2012 Chevrolet Malibu ECO Review |Next to the 2013 Malibu, Chevrolet also brought at the New York Auto Show the Eco version, a model that comes equipped with new fuel-saving eAssist technology. The new Eco version will be sold next to the Malibu LS, LT and LTZ version starting the summer of 2012.
The 2013 Malibu is Chevy’s latest efforts in creating more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly cars and is one that will be sold in 100 additional countries next to the US of A.
Power comes from a basic 2.4L Ecotech direct-injection four-pot paired with an electric motor-generator that prides itself as being only 65 pounds, which is an impressive feat. All of that power is transferred through a new six-speed automatic. The result is a total of 180 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque from the four-banger with an extra 15 hp available from electric power assistance during heavy acceleration.
The eAssist mild-hybrid Eco model doesn't look appreciably different from the standard 2.5-liter range, despite registering 26 mpg in the city and 38 out on the highway. Alterations include 17-inch wheels on low rolling-resistance tires, four underbody shields that cover about 50 percent of the vehicle's dirty bits, as well as model-specific side mirrors and the expected badging.
Inside, more Camaro influence can be seen thanks to items like the 'squircle' gauges. Materials are noticeably richer than before, and high-end detailing like contrasting ice blue stitching on the LTZ's leather seats and increased ambient lighting lend the cabin a more premium aura.
Malibu ECO is among the first in the midsize segment with a fuel-saving, active shutter system in the lower grille. The Malibu ECO’s active shutter system automatically closes airflow through the lower intake opening when air intake is least needed. When closed, the shutter system enhances aero performance by redirecting airflow around the front of the vehicle and down the sides, rather than through it. The shutter is open or closed based on engine coolant temperature and speed. For example, the shutters open when the car is traveling up a hill, pulling a trailer, or in hot city driving; the shutters close at highway speeds when engine cooling is less required.