In a move to spur sales of the Malibu, Chevrolet apparently is betting against its own Malibu Eco mild-hybrid by improving the base model's fuel efficiency in addition to updating the styling and interior, Automotive News reports. That's right, for 2014 the standard Malibu matches the Eco's 29 miles per gallon (for combined city/highway driving) through the use of stop-start technology and Intake Valve Lift Control on the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, as well as a revamped transmission. In other news, the Eco's highway fuel efficiency fell one mpg to 36.

These developments beg us to ask two questions: Why would one buy the eAssist-equipped Malibu Eco, which is more expensive by about $2,300 and more complex than the base model, when it offers no fuel economy advantage? Do improvements to General Motors' internal combustion engines make its eAssist mild-hybrid system a moot point? They're questions General Motors must carefully consider as it plans to spread the system to much of its vehicle lineup. Pam Fletcher, executive chief engineer for electrified vehicles, says GM is improving eAssist, according to Automotive News, and it will "place it strategically where it makes sense and where the customer benefit is there."

But as it stands, the Malibu beats fuel economy figures of the base 2014 Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry, as well as the base 2013 Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata (EPA hasn't tested 2014 Optimas and Sonatas yet) - no electric motor needed.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 66 Comments
      bookemd
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think it's fairly impressive for once GM has beat mpg numbers of three other manufactures in a segment.
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bookemd
        Too bad it got beat by 3 other manufacturers in this segment. 4th place is typically not an occasion for celebration.
          bookemd
          • 1 Year Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          you comment too much.
      pghcc2006
      • 1 Year Ago
      29 mpg combined is the magic number needed to hit the CAFE standard, and e-assist may help they bigger heavier v6/8 cars make or come near the target at minimal cost so its not going anywhere yet
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        the.fog
        • 1 Year Ago
        Why read Motor Trend for a mid-size people mover review? Better yet: why read Motor Trend at all?
        • 1 Year Ago
        [blocked]
          express2day
          • 1 Year Ago
          ...and another right here on Autoblog, "2014 Chevrolet Malibu gets more torque, more room and inspiration from Impala." http://www.autoblog.com/2013/05/31/2014-chevrolet-malibu-get-more-torque-more-room-and-inspiration/
          Jon
          • 1 Year Ago
          Wake up, they made changes to the car after that review.
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
          express2day
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Raz GM did more than just "twirk" the powertrain, they also addressed other issues like rear seat space. Given these "emergency" updates, the MT review of the 2013 model isn't especially relevant to the 2014 model.
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
        Ok
        • 1 Year Ago
        It was the worst of that group, but they didn't say it was worse than the Avenger/200. I'd guess it probably is better than them. It has it's merits, like being quiet with a comfortable ride. I could see older folks with grown kids who value comfort don't need back seat room very often being interested. And the upgrade makes the fuel economy competitive. If it fixes the back seat as well, the Malibu is at least back in consideration, if not a class leader.
      vizcarmb
      • 1 Year Ago
      Im so excited. I cant wait until I can sue them for false fuel economy numbers
      MANARC100
      • 1 Year Ago
      Kill the Eco and put a diesel in it like the Cruze. If your only going to sell 5-10% do it with a more interesting product than mild hybrid. I dont see how this could be a big deal to implement.
      EJD1984
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nice updates, but the ECO MPG still falls a little short when the new Honda Accord Hybrid is estimated to be 50mpg.
        axiomatik
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EJD1984
        The Accord is a full hybrid. The Malibu Eco is a very mild hybrid, an electric motor connected by belt to the engine. The mild hybrid setup is inexpensive to implement, but it will never get the mileage gains of a full hybrid system.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @axiomatik
          [blocked]
      sp33dklz
      • 1 Year Ago
      If only they'd addressed those horrendous tail lights.
      domingorobusto
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm actually very impressed. Chevy has very quickly turned the Malibu from a completely dismissable also-ran into a legitimate competitor. I hated how the new body looked in 2013, but the updates make it a very attractive car. And now that it has competitive economy and performance, not bad at all. Good job GM.
        Terry Actill
        • 1 Year Ago
        @domingorobusto
        Still lacks interior space compared to rivals like the new Accord. My neighbor cross shopped both and got the Honda.
          domingorobusto
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Terry Actill
          Definitely not saying it'd be my choice. I'd go Mazda6, Fusion, Optima, Accord, then Malibu. But before the update it wasn't even in the running, a non-starter. Now it's good enough that I wouldn't consider someone insane for buying one.
        Teleny411
        • 1 Year Ago
        @domingorobusto
        It's better, but the proportions are off. The front clip still looks cheap. GM has done wonders with Caddy, Buick is coming along, but Chevy is still in the wilderness.
          domingorobusto
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Teleny411
          It could defintely use 2-3" more length in the rear doors. It would make the proportions better, and fix it's most glaring fault, the cramped rear seat. But I disagree on the nose, I find it very attractive after the redesign.
      normc32
      • 1 Year Ago
      Skyactiv...what? Interesting as the Malibu platform has to robust enough V6's and AWD in the LaCrosse and XTS. No weenie marketing from GM talking about building a car around fuel economy they just get the numbers. And GM doesn't overstate but is quite conservative in heir fuel economy numbers.
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @normc32
        LOL GM doesn't overstate their numbers? Check Fuelly.com and see if ANYONE is getting even close to the rated 32HWY for the Equinox/Terrain, or even for the rated numbers of the Malibu and Cruze. Mazda walks all over the Malibu, and it does so in more ways than one.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @NightFlight
          [blocked]
        gtv4rudy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @normc32
        I wanted to like the redone 14 Malibu but now it's coming with one of those start-stop engines that do nothing for me. I had a rental Fiat Doblo Diesel in Europe a couple years ago with that type of engine and I didn't like even with great fuel mileage.
          Alfonso T. Alvarez
          • 1 Year Ago
          @gtv4rudy
          The GM start/stop if virtually un-noticable, the Fiat Doblo (and some BMW's) are very irritating and VERY noticeable when operating.
      knightrider_6
      • 1 Year Ago
      so... people here are mad because now you can get the fuel efficiency of Eco model for the price of base model. sometimes I worry about the intelligence level of readers of this blog.
        Turbo_S60
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        No what people dont understand is since the base and Eco get same mpg then what justifies the the $2300 price of the Eco over the base. Maybe read some comments and what the article is about before you question other people's intelligence.
        the.fog
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        It's not that high... In fact, "Lowest Common Denominator" immediately comes to mind.
      rjstanford
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is the hybrid peppier than the base model? As for the handbrake comment above, that's good design for a primarily auto-trans vehicle in America. Most people will use the cup holder far more often than the parking brake.
      mbukukanyau
      • 1 Year Ago
      GM will stick with mild hybrid, and by the time they are done, others will wish they joined in. this is what GM does http://worldcarupdates.com/showthread.php?1653-We-Predict-GM-s-TapShift-Technology-as-Alternative-to-PDK
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