The Chevrolet Malibu was redesigned for the 2013 model year. Initially, only the Eco model (a hybrid with a gasoline engine and an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery) was available in the new design. Other Malibu models with conventional powertrains were introduced later, when side torso airbags for rear seat occupants were made standard (they had been optional earlier). All Malibu models built after July 2012 have the standard rear side torso airbags (note: information about when a specific vehicle was manufactured is on the certification label typically affixed to the car on or near the driver door).
Two tests of the Malibu Eco were initially conducted, one by the Institute and one by General Motors as part of side crash test verification. Neither car had the optional rear side torso airbags. A third test, this time of a Malibu LTZ with the standard rear side torso airbags, was then conducted by General Motors. Rear seat dummy torso injury measures improved for the third car, but each of the three tests produced good injury ratings for the rear seat dummies. Therefore, the ratings below are based on all three tests. Specifications and photos are provided for the Institute test car.