2013 Chevrolet Malibu revealed
The redesigned Malibu is a big car. It's a world car. But will it be too big for some markets?
The eighth generation of one of the most recognizable nameplates is set to go on sale in spring 2012 as a 2013 model. But plenty of buyers will share this taste of America.
For starters, this car will be sold around the world. The current model is sold in about 20 markets, while the new one will reach nearly 100 countries. And it's a big car. It looks big. It has gravitas. The front end says "Chevy" in familiar yet no uncertain terms.
The Malibu is a complete redesign and is based off the European-derived platform shared with the Buick Regal and LaCrosse and the Opel Insignia. Though the Chevy is healthy-sized car, it's actually shorter in length and wheelbase than the existing version. It's also three inches wider, which improves interior room and adds an entirely different proportion to the sedan.
The only confirmed powerplant is a 2.5-liter Ecotec four-cylinder making 190 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque paired with a next-generation six-speed automatic transmission. No V6 will be offered, unlike in its predecessors. But industry observers predict that a turbo four-cylinder and another naturally aspirated four-banger will also be among the engine choices.
The interior is an upgrade from today's car, which has generally drawn praise for its dual-cockpit layout and materials. This new model has pleasing trims, sharp gauges and classy stitching, and ambient lighting will be available. There's also a tap-shift feature on top of the shift lever and an electronic parking brake.
The wraparound headlights have an impressive, distinctive look that flank the bow-tie grille. LEDs will be an option. The fenders are a bit curvier and the wheels appear more pulled out thanks to the increased width.
"It helps articulate that road confidence," said Bryan Nesbitt, Chevrolet executive design director.
There also are flaps beneath the front end to improve aero, which are employed on the Cruze Eco and the Buick Regal with eAssist. Under the skin are MacPherson front and multilink rear suspensions and electric rack-and-pinion steering.
The Camaro offers up its taillights as the inspiration for the Malibu, though the sedan's lights have their own character and are more squared off. The Camaro's gauges were also adapted in close fashion for the Malibu's interior.
Expect the car to be offered in LS, LT and LTZ versions, along with a high-mileage variant.
Early indications are that the Malibu should perform well for Chevy.
"It looks better, it's more stylish," said Aaron Bragman, senior analyst with HIS Automotive. Still, he expressed concern over the size of the new car and noted that the back seat was a bit tight.
Ed Kim, an analyst with AutoPacific, also said the size could be an issue. "That's a challenge as Americans tend to go for the biggest thing they can afford," he said. Plus, a midsize car in the United States is a very large car in most overseas markets, where Chevy will attempt to sell a very American-looking car to an international audience.
Concerns aside, Chevy appears to have a winner in the new Malibu, as the looks and the interior push the needle even further than the most recent redesign. Another slice of American pie? Dish it out.
Must-See on MSN
The 2006 only needed brakes and new tires /and oil changes/.
In Europa they have the same size Opel, so the Malibu should be OK.
The 2013 looks grate, and the electric motor in the Eco version is a good idea.
Chevrolet should offer this in other vehicles like Equinox.
it looks pretty cool,but is it any GOOD?and this is comeing from a CHEVROLET MAN!!!!!!!!!