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Car Tech Video: 2013 Chevy Malibu LTZ
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Car Tech Video: 2013 Chevy Malibu LTZ

6:44 /

The Chevy Malibu just might be GM's answer to the Camry, Accord, and Fusion.a

-The Chevy Malibu-- It's a lot like T-Mobile, in the big four, but bringing up the rear in sales. Let's see if an all-new version for 2013 can move it up the rankings as we drive the Malibu LTZ and check the tech. Now for 2013, the Malibu is on a whole new platform, in other words, the entire underpinnings are new. GM did that for two reasons. One, they wanna sell one Malibu in every market worldwide. Also, they want a better platform to compete against Fusion, Accord, and Camry that are ahead of this car in the sales race in that order. They've also tried to take some Camaro DNA. The gauges are like out of a Camaro. The taillights kind of suggest a Camaro, but this is not a performance car, certainly not in this trim. It's an everyday car. Let's see how it does on that front. Now, inside, poor old GM just can't stop doing fancy. I mean, what is this upholstery? When the question is, do you want caramel brown, dark brown, black or blue stitching? The answer should never be yes. But that's what happened here. And that? That's more chrome than on an entire Audi. This cabin looks like it's the perfect car for a junior executive in the pimp industry. They gotta tone it down. On a brighter note, Chevy MyLink is shaping up to be a real bright spot in the Chevrolet product line. Okay, this is not the most ambitious head unit in any car today. It's no Audi killer. But what it does comes off pretty well like the rest of the cabin. It's a little bit garish. The icons are a bit much and there's screen after screen of them. They've not done a good job of making this a vertical stack. It's a very horizontal set of pages of functions that got a little busy. Now, one thing you see missing here is a navigation tile. This car doesn't have navigation. That remains optional even with this rather a labyrinth head unit. Instead, we have to rely on OnStar which you gotta hit the button and talk to the service and then they'll feed the directions here to the LCD. I would much rather get the onboard nav unless you're really lonely and wanna have someone to talk to. You've got a picture viewer here, utterly worthless, but someone's attempted doing cool. Much more positively, the Pandora integration is the best I've ever used. All I did was pair my phone. The first time I got in this car, I punched the Pandora button and bang! Everything just connected and worked. Usually, you gotta fiddle around and kind of rock it back and forth between the phone and the car. Big ups on that. And you've got all the major modern sources here. Nothing significant is missing, though no HD radio. Now, check this out. This guy has got a flip up LCD, 7-inch, nice saturation and brightness that gives you a little bin here where you can put your smartphone and media player, but unlike, some cars, let me see here, no, there's no power outlet in here which would be nice. And one downside of having that flip-up screen is that it does give you a little bit of flimsiness on the screen. So, when I'm pushing buttons actually on the display, you got kind of a cheap feel. Not bad, but it's a little unnerving. By the way, there's a bass audio system and we have the upgraded audio system. It's a Premium Pioneer rig at 10 speakers, I believe. You don't get anything terribly advanced in terms of the DSP or digital signal processing, but you do get a nice set of EQ including some that is actually gonna be a preset variety or standard bass, mid, and treble. The backup camera is optional at the LTZ level and it's very simple. No trajectory indication. No guidelines. Just a look off the stern. You need a lot of different engines in the new Malibu, but they're all four cylinders at this point. There's a 2.5 L 4 kind of the bread and butter, a 2-L Turbo 4 the hot rod mother, and a 2.4-L lean-burn hybrid power-train. We have the mainstream guy, a biggish 2.5-L 4. All the engines have direct injection. You're looking at 197 horsepower here, 191 foot pounds of torque. Pretty big numbers from a pretty big 4. 0 to 60 that was also a pretty big number unfortunately, about 8.3 seconds, MPG 22/34, sidesaddle, front-wheel drive only. That 6-speed automatic is your only gearbox choice. Let's go for a ride. Now, like too many cars in the class of this guy Accord, Camry, and others in different driving is sort of the theme here. Let me put it another way. There's a very loose relationship between the engine, the gearbox, and what the pedal on the right is doing. These are not performance cars in this category of vehicles. They're utilitarian. They're grocery getters. They've got smooth rides, but the basic idea here is that this car is meant to have few surprises in its driving transitions and that's what it delivers. On the downside, if you're getting into this car because you like to drive, you're gonna be disappointed at least in this 1LTZ trim. I don't even have much to say about its steering and cornering because the power-train doesn't beg you to even try that. Another bit of a gripe I've got here that also adds to the lack of responsiveness is, as I showed you, no shift paddles on the wheel which are kind of becoming standard these days. And to get shiftability, you've got to put the gearbox lever back in M. Then, you can use this little fiddly toggle on the top to change gears. That's dainty, not involved. A lot of folks are asking on how's the build quality on a Chevy product. It's real good. There's nothing about this car that doesn't fit beautifully, that doesn't appear to be bolted down real strong and real well. Overall, this is a great little highway car, a wonderful little grocery getter, but you're not gonna be very involved in driving it. It's a little appliance like. Let's price this 2013 Malibu. We've got a 1LTZ. There's also a 2LTZ that has a 2.0-L turbo. Different car, different video. 1LTZ which is pretty high trimmed starts at about $28,600 for this guy. Now, 1900 bucks for the electronics and entertainment package that gets you Premium Pioneer audio, backup camera as basic as it is, and garage door opener. Seems a little steep to me, but I'd rather do that than have some local shop tear apart my audio system to upgrade it. $795 is a great price to add, onboard navigation, not rely on that OnStar stuff and $395 is a steal for forward collision alert and lane departure warning. All in, you're looking at about $3200 cost. It competes pretty well with Fusion, Camry, and Accord.

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