2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco – First Drive Review

Chevy’s mid-size Malibu is all-new for 2013, joining the Buick Regal on the global Epsilon II platform. Loyal readers of Car and Driver may remember that our John Phillips briefly drove and generally liked a 2013 Malibu prototype earlier this year. We recently traveled to Texas to see if our early impressions would hold up following a few more miles in real-world conditions.

We once again drove the Eco model, which is powered by the combo of a direct-injected 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine and a 15-hp electric motor. This will be the only powertrain available at launch, with two other (unassisted) engines joining the lineup later. The first will be GM’s new 2.5-liter four-banger, which will make about 190 hp and arrive next summer. A turbocharged four-cylinder, likely one of the 2.0-liter units offered in the Regal, will follow. Chevrolet isn’t saying yet when that engine will appear, or how much power to expect. The 2.0 makes 220 hp in the Regal Turbo and 270 in the Regal GS. We say the Malibu’s version needs closer to 270 to differentiate it from the 2.5 and to better compete with the sixes in the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Volkswagen Passat—not to mention the 274-hp turbo four in the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima.

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