2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco with 38 mpg highway starts at $25,995

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The competition is heating in the “green” sedan arena, and the General is taking no prisoners. GM has just released the new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco with a starting price of $25,995, not including a destination charge. At that price and a great new style, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco will sure to give other hybrid cars such as the Volkswagen Passat TDI, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid, and Ford Fusion Hybrid the run for its money.

Though not official, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco is estimated at 26 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Not only the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco is a fuel miser, it is technological advanced as well. According to GM, people who buy green cars are tend to like a technology inside. And that is why the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco offers a compete technological package, including an infotainment system as standard, which you would normally find on high-end models.

In comparison, the 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid – $29,395/36 mpg, 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE Diesel (with automatic) – $27,895/40 mpg, 2012 Toyota, Camry Hybrid – $26,660/39 mpg, and 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – $26,545/40 mpg. As you can see, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco has the lowest price while still provides fuel economy relatively near these hybrid sedans.

So why does the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco cost less than other hybrid cars? Well, it is not actually a true hybrid car, it is more of a “hybrid-like” sedan. The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco uses GM’s eAssist system mated to a fuel-efficient 2.4-liter Ecotec direct-injection four-cylinder engine to help reduce fuel consumption. The eAssist system is actually consisted of an electric motor and a battery to help boost more power to the car. Power is transferred to the rear wheels via the new 6-speed automatic transmission.

To further improve fuel consumption in the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco, the new 2.4-liter engine is built with lightweight aluminum cylinder block and cylinder head, and features dual-overhead cams, direct injection, continuously variable intake and exhaust timing and electronic throttle control.

GM is so sure about the reliability of this new powertrain that it offers a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, as well as a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty is standard on the Malibu Eco. And certain eAssist components are covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty, including the electric motor generator, three-phase electric power cables and high-voltage lithium-ion battery.

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco will be available in the first quarter of 2012, and other trim levels for the 2013 model year – LS, LT and LTZ – won’t be available in the summer. [11/25/2011]

Update: 6/23/2012

Official pricing for the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu is out. The base LS model starts at $23,150 including a $760 destination fee, which is equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 197 horsepower that’s also found in LT and LTZ models.  Fuel economy is expected to be around 34 mpg for this four-banger that is matched with a standard six-speed automatic transmission.

If you are looking for a top-end model, there is the LTZ trim, which starts at $28,590.  Want more power? There is a turbocharged version of 2013 Chevy Malibu LTZ model.  It comes with a new 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 259 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, and costs around $30,925. Check out the review video below.