Although 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco has been attracting attention of customers at dealers’ showrooms thanks to its mild-hybrid technology feature and muscular redesign, potential buyers are inclined to choose the outgoing 2012 Chevrolet Malibu, thanks to incentives surrounding the current model. With the incentives, the 2012 Malibu could be acquired at around $6,000 less than the newer model. GM launched the 2013 Malibu Eco in March 2012, six months before the new 2.5-liter four-cylinder base engine was to be launched across the United States. The early rollout of the 2013 Malibu Eco was prompted by a decision by GM chief executive Dan Akerson to pull the eAssist version ahead of the base variant.
This also prompted other carmakers to leapfrog the redesigns of their units: Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima. But since the 2012 Malibu is more affordable thanks to incentives, the 2013 Malibu Eco has become just a sideshow for the current model. As a matter of fact, from March to June 2012, GM sold only around 7,000 Malibu Ecos, which pales in comparison with the sales figure for the 2012 model at about 100,000.
GM is set to roll out the 2013 Malibu with the new base engine early in August and the variant with a 2.0-liter turbocharged power plant this fall. GM markets the 2013 Malibu Eco as a mid-level trim powered by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine fitted with GM's eAssist mild-hybrid system, which returns 25 mpg in city driving and 37 mpg on the highway. The 2013 Malibu Eco has a starting price of $26,095, including shipping. The 2.5-liter version, meanwhile, will have a starting price of $23,150, including shipping. It returns a highway mpg "approaching the mid-30s."