Chevrolet Malibu with a new technological face
Midsize sedans account for 20 percent of the Canadian market. Chevrolet, as GM’s leading brand with more than 50 percent of total sales, is a contender in this class with the Chevrolet Malibu.
In the model year 2013, the new Chevrolet Malibu heats up the battleground and faces challenges from big names such as Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and so on.
Recently GM introduced the “Eco” a version with increased environmental consciousness. The Chevrolet Malibu Eco has a 2.4 lt-four-cylinder, 182 HP gas engine which is assisted by an 15 HP electric motor-generator, called “e-assist drive-train”. Prices for the Chevrolet Malibu Eco start at CAD 29.450 including the destination charge of CAD 1,500.
This eco-assist cannot drive the car a la Prius but helps to save fuel during red-light stops, city traffic and deceleration. Regenerative braking of the Chevrolet Malibu Eco helps to charge the battery which steals some valuable space from the trunk.
General Motors Canada provided us a test vehicle. Our test car Chevrolet Malibu Eco with options, such as power sunroof and 8-way power adjustable driver seat had an MSRP of CAD 31,740.
According to the estimated of Transport Canada (TC), the average of the most electrified Malibu’s consumption is 8.1 / 5.3 liters per 100 km in city and highway respectively.
The Chevy’s powertrain is very smooth and someone does not feel any difference from a conventional gasoline car. Automatic transmission is smooth.
OnStar turn-by-turn navigation system did not create any problems except gas stations, which were not at place, as I was begging for juice in Lower Manhattan, NYC. This system is arguably a bit outdated compared to a GPS based navigation system. Add the other features of the OnStar, such as Call Center, Automatic Crash Response, etc, it is a modern communication tool at your fingertips.
As our real life experience showed us during an extended weekend trip to New York City and New Jersey, you should use TC’s estimates for comparison purposes only. We had an average consumption of around 9.1 liter despite very long highway drives to and from New York. Our battles on the congested streets of Manhattan should have not changed the (expected) average consumption so dramatically.
Powertrain and More
The transmission is a six-speed automatic and the Chevrolet Malibu Eco’s e-assist system features automatic start-stop functionality (the engine shuts down at stop lights to save fuel), with regenerative braking that charges the air-cooled battery, and aggressive fuel cut-off during deceleration. An active shutter system in the grille of the Chevrolet Malibu Eco automatically closes airflow through the lower intake to enhance aerodynamics and reduce fuel consumption based on engine coolant temperature and speed. So, being a mild hybrid, Chevrolet Malibu Eco owns a significant amount of technology. Even if does not yield impressive results, I feel very optimistic. Because this is another proof that the internal combustion engine can be mated to advanced applications and there is so much room for the improvement in the future.
Inside the Chevrolet Malibu Eco
Blue ambient lighting is very cool. After very long hours of night driving on Interstate 95, this is, to me, one of the most memorable features of this Chevrolet Malibu. Add to that a very good sound insulation and you feel good inside the cabin. The front seats are solid and comfortable. With 8-way power adjustable driver seat, it is almost impossible not to find your perfect position. Move to the rear and see the landscape changing. Rear seat passengers will have to pray for the same level of comfort, hopefully get it in the next-gen Malibu. Even with the front seats located forward on their tracks, there’s little room for legs and feet back there.Four of us changed our seat positions and had more than enough time and opportunity to reach this conclusion: The rear seats of the Chevrolet Malibu are not up to the standards of modern midsize sedans and need improvement. More legroom and more comfortable seatbacks remain on the wishlist. My family and myself, four of us, three of us being drivers, felt the difference especially when somebody wanted to take an extended nap in the rear.
New York City, Manhattan in the Aftermath of Supestorm Sandy
Manhattan is very crowded and very expensive: Probably one of the most expensive pieces of land on this planet. Result: No fuel stations in South Manhattan. As I entered from the Manhattan Bridge to Lower Manhattan, I was running low in fuel. Asking the help of OnStar, I checked three places which were supposed to be fuel stations. But, they weren’t. A lesson to be taken: Fill up your tank before setting tire on the most densely populated island of the world, aka Manhattan.
Manhattan is very crowded and very expensive: 45 $ per day for parking. This was the amount an underground parking garage northest of the WTC asked for. Luckily, I managed to find a more reasonbly priced garage for 25 $. near the Word Financial Center. A short walking distance to the World Trade Center.
World Trade Center Gets a New Face
My son Burak and I visited the memorial pools in WTC. Long lines under the rain show that people still do not forget what happened here.
The new Oneword Trade Center is slated to open late this year and very probaly on the anniversary of 9/11. The new tower will be 542 mt (1776 feet) high and so the tallest building in Western hemisphere. It will probably be the most emotion-laden building in the world and pay tribute to 9/11 victims.
At its opening, the total cost will is expected to exceed four billion Dollars.
I know it sounds a bit ridicilous to navigate Manhattan by car. Traffic makes you crazy and you become the victim of your own homicide. While coping with this kind of guiltiness, I was trying to reach the Lincoln Tunnel almost one hour after my departure from Güllüoğlu, the famous Turkish Pastry Shop.
In Manhattan, as everywhere else, too much of a good thing is very bad thing: The good thing is almost all streets are one way helping the traffic to flow more easily. However, when the police diverts you to the next street, for whatsoever reason, it might turn to a nightmare, since you have rewind to horror film you are watching in the traffic.
Güllüoğlu in Manhattan: A good stop if you missed high quality Turkish pastry & desserts. The famous Güllüoğlu’s New York branch is a convenient place is you missed “Su böreği” and “baklava”, which are exceptionally delicious. Bu it is also pricey. Easy to leave 100 USD just for 2 kilos of Su Böreği, two types of desserts and some simit. Surprisingly, I could spot a short-term parking “availability” almost in front of Güllüoğlu. Probably worth this traffic torture especially after you returned home.
The Verrazano Bridge was once the longest suspension bridge when it was completed in 1964: With a length of 1298 meters, the double-decked bridge bears the name of Giovanni de Verrazzano, the first European known to enter New York Harbour and the Hudson River. As we were crossing from Staten Island to Brooklyn, the bridge was rusty at some points and reminded me of the aging infrastructure of the USA, even if symbolically. President Obama: Push the button of a new economic stimulus package if you can!
While in Brooklyn, I saw leftovers of the Superstorm Sandy, which had devastated the city a couple weeks earlier. Around the Belt Parkway and Emmons Avenue, several shops and businesses were closed due to damage and flooding. It was sad to see the Big Apple helplessly surrendered to the forces of nature.
Changa in South Amboy, New Jersey:
This restaurant offers very good Asian food (Japanese, Chinese & Korean) for reasonable prices. You do have the parking stress unlike Manhattan. Quality and speed of service is acceptable especially for a busy Saturday evening. Reservations are strongly recommended. And we were very punctual and were seated in less than 15 minutes.
An extended weekend drive to New York City and beyond may easily exceed 1500 kilometers. This is not for everyone even if you drive a comfortable midsize sedan like the Malibu. With three drivers, it is a bit easier to swallow hundreds of kilometers.
Malibu is a good car in a very competitive segment where the best rivals have either recent upgrades (Toyota Camry) or entirely new models (Honda Accord and Nissan Altima). Add to those models other strong contenders like Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and VW Passat, life will never be easy for the bow-tie brand.
The vehicles was provided by General Motors Canada.
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