As it was getting the new Malibu Eco ready, GM looked at who buys green cars, and they found are people who tend to like a little bit of fancy technology inside. That's why, Russ Clark, GM's Director of Marketing, Midsize and Performance cars, told AutoblogGreen, the main marketing message will be that the Malibu Eco offers a compete technological package, combining good fuel economy (thanks to eAssist) and an infotainment system that is more commonly found in higher-end models. "It really is an outstanding package of fuel economy and price," Clark said.
Nonetheless, even with the Eco label, the 2013 Malibu Eco certainly doesn't have the same green cred that a car with the hybrid label does. Clark said that "Someone who is dead-set in their mind that they have to have a hybrid," will be difficult to persuade, but that, "this kind of technology [eAssist] will continue to grow over time. It's something that people will become more familiar with."
This is similar to how the Chevrolet Volt is being received. People don't necessarily know everything about the Volt's powertrain, but they may come into the dealership to find out. Once there, they may purchase a Volt or a Cruze or, soon, a Malibu Eco. "With new technology, you will attract people to your products," Clark said.
*Pricing includes a $760 destination charge.
Hybrid-like fuel efficiency for a non-hybrid-like price
DETROIT – The all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco midsize sedan will start at $25,995 when it arrives in dealerships in the first quarter next year, reinforcing the value proposition of the midsize segment's longest-running nameplate.
The suggested retail price includes a $760 destination charge – but excludes tax, title, license and dealer fees.
The 2013 Malibu Eco is Chevrolet's most fuel-efficient Malibu ever. It is the first Chevrolet to feature General Motors' eAssist battery electric/gas propulsion system, which uses a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery and an electric motor-generator to enable regenerative braking, electric assist and start-stop functionality. That helps deliver a GM-estimated 26 mpg in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway.
Malibu Eco's highway efficiency is comparable the segment's popular full hybrids and diesels, but delivered at a lower price:
2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid – $29,395 / 36 mpg
2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE Diesel (with automatic) – $27,895 / 40 mpg
2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid – $26,660 / 39 mpg
2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – $26,545 / 40 mpg
Malibu Eco is part of the all-new, 2013 Malibu lineup – Chevrolet's first global midsize sedan – designed to give customers more style, fuel efficiency, content and features, along with the craftsmanship and dynamic capabilities rivaling high-end sedans. It has a more powerful engine – 182 hp / 134 kW – than the Fusion (156 hp / 116 kW), Camry (178 hp / 132 kW) or Passat (140 hp / 104 kW).
Product highlights for North American models include:
Expressive exterior designed to stand out, with a wide, athletic stance
Aerodynamically optimized exterior, including underbody aero enhancements and electronically controlled shutters in the lower grille that close at higher speeds to push more air over and around the vehicle
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
First Chevrolet car to offer new Chevrolet MyLink connectivity, which integrates online services such as Pandora® Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®
European-influenced ride and handling traits
More safety features and technologies, including eight standard air bags, ultra-high-strength steel and rearview camera system.
Additional fuel-saving features include:
Eco-specific lightweight components and systems, including an aluminum hood, aluminum rear bumper beam, low-mass carpet and dash mat and more, which save approximately 130 pounds (58 kg) over a comparably equipped non-ECO model
An Eco gauge in the cluster that continuously responds to driving behavior, encouraging fuel-efficient driving. An Auto Stop Indicator on the tachometer informs the driver when the engine is in start-stop mode
Seventeen-inch low-rolling-resistance all-season Goodyear tires
The eAssist system mated to a fuel-efficient 2.4L Ecotec direct-injection four-cylinder engine and next-generation six-speed automatic transmission. The 2.4L engine, a variant of the same engine that was recognized as one of Ward's Ten Best Engines in 2010, is lightweight and features dual-overhead cams, direct injection, continuously variable intake and exhaust timing and electronic throttle control. It also has a lightweight aluminum cylinder block and cylinder head.
A five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, as well as a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty is standard on the Malibu Eco. Certain eAssist components are covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty, including the electric motor generator, three-phase electric power cables and high-voltage lithium-ion battery.
The Malibu Eco is offered with cloth or leather seats in eight exterior and three interior color choices. It is well-equipped in standard form and available with four equipment packages: Package 1 – Power Convenience; Package 2 – Premium Audio; Package 3 – Leather; and Package 4 – Navigation.
Standard powertrain and chassis content:
Ecotec 2.4L direct injection with continuously variable valve timing and eAssist technology, rated at 182 horsepower (135 kW)
Six-speed automatic transmission with tap-shift control
2.64:1 axle ratio
Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Grade braking control
Panic brake assist
Electronic park brake with push button
StabiliTrak electronic stability control system
Electric power steering (rack-mounted)
MacPherson strut front suspension
Four-link rear suspension
Seventeen-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels
P225/55R17 all-season low-rolling-resistance Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max tires
Standard exterior content:
Active front lower grille aero shutters and aerodynamic underbody panels
Projector-beam headlamps with automatic exterior lamp control
Heated, power-adjustable outside mirrors (body color)
Fin-type combined OnStar/SiriusXM Satellite Radio antenna (body color)
Acoustic-laminated, solar-absorbing glass
Intermittent windshield wipers with structureless blades
Standard interior content:
Six-inch-deep illuminated (when headlamps are on) hidden storage behind articulating touch screen radio face
Air conditioning – dual zone automatic climate control with odor filter
Audio system: AM/FM stereo with CD with MP3 playback and auxiliary input jack
Seven-inch-diagonal color touch screen for the audio system
USB port for the audio system
SiriusXM Satellite Radio
Six-speaker sound system
Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity
Remote keyless entry
Power windows with express down feature
Power door and window locks
Driver information center
Tilt and telescopic steering column
Steering wheel audio and cruise controls
Ice blue ambient lighting
Two auxiliary power outlets
Rear center armrest with storage
Standard safety content:
OnStar with six months of Directions and Connections plan, including Automatic Crash Response, Crisis Assist, Stolen Vehicle Assistance, Remote Door Unlock, and more.
Dual-stage frontal air bags
Driver and front passenger thorax side-impact air bags
Driver and front passenger knee air bags
Head curtain side-impact air bags (front and rear outboard seating positions)
Safety belt pretensioners
Tire pressure monitoring system
Package 1 – Power Convenience includes all standard equipment plus:
Eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar control
Rearview backup camera system
Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror
Universal garage door opener
Package 2 – Premium Audio includes all content in Package 1 plus:
Pioneer nine-speaker audio system with high-output amplifier
Leather-wrapped shifter knob and steering wheel
Package 3 – Leather includes all content in Package 2 plus:
Eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat with lumbar control
Heated front seats
Package 4 – Navigation includes all content in Package 3 plus:
Memory seats and mirrors
Auto-up driver's window
A power-operated sunroof is available on Packages 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Exterior Color Choices:
Silver Ice Metallic
Black Granite Metallic
Crystal Red Tintcoat
White Diamond Tricoat
Taupe Gray Metallic
Steel Blue Metallic (late availability)
Champagne Silver Metallic (late availability)
Interior Color/Trim Choices:
The Eco is the first trim level of an all-new Malibu lineup to launch in the United States. Other Malibu trim levels including LS, LT and LTZ are scheduled to begin production next summer in Fairfax, Kan. and Detroit-Hamtramck. The 2013 Malibu will be sold in nearly 100 countries on six continents and will serve as a flagship Chevrolet midsize in many parts of the world. The Malibu is built in multiple locations including the United States, China and Korea.
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 120 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 Sonic, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly 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 gasoline range, according to EPA estimates. 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, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at www.chevrolet.com.