CleanMPG First Drive of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by xcel, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    A nice review we all missed from back in May..

    "The official fuel economy estimates for the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco are 25 city / 37 highway miles per gallon (MPG).

    We covered over 400 miles in our Crystal Red Tintcoat review unit and squeaked by the official mileage estimates on the open road, with an average of 40.5 MPG on the Interstate highway and 31.8 MPG combined with spring temperatures ranging from the forties through the fifties.

    Interstate Mileage Testing:
    Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 39.4 MPG
    Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off, ECO on, windows up: 41.6 MPG

    Interstate highway testing temperatures were in the low-to-mid fifties. Our Malibu Eco 2SA test vehicle was equipped with the standard 17-inch alloy wheels, clad with low-rolling resistance Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max 225/55R17 all-season tires, and was delivered with just over 1000 miles on the odometer."
  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    Hi Herm:

    I took the $25,995 to start 2013 Malibu ECO out on a 100 mile RT highway jaunt in central WI at this past spring’s MAMA Spring Rally and it only offered 49 mpg. It is FUBAR when it comes to competing with anything else in its segment :(

    Here is one of its major competitors on a 114 mile RT loop I drove a few months back.

    $22,280 2013 Nissan Altima with its CVT.​

  3. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    Besides mileage and 500lbs, does the Malibu have anything over the Altima?

    Congratulations Team USA for a successful landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars... I was biting my nails at 1:30AM
  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    Hi Herm:

    It was months between driving the two but I thought the Malibu ECO might have been a little quieter and handles a little better but that is all.

  5. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    To their credit, GM is very good at making vehicles with a nice, quiet, comfortable ride. Its one of the reasons I still hang onto my 1981 Buick.
  6. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    Yes, but as we've all heard, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you make one link stronger than it needs to be by sacrificing the strength of several weaker links, that's not very smart.
  7. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

  8. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    Hi All:

    GM apparently “got the message” with regards to the Malibu’s. At least where the back seat room is concerned anyway? Whether they got the message about the Eco or base costing $thousands more than the competition that offer their customers far better fuel economy and more amenities remains to be seen.

    With Malibu sales tanking this past December in particular something has to be done and that something thing needs to be done yesterday.

    From our December 2012 Sales reports, the competitive midsize market showed the Malibu lagging the segment badly. This is consumers speaking with their wallets and to see the Malibu behind most everyone is telling.

    December 2012 US Sales D-Segment Sales Ranks
    • Toyota Camry - 31,407
    • Honda Accord - 29,428
    • Nissan Altima - 23,966
    • Hyundai Sonata - 20,826
    • Ford Fusion - 19,283
    • VW Passat - 14,462
    • Kia Optima - 12,008
    • Chevrolet Malibu - 11,630
    • Chrysler 200 - 9,080
    Taking a look down the segments specification and pricing details reveals even more reason for the Malibu to receive more than a quick refresh.

    Competitive Comparisons

    YearMakeModelBase Price ($USD)EngineTransmissionHP and Torque (lb-ft.)Weight (pounds)Passenger Vol. (cu. ft.)Cargo Volume (cu. ft.)EPA Estimates (mpgUS city/highway)
    2013ChevroletMalibu$22,3902.5L6-speed AT197/1913,393100.316.322/34

    2013FordFusion$21,7002.5L6-speed AT175/1753,427102.816.023/33
    2013HyundaiSonata$20,8952.4L6-speed AT200/1863,199103.816.424/35
    2013KiaOptima$21,2002.4L6-speed AT200/1863,223102.215.424/35
    2012ToyotaCamry$22,0552.5L6-speed AT178/1703,190102.715.425/35

    Bolded specs are Best-in-Class.​

    Then we have the real world rear seat room where the Malibu fell to the rear…

    2013 Chevrolet Malibu ECO.

    2013 Honda Accord.

    2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

    2011 Kia Optima Hybrid.

    2013 VW Passat TDI.​

    In other words, why consider a current 2013 Malibu when the competition offers more for less?

    According to a report by Automotive News, a refreshed Malibu with an update to provide more actual interior room will arrive by the third quarter of this year.

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  9. CRT1

    CRT1 Newbie McNewbster

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    It is amazing how the automakers can turn on a dime like that now. Public doesn't like the 2013? Release a mostly new car a year later!?!?
  10. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    The engine's the really complicated bit. Repackaging and tweaking other components should be easier than ever. For higher volume vehicles with a low per-unit certification overhead weaknesses should be fixed rapidly nowadays.
  11. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    They have always had that ability to "turn on a dime". Unfortunately, that "dime" these days means 100 million dollars. And you know who pays that bill.

    I've gone on record as saying the 2012 Civic was a "damned fine automobile". I wonder how many Civics they will actually sell without a pile of cash on the hood.
  12. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    How and the world can and auto Corp get more rear leg room in a complicated car-in just a few months??
    Restrict front seat travel?
    Make front seat thinner??
    I just don't see how they can actually get more room-
    without making the vehicle LONGER
    No way they can actually make it longer in just 6 months-redesign it-redesign all the tooling jigs etc??
    If they get more room-it will be by doing something cheezy
  13. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    scalloped backrest on the front seats and thinner, inclined rear seats
  14. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    Or............. it will be accomplished by just bringing in a different model already sold in anothe market that is a bit larger. No , wait....... that would compete against the 2014 Impala , which by the way , is quite a looker. It looks like the Malibu is doomed.
  15. rfruth

    rfruth Well-Known Member

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    The upcoming refresh of the Malibu will include Impala like looks & more room for rear set passengers from what I hear :flag:
  16. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    Re: CleanMPG Previews the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    Yep. Redesign the seats so that they take up less room in the passenger compartment. If you make the back seat an inch higher, and an inch deeper, then make the front seat an inch thinner, you've pretty much gained almost 3 more inches of legroom for an adult in the rear seat.
  17. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: CleanMPG First Drive Review of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

    Hi All:

    Chevrolet is attempting to fix some of the missteps it provided with the launch of the 2013 Malibu.

    With the release of the “updated” all-new 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, the auto maker has provided a roomier, more refined and more efficient execution of its midsize sedan.

    2014 Chevrolet Malibu


    The new and enhanced features include:
    • Revised front-end appearance
    • Roomier rear seat with 1.25 inches more knee room
    • Redesigned center console
    • New 2.5L engine with variable valve lift control and start/stop technology helps deliver estimated fuel economy of 23 city / 35 highway – a 5-percent improvement in city mileage and 3-percent greater highway efficiency
    • Nearly 14 percent more torque from the available 2.0L turbo engine – 295 lb-ft of torque (400 Nm) – engineered for a greater feeling of power on demand
    • Suspension enhancements derived from the all-new 2014 Impala engineered to contribute to a more refined driving experience
    • New available Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert safety features
    The Malibu’s revised front-end appearance is influenced by the all-new and very sharp looking Impala. The front fascia features a new, more prominent lower grille and the hood extends down and over the leading edge of a narrower upper grille. The grille openings are wider and accented with chrome.

    Inside, redesigned seats contribute to greater rear-seat space and greater comfort. The front seatbacks are shaped to improve rear-seat knee room, while new cushion sculpturing and revised cushion material allow passengers to sit deeper in the rear seats. Approximately half an inch was trimmed from the front of the rear seat cushion, for greater comfort behind passengers’ legs.

    The Malibu’s redesigned center console has a longer armrest designed for greater comfort, along with a pair of cup holders and dedicated storage for two cell phones.

    Drivetrain enhancements

    An all-new 2.5L Intake Valve Lift Control DOHC I4 with direct injection is the 2014 Malibu’s standard engine. Its variable intake valve actuation enhances efficiency and helps lower emissions, while also enhancing low-rpm torque, for a greater feeling of power at lower speeds. When the iVLC system operates in low-lift mode, the engine pumps only the air it needs to meet the driver’s demand. The system switches to high-lift mode at higher speeds or under heavy loads, providing the full output capability of the engine.

    New start/stop technology shuts down the 2.5L engine to save fuel when the Malibu stops momentarily, such as at stoplights, contributing to an estimated 5-percent increase in city fuel economy. The engine automatically starts again when the driver takes his or her foot off the brake. An auxiliary battery powers electric accessories such as the climate system, power windows and radio during engine restarts.

    The new 2.5L is at 196 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. Revised transmission shift points and quicker shifts also enhance the feeling of performance – while delivering greater refinement.

    Chassis fixes

    Chassis and suspension updates inspired are said to provide a more refined driving experience, including rebound springs internal to the struts. They enable more refined calibration of the dampers for a smoother overall ride, while also improving body roll control and weight transfer during acceleration or turning.

    Fuel-saving electric power rack-and-pinion variable-effort power steering was revised with higher-effort calibrations for 2014 to improve the overall steering feel. Also, the Malibu’s brake system has been revised to provide a more confident feel.

    New Safety Stuff for an extra cost

    New Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert safety features are offered, and the Malibu also comes with 10 standard air bags and an available rearview camera system.

    2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    Rear seat room was non-existent compared to midsize competitors.​

    Let’s hope the changes were enough. The rear seat room in particular was horrible.

  18. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    They had to do something since it was such a flop. But I think it also shows the new GM is part of the new carindustry, with the ability to make rapid changes as Honda has done. I think you'll see more of this as Akerson has stated that he wants to see more incremental improvement instead of long cycles.
  19. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Mark Reuss stated that a couple of years ago when he stated at the Chicago Auto Show keynote speech: :"The chains of the old GM are broken. This is the new GM!"

    They are continuing to improve across the board instead of just improving models with more creature features such as the "Denali."
  20. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    A few more pieces about the 2014…

    When Chevrolet set out to refresh the Malibu’s interior and exterior for 2014, designers used the most cost-effective method in the tool box to do it.

    Rapid prototyping, also known as 3-D printing.

    The processes grows prototype parts out of powder or liquid resin at a fraction of the cost associated with building tools to make test parts. Selective laser sintering and stereo lithography – the official names of the processes – helped accelerate Malibu’s development and evaluation. Both processes use specialized software, math data and digital lasers, which accomplish in days what would have taken weeks of clay sculpting in the past.

    Rapid prototyping enables designers and engineers to quickly see, touch and test versions of individual components and systems in precise one-third scale and full-size models without having to make changes to production tooling, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Rapid prototyping proved particularly useful for updates to the new Malibu’s floor console, which now features a pair of integrated smartphone holders for driver and passenger. The new console also weighs less.

    In addition, the Malibu development team used rapid prototyping to:
    • Update the center stack trim and evaluate various surface treatments for the console and center stack
    • Create a prototype of Malibu’s redesigned front fascia, enabling aerodynamic and climatic wind tunnel testing without expensive production parts.
    • Re-sculpt the front seat back panels – located between seat frame and upholstery – for improved rear seat access and passenger comfort. The 2014 model has 1.25 inches more knee room compared to its predecessor.
    How rapid prototyping works

    Selective laser sintering fuses plastic, metal, ceramic or glass powders in cross sections. A laser scans a pattern on the surface of the powder, fusing the particles together into a layer four-thousandths of an inch thick. As each new layer of powder is added, scanned and fused to the previous one, the part gradually takes shape within the 28-inch-cubed reservoir.

    Stereo lithography combines photochemistry and laser technology to build parts from liquid photopolymer resins. The parts are also built up in layers as a UV laser traces the section onto the surface of the resin, curing the liquid into a solid as it scans. Because the resin won’t support the parts being formed, a fine lattice-like structure is generated below each part during the manufacturing process.

    Unfortunately the platform team is adding lipstick to a pig with regards to the Malibu’s additional 1.25 inches of rear seat room. When Volkswagen decided to produce the Passat here, they added 4 inches to the wheelbase of the European variant (new tooling and supply chain) because they knew customers here would not put up with a midsize sedan with less than compact rear seat leg room. Chevrolet did just the opposite. They brought over their European Opel design lock, stock and barrel with a wheelbase shorter than the previous generation Malibu in order to save $’s. What this decision ended up doing was provide a midsize that is far less roomy or comfortable than the far more affordable compact segment size Sentra and Elantra.

    Competitive Comparisons - Wheelbase

    YearMakeModelWheelbase (in.)

    Let us hope they can reconfigure the wheelbase because a standard midsize with these proportions is not acceptable in this day and age.


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