by staff writer Peter Kottwitz
Rapid Chevrolet Cadillac
Move over Camry Hybrid, you’re going to have to share the road with a new rival! Since its re-release in 1997 the Chevrolet Malibu has been well received as a solid midsize mid-priced commuter car. Enter 2013, the Malibu has been totally redesigned to give the Toyota Camry a real run for its money, featuring options and luxuries previously only seen on S class Mercedes. Have you ever heard of Sound absorbing glass? Us either, we recently had a chance to experience this new technology for ourselves in Denver Colorado, they played a stereo at 120DB directly outside the window of the Malibu, and it sounded like a whisper outside, it was still very easy to carry on a normal conversation, as soon as the window went down, you had to cover your ears from the noise, something that really blew us away!
With the midsize market leader (Toyota Camry) holding strong at 15% of the market share the Malibu (10%) hopes to take the lead with improvements such as an e-Assist motor (well get to that in a minute) a standard 6 speed transmission, premium cloth seating, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth, a 7” articulating color screen with Navigation and hidden storage compartment, and hill assist. The exterior also got a few improvements including Camaro inspired taillights a much more aggressive hood and something called “pedestrian collision protection”, which is actually technology built into the front of the car that makes it more survivable should someone be hit by the moving vehicle.
The biggest breakthrough for this car is the eAssist which is an electric motor that has 115v and provides a 15hp boost during heavy acceleration, with this technology the 2.4L 4-Cylinder creates 182 horsepower and 172 lb ft. of torque and gets 25 city/37 highway mpg. Another neat feature of the Malibu’s eAssist is that during deceleration the gasoline motor shuts off, and only the electric motor continues to spin, which continuously runs your power steering and air conditioning. When your ready to take off from a stoplight, in the blink of an eye the electric motor starts the gasoline engine at 600 RPM (4 times as fast as your cars starter) and your off!
GM revved up production of this car which was set for release late 2012, it should be available nationwide by early April, it is worth noting that at this time only the ECO model will be released the LS,LT, and LTZ models are due for release at their usual time in October 2012.