• Federal government agency NHTSA issued the five stars
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named Malibu a Top Safety Pick
  • The new Malibu made its debut in hybrid Eco form earlier this year

The all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu has received a five-star crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That's the latest from the federal government agency, which announced the rating just days after the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety also gave its highest safety designation to the newly redesigned sedan.

According to NHTSA, the 2013 Malibu achieved the perfect score under the agency's New Car Assessment Program. To achieve a five-star rating, vehicles must score high in three unique tests: one that measures frontal impact performance, another that rates vehicles in a side impact and a final test that evaluates rollover resistance.

The Malibu's five-star NHTSA crash test rating comes on the heels of a similarly strong performance in tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit group funded by auto insurers. IIHS tests use methodology similar to NHTSA's, but the nonprofit group also includes a simulated rear impact designed to evaluate head restraints for protection against neck injuries. Following IIHS testing, the Malibu received the group's top rating of Good in each segment for an overall Top Safety Pick designation-the IIHS's highest honor.

"We are now seeing the results from our commitment to design the highest-rated vehicles in the world in safety performance," said Gay Kent, executive director of vehicle safety for General Motors, Chevrolet's parent. "Earning these top safety ratings demonstrates the strength of the Malibu's advanced structure, overall crashworthiness and effectiveness of the vehicle's state-of-the-art safety technologies."

By receiving a five-star overall crash test rating from NHTSA, the 2013 Malibu becomes the sixth Chevrolet model to earn the government's highest honors. The others are the sporty Camaro Coupe, the compact Cruze and Sonic, the fuel-miser Volt and the Traverse SUV. The revised rating system, which was originally announced in October 2010, was first implemented early last year on new 2012 models.

On sale since the beginning of the year, the 2013 Malibu is the sedan's fourth incarnation since the nameplate's revival in 1997. The only model available today is the hybrid Malibu Eco, but traditional and turbocharged 4-cylinder variants are scheduled to make their debut later this summer.

What it means to you: Chevrolet's most recent models are developed with a special focus on safety - and it shows.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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