Chevrolet pits its 2013 Malibu Eco against the standard versions of the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Hyundai Sonata, with which it compares favorably. Well-informed and eco-conscious consumers, however, will likely pit this mild hybrid against the hybrid versions of each of those sedans -- much tougher competition for the Chevy.
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An active shutter on the Malibu's lower grille automatically closes at highway speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag.
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Total power for this front-wheel drive sedan is 182 horsepower and 172-pound feet of torque. On paper, the Chevrolet Malibu Eco is more powerful than the Toyota Camry Hybrid. On the road, it ends up feeling slower.
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The Malibu's quad-squircle tail lamps are like inverted versions of those of its stablemate, the Chevy Camaro.
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The Malibu Eco's 2.4-liter direct-injected engine is augmented by a 15kw electric motor that provides electric assist, regenerative braking, and autostop capabilities.
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Fuel economy is listed at 29 mpg combined by the EPA. Our testing yielded a significantly lower number.
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The 0.5 kWh lithium ion battery lives on the back wall of the trunk and compromises the Chevrolet Malibu Eco's rear passthrough.
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The Chevrolet Malibu Eco's tiller is comfortable, not too large and not too small for my tastes, and features tilt and telescoping adjustablilty. Steering feel, on the other hand, is of that overboosted and effortless type that buyers in this segment seem to love.
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The Malibu's cabin is handsome enough and features nice touches, such as cool blue illumination trimming the dashboard at night. However, there appear to be two different wood textures present and that glossy plastic around the 7-inch touch screen is a smudgy fingerprint gallery.
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Cruise control of the nonadaptive sort and an optional rearview camera are the only driver aids available on the Chevrolet Malibu Eco.
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Audio source controls and voice command activation are accessed on this spoke of the Chevrolet Malibu Eco's steering wheel.
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An optional $1,300 Leather Interior package covers all five of the Chevrolet Malibu Eco's seating positions in leather.
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The Chevrolet Malibu Eco's seats are extremely comfortable and feature power adjustment and heated surfaces. However, they're a bit too flat for spirited cornering. That's all right, because the Eco can't really get around a corner that quickly anyway.
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The instrument cluster features gauge shrouds that mimic a Camaro's, but the round gauges within are from a different parts bin. The small ECO gauge only really moves out of the green if you really start pressing the pedals. The centrally located LCD is useful for monitoring the eAssist system, fuel economy and trip computer functions, and navigation directions.
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The single-option six-speed automatic gearbox is tuned for maximum efficiency and minimum driving enjoyment.
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The Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system is standard on the Chevrolet Malibu Eco and rolls in many of the audio sources that we like to see in our tech cars along with a bit of smartphone app integration.
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You can browse and access media from a USB-connected media player.
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When connected to the Pandora app, users have access to all of their custom stations, thumbs-up and thumbs-down controls, and song metadata with artwork. Many of Pandora's functions can also be controlled with voice commands.
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The Energy display gives a peek beneath the hood of the eAssist system's inner workings.
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When playing back from a supported A2DP Bluetooth device and app, the MyLink system can display song metadata.
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Bluetooth-synced contacts can be browsed using an onscreen menu or simply called up using voice commands.
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Nearly every screen in the MyLink interface can be navigated with a physical control knob located below the display. Some, like this source list, work better than others.
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Chevrolet's navigation system cannot be added without first deleting the MyLink system. However, MyLink users can still get turn-by-turn directions from OnStar on the center display and the small display in the center of the instrument cluster.
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