First Look: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

By Brandon Turkus

April 20, 2011

Chevrolet’s redesigned Malibu leaked late last week, giving us a glimpse at a rather significant redesign. With the official unveiling wrapped up, we have a great deal more information on the Bowtie’s new mid-sizer.
The sole engine is an all-new 2.5-liter Ecotec I-4, which seems like a logical decision on GM's part, considering the high price of fuel. The four-pot produces 190 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, which is delivered to the front wheels via a new six-speed automatic.
Handling is “European-influenced,” with McPherson struts up front, and a multi-link deal out back. The Malibu comes to a stop courtesy of vented front and rear rotors, with dual-piston calipers in front and single-piston clampers in the rear.
The Malibu should hit US dealerships in 2012, with pricing becoming available before the end of the year.
Please scroll down for the official press release from Chevrolet.
All-New 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Gives Customers More
Chevrolet’s First Global Midsize for Customers in Nearly 100 Markets on Six Continents
•          All-new exterior designed to stand out around the world
•          All-new, dual-cockpit interior with more room, more quietness, more premium materials and content, and greater craftsmanship
•          All-new, fuel-efficient, 2.5L four-cylinder Ecotec engine with next-generation six-speed automatic powertrain
•          All-new ride and handling package engineered for best-in-class performance
•          All-new, aerodynamically efficient shape and active shutter system save fuel and reduce wind noise
•          All-new Chevrolet MyLink in-car infotainment system integrates online services like Pandora® Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®
•          New radio face that articulates up and down revealing a six-inch-deep hidden storage compartment, a first for a U.S. midsize sedan
•          New safety features including 10 air bags, lane departure/forward collision warning system and a rearview camera system
•          On sale in the U.S. in 2012
DETROIT and SHANGHAI – The all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu made its global debut today, with simultaneous introductions in the United States and China – two of the nearly 100 countries on six continents where it will be sold. Chevrolet’s first global midsize sedan will provide customers from Shanghai to New York and Sydney to Sao Paulo with expressive design, advanced technologies, ride performance and fuel-efficient powertrains.
“The current Malibu has left an award-winning impression and changed the way people think about Chevrolet. It redefined what an American midsize car could be,” said Rick Scheidt, vice president, Chevrolet Marketing. “This all-new Malibu delivers on the intangibles of today’s Malibu but gives customers even more: more style, fuel efficiency, content and features, craftsmanship, and dynamic capabilities rivaling high-end sedans.”
Product highlights for North American models include:
•          All-new, fuel-efficient and powerful 2.5L four-cylinder engine and next-generation six-speed automatic that lead Malibu’s powertrain lineup
•          Expressive exterior design with a wide, athletic stance
•          Segment-best aerodynamics – close to those of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car – that enhance fuel efficiency and reduce wind noise, including active electronic shutters on select models
•          All-new, Chevrolet-signature dual-cockpit interior that is more spacious, features premium materials and is engineered to be the quietest in the midsize segment
•          New Chevrolet MyLink connectivity seamlessly integrates online services like Pandora® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®
•          European-influenced ride and handling traits
•          New safety features and technologies including 10 air bags, ultra-high-strength steel, lane departure warning/forward collision warning and rearview camera system
Expressive and efficient exterior
“The exterior design of the all-new Malibu carries DNA from its sister vehicles, the Camaro and Corvette, to bring a sporty sensibility to the family sedan segment,” said Bryan Nesbitt, executive director for GM exterior design and Chevrolet Brand Champion.
A wider stance, broad shoulders and an integrated rear spoiler bring a new athleticism to Malibu and give it a more aggressive appearance. The new Malibu has a 4.5-inch (114 mm) shorter wheelbase and 62-inch (1,574 mm) front and rear tracks that are more than 2 inches (51 mm) wider than the model it replaces.
Other exterior design cues include Chevrolet’s dual-port grille, projector HID headlamps, larger Chevrolet bow-tie badges front and rear, and new Camaro-inspired LED dual-element taillamps. The look is complemented by a range of large 17-, 18- and 19-inch wheels.
The new Malibu exterior is anticipated to be SAE-certified as one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars in the segment, with a coefficient of drag (Cd) rating near Chevrolet Volt’s Cd of .280. Because of Malibu’s new shape and design, engineers were able to remove 60 counts of wind drag compared to the model it replaces.
Malibu also has electronically controlled and integrated active aero shutters (select models in North American markets) to improve aerodynamics and enhance fuel economy without sacrificing the exterior design.
Malibu’s active shutter system automatically closes airflow through the lower intake opening when air intake is least needed. When closed, the shutter system enhances aerodynamic performance by redirecting airflow around the front of the vehicle and down the sides, rather than through it. Whether the shutter is open or closed depends on engine coolant temperature and speed – for example, the shutters open when the car is traveling up a hill, pulling a trailer, or in hot city driving; the shutters close at highway speeds when less engine cooling is required.
Roomier, more refined interior
The new Malibu interior was designed to bring an element of sophistication to everyday driving, featuring an all-new dual cockpit design that creates an inviting, roomy and comfortable environment.
The increased width of the new Malibu means a more spacious cabin. Compared to the previous model, it has nearly 4 cubic feet (113 L) of additional interior volume, along with more shoulder and hip room.
The Malibu interior features metallic, chrome or wood accents located around the shifter, surrounding the center stack, around the instrument cluster and on doors and the steering wheel. Soft, ice blue ambient lighting reflects off of and complements chrome accents and ensures even, consistent illumination along the instrument panel and in storage pockets. Ice blue lighting on the center stack dials, exposed ice blue French contrast stitching, soft-touch and textured surfaces, and strategic applications of noise-deadening materials add to Malibu’s interior refinement.
The Malibu also has a number of storage areas, including a radio face that articulates up and down to reveal a six-inch deep storage area behind its seven-inch touch-screen radio display – a U.S. first in a midsize car. Malibu will also offer a full range of the latest infotainment options, including new color radio systems and an available navigation system.
Malibu will include Chevrolet’s new MyLink infotainment package at launch. It builds on the safety and security of OnStar and seamlessly integrates online services like Pandora® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®. MyLink integrates wireless connectivity through Bluetooth to enable hands-free use of selected smart phone apps while the device remains safely stowed.
MyLink features a high-resolution, full-color touch screen display designed to manage the number of steps required to complete a task. MyLink also adds stereo audio streaming and wireless control of smart phones, building on the Bluetooth hands-free calling capability already offered in most Chevrolet vehicles.
All-new 2.5L powertrain
The 2013 Malibu features a global lineup of fuel-efficient and powerful four-cylinder engines that complements its European-inspired driving characteristics.
An all-new Ecotec 2.5L dual overhead cam, four-cylinder engine with direct injection leads Malibu’s engine lineup in North America. It is expected to be one of the most efficient of its size in the market. New features include enhanced authority continuously variable valve timing, variable-displacement oil pump and electronic thermostat that save fuel, while delivering V-6-like performance. It is estimated the engine will be SAE-certified at more than 190 horsepower (141 kW) and 180 lb.-ft. of torque (245 Nm). The new engine has noise-reducing features such as a cast exhaust manifold, steel crank, low-noise timing chain and direct mount accessories that contribute to a quiet-cabin experience.
The 2.5L is mated to a Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic with features designed to enhance powertrain efficiency. They include changes to clutch controls and hardware that improves shift response and time. These changes enabled engineers to specify higher gearing to improve cruising efficiency while maintaining acceleration performance and driveability.
Driving experience
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu delivers precise ride and handling. It has been engineered to be best-in-class and on par with more expensive sports sedans.
Benefiting from continuous refinement of an award-winning global architecture, engineers have tested, tuned and calibrated the Malibu on rural roads, highways, freeways and GM validation facilities around the world.
Contributing to the Malibu’s ride and handling characteristics are:
•          A solid body structure as stiff as any in the global midsize sedan market, allowing for precise tuning and dynamic vehicle control
•          A premium steering gear for smooth, precise responsiveness and on-center feel
•          Proven and continuously refined MacPherson strut front and mutli-link rear suspensions
•          Large, ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes, clamped on by dual-piston front and single-piston rear aluminum calipers, which are expected to deliver segment-best stopping distance
•          An isolated engine cradle for tuned, refined feedback, without noise or vibration
•          Fuel-saving electric power rack-and-pinion variable-effort power steering, resulting in effortless low-speed maneuvers and a higher degree of steering feel at higher speeds
•          Chassis control technologies include four-channel anti-lock brakes, full-function traction control, four-corner electronic stability control, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist system, corner brake control, hydraulic brake fade assist and drag torque control.
Safety features
When it comes to safety features, the new Malibu will be one of the best-equipped in the segment. The Malibu will also be pedestrian protection-compliant in all markets where it is sold, and for the first time in North America. Pedestrian protection design in the front of the vehicle reduces the chance of secondary collision between the pedestrian and engine block in car-pedestrian accidents.
The Malibu will also offer these standard and available safety features:
•          Dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags
•          Driver and front passenger pelvic/thorax side-impact air bags
•          Driver and passenger knee air bags
•          Roof rail air bags with rollover protection
•          Available second-row head/thorax side-impact air bags
•          Available lane departure warning system with forward collision alert
•          Available rearview camera system
OnStar is also included in Malibu’s safety features and includes Automatic Crash Response, as well as improved voice recognition technology, remote diagnostics, remote door unlock, Stolen Vehicle Slowdown and six months of uplevel Directions and Connections service that includes Turn-By-Turn Navigation.
The new Malibu comes in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, with 10 exterior colors and four interior color combination choices in North America, depending on the model. Malibu production in the United States begins in early 2012. It will be built in multiple locations around the globe, including the Fairfax, Kan. and Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plants in the United States. Pricing will be announced later this year.
About Chevrolet
Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 140 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers “gas-friendly to gas-free" solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended range. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at
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Model: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu
Body style / driveline:    4-door, 5-passenger front-engine transaxle (front-drive)
Construction:    Steel body-frame integral (unibody) with front and rear crumple zones; galvanized steel front fenders, hood, door panels, one-piece bodyside outer panel and trunk lid
Global vehicle class:      midsize sedan
Manufacturing locations (North American models):        Fairfax, Kan.
Detroit-Hamtramck, Mich.
Key competitors:           Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord
Type:    Ecotec 2.5L DOHC I-4 VVT DI
Displacement (cu. in. / cc):        152.5 / 2499
Bore & stroke (in. / mm):          3.46 x 3.97 / 88 x 101
Block material: lost foam cast aluminum
Cylinder head material: lost foam cast aluminum
Valvetrain:        overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing
Valve lifters:     hydraulic roller finger follower
Ignition system:           coil-on-plug
Fuel delivery:    high-pressure direct injection and electronic throttle control
Compression ratio:        11.3:1
Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm):   190 / 141 @ 6200 estimated, SAE certification pending
Torque (lb.-ft. / Nm @ rpm):      180 / 245 @ 4500 estimated, SAE certification pending
Recommended fuel:      regular unleaded
Max. engine speed (fuel cut-off):           7000 rpm
Emissions controls:      Secondary Air Injection (SAI) system, PZEV-capable, close-coupled, catalytic converter, positive crankcase ventilation; evaporative system
Additional features:       extended-life spark plugs
extended-life coolant
Estimated fuel economy (city / hwy):    TBD
Type:    Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic
Gear ratios: (:1):         
     First:           4.58
     Second:       2.96
     Third:          1.91
     Fourth:        1.45
     Fifth:           1.00
     Sixth:          0.75
     Reverse:      2.84
Front:   independent, MacPherson strut-type with dual-path mountings, specifically tuned coil springs, direct-acting stabilizer bar (hollow); hydraulic ride bushings
Rear:    four-link independent rear; hollow stabilizer bar
Traction control:            all-speed using engine torque reduction and brake intervention
Steering type:   rack-mounted electric rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering wheel turns lock-to-lock:         2.68
Turning circle, curb-to-curb (feet / meters):       37.4 / 11.4
Steering ratio:   15.2:1
Type:    four-wheel disc w/ABS (w/ESC)
Brake rotor diameter – front (in / mm): 2.4L & 2.5L: 11.7 / 296 vented; dual-piston, aluminum caliper
Brake rotor diameter – rear (in / mm): 2.4L & 2.5L: 11.5 / 292 solid; single-piston, aluminum caliper
Wheels / Tires
Wheel size and type:     17 x 8.5-inch aluminum
18 x 8.5-inch aluminum
            19 x 8.5-inch aluminum
Tires:    TBD
Wheelbase (in / mm) : 107.8 / 2738
Overall length (in / mm):           191.3 / 4859
Overall width (in / mm):            73.0 / 1854
Overall height (in / mm):           57.6 / 1462
Front track (in / mm):   62.1 / 1577
Rear track (in / mm):    62.0 / 1574
Seating capacity (front / rear):   2 / 3
Headroom (in / mm):    39.0 / 991 (front)
37.6 / 955 (rear)
Legroom (in / mm):      42.1 / 1069 (front)
36.9 / 936 (rear)
Shoulder room (in / mm):         57.5 / 1461 (front)
57.1 / 1450 (rear)
Hip room (in / mm):      55.7 / 1414 (front)
54.4 / 1382 (rear)
EPA passenger volume (cu ft / L) :        100.0 / 2832
EPA interior volume (cu ft / L): 116.3 / 3292
Cargo volume (cu ft / L):           16.3 / 462
Fuel tank (gal / L):        18.5 / 70
Engine oil (qt / L):         TBD
Cooling system (qt / L):            TBD
Curb weight (lb / kg):    TBD
Note: Information shown is current at time of publication. Please visit for updates.