We won’t be seeing the new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu in U.S. showrooms until after next year’s Super Bowl XLVI, but GM is already handing out early prototypes to journalists for a first encounter with the mid-size sedan.
This time, it’s Motor Trend magazine editor Todd Lassa who was handed the keys to Chevrolet’s newcomer. However, being that the example he drove and which you can see in the video after the hump, isn’t a final production model but a showcar, there wasn’t much to say about the Malibu’s handling or other characteristics.
In North America, the 2013 Malibu will launch with GM’s eAssist powertrain which combines a 2.4-liter Ecotec direct-injection four-cylinder gasoline engine linked to a six-speed auto, to a lithium-ion battery and an electric motor-generator that enable regenerative braking electric assist and start-stop functionality.
GM says the gasoline engine produces 180HP but it receives up to 15 more horsepower during heavier acceleration from the eAssist system.
In the summer of 2012, Chevrolet will add a new and more powerful 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to the range. GM said it has not ruled out a V6 unit for the future.