Gearshift: 2013 Chevy Malibu Turbo

By David Goodspeed

This past summer I reviewed the new Chevrolet Malibu Eco with the e-Assist start/ stop technology. While I liked what the automaker did with the new Malibu overall I was not impressed with my experience with that powertrain.

Fast-forward to the release of the new Turbo model Malibu and all that changes. I love this new turbocharged direct-injected Ecotec 2.0-liter four-cylinder powerplant and all of its enjoyable 259 horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque.

That’s quite a punch for a four in a midsize sedan and the new Malibu feels like it is at the top end of the midsize segment with some asking me if it was the new large sedan from Chevy. No, that’s Impala and it’s coming next.

For now, the division sporting the bowtie is happy to have all new 2013 Malibu models on the road with the lineup offering something for everyone. While this newest edition pales in comparison to the competition when it comes to looking at the fuel economy rating (21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway with the turbo), one needs to do little more than drive it and those concerns flitter off to obscurity.

During my week behind the wheel of the 2013 Malibu Turbo I came to the realization that I might actually buy one of these and that is a conclusion I don’t come to often. Yes, my family was a Chevy family and yes, I did drive a couple in my early days behind the wheel but given the overall offerings of the new ‘Bu I would definitely consider it at vehicle purchase time.

The car is comfortable, safe, stable, easy to drive and the new turbo brings a bit of life to the accelerator (along with an itty, bitty amount of high-pitched turbo wheeze) that has been missing from Chevrolet sedans for quite some time.

I would not call this new powertrain arrangement as significant as the rollout of the small-block V-8 in the ‘50s but in the scheme of the automaker’s timeline I think it’s worthy of mention (and that first 265 cu. in. engine generated only 162hp at the low end and a max of 240 ponies). Our test model 2013 Chevrolet Malibu arrived in 2LZ trim dressed to the nines and at the top end of the pricing segment with a base MSRP of $30,165 (LS models begin at $23,150) and showing $33,820 on the monroney provided with our vehicle.

The advanced safety package included forward collision alert and lane departure warning. We enjoyed the Pioneer premium sound system as well as two-tone leather interior package and stylish 19-inch wheels and tires.

Chevy got it right with this Malibu. I am surprised the turbo cars don’t arrive with Super Sport badging on the fenders and I cannot wait to see if the automaker does release an SS model down the road. Hmmm, replace the sixspeed auto gearbox with a manual perhaps? AWD? Shift paddles? Cold air intake and a bit more boost? BRING IT! gearshiftchevy malibu turbo By david goodspeed – Casio

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