The brand-new, completely redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will go on sale this summer with a starting MSRP price of $22,390, representing a bump of $280 over the entry cost of the 2012 model. Yet that minor increase will include a major injection of style and value, even in the base Malibu, and Chevy also is boosting its lineup with the introduction of the brand’s first turbocharged Malibu, slated to arrive in the fall.
And remember, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco, with its eAssist mild-hybrid system, is already on sale, meaning potential Malibu motorists will have a choice of three different powertrains when the car’s full lineup takes the field.
(Note: Just to be clear, Chevy dealers are currently offering both the 2012 Malibu—the No. 1 midsize sedan in the recently released J.D. Power Initial Quality Study—and the 2013 Malibu Eco, which launched early to show off its extra-efficient eAssist technology. Also, these prices and the ones to follow are without factoring in a $760 destination charge that remains unchanged for the new model year.)
2013 Chevy Malibu: First, Base
Even the entry-level 2013 Chevy Malibu will be a worthwhile choice for owners, as its price of admission of $22,390 includes air conditioning, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with a three-month complimentary XM subscription, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, Bluetooth phone technology, 10 airbags and six free months of OnStar’s Direction & Connections service. Under the hood, drivers will enjoy a next-gen I4 engine with direct injection, variable valve timing, a six-speed TapShift automatic transmission and 197 hp. Fuel-economy numbers have yet to be released, but they should be competitive with those reported by the Malibu’s top rivals.
On the other hand, most of those rivals likely will be priced below the new Malibu; after all, it was the most expensive mainstream midsizer for the 2012 model year. And while not all of the other automakers have priced their 2013, we do know the price of admission to the 2013 Hyundai Sonata is $20,895, the 2013 Nissan Altima opens at $21,500, and the 2013 Ford Fusion is listed at $22,495, although that’s subject to change since the car isn’t actually at dealerships yet.
Just keep in mind that this isn’t a case of Chevy overcharging on the Malibu, though, it merely reflects how far upscale the 2013 version has climbed.
2013 Chevy Malibu: Elevated Content in the LT
Next up in the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu hierarchy is the LT trim level, which wears an MSRP that starts at $24,005 and brings all of the features of the Malibu LS, along with a number of audio and style upgrades. Perhaps chief among them is the Chevrolet MyLink radio with a seven-inch color touchscreen—that hides a concealed storage space—and the ability to connect to online mobile music services like Pandora and Stitcher. The Malibu LT also provides Bluetooth audio streaming via select phones and ice-blue ambient lighting for a nice premium touch in the cabin.
Moving up to the LT trim gives owners access to a number of further options as well, including a safety package with forward collision alert and lane-departure warning, and a leather interior with heated front seats.
This is also where enthusiasts can get into the action, since the Malibu LT is available with the already-mentioned turbocharged engine. It’s a 2.0-liter Ecotec powerplant that delivers 259 hp, 260 lb.-ft. of torque and a 0-60 time of 6.3 seconds. Comparison-wise, the Malibu turbo should have a bit more power than the 2.0-liter Ecoboost I4 in the 2013 Ford Fusion, but the Hyundai Sonata 2.0T delivers 273 horses and 269 lb-ft. of torque from its turbocharged I4.
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu LT with its high-performance engine opens at $26,950.
2013 Chevy Malibu: Topping the Range in the LTZ
At the peak of the new 2013 Chevy Malibu range is the Malibu LTZ, which will begin at $27,830 with the standard I4 engine or $29,405 with the turbo. That may seem like a lot of coin for a Malibu, but it’s actually $770 lower than the price of the 2012 Malibu LTZ, and the new model still delivers a strong value. Along with all the content offered at the lower trim levels, the LTZ adds on:
- Fog lamps and LED taillamps
- 18-inch aluminum wheels
- Dual exhaust with bright chrome accents
- A silver grille insert
- Chrome door handles
- Eight-way power-adjustable and heated driver and front-passenger seats (with power lumbar control)
- Leather-appointed seats throughout, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
- Remote start
Other available goodies include a power sunroof, 19-inch wheels, and a premium package that bundles passive entry/keyless access, push-button start, HID headlamps, and memory functionality for the driver’s seat and mirrors.
2013 Chevy Malibu: Is There an Eco in Here?
You bet—it’s the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco, at dealerships now with GM’s eAssist mild hybrid setup. The system can store energy from the car’s regenerative braking system, then use the power to provide some added oomph in certain driving situations. As a result, the Malibu Eco showcases EPA ratings of 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway/29 mpg combined to go with its starting price of $25,335.
Those are pretty impressive marks, and the Eco’s standard equipment includes all the content enhancements from the Malibu LT, but any discussion of fuel economy in this segment has to include the new Altima. Even the entry-level Altima, again, stickered from $21,500, is projected to score EPA ratings of 27 mpg city/38 mpg highway. Clearly, that starter Altima won’t be able to compete with the Malibu in terms of creature comforts, but it will certainly siphon off Malibu customers—and those from all other midsize sedans, too—whose primary focus is on saving fuel.