ECO is based on the all-new, 2013 Malibu sedan, which will be sold in nearly 100 countries on six continents. Sales of the new Malibu begin with the ECO model in the United States in early 2012. The Malibu LS, LT and LTZ trim level offerings join the ECO in summer 2012. Pricing will be announced later.
“The Malibu ECO is a smart choice for customers who want excellent fuel economy without the price premium of popular hybrid sedans,” said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. “The Malibu ECO’s 38-mpg highway estimate is comparable with those hybrids.”
Malibu’s eAssist system uses a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery and an electric motor-generator to enable regenerative braking electric assist and start-stop functionality. It is efficiently sized, weighing only 65 pounds (29 kg).
Malibu ECO also features an aerodynamic exterior – including underbody aero enhancements – and electronically controlled shutters in the lower grille that close at higher speeds to push more air over and around the vehicle. These enhancements increase aerodynamic efficiency to boost fuel economy.
An ECO gauge in the cluster continuously responds to driving behavior, encouraging fuel-efficient driving, while an Auto Stop Indicator on the tachometer informs the driver when the engine is in start-stop mode.
“Malibu ECO exemplifies Chevrolet’s drive to use technology that delivers high-value, gas-friendly performance,” said Scheidt. “In fact, the Malibu ECO delivers the fuel economy of a compact car in a midsize sedan.”
Malibu ECO’s eAssist system is mated to a 2.4L Ecotec direct-injection four-cylinder engine and next-generation six-speed automatic transmission. The 2.4L engine is efficient and lightweight, featuring dual-overhead cams, direct injection, continuously variable intake and exhaust timing and electronic throttle control, as well as a lightweight aluminum cylinder block and cylinder head. It is rated at an estimated 180 horsepower (134 kW) and is a variant of the same engine that was recognized as one of Ward's Ten Best Engines in 2010.
Along with the Ecotec 2.4L and six-speed transmission, the eAssist system uses power stored in the air-cooled, lithium-ion battery to provide needed electrical boost in various driving scenarios, optimizing engine and transmission operation.
The eAssist system captures up to 15kW of energy that would be normally lost during braking and uses it to recharge the lithium-ion battery. The system also shuts down fuel delivery in certain deceleration conditions, further improving fuel economy. While in fuel shut-off mode, the motor-generator unit continues spinning along with the engine to provide immediate and smooth take-off power when the driver presses on the accelerator. As the vehicle comes to a stop, the engine’s start-stop function is active when the motor-generator unit brings the engine to a smooth stop to position it properly for a smooth restart when the brake is released.
The exterior design of the all-new Malibu carries DNA from its sister vehicles, the Camaro and Corvette. A wider stance, broad shoulders and an integrated rear spoiler bring a new athleticism to Malibu and give it a more aggressive, track-tested appearance. It has a 4.5-inch (114mm) shorter wheelbase and 62-inch (1,574mm) front and rear tracks that are more than 2 inches (51mm) wider than the model it replaces.
The Malibu’s interior was designed to bring an element of sophistication to everyday driving, featuring an all-new dual cockpit design with more room, thanks to its increased width. Compared to the previous model, Malibu has nearly four cubic feet (113 L) of additional interior volume, along with more front and rear shoulder and hip room and more than one cubic foot (28 L) of extra trunk space. Available soft, ice-blue ambient lighting reflects off of and complements chrome accents and ensures even, consistent illumination along the instrument panel and in storage pockets.
A global lineup of fuel-efficient and powerful four-cylinder engines complements the Malibu’s European-inspired driving characteristics. In addition to the ECO’s Ecotec 2.4L engine, the Malibu’s North American lineup also features an all-new Ecotec 2.5L dual overhead cam, four-cylinder engine with direct injection. It has new features, including enhanced authority continuously variable valve timing, variable-displacement oil pump and electronic thermostat that save fuel while delivering V-6-like performance.
Source: Chevrolet press