The quietest Chevrolet in the company’s history.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Dec. 12, 2011
2012 Chevrolet Malibu Eco – $25,995 include. D&H to start an a respectable 25/37 mpgUS city/highway rating.
More details on the upcoming 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco were released this morning that included a promise for class “challenging
” (that does not mean class leading) ride and handling characteristics.
The exterior of the Eco has a coupe-like silhouette and carries design DNA from Camaro to the midsize sedan segment.
The new Malibu has a 4.5-inch “shorter
” wheelbase and 62-inch front and rear tracks that are more than 2 inches wider than the current Malibu.
Malibu Eco exterior design cues also include Chevrolet’s dual-port grille, large swept-back projector HID headlamps
(available with the LTZ trim later) 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. Surely Goodyear Assurance FuelMax lie those shod on the Cruze Eco and Volt?
The Malibu Eco arrives with the fuel-saving, active shutter system located in the lower grille. 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 minimize drag.
- Taillamps shaped for improved aerodynamic efficiency.
- 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 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 an increase of passenger volume to 100 cu. ft, 2.3 cubic feet more than before. The trunk has 14.3 cubic feet of capacity, a loss of only .8 cu. ft. which is not bad considering the battery storage space requirement in the trunk.
The Malibu Eco also has a number of storage areas, including a radio face that swivels up to reveal a six-inch-deep hidden storage area behind a seven-inch 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.
Improved Driving Dynamics
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 mutli-link rear suspensions with aluminum components and hollow stabilizer bar to reduce unsrpung weight.
- Large, 11.7-inch ventilated front disc and 11.5-inch solid rear disc brakes, clamped on by front and rear aluminum 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.
The 2013 Malibu Eco provides safety before, during and after a crash, with the following features:
- StabiliTrak stability control system with full-function traction control (TC).
- Four-disc brakes with ABS
- Forward collision alert (later availability)
- Lane departure warning (later 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.
The Malibu Killer App called Quiet
The new Malibu is the quietest Chevrolet ever built and is expected to be one of the quietest cars in the midsize segment. Interior engineers used road testing, sound evaluation tools and vehicle components to reduce, block and absorb noise from entering the cabin.
Additional sound deadening features 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 Eco exterior has a coefficient of drag of .30 Cd.
- 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. There is a minimum that must be met and the Malibu is approaching that limit.
- 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.
While we will not be able to drive the 2013 Malibu Eco until possibly tomorrow afternoon, if it is anywhere near as quiet that the LaCrosse w/ eAssist, it will be very noteworthy. The ECO’s fuel economy capability still needs to be disseminated as our short term experience with GM’s eAssit has so far has been far from outstanding.