I've always associated Chevrolet with driving freedom. My first car was a Chevy Cavalier and I have so many fun memories of that car. It was my ticket out of my parents' house. And yummy mummies, you know how the rest of the story goes! So when I got the invitation to hit the open road with Chevrolet, of course I said yes. Then I found out it was for a Malibu – the 8th generation, all-new 2013 Malibu.
When I think 8th generation anything, I naturally think... well, let's be honest... old. So I was surprised when the 2013 Malibu
came out with a sporty, updated look. It doesn't look like something my great-great-grandma would drive. No wonder, the Malibu's design is inspired by the Camaro (better known by my two boys as Bumblebee)
My cousin and I drove the Malibu along the Cabot Trail (Nova Scotia)
, a 3-day road trip that took us through various terrain and lots of winding roads. The 4-cylinder engine had no problem taking us through the bumps and turns, uphill and downhill. And trust me, we made sure that engine worked hard for us!
As a technician, I get to drive many different cars: old and new, domestic and import, big and small, broken and brand new. I was more than surprised when I drove the Malibu and here's why:
I've never been a fan of electric power steering (EPS) but the Malibu definitely impressed me on this point. EPS has been a pet peeve of mine because I've always found it too sensitive. It didn't feel like I was driving a car. Personally, if I'm driving a 200-horsepower car I don't want the steering to be too 'easy'.. it feels flimsy. The Malibu's steering was responsive (not too sensitive) and I felt that the car was well grounded on the road.
Child Car Seat Friendly
The UAS latches are easily accessible and the rear seat buckets are somewhat inclined. Pool noodles should take up the space if you need to install child car seats rear-facing. Also, the rear headrests are removable – easier to tether forward-facing car seats and the headrests won't interfere with the design of some child car seats.
Maintenance & Do-It-Yourself
You bet I looked at the owner's manual! The maintenance intervals are spread out so make sure you go to your service shop on time. The manual provides various instructions on do-it-yourself items (replacing light bulbs, windshield wiper blades, etc) and contains useful information about general driving issues (such as loss of traction for winter driving, explaining fluids under the hood, etc).
Under the Hood
I was impressed with the layout of the items that every driver should have access to. Most (if not all) items were located on the driver's side of the vehicle. Not sure if that was done intentionally but it's a nice touch. This saves you from searching for components across the engine compartment. Items you might need to pay attention to include all fluid reservoirs, washer fluid location and battery access.
I'm curious to see how the new powertrain will perform over time. Overall, if I was in the market for a sedan I would definitely consider the Chevy Malibu
. Starting price for this car—an affordable $24,995.