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The Spaminator
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New York 2011: Chevrolet debuts 2013 Malibu, surprises with 38-mpg ECO model
by Chris Paukert
Apr 20th 2011

It says something about the breakneck pace of America's mid-size sedan segment that the departing Chevrolet Malibu was beginning to feel long in the tooth. Introduced for the 2008 model year to great fanfare and critical praise, General Motors' family four-door has seen its appeal dinged by new entries from companies like Kia, Hyundai and Volkswagen, along with massively updated models from companies like Ford (not to mention perennial favorites from Honda and Toyota).

Despite its evolutionary styling, this is more than a simple refresh of the current Epsilon-based car, the Malibu that debuted today at the 2011 New York Auto Show actually gains some revised proportions for its eighth generation thanks to its migration to GM's Epsilon II platform. Shorter overall, the new Malibu nevertheless boasts increased trunk space and a number of enhanced interior metrics thanks to increased width, though sitting inside, we found rear-seat headroom to be tighter than we remembered. Part of the reasoning why Chevy has chosen to go with a shorter overall length is to increase the car's global appeal – the Malibu will be sold in over 100 world markets (and in many of them, bigger is not always better).

Powered at launch by a 2.5-liter Ecotec four-cylinder paired with a six-speed automatic, the powertrain will produce 190 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. A forced-induction four-cylinder is expected at a later date, but the Malibu is likely to follow Hyundai-Kia's lead in eschewing six-cylinder power altogether.

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