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2013 Malibu LTZ is a nice surprise

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Recently, the Kansas City Automotive Examiner had the opportunity to spend a week with a 2013 Malibu LTZ Turbo. As it turns out, this car was a big surprise, and that’s a good thing. Forget what you think you know about the Chevrolet Malibu. This latest version delivers.

Much of the magic comes from the 2.0-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged four-cylinder. With 259-hp and 260 lb/ft of torque, this car flat-out moves. There is some occasional turbo lag upon hard takeoff, but for the most part it whooshes you away at great speeds instantaneously. Even at highway speeds it’s hard to believe this is such a small power plant.

It handles nice, too. Bigger wheels and a firmer suspension don’t make this ride like a ’74 Coupe DeVille, but it does take the corners pretty flatly, and for as much power as there is the torque steer is under control.

This car looks substantial as well. The Crystal Red Tintcoat on this LTZ model, combined with some attractive 19-inch five-spokes, really sets this particular car apart. This is the kind of car that you look back on after you park it.

The interior is another strong suit of this car. These Malibus have a really attractive instrument panel, with contrasting accents and a small amount of reasonably convincing fake wood. The cashmere-colored seats in this car even had contrasting brown piping (Chevy calls it “Cocoa Fashion Trim”).

Like most of General Motors’ cars these days, this one is available with lots of high-end techie stuff. A big seven-inch touch screen covered everything from phone functions to virtually any audio choice a person could ever want. It also handled climate control duties if you are so-inclined. If not, most of these functions can also be performed via old-fashioned buttons and cranks on the dashboard and steering wheel. Yes, there is a lot going on here. But unlike some cars I’ve driven recently, this setup is intuitive, easy to operate, and not overwhelming. Turns out you can provide modern technology without causing the operator to go into seizures.

This much car doesn’t necessarily come cheap, though. At $34,595, it’s certainly not an economy car. It does line up favorably to other vehicles in this segment, however.

The Kansas City-built Malibu LTZ Turbo was definitely a pleasant surprise. Your author would certainly recommend one to anyone looking for a fun-to-drive, quality family sedan.

For a slideshow of our test car, visit this link.

For more on the 2013 Malibu, visit www.chevy.com/malibu.

And for more articles from this author, including automotive reviews, history, and local car show coverage, visit www.hovermotorco.com.

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