The first Chevrolet Malibu, named after the city in America, hit the market in 1964 and was then a sub series of Chevrolet Chevelle. Since then General Motors have produced a number of Malibu models, and in 2010 it was the automakers best seller in the US. Chevrolet plan to sell the Malibu in over 100 countries and hope to replicate the success it's had in the US. But in the increasingly crowded mid-size sedan segment how does Chevrolet plan to stand out with their next generation Chevy Malibu?
Malibu Exterior Design, Dan Gifford, has said the 2013 Malibu is 'more athletic and more aggressive'. The sportier 2013 model takes design cues from the brands sportier models- the Camaro and Corvette- and will be nearly three inches wider and just slightly shorter.
"We wanted to bring a sport sensibility to the family sedan segment," said Bryan Nesbitt, executive director of design for GM.
Not only will the model have a wider, more aggressive stance but it will also be more aerodynamic, thanks to the integrated rear spoiler and 'active shutter system'. The shutters work by opening when airflow to the engine is needed for cooling and close when cooling is not required. Chevrolet suggests the Malibu will have a coefficient of drag (Cd) rating near that of the Chevy Volt, the brands extended-range electric car. The 'dynamic surfacing' is designed to 'catch light and show reflection in an exciting way,' which GM hopes sets the Malibu apart from others in its class.
Interior & Technology
Being more than two inches wider than the 2010 Malibu, the new model has 113 litres more cabin space. Premium materials have given the cabin a classier feel and Chevy have included some very clever new storage, including a six inch deep storage space beneath the touch screen, perfect for storing mobiles. The new Chevrolet Malibu also comes with Chevy's MyLink in-car infotainment package, which links users smartphone to the system allowing them to control music, navigation and even make calls or text using voice recognition technology or via the 7-inch colour touch screen display. The system is the first real competitor for Ford's successful Sync system which uses the same principles of smartphone integration.
Engines & Handling
Chevrolet has opted trim the engine line up dropping the current V6 option for the 2013 model, which GM says is not as popular with Malibu buyers. The automaker will sell the new Chevrolet Malibu with a choice of more fuel-efficient and more powerful engines that will include a new 2.5 litre direct-injected Ecotec four-cylinder engine mated with a six-speed automatic. They are yet to reveal the engine options that will available in the European market. GM hope the 'European-influenced ride and handling' will help the new Chevrolet Malibu sell in Europe.