2013 Chevrolet MalibuEnlarge Photo
Chevrolet is fielding a three-pronged gas mileage attack on the market with the 2013 Malibu, ditching V-6 options and concentrating on fuel-efficient fours instead.
New to the range is a 2.0-liter turbo. While it develops a punchy 259-horsepower, highway mileage is a respectable 30 mpg.
One rung further up the efficiency ladder is a new 197-horsepower, 2.5-liter, four cylinder Ecotec unit.
There's no turbocharger to be found on this engine, but highway mileage creeps up to 34 mpg, while the car gets 26 mpg combined. Both use a six-speed automatic transmission.
Most efficient of all is the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco with eAssist, a mild hybrid model which pairs a 15 kW electric motor-generator with a 2.4-liter, four cylinder Ecotec gasoline engine and a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Combined they develop 182 horses and allow the eAssist to reach a combined 29 mpg. On the highway, this figure shoots up to 37 mpg, while city mileage is pegged at 25 mpg.
Fuel cost over 15,000 miles with a 45 percent highway, 55 percent city mix is around $2,000 at today's average of $3.83 per gallon--$200 cheaper than the 2.5-liter car, and $400 cheaper than the turbo.
2.5 models start in LS trim from $22,390, turbocharged cars begin at $26,950 in 3LT trim, while eAssist models begin from $25,335.
The new turbocharged model is sure to be popular, and Malibu sales are already at a 30-year high, reports The Detroit News.
That's in the face of some tough competition, too. A new 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid is due soon--the current Camry Hybrid already gets an impressive 41 mpg combined--while a Honda Accord Hybrid is due next year as a 2014 model-year car.
Competition comes from Ford too, its 2013 Fusion Hybrid offering 47 mpg in both city driving, highway, and combined. It may cost a few thousand more to buy than the Malibu Eco, but you'll save $800 a year in gas too.
2.5 and eAssist Malibus are already on sale, while the 2.0-liter turbocharged model has just joined the range.