To emphasize the new global importance of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, GM chose both the Shanghai and New York Auto Shows to introduce a redesign as well as a new high-mileage version of its C-segment vehicle.
In a departure from the past, the Eco model, as opposed to the more traditional versions, will be the first to hit dealer showrooms sometime in early 2012, followed by the LS, LT and LTZ versions in the summer.
Shifting from the General’s Epsilon to its Epsilon II architecture causes the Malibu to shed some four and a half inches in wheelbase to 107.8 inches – matching that of its platform-mate, the Buick Regal. Overall length, however, remains relatively unchanged while the new Malibu gains in width (two inches) and interior space (said to be nearly four additional cubic feet).
This system consists of a 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It also features a 15-kilowatt motor-generator unit and an advanced 115 volt lithium-ion battery.
Regenerative braking will provide up to 15 kilowatts of electricity to charge the battery, while the motor-generator will provide up to 15 horsepower of electric power assist during acceleration. The system also provides for aggressive fuel cut-off curing deceleration as well as automatic engine shut-off when the Malibu is stopped.
Drag is reduced through the use of underbody panels and grille shutters that will close at higher speeds when the engine is otherwise being sufficiently cooled. In addition, Chevrolet expects its new mid-size sedan to be SAE-certified as nearly as aerodynamically efficient as the 0.28 Cd Chevrolet Volt. According to the press release, “engineers were able to remove 60 counts of wind drag compared to the model it replaces.
In addition to the usual plethora of active and passive safety features including eight standard air bags, available second-row head/thorax side-impact air bags, abs, traction control, four-corner stability control, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, corner brake control and drag torque control, the Malibu will be pedestrian protection-compliant in every market where it’s sold and for the first time in North America. Long a staple of vehicle design in other parts of the world, this reduces the chance of a secondary collision between the pedestrian and engine block in car-pedestrian accidents.
images courtesy of General Motors