This shouldn't be that surprising.
Thanks to a reworked 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and start-stop system, the base 2014 Malibu offers the same fuel efficiency as the hybrid, but for a lower price.
Both cars received an EPA rating of 29 mpg combined (25 mpg city, 36 mpg highway).
However, the base Malibu costs $22,965 (including destination), undercutting the Malibu Eco's $26,670 base price.
The 2.5-liter engine was heavily updated after just one year of production. It produces 196 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and is available exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission.
2014 Chevrolet Malibu
The battery pack is mounted in the trunk, taking away luggage space. That's another point for the non-hybrid Malibu.
GM will continue to offer the mild hybrid system used in the Malibu Eco--known as eAssist--in the Buick Regal and Buick Lacrosse sedans.
This is the second time the Malibu Eco has been outclassed by a more efficient gasoline powertrain.
GM offered an earlier version of its mild hybrid system on 2008 and 2009 Malibus, rated at 27 mpg combined.
But when GM upgraded the transmission from a four-speed automatic to a six-speed, the combined rating on cars equipped with the base 2.4-liter engine rose from 25 mpg to 26 mpg--a difference of just 1 mpg, but around $2,000 in price.