Test Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu LT car test drives chevrolet
2013 Chevrolet Malibu LT. Click image to enlarge
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Review and photos by Justin Pritchard

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2013 Chevrolet Malibu LT

Chevrolet’s most recent dip in the family sedan ocean has come with the trendy goal of offering highly fuel-efficient travels to its drivers and their families. The resulting new-for-2013 Malibu is a machine that offers tremendous capability for great gas mileage included as standard.

Partly, that’s because unlike the original Chevrolet Malibu from the sixties, the latest one is high tech, agile, fuel efficient, and doesn’t weigh as much as a Kelsey’s.

Moreso, it’s because of what’s under the hood.

A new 2.5L four-cylinder engine spins up 200 horsepower here. It’s got Variable Valve Timing (VVT) to enhance on-demand power delivery when you’re in a rush, and fuel efficiency when you’re not. By working the engines camshafts to regulate breathing requirements in real time, overall efficiency is optimized.

Direct Injection is also on board. By injecting fuel directly into the new Ecotec mill’s combustion chambers at extreme pressures, engineers are afforded a few gas-saving benefits. These include more precise control over fuel metering, the ability to ensure a more thorough air-fuel mix in the cylinders, and a cylinder cooling effect that enables the safe use of a higher, more efficient compression ratio. In plain English, direct injection is a technology that works to extract the most energy possible from every molecule of fuel.

Additionally, the engine itself is constructed almost entirely of aluminum, reducing overall vehicle weight and consumption.

A six-speed automatic connects output to the front wheels, helping the engine spend more time in its high-RPM power-band when acceleration is required, and more time at lower, more efficient revs when cruising gently. Ultimately, the engineers have fitted Chevrolet’s latest Malibu with a complete fuel-saving toolbox, though overall mileage will depend largely on the driver’s locale and right foot.

Test Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu LT car test drives chevrolet Test Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu LT car test drives chevrolet
2013 Chevrolet Malibu LT. Click image to enlarge

Put to hard work, Malibu isn’t a lightning fast car, but it performs as well as it needs to when driven with intent. The engine is perhaps slightly noisy when pushed, though it transmits little noise or vibration into the cabin otherwise.

A sign of the times, those after more sauce can get a turbo four-cylinder engine with 260 horsepower instead of a thirstier, comparably-powered V6. There’s also a Malibu Eco model available, which features extra fuel-saving implements and an electrically-assisted gas engine for even deeper cuts to fuel bills, hypothetically.

Consumption on my watch, which saw Malibu’s standard engine cruising the highway at a good clip and starting remotely on a daily basis, landed at 9.5 L/100 km. I found that figure decent in real-world driving given the conditions. Owners can expect to achieve better figures once the engine breaks in, as the tester had only done a few kilometres before winding up in my custody.




About Justin Pritchard

Justin Pritchard is a full-time auto writer, consultant, broadcaster and AJAC member based in Sudbury. When not writing about the latest new models and industry trends, you'll probably find him fixing his Dodge Viper.