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Chevrolet, Drives — April 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo: First Look

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo

With optional 19-inch wheels and new-for-2013 styling, the Malibu Turbo looks butch compared to the latest Altima or Fusion.

Here’s a first look at the latest Ride of the Week, a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo LTZ.

If you told me just a few years ago that I could soon buy a Chevy Malibu with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine instead of a V6, I would’ve guessed that was unlikely. If you told me that this engine would have a displacement of 2.0 liters, and yet would produce a robust 259 horsepower, my doubt would have quickly turned to disbelief.

So I didn’t see it coming a few years back, but now even Chevrolet has embraced the engine downsizing trend. Fitting smaller, forced-induction motors is among the strategies automakers are using to deliver the power drivers want and the fuel economy government regulators demand. In the latest Malibu, this optional engine is available on LT and LTZ models. It also powers models from other GM brands, like the Buick Verano Turbo and Cadillac ATS. In the mid-size Malibu, it’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and delivers decent fuel economy – 24 mpg in combined city and highway driving, according to EPA estimates – along with quick acceleration.

With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $34,595 including destination charge, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo we tested is relatively pricey. But it is well equipped. And despite lacking a premium badge, it’s look is refined inside and out. With Crystal Red Tintcoat paint and 19-inch wheels, the test car has a look of quality, even if not of outright luxury. While competitors like the Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion have adopted softer exterior styling, the Malibu looks more butch, with taillights that resemble those of the Camaro and upcoming 2014 Corvette Stingray. Inside, supportive seats, high-quality materials and ambient lighting are a refreshing departure from the bland interior of the previous-generation Malibu.

Quick Specs: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo LTZ

body type4-door, 5-passenger sedan
as-tested price$34,595
engine size/configuration2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo
horsepower/torque (hp/lb-ft)259/260
transmission6-speed automatic
fuelregular unleaded
EPA city fuel economy rating (mpg)21
EPA highway fuel economy rating (mpg)30
optionsElectronics and Entertainment package; LTZ Premium Package; Navigation; Advanced Safety Package