2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco (Photo: Chevrolet)
Earlier this week, Teknikens Värld published an article that criticized the Jeep Grand Cherokee's abysmal performance during their 'moose test' emergency lane change maneuver. Calling the vehicle unsafe under its simulation, Chrysler/Jeep didn't respond very politely to the criticism.
Yesterday, the editor of Fortune Magazine, Time Inc.'s global business print, published an article that called the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco "The most disliked car of the year (so far)." If we ever had to pick between poor marks on a 'moose test' from a website in Sweden versus the disgrace of being deemed the worst car of the year by an international magazine, the moose test no longer seems so bad.
In the article, author senior editor-at-large Alex Taylor III wrote, "'Damning with faint praise' perfectly describes the critical reception that has been accorded the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco."
Did that statement make you sit up? According to Taylor, the significance of the Malibu Eco lies in the fact that it's going to be the first Malibu that will be sold globally. Because of the importance of its commercial success, if the Malibu Eco ends up to be anything less than outstanding, then it's a failure.
Here are the facts: the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco starts at $25,995 and offers a mild hybrid system that's rated at 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway. In similar price and spec, the Toyota Camry Hybrid gets 43 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. What's more, the 2013 Malibu's little brother Cruze is actually larger in some dimensions, less expensive, and gets better gas mileage. When a lesser model in the line-up outshines a product that's intended to spearhead an international market, that's more than a little cause for concern.
Automotive journalists have tried their best to be gentle with their critiques but Alex Taylor III still managed to read between the lines. Taylor explains, "GM says 80% of the coverage has been positive. But underneath the comforting purr of diplomatic remarks, several prominent reviewers have raised fundamental questions about the Eco's concept, function, and value."
To defend his point, Taylor listed a number of opinons from other reviews. From The Truth About Cars, "The Malibu Eco isn't terribly fuel efficient, and also certainly isn't a driver's car." Car and Driver pit five other sedans against the Malibu Eco but found the car impractical: "The whole point, of course, is fuel economy, and that's the only reason you'd put up with the Eco's added complexity, expense, and weight." Next, Taylor presented a critique from Autoblog, which bluntly singled the Eco out. "What really kills our interest in the Malibu Eco isn't the competition. Remember, we like the Malibu. We're trying to talk ourselves into recommending one. And we just might - but it won't be the Eco." Finally, Ezra Dyer of the New York Times , "I'm not sure the Malibu Eco, a mild hybrid, makes a very strong case for its particular approach to efficiency."
Truth be told, iMotor isn't a fan of the Malibu Eco either. However, is it truly the worst vehicle of 2012? How would you rate the Nissan Murano Convertible?