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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

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Expert's Rating

4.5Excellent

MPG 23 City / 34 Highway
Pros
  • Handsome styling
  • Upscale interior
  • Refined ride
  • Advanced infotainment
Cons
  • Limited rear legroom
  • Middling fuel economy from mild-hybrid engine in Eco
, Automotive Editor -
New for 2013, the Chevrolet Malibu trades some conservative family sedan styling for sporty cues from the Camaro muscle car. But the big news is a heavy focus on fuel efficiency, as the latest-generation of Chevrolet's bread-and-butter midsize sedan tries to keep pace with fuel-sipping competitors. Engines are all four-cylinders now, but a mild hybrid is new and a turbo to replace the old V6 will be offered. And the interior becomes even more premium. Overall, the 2013 Malibu remains a stylish competitor in a fierce category.

Introduction

The Malibu LS starts off with the 2.5-liter engine producing 197 horsepower and mated to a six-speed automatic. A full raft of power accessories and safety equipment is included, as is GM's OnStar telematics system with the Directions & Connections package. LS also gets 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, air conditioning, automatic headlamps and a six-speaker touchscreen audio system with SiriusXM satellite radio and Bluetooth.

The LT comes in two forms, 1LT and 2LT, and standard on both is the MyLink infotainment system that incorporates iPod integration and a USB port, as well as apps to control things like Pandora radio. Also included is ambient lighting and premium cloth seats. The 2LT adds a power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels and a spare tire. The LTZ is the most premium Malibu and throws in heated leather seats and a power passenger's seat. The Eco is equipped with GM's eAssist engine that has an electric motor to boost fuel economy to 37 MPG highway. All Eco cars get 17-inch alloy wheels, premium cloth trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, MyLink and ambient lighting.

The Toyota Camry is a hugely efficient vehicle that's also refined, but is very plain-looking. The Nissan Altima's standard engine gets better MPG than even the Malibu Eco, but the V6 is thirsty. The Hyundai Sonata is stylish and well-priced, but the hybrid and turbo models could use more refinement. And the Volkswagen Passat offers a manual transmission and clean diesel engine, neither of which the Malibu offers, but the standard five-cylinder is not efficient and it can get expensive.

In short, the Malibu offers muscle car-looks with great efficiency in a market segment that is full of look-alike cars. The standard Malibu is well-equipped yet can turn into something rather luxurious, and the Eco is downright efficient and offers the ability to go silent when stopped. All in all, the Malibu merits serious consideration if you're in the market for an up-to-date family sedan.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Chevrolet Malibu
Starting price
$10,995

2013 Chevrolet Malibu 1LS

Recommended for: Value-minded midsize sedan shoppers

The base LS comes well-equipped for the family sedan segment, including all of the features a buyer of this type of car would consider essential. That means power windows, locks and mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control and front, side, knee and curtain airbags with electronic stability control. The LS also adds the OnStar system with emergency crash response. Also standard are 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps and a six-speaker audio system with SiriusXM satellite radio and Bluetooth. Rear backup sensors are optional.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu
Starting price
$10,995

2013 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT

Recommended for: Buyers looking for more advanced technology features

The LT adds more creature comforts for people who want a few more amenities in their Malibu. These features include soft ambient lighting for the interior, higher-grade fabric for the seats, heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, projector beam headlamps and floormats. The LT also gets Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, which incorporates Bluetooth streaming audio, voice recognition and iPod control into a 7-inch touchscreen radio that also offers things like Pandora streaming internet radio from your smartphone connection. The 2LT bumps up the feature content further with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 8-way power driver's seat, 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, dual-zone climate control, compact spare tire, color trip computer screen in the instrument panel and a remote starter. A power sunroof is optional, while the 2LT opens up options like leather seats, lane departure warning and a navigation system. The Electronics and Entertainment Package adds a 9-speaker Pioneer audio system and a backup camera.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu
Starting price
$10,995

2013 Chevrolet Malibu 1LZ

Recommended for: Shoppers who want a more luxurious family sedan

The LZ is the most luxurious Malibu and it comes standard with just about every feature. That means leather seats that are heated for front passengers, 8-way power passenger's seat, 18-inch alloy wheels, power sunroof, LED taillights, chrome grille inserts and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The available Premium Package adds keyless entry and start, HID headlamps and driver's memory settings. The Electronics and Entertainment Package adds the 9-speaker Pioneer audio system, backup camera and garage door opener. Lane departure warning is optional.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu
Starting price
$10,995

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

Recommended for: Buyers interested in a hybrid that doesn't shout about it

The Eco is the Malibu Hybrid – but don't call it that. It uses a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 182 horsepower and a small electric motor that assist the gas engine, as well as kicking in when you're stopped, thereby saving fuel. That gives it 25 MPG city and 37 highway. The Eco also comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, premium cloth seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, color trip computer screen and MyLink. The Power Convenience Group adds remote start, 8-way power driver's seat, auto-dimming mirror, backup camera and garage door opener. Going for the Eco Premium adds the Power Convenience Group as well as a 9-speaker Pioneer sound system. Leather seats are optional, as is navigation and a power sunroof.

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