One of the biggest introductions at the Shanghai Auto Show is no doubt the redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. The new Malibu is a crucial model for the reborn, post-bankruptcy General Motors. The car is remarkable for the depth of its reach: the 2013 Malibu is a world car that will be sold in 100 markets representing six continents .
The Malibu reflects a global approach that we saw with the Cruze. The current generation of the Malibu, launched as a 2008 model, was nearly entirely North American in approach, design and development.
The current Malibu represented a significant step forward for Chevrolet though, being the brand’s first competitive mid-size sedan in years. The 2013 Malibu looks to take that effort to a whole new level.
In styling, the new Malibu follows a similar pattern to the Cruze. Without being polarizing, the design goes for a more aggressive and planted approach than its competitors. It is clearly American, and makes its mark as a Chevy.
The rear takes inspiration from the Camaro, borrowing its quintessential dual-taililight setup, ditching the somewhat odd-looking step of the current Malibu. We particularly see Camaro influence in the rear haunches and C-pillar. The look definitely works, as the Camaro cues blend very well with the rest of the design.
Being a world car, the length has actually gone down. But width has been increased, and thanks to a better use of space the 2013 Malibu promises increased legroom and trunk space.
The set of cues shown on the Malibu defines Chevy brand design language, important for what should be the best or second best-selling car for Chevy globally and here at home.
The current Malibu interior is known for its “dual cowl” theme. The 2013 model retains this theme somewhat, and again goes for a clearly American approach. The gauges take their inspiration from the Camaro, and technology is taking a center stage. Refinement has been significantly upped, with an upscale appearance with the various textures and elements in play.
The wiring of the platform on the current Epsilon I Malibu doesn’t even allow for a navigation system. The 2013 model is a drastic change in this regard, debut a 7-inch screen with a comprehensive MyLink infotainment interface. The screen tilts upwards to reveal a six-inch deep storage area with a USB port, in what Chevy says is a first for the segment.
Like other GM interiors, the Malibu makes a good use of ambient lighting, with a cool ice blue illuminating the interior.
The Malibu’s global approach and an emphasis on fuel economy lead it to offer only four-cylinder engines. Chevy is following Hyundai in kicking six-cylinder engines from the options list in the mid-size segment.
For now, there appears to be just one powertrain – GM’s 2.5-liter Ecotec direct-injected four, making 190 horsepower and 180 pound feet of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic. GM says the setup will be “one of the most efficient of its size in the market.” A turbocharged version providing V-6 like power should be arriving later.
The 2013 Malibu is shaping up to be an extremely impressive entry for Chevy into the global mid-size market. In a cutthroat segment, it couldn’t afford to be anything less. However, it shows that in cars, promises from Chevy to be right up there with the world’s best are ringing true. Check out our gallery of Chevy’s latest below.