2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco achieves highest possible score from both the NHTSA and the IIHS

Article by Christian A., on June 8, 2012

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco, with a starting price of $25,995, achieved the highest possible score from both the NHTSA and the IIHS, making it the safest mid-size sedan out there. This is an amazing achievement, especially when you consider that it is the only vehicle of its kind to get on the top safety list of both organizations.

Occupant safety is tested by these two groups, using a variety of collision situations such as front impact, rear impact, roof strength, head restraints and side impact testing. What Chevrolet did with the Malibu Eco was design it to meet crash test ratings. It is designed to have 65% high strength and ultra-high strength steels, four-channel disk brakes with ABS and traction control, front safety belt pre-tensioners.

It comes with rollover sensors to activate the head curtain side air bags if sensors detect an impending rollover. It also features GM’s OnStar system. “We are now seeing the results from our commitment to design the highest-rated vehicles in the world in safety performance,” said Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety.

“Earning these top safety ratings demonstrates the strength of the Malibu’s advanced structure, overall crashworthiness and effectiveness of the vehicle’s state-of-the-art safety technologies.”

The exterior of the new Chevrolet Malibu has a more aggressive look and this is owed to having broad shoulders, a wider stance, and a spoiler integrated in the rear. Compared to the previous generation, the wheelbase is shorter by 4.5 inches (114 mm). The tracks however, both the front and the rear, now measure 62 inches (1,574 mm), an increase of at least 2 inches (51 mm).

According to Bryan Nesbitt, who is the Executive Director for GM exterior design and Chevrolet Brand Champion, the design language used on the Malibu’s exterior is similar to that of its siblings, the Corvette and the Camaro.

With this, he added, it is able to introduce a more athletic feel to the family sedan class. Indeed, Chevrolet projects that the exterior of this newest offering will be certified by the SAE as one of the segment’s most aerodynamic models. The brand believes that the Malibu’s coefficient of drag would be near that of the Volt’s rating which is at 0.280.

One reason why this is possible is because since the Malibu has a new design and comes in a new shape, the engineering team was able to remove around 60 instances of wind drag when compared to the prior model.

Additional features on the exterior include the well-known dual-port grille of the brand and the bow-tie badges placed on the front and the rear being made larger. There are also the projector HID headlamps and the LED dual-element taillamps, with the latter clearly having the Camaro as an inspiration. The brand will be offering a selection of wheels measuring 17 inches, 18 inches, and even one at 19 inches.

For those who want their Malibu to have better aerodynamics while improving fuel economy but not at the expense of the exterior design, the brand is offering active aero shutters to be integrated to the Malibu with the shutters being electronically controlled. This offer though will only be available in the North American market for selected models.

Press Release

Chevrolet Malibu Eco Achieves Double Safety Honors

DETROIT – The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco is the first and only all-new 2013 midsize car to receive double honors for safety including a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a 2012 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Both are the highest ratings possible.

The IIHS tests vehicles to determine how well they protect occupants in front and side crash tests, in rollovers via a roof strength test, and simulated rear impacts to evaluate seat and head restraints for protection against neck injuries. The Malibu Eco achieved a “good” score in all four types of tests performed and has standard electronic stability control, which the IIHS requires for Top Safety Pick designation.

In achieving the 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score, the Malibu Eco was tested under NHTSA’s revised New Car Assessment Program. The overall score is based on frontal and side crash tests in addition to evaluation for rollover resistance. Under the rating system, performances in three test segments are combined mathematically into an “Overall Vehicle Score.”

"With the Malibu Eco, Chevrolet has earned seven 2012 TOP SAFETY PICK awards," said IIHS President Adrian Lund. "The IIHS and NHTSA results demonstrate GM's commitment to state-of-the-art crash protection."

Under this methodology, the Chevy Malibu Eco achieved an Overall Vehicle Score of five stars – the highest rating possible - even though some individual ratings, such as rollover, resulted in four stars.

The all-new 2013 Malibu will be sold in nearly 100 markets on six continents. It was designed and engineered to achieve top safety ratings and to meet pedestrian protection standards where such requirements exist. Last November, General Motors announced that the Malibu also earned a top five-star rating by the European New Car Assessment Program, known as Euro NCAP.

GM designs its new products to perform well in the metrics IIHS and NHTSA use to communicate crash worthiness to customers. There are 11 GM 2012 models with a 5-Star Overall Vehicle NCAP score and the Malibu Eco is among the first 2013 GM models to receive this rating. There are now 15 GM vehicles that have an IIHS 2012 Top Safety Pick designation.

“We are now seeing the results from our commitment to design the highest-rated vehicles in the world in safety performance,” said Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety. “Earning these top safety ratings demonstrates the strength of the Malibu’s advanced structure, overall crashworthiness and effectiveness of the vehicle’s state-of-the-art safety technologies.”

The all-new Malibu is designed and engineered to help drivers avoid crashes, while protecting occupants if a crash occurs. Standard safety features include:

  • A body structure made up of 65 percent high strength and ultra-high strength steels
  • Driver and front passenger dual-stage frontal air bags, seat-mounted side air bags and knee air bags and head curtain side air bags with rollover protection that cover front and outboard rear-seating rows
  • Rollover sensors which can activate the head curtain side air bags if sensors determine an imminent rollover. In a rollover, the air bags stay inflated longer to provide increased occupant protection
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control helps the driver maintain control by comparing the path being steered by the driver with the actual response and, when necessary, applying the brakes or adjusting the throttle or a combination of both
  • Four-channel disc brakes with ABS, full-function traction control and panic brake assist that activates when an emergency braking maneuver is detected. The system automatically develops additional brake pressure to more quickly engage ABS
  • Front safety belt pretensioners to reduce forward movement and load-limiting retractors to help manage forces during a collision
  • OnStar, which features the Automatic Crash Response System that uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in a crash that deploys the air bags.
  • The Malibu Eco is the sixth Chevy model within the 2012 model year to achieve a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score for safety. The others include the Camaro Coupe, Sonic, Cruze, Volt and Traverse. The 2012 Malibu is also is a Top Safety Pick.

The Malibu Eco with fuel-saving eAssist technology is Chevrolet’s most fuel-efficient midsize car ever. It is on sale now in the United States with a base price including destination of $25,995, less than competitor full hybrid vehicles. Chevrolet is scheduled to roll out an all-new fuel-efficient 2.5L Ecotec engine on the full Malibu lineup this summer. A new turbo model will be available this fall.


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