MyLink, ambient lighting, and plenty of power. Other comments include "better than expected," a "first-rate American car," and "good car for daily commute."

Owners of the Malibu Eco hail its great handling, design and luxury interior. Some Malibu Eco drivers, however, feel they don't get the gas mileage they were hoping for and find the auto stop-start to be jerky and annoying.

In 17 consumer reviews on Edmunds, the average rating is just under five stars. One owner, a teacher and single mom, says the Malibu's value, fuel economy and affordable monthly payment really do it for her. She also loves the automatic start button. Other owner postings on the site say they love the car, find it quiet and muscular, and hail other features and characteristics. Some owners complain of no spare tire and an uncomfortable driver's seat.

Model/Trim Lineup

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu is available in LS, LT, LTZ and Eco models.

Standard equipment on the base Malibu LS includes 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, automatic headlights, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, air conditioning, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a touchscreen infotainment interface, a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and satellite radio, and OnStar.

Next up is the LT trim which is further divided into 1LT, 2LT and 3LT. What 1LT adds to the base LS is heated mirrors, Chevrolet MyLink smartphone integration (with integrated voice controls, Pandora and Stitcher Internet radio compatibility), upgraded upholstery, and an upgraded audio system with touchscreen infotainment interface, auxiliary audio jack and iPod/USB audio interface.

The Malibu 2LT switches out 16-inch alloy wheels for 18-inchers, plus adds foglamps, remote vehicle start, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an eight-way power driver's seat. The 2LT also includes a compact spare tire (not just a tire repair kit).

The Malibu 3LT is identical to the 2LT, with the exception of the addition of the turbocharged engine.

Standard features in the top-of-the-line Malibu LTZ include leather seating, heated front seats, an eight-way power passenger's seat that includes power lumbar control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The 2LTZ has a turbocharged engine.

The Malibu Eco comes in base and with Premium audio, or base 1SA and top-line 2SA. Essentially, the Malibu Eco features are similar to those in the 1LT, but there are a few upgrades, including dual-zone climate control and 17-inch alloy wheels. Buyers opting for Malibu Eco with Premium audio get a nine-speaker Pioneer sound system, a remote garage door opener, foglamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rearview camera, remote vehicle start, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an eight-way power driver's seat with power lumbar, and a cargo net.

Various option packages are available to outfit lower trim Malibus with many of the features in the higher trim levels. Some other available options, depending on model, include keyless ignition/keyless entry, a sunroof, a navigation system, 19-inch alloy wheels, and xenon headlights.

Performance

Power for the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu comes in the form of a trio of capable engines. The base engine is a brand-new 2.5-liter Ecotec four-cylinder that delivers 197 horsepower. There is also the new 259-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and finally, the 182-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder paired with General Motors' eAssist system that is found in the Malibu Eco. Chevrolet has discontinued the V6 engine that was available with the 2012 Malibu.

Only a single transmission is offered in the 2013 Malibu, a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode.

On Chevrolet Malibu Eco models, the compact eAssist battery is located behind the rear seats. Auto reviewers note that the 15-horsepower electric motor assists the 182 horsepower engine, although it cannot independently drive the front wheels like a traditional hybrid. The GM eAssist system shuts the gasoline engine off at a stop and instantly restarts it when the driver releases his or her foot from the brake pedal.

Fuel economy, as rated by the EPA, is 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway/29 mpg combined for the 2.4-liter inline four in the Malibu Eco. In the 2.5-liter inline four, the numbers are 22 mpg city/34 mpg/ highway/26 mpg combined. The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four is EPA rated at 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway/24 mpg combined.

Most auto critics say the Malibu's steering is smooth and has just the right amount of power assist for any driving situation. Some test drivers, though, would prefer a better road feel. The Malibu does handle confidently with minimal body leaning in curves and the brakes are strong with a good pedal feel, say several testers.

Interior

Wider than the previous model, the 2013 Chevy Malibu provides more shoulder and hip room for occupants. But because the wheelbase is shorter than the outgoing model, there may be a little less rear legroom than competitors' midsize sedans.

Most auto critics find the Malibu more spacious than the outgoing model, commenting that only the tallest drivers might come away with squished knees.

Many reviewers applaud the improvement of the Malibu's cabin, citing the extreme quietness inside. That's due to abundant use of sound-deadening materials throughout. Most are also impressed with the high quality and soft touch of the materials used, as well as the overall appearance of the interior.

While some critics mention that the controls are a tad more complicated than the 2012 Malibu, they also add that the 2013 Malibu has much more equipment to control. Case in point is the new Chevy MyLink infotainment system which connects a smartphone to the car via the Bluetooth system and/or a USB jack. This allows hands-free calling, audio connectivity and Internet music streaming. The new Malibu offers a navigation system for the first time.

Safety & Reliability

Safety scores are strong for the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarding it a Top Safety Pick status. The Malibu achieved the top "Good" rating in frontal offset, side impact, rear crash protection and roof strength crush testing.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2013 Malibu an overall five-star rating, with five stars each in front and side testing and four stars in rollover testing.

Standard safety equipment on the 2013 Chevy Malibu includes 10 airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, brake assist, electronic stability control, traction control, child safety locks and daytime running lights. Lane departure warning and forward collision alert are available options on the 2LT and LTZ.

Many reviewers praise the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu as one of the highest in reliability rating in the class. The J. D. Power and Associates Predicted Reliability rating for the 2013 Chevy Malibu is three and one-half stars, between better than most and about average.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Sedan - FWD
LS LS 4 Cylinder FWD 21995
ECO ECO 1SA 4 Cylinder FWD 24985
ECO ECO 2SA 4 Cylinder FWD 26595
LT 1LT 4 Cylinder FWD 23185
LT 2LT 4 Cylinder FWD 24890
LT 3LT 4 Cylinder FWD 26600
LTZ 1LTZ 4 Cylinder FWD 27365
LTZ 2LTZ 4 Cylinder FWD 29700

Comparison of 2013 Chevrolet Malibu with Similar Cars

2013 Chevrolet Malibu MSRP Invoice
2013 Chevrolet Malibu $21,995 $21,225
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2013 Nissan Altima $21,760 $20,356 2013 Chevrolet Malibu VS 2013 Nissan Altima
2013 Toyota Camry $22,235 $20,345 2013 Chevrolet Malibu VS 2013 Toyota Camry
2013 Ford Fusion $21,900 $20,422 2013 Chevrolet Malibu VS 2013 Ford Fusion
2013 Honda Accord $21,680 $19,849 2013 Chevrolet Malibu VS 2013 Honda Accord
2013 Hyundai Sonata $20,895 $20,010 2013 Chevrolet Malibu VS 2013 Hyundai Sonata

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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