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South Texas Living


Chevrolet Malibu mixes edginess, refinement for 2013


Chevrolet Malibu mixes edginess, refinement for 2013
The Chevrolet Malibu, shown here in “Summit White,” offers a more aggressive, athletic look for 2013. / WILLIAM J. GIBBS JR./Reprints at wilsoncountynews.com


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Wilson County News
April 3, 2013
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With improved aesthetics and exciting new standard features and options, the Chevrolet Malibu has become a serious player in the ever-growing midsize sedan segment.

At first, the 2013 incarnation of Chevrolet’s venerable intermediate might not look that much different than it did in the previous year. But the all-new Malibu, slated for sale in 100 countries on six continents, borrows some styling cues from the Camaro and Corvette to offer a more aggressive, athletic look. The new model now has a 62-inch front and rear track, which is more than 2 inches wider than it was in 2012.

The new Malibu also has a dual-port grille with available active grille shutters on the lower grille. This improves aerodynamics and fuel economy.

On the inside, the Malibu looks more like a fun but functional daily driver. The increased width means a roomier car, which Chevrolet says has more than 4 cubic feet of added interior volume and more hip and shoulder room. The ergonomic, race-inspired dual cockpit features easy-to-read gauges and a 7-inch touchscreen radio display with Chevrolet MyLink and available navigation, push-button climate controls, and a center-console mounted automatic shifter.

The Malibu not only offers generous, realistic seating for five adults, but its trunk is ample enough to transport luggage, golf bags, or whatever one decides to take along for the ride.

Sales Manager Blake Benbow of Richardson Bros. Chevrolet Polaris in Floresville considers the 2013 Malibu to be

“the best and safest” in the midsize sedan class. Chevrolet indicates that the vehicle is the quietest, most fuel-efficient Malibu ever.

Buyers have a choice of three available dual-overhead-cam 4-cylinder engines, with the most-efficient being the 2.4-liter found in the Malibu Eco. That engine is rated to achieve an estimated 25 miles per gallon (mpg) in city driving, 37 mpg highway driving, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The fuel-sipping sedan is also safer for 2013. It already has received a 5-star overall vehicle score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and it is a 2012 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These awards are not without merit, as the Malibu has standard safety features including dual-stage driver and front passenger airbags, side-impact airbags for all front and rear occupants, driver and passenger knee airbags, and roof-rail airbags with rollover protection. Available options include a rearview camera system, lane departure warning system with forward collision alert, and second-road head/thorax side-impact airbags.

Thanks to Richardson Bros. Chevrolet Polaris in Floresville, the Wilson County News had the opportunity to test drive a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Jan. 9. Whether it’s tooling around Floresville’s side streets or on the straightaways of U.S. 181, the Malibu is clearly ready for the road ahead. The windows offer a clear, unobstructed view in all directions and the instruments and controls are clear and readily understood.

The Malibu has a solid, comfortable ride, thanks to MacPherson struts in the front and a multi-link suspension in the rear. It feels sporty without jarring the bridgework loose when going over bumps.

Steering and braking both are responsive and body-roll was minimal, even on banking curves. Acceleration was smooth and authoritative, thanks in part to the Malibu’s six-speed automatic transmission. Horsepower in the Eco model is rated at 182, while the turbo 2.0 liter engine has a peak horsepower of 259.

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu definitely has carved out its niche in the midsize market. Added to that is its price, which is diminutive to other vehicles in its class. Chevrolet indicates that the manufacturer-suggested retail price for this year’s Malibu begins at $23,150. The Malibu Eco starts at $26,505.

Our test drive vehicle, with 1LS trim, had a sticker price of $23,425.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu
•Base price: $23,150
•Price as tested: $23,425
•Engines/EPA Fuel Economy:
.....•2.4 liter I-4 (Malibu Eco) with eAssist, 182 horsepower, 25 city/37 highway
.....•2.5 liter I-4, 197 horsepower, 22 city/34 highway
.....•2.0 liter I-4, 259 horsepower, 21 city/30 highway
•Transmission: Choice of two Hydra-Matic 6-speed automatic
Where to buy:
•Richardson Bros. Chevrolet Polaris, 1406 10th St. (U.S. 181), Floresville; www.chevydeal.com; phone 830-216-4216.
•Koepp Chevrolet, 13221 U.S. 87 W., La Vernia; www.koeppchevy.com; phone 877-476-6151.
 

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