Thursday, February 9, 2012

Vehicle Profile: The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

Challenging the midsize status quo.    

In 2008, GM released the seventh generation Malibu and turned the midsize car world on its head. Universally praised for its modern styling and beautiful interior, the Malibu was a hit. Not content to merely rely on its past awards and allow competitors to catch up, GM is introducing the world to the all-new, eighth-generation Chevrolet Malibu. With enhanced style, improved interior and a groundbreaking new powertrain, the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco is poised to add a big dose of spice and efficiency to the midsize sedan segment.

The Malibu Eco (MSRP $25,235) is the first model of the new eighth-generation Malibu lineup. Designed to stand out, the 2013 Malibu features a wider stance (two inches wider) than the model it replaces. The powerdome hood and integrated rear spoiler add a more aggressive feel. Further enhancing the sporty feel of the exterior, the Malibu has been given a coupe-like silhouette and interesting details like the Camaro-inspired taillamps. With Chevrolet’s dual-port grille, large, swept-back headlamps and standard 17-inch alloy wheels, the Malibu brings an athletic sensibility to the midsize market. A segment first, the exterior of the Malibu Eco is equipped with an active shutter system that automatically closes at speed to reduce aerodynamic drag.

The new Malibu Eco is the first Chevrolet vehicle equipped with the fuel-saving eAssist™ technology. The eAssist system is teamed with an efficient and lightweight Ecotec 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine that produces 184 hp. The Malibu also uses a next-generation six-speed automatic transmission. The eAssist system uses power stored in an air-cooled lithium-ion battery to provide an electrical boost when needed, optimizing engine and transmission performance. The system uses regenerative braking to provide the battery with 15kW of electricity. The 115V battery and 15kW motor-generator unit can provide a boost of up to 15 hp during heavy acceleration. The eAssist system also allows the use of electricity when stopped, instead of gasoline, by way of a smooth and automatic engine start-stop system. GM estimates that this system will allow the Malibu Eco to achieve 37 mpg highway – better than any non-hybrid midsize sedan.

The all-new interior of the 2013 Malibu has been equally enhanced. The cabin is roomier, quieter and more comfortable than its predecessor. Thanks in part to the wider wheelbase, Chevrolet was able to equip the Malibu with a dual cockpit design that is three inches wider than the previous generation car. The new Malibu features metallic, chrome or wood interior accents located around the shifter, on the door panels and steering wheel, and around the center stack and instrument cluster. The Malibu is also equipped with an ice blue ambient lighting system that bathes the cabin in a soft glow. The ambient lighting complements the ice blue illumination on the center stack dials and along the instrument panel. Contrasting French stitching, strategic applications of noise-deadening materials and soft-touch surfaces help to enhance the Malibu’s refinement.

To make sure the 2013 Malibu Eco handles as well as it looks, it has been engineered to deliver ride and handling that are beyond best in class, aiming for parity with more expensive sports sedans. A solid body structure that’s 20 percent stiffer than previous models allows for precise tuning and dynamic vehicle control. The suspension is composed of a MacPherson strut front end with a multi-link setup in the rear with aluminum components and a hollow stabilizer bar to reduce weight. The new Malibu also features large, 11.7-inch ventilated disc brakes in front, and 11.5-inch solid rear brakes, which are expected to deliver class-leading stopping distances.

An isolated engine cradle working in tandem with the stiff body structure helps keep noise and vibration from entering the car’s cabin. This, along with features like acoustic-laminated glass, makes the new Malibu the quietest car Chevrolet has ever made. To further isolate occupants from the harshness outside the windows, 16 expanding-foam acoustic baffles are placed in strategic locations throughout the car. When the car body is being passed through the ovens in the paint shop, the heated foam expands to fill the body panels, providing acoustic insulation for the cabin.

The all-new 2013 Malibu Eco was not only designed to be the most refined and best performing midsize sedan on the market, it was designed to be one of the safest as well. With active safety features like four-wheel ABS and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with Traction Control system, the Malibu will help prevent many accidents before they happen. The Malibu’s stiff body structure and eight standard airbags protect occupants during an accident while the OnStar system with Automatic Crash Response will alert emergency personnel immediately following a collision. In addition to OnStar, the Malibu Eco comes standard with the MyLink Infotainment Package, which integrates online services like Pandora® Internet Radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®, plus Bluetooth enabled devices.
With an unmatched exterior design, outstanding fuel economy, world-class handling and class-leading safety and comfort, the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco delivers the next benchmark in midsize sedans.

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