GM unveiled today at the 2011 New York Auto Show the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu ECO. As expected, the 2013 Malibu ECO is powered by a 2.4-liter Ecotec direct-injection four-cylinder engine delivering 180 horsepower (134 kW) and mated to a six-speed transmission. Malibu’s eAssist system uses a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery and an electric motor-generator to enable regenerative braking electric assist and start-stop functionality.
Weighing only 65 pounds (29 kg), the eAssist system has a 15-kW motor-generator in order to help you increase fuel economy. Althouth sales of the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will start in early 2012, the Malibu ECO will be available in summer 2012, while pricing will be announced at a later date. Regarding the fuel consumption, GM expects the car to deliver an estimated 26 mpg in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway.
Regarding the design, the Malibu ECO features an aerodynamic exterior and this includes underbody aero enhancements, electronically controlled shutters in the lower grille (seen also on the Cruze ECO) capable to close at higher speeds to push more air over and around the vehicle.
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu ECO, and all of the Malibu variants were designed to be as aerodynamic as possible and have a drag coefficient close to that of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle.
Chevrolet’s design team focused on reducing air resistance by taking away or modifying close to 60 drag-inducing counts found on the older Malibu. The new Malibu also underwent extensive GM wind tunnel testing to further improve both form and fuel efficiency. One key modification is the shape of the car’s front corners that allow air to flow smoothly around and along the sides to the rear.
The Malibu ECO is one of the first midsize cars to feature a lower grille active shutter system that helps keep fuel consumption low. This system can close the air intake automatically in situations where airflow is not as critical. In this state, air flows not through the front, but around the front corners and along the sides, which is aerodynamically better. The shutter’s opening and closing are controlled by the speed and engine coolant temperature. Thus, when it is hot or the car is towing something or moving uphill, the shutters open. They then close when driving on a freeway where engine cooling is not as needed.
The Malibu ECO also has other features that make it more aerodynamic, including:
• Door rear-view mirrors with a sleeker design;
• Tail lamps that are both aerodynamically contoured and stylish;
• Four underside panels which cover roughly 50 percent of the underside for a smoother flow of air under the car. This feature is usually only available for luxury-segment sedans;
• Standard 17-inch wheels fitted with low-rolling-resistance tyres designed to help with fuel efficiency.
All About the 2013 Malibu ECO
The Malibu ECO belongs to the Chevrolet’s 2013 Malibu range which is the brand’s first international production midsize range. The ECO’s advantage is that it offers a more high-end style with workmanship and have features reminiscent of a prestige-class sedan, along with a fuel-efficient but sporty performance. The main features in the North American versions are:
• Vivid external design with a wide, sporty stance
• Class-unmatched aerodynamics – almost equal to the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car – for more fuel efficiency, less wind resistance with the active electronic shutters (available on select models).
• Redesigned trademark Chevrolet dual cockpit interior that is roomier and that come with prime-grade materials and finish, and designed to have the lowest noise level for any midsize.
• Innovative Chevrolet MyLink connectivity that links to online services such as Stitcher SmartRadio and Pandora Internet radio.
• European-inspired handling and ride characteristics
• New improved safety systems including up to 10 air bags, lane departure warning/forward collision warning, ultra-high-strength steel, and rear-view camera.
• The Malibu’s body shell design is derived from the closely related Corvette and Camaro. With a more broad-shouldered stance and moulded rear spoiler, a more dynamically assertive appearance is shown off. The wheelbase is 4.5-inch (114mm) shorter and the 62-inch (1,574mm) front and rear tracks are over 2 inches (51mm) wider than in its predecessor.
Inside, elegance and style remain as the themes of the Malibu design, but these are combined with practicality and reliability. A newly-designed dual cockpit takes advantage of the increased width to provide greater space. In fact, the 2013 Malibu features four cubic feet (113 L) more internal space which consequently increases shoulder and hip room in both the front and rear seats. The trunk is also bigger by more than a cubic foot (28 L). Chrome details on the dashboard reflect the mild ambient ice-blue light resulting in the consistent visibility of the instrument panel as well as the storage pockets.