In a simultaneous world premiere at the New York Auto Show in the States and the Shanghai Auto Show in China, General Motors will lift the curtain on its brand new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, one of the firm’s most important models in years. The online debut of the brand’s new mid-size model comes on the same day that Chevrolet announced its best ever first-quarter results with 1.1 million sales worldwide.
What’s important about this generation of the Malibu is that Chevy’s mid-size saloon will become a global player, as GM plans to sell the car in nearly 100 countries across the world and build it in multiple locations, including China. The North American version will be manufactured at the Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City, and at the Hamtramck factory in Detroit.
Redesigned from the ground up, the new Malibu sports a new exterior styling with lines and curves inspired from Chevy’s most recent models such as the Cruze up front and even the Camaro at the back with the LED dual-element taillamps.
“The exterior design of the all-new Malibu carries DNA from its sister vehicles, the Camaro and Corvette, to bring a sporty sensibility to the family sedan segment,” said Bryan Nesbitt, executive director for GM exterior design.
The interior has also been revamped featuring a more fluid design with a prominent instrument panel incorporating a pair of Camaro-esque circular gauges set in squared-off housings, and a new top-hinged, flat panel display on the center console that articulates up and down revealing a six-inch-deep hidden, illuminated storage compartment. In the US, the Malibu will be offered with Chevrolet’s new MyLink infotainment package that integrates wireless connectivity through Bluetooth.
Under the fresh sheetmetal, the Malibu rides on GM's Epsilon II platform, which is found on a variety of vehicles including the Opel Insignia / Buick Regal, Buick LaCrosse and the new Saab 9-5.
The 107.8-inch (2,738mmng ) wheelbase is 4.5-inches (114 mm) shorter than the model it replaces. However, the new Malibu also gets 62-inch (1,574 mm) front and rear tracks that are more than 2 inches (51 mm) wider than before. As a result, GM claims that the 2013 Malibu offers nearly 4 cubic feet (113 L) of additional interior volume, along with increased front and rear shoulder and hip room, plus more than 1 cubic ft. of extra trunk space at 16.3 cu.ft (462 lt).
The new Malibu measures 191.3-in. (4,859mm) in length, 73.0-in. (1,854mm) in width and 57.6-in. (1,462mm) in height). This means the 2013 Malibu is 0.5-in. shorter, 3.0-in. wider and 0.5-in. taller than the current model.
At launch, the North American Malibu will be offered with an all-new 2.5-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine with direct-injection, linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. Final numbers are still being worked out, but GM estimates the four-pot will deliver more than 190-horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. of torque (245 Nm). GM has not ruled out a V6 unit for the future.
Chevy’s new mid-size model is fitted with revamped MacPherson strut front and mutli-link rear suspensions, while stopping power comes courtesy of ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes, clamped on by dual-piston front and single-piston rear aluminum calipers.
Standard safety features include an array of airbags along with an available lane departure warning system with forward collision alert.
In North American spec, the 2013 Malibu comes in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, with a choice of 10 exterior shades and four interior colors.
Production and U.S. sales will begin in the first quarter of 2012. Details on the European, Australian (as the Holden Malibu) and other international versions of the Malibu are to be released at a later date.