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Josh Rosenberg By Josh Rosenberg
Updated Oct. 4, 2023

The Pros And Cons Of The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu As A Used Car Purchase

Given today's high-priced used car market, many consumers are looking for "older" vehicles for a better budget fit. The 2013 Chevy Malibu has proven to be a generally reliable used car choice and one that hasn't had significant "red flag" mechanical issues. But like all used vehicles, it does have some fairly common issues that are more specific to the model.

It's also gotten more difficult to find models with reasonable mileage, although they are still out there with careful and patient shopping. Regardless, it's very important for prospective buyers to get vehicle history reports and mechanical inspections before making a final decision.

2013 Malibu Price

Of course, prices of this Malibu in the used market will vary based on vehicle condition, mileage, trim level, location, and additional features or options. But here are some ranges for good condition, average mileage models:

Malibu LS: $7,000 to $10,000

Malibu LT: $7,500 to $11,000.

Malibu LT Eco: $8,000 to $12,000

Malibu LT Eco: $8,500 to $13,000

Please keep in mind that prices can also vary based on modifications or upgrades as well as market conditions effecting supply and demand.

Malibu Overview

The Malibu actually got a total redesign for the 2013 model year, including significant improvements in overall refinement, available features and fuel economy, putting it up there with segment leaders.

The cabin was made more attractive and upscale, while featuring a host of standard features, plenty of soft-touch surfaces and high quality materials. Also, a navigation system was made available for the first time, so be on the lookout for those models.

2013 Chevy Malibu

Also new was the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 197 horsepower which, combined with direct injection and variable valve timing, boosts both the power and fuel economy over its predecessor.

Also made available was an optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that pumps out a very healthy 259 horses.

In terms of its positives and negatives, the Malibu's overall positives can be summarized to include its composed and comfortable drive, upscale cabin, advanced high-tech features for the time and very good Eco model gas mileage performance.

On the downside, its overall negatives would include its typical used car mechanical history, below average rear legroom, somewhat sluggish Eco model performance and odd Eco model trunk shape.

2013 Malibu Pros

Composed and Comfortable Drive:

This Malibu has abundant noise insulation and offers a quiet cabin which will be especially appreciated on long highway trips. It's handling is also confident without sacrificing a smooth and overall well-composed driving experience.

And gas mileage performance for the standard 2.5-liter engine is a solid 22 mpg city and 34 mpg on the highway.

2013 Chevy Malibu LTZ Interior

Upscale Cabin:

The cabin is attractive and solidly constructed with higher grade materials and soft-touch surfaces. Overall, it's actually close to entry-level luxury quality.

Standard on all but the base LS model is a touchscreen display with Chevy's MyLink system which integrates your smartphone for hands-free calling, audio connectivity and internet music streaming.

The seating is also comfortable and supportive, while even the lower trims have generous noise insulation materials which adds to the vehicle's near luxury interior experience as well.

Advanced High Tech Features:

The Chevrolet MyLink system and the optionally available navigation system makes for a technology level not consistently offered in this segment at the time.

Car Buying Tips:

Buy Any NEW Car At The Lowest Possible Price

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How To Buy A Used Car At The Best Price

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Eco Model Gas Mileage:

The Malibu Eco model is a "mild-hybrid", as opposed to a "full-hybrid", because it never runs on electricity alone. It's equipped with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and a small electric motor. These motors are coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission to produce 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque.

The electric motor adds only a small hand to acceleration, but powers the accessories. In addition, its most important contribution is to help fuel economy with its enabling of the automatic stop/start system that turns off the engine when you come to a stop (at a traffic light, for example).

This combination of motors means the Eco is quicker than most traditional hybrids, but also doesn't get their kind gas mileage. In performance tests, the Malibu Eco was timed from a standstill to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, a better than average time for even the typical gas-powered four-cylinder family sedan.

At the same time, its EPA-estimated gas mileage is also a better than average 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway.

2013 Malibu Cons

Mechanical Problems:

While there are no model-wide red flags with this Malibu and it has proven generally reliable with regular maintanence, more common used car issues reported by owners have included rough shifting or delayed transmission engagement, electrical problems with the infotainment system, power windows, or various sensors, and cooling system problems, including leaks or overheating.

Some owners have also reported engine-related problems, including issues with the engine control module (ECM) or oil leaks, and replacing engine valves as well as wheel bearings.

These issues can not be considered unusual during the lifetime of an automobile but all used buyers should be aware of and check for them before purchase.

Below Average Rear Legroom:

The wheelbase was decreased, resulting in slightly less rear legroom than most other midsize family sedans. That said, this is not a glaring deficiency because the overall dimensions were actually increased, providing additional hip and shoulder room. However, it's possible that tall drivers could take away enough space to make it uncomfortable for rear passengers.

Somewhat Sluggish Eco Model:

While the Eco's semi-hybrid system is barely noticeable and runs smoothly and efficiently, most of its power is supplied by the 2.4-liter with little help from the electric motor, which can sound on the loud side and also feel sluggish in some situations, despite its respectable acceleration for the class.

This is due to a transmission which has been specially tuned to increase fuel efficiency so that it wants to get into its higher gears quickly as well as downshift slowly.

Odd Eco Model Trunk Shape:

While the other Malibus have a trunk with a generous cargo capacity of 16.3 cubic feet, the Eco's also accommodates the car's compact lithium-ion battery and comes in at 14.3 cubic feet. And while even this is an adequate number, the battery gives the trunk an usual shape for storing some items.


With its long feature list, improved cabin quality and comfortable drive, an average mileage (or preferably lower) 2013 Malibu can offer a viable used sedan choice in today's high-priced market. That said, a vehicle history report and a pre-purchase inspection are especially important for an older used vehicle.

Other contenders worthy of consideration would include the Ford Fusion, the Honda Accord, the Kia Optima, the Hyundai Sonata, the Mazda 6 and the Volkswagen Passat.

Things To Do When Considering An "Older" Vehicle

Locate Lower Mileage Vehicles: They are certainly out there to be found with careful and patient shopping. Be willing to drive a distance if you have to.

Vehicle History and Maintenance: Ask for the vehicle history report (CarFax or AutoCheck) as well as documented maintenance and repair records. If not provided by the Dealer or private seller, it's usually best to move on.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Have the vehicle independently inspected before making a final decision. This usually will cost in the $150-$200 range but is well worth it given the potentially thousands in savings over the long term.

And My #1 Price Tip: Please, always get online price quotes at auto sites such as and (both, actually), whether looking for a new or used car. Competition among dealers for your business does amazing things to prices, and it's so easy. It really does make a difference.

And quickly, while we're at it, my #2 Tip is to always know the up-to-date trade-in value of your current car. You can get a quick and surprisingly accurate one at Edmund's Trade-In Quotes.

It's free and just takes a couple of minutes. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN# followed by many simple, but specific, yes/no questions. It really focuses in on the detail of the specific vehicle.

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Other Articles Of Possible Interest:
- Used Chevy Malibu Buying Guide
- 2013 Chevy Cruze Pros & Cons
- 2013 Chevy Equinox Pros & Cons
- Older Chevy Camaro Guide
- Older Chevrolet Impala Guide
- Older Chevy Corvette Overview
- Older Chevrolet Equinox Info
- Older Chevy Traverse Buying Guide
- Other Older Chevys