“Just in time for Earth Day,” GM North America President Mark Reuss boasted just before the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu ECO and its estimated capability of 38 miles per gallon on the highway and 26 in the city rolled onto the stage.
When we caught Chevy’s Facebook page jumping the gun on the Malibu ECO not two hours ago, we predicted that it would be similar to the Cruze ECO in that it will feature unique aerodynamic features as well as a specially tuned six-speed manual transmission. As it turns out, it doesn’t.
Instead, the Malibu ECO features what Chevy is calling “mild electrification” to achieve those numbers. You might know it as mild hybrid, or literally the eAssist system observed in the Buick Regal and LaCrosse. For those that don’t recall, the eAssist system features regenerative braking, start-stop technology, fuel cut-off during deceleration, 15 horsepower of electric propulsion assistance (probably where they got the name) from a generator attached to a 115 kW lithium-ion battery coupled with intelligent charge/discharge of the battery.
Moreover, the Malibu ECO will not feature the all-new 2.5L ECOTEC; instead it will cradle the 2.4L ECOTEC that the Regal and LaCrosse use with their eAssist offerings.
We will have live photos and videos soon. In the meantime, read the presser and ponder this question: is this the midsize sedan Americans have been longing for?