DETROIT -- The eco-friendly version of the next-generation Chevrolet Malibu will carry a sticker price of $25,995, including a $760 destination charge, when it goes on sale early next year, General Motors said today.
The Malibu Eco will be on sale for about six months before the Malibu with the standard 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine goes on sale next summer.
The Eco version comes with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine combined with GM's e-Assist technology, which uses an electric motor and lithium ion battery, stop-start system and other technologies to boost fuel economy by about 20 percent. GM says it will get 28 mpg in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway.
In a press release, GM points out that the Malibu Eco is priced lower than full hybrid versions of competitors' mid-sized sedans.
For example, the 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid is $29,495,the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid is $26,600 the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is $26,545. Prices include destination.
But full hybrids cost more to make and outdo the Malibu Eco on fuel economy, especially in city driving. The Fusion Hybrid, for example, gets 41 mpg in the city. The Camry Hybrid gets 43 mpg.
The Malibu Eco will be the first Chevy vehicle to get MyLink, the brand's new infotainment system that integrates content, such as Pandora Internet radio, from drivers' smartphones.
GM hasn't announced pricing for other versions of the 2013 Malibu. The 2012 Malibu comes in three trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ.
The Eco's content will be similar to the features on the current LT trim level, which comes with Bluetooth and has a sticker of $24,115, including destination. From there, customers will be able to choose from four equipment packages:
- Rearview backup camera, remote start and other features.
- Adds nine-speaker Pioneer audio system and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
- Adds leather-trimmed seating and heated front seats.
- Adds navigation system and memory seats and mirrors.
Last spring, GM said it moved up the launch of the new Malibu by about six months from the original plan. GM CEO Dan Akerson pressed for the accelerated timeline because GM already had planned an earlier launch in overseas markets.
The move will give the redesigned Malibu a head start on next generations of several competitors, including the Fusion and Honda Accord.
"There's a lot of competitive activity coming," said Chevrolet marketing director Russ Clark. "This will be an opportunity to talk a lot about the car and the technology and the focus on Eco in a little bit of clear space."