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First Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo

(Turbo) power to the people.

by on Oct.05, 2012

Chevrolet aims to take on the dominant Japanese with the all-new 2013 Malibu.

With a slew of new models heading for the showrooms, the midsize passenger car segment has turned into the auto industry’s most fiercely contested battlegroud. Nobody’s knocked off the Camry yet but gone are the days when all Toyota – or rival Honda — had to do to win the contest for customers was show up with something new every few years.

Once dominant in the midsize market, General Motors has spent years several decades trying to crack the code without really scoring. But after driving the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu with a 2-liter turbocharged engine, capable of producing 259 horsepower and 260 foot pounds of torque, it’s pretty clear GM’s persistence is finally paying dividends.

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For those who might be confused about Chevrolet’s strategy, the GM brand introduced an “Eco” version of the completely redesigned Malibu at the beginning of the year, adapting the eAssist mild hybrid technology first used on the Buick line, as well as aerodynamic tricks such as active grille shutters, to maximize mileage. As we get into the more traditional new model-year, Chevy is rolling out the rest of the Malibu line-up.


First Drive: Chevrolet Malibu Eco

GM’s mild hybrid system presents a reasonable fuel economy increase for the price.

by on May.17, 2012

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco presents a good increase in fuel economy for the money.

Fuel economy requirements are about to increase and carmakers are going to be scrambling to find ways to squeeze more miles out of a gallon of gas. And to do it, automakers are going to count on the electric motor and battery to help.

General Motors is reintroducing its “mild hybrid” system as eAssist on some Buick models and this Chevrolet Malibu, dubbed Eco. A similar system was available briefly as GM’s first hybrid system on the Saturn Vue.

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While most “full hybrids” have an electric motor sandwiched in between the gas engine and transmission, eAssist replaces a typical car’s alternator with a larger generator that is rated at 15 kW and provides up to 15 extra horsepower. The motor turns the engine crank by a thick belt. The system is can briefly – very briefly – propel the car until the gas engine restarts when the car is stopped. It can also give the engine a little extra oomph for the drivetrain while cruising or for passing slower traffic.

The result? Fuel mileage increases from 22 mpg city and 33 highway to 25/37, neatly bridging the gap between regular gas-only mid-sizers and full hybrids such as the Kia Optima. We saw 29 mpg in a mix of freeways and rural two-lanes. Contrast that with mileage of a Buick Verano, tested the week before. With the same 2.4-liter four cylinder engine, but no eAssist, the smaller Verano averaged 26 mpg.


Adventures in Malibu Land

The further adventures of Ripley V. Winkel.

by on Mar.13, 2012

Unless you've been sleeping you may know that Chevy is bringing out an all-new version of the Malibu.

Ripley V. Winkel, the third generation Chevrolet dealer in Shaughnessy, NY, up the Hudson from Manhattan, decided to take his demonstrator, a 1992 Chevrolet K1500 4×4 up into the Catskills for a little R & R from the pressures of business and family.

Even in a small town where every family knew every other family and had done so for generations, he was not immune from the annoying complaints of customers, the jibes from Crusty O. Jones, the Ford dealer across the State Highway, and the demands of his wife and teenaged son and daughter. What Ripley wanted was a little peace and quiet, and he knew where to find it.

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On his way up the winding black-topped road, he nipped occasionally at the jug of hard cider on the passenger seat. Through the open window, he could hear the thunder in the heights ahead. Finally he got to his destination, a little known outlook far over the valley. He carefully backed the pickup in, grabbed his jug and lay down under an big apple tree where he could appreciate the beauty spread out in front of him.