Coherency. Coherency is a good thing, especially when it comes to corporate brands and styling. Ideally, you want everything you make to have it. Take Chevrolet, for example. You wouldn’t want a Chevy Malibu to look way different from a Chevy Impala. So, when a car company, Chevrolet in this case, makes a styling update, that update has to propagate across the entire company line.
Mainly what we’re talking about here is styling cues; belt lines, overall greenhouse shapes, grill designs, badging and where the badges go, that sort of thing. Chevy says what they are going for in the immediate future is muscular designs, new features, and more choices.
“The restyled face of Chevy cars for 2019 is characterized by a family-like appearance, with each model honoring its Chevrolet heritage while showing off expressive designs,” said John Cafaro, Executive Director, Global Chevrolet Design.
And I can totally see where he’s coming from. ‘Family-like appearance‘ is the key here.
“We are committed to offering consumers a full lineup of products with fresh designs, new technologies, and efficient powertrain options,” added Brian Sweeney, U.S. Vice President of Chevrolet. “The investments we have made in Spark, Cruze, and Malibu will help position the brand for success in competitive segments that still make up a significant part of the total industry.”
As Sweeny alluded to, Chevy’s first go ’round will start with the 2019 Malibu, Cruze, and Spark. To that end the cars will each offer a broad diversity of trims and packages from entry-level to high-end. And Chevy will also have to serve fleets since they represent a quarter of the industry’s retail market.
Chevy’s first task in shepherding the DNA of their fleet is restyling the faces of the cars with signature lighting that will make each instantly recognizable as a Chevy. The redesigned front ends for the Spark, Cruze, and Malibu will offer a more premium look while maintaining their athletic body sides. And yeah, this is the first time I’ve heard the phrase “athletic body” used in conjunction with the Spark and Cruze. Anyway, Chevy will give greater attention to detail like the intricate sculpting on the grilles and the brand’s signature dual-element taillamps.
The Malibu RS, a first for this ‘Bu generation, will offer a sporty, personalized appearance propelled by blacked-out styling cues like the sport grille, bowtie emblems, rear spoiler, 18-inch machined wheels, and dual exhaust. The inside introduces a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, black cloth seats, and a standard eight-inch touchscreen for the Infotainment 3 system. There will also be a new CVT transmission standard on models that come with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine.
The Chevy Cruze, along with the updated front fascia, welcomes new interior colors and a new infotainment system with a seven-inch color touchscreen. Remote start and automatic climate control are now standard on LT and Premier, but optional on other trims. The LS Hatch trim is added to the Cruze Hatch line for the first time. That sounds like a good move, since 20 percent of all Cruze sales in its first full year of production are the Hatchback.
The Spark, which sells by the train-load in its segment, gets new front-end styling with the same cues found on the updated Malibu and Cruze. New exterior color options will also be coming along with revised interior trim and an additional available safety feature called Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking. Chevy does not go into detail about what Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking is, but I bet it has something to do with hitting the brakes for you when you’re moving in a forward direction at lower speeds and aren’t paying attention.
Don’t hold me to that, though.
Availability & In Person
You will be able to see the new design direction for the corporate automotive giant when the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu, Cruze, and Spark go on sale later this year.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.