First Look: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu has made its debut at New York...and at Shanghai...and on Facebook. We, however, have the full story right here.

The most surprising aspect of the new Malibu is just how new it is. The current car, after all, was introduced in 2007 and four years on, is still no slouch. And yet, the 2013 Malibu not only gets a full re-skin and new interior, but also moves to an updated, stiffer platform and gets an entirely new, four-cylinder-only engine lineup. The breadth of the changes speak to the Malibu's expanding role.

Dual citizenship

The primary mission for the new Malibu is very straightforward, if very difficult: Win in the competitive American mid-size segment. The current generation Malibu debuted to many accolades, and received our own annual All-Star award two years in a row. But in this fiercely competitive segment, the Chevy has already been eclipsed both in subjective terms and in sales by the Ford Fusion and the Hyundai Sonata.

As noted, Chevy might have been able to rectify this with a heavy refresh along the lines of Ford's excellent redo of the Fusion. Except that competing with the Joneses isn't the new Malibu's only task. As the multi-country reveal indicates, the Malibu is going global. It will eventually be on sale in more than one hundred markets as Chevrolet expands its international offensive. And so, to meet the various requirements of all these markets and, hopefully, succeed in the still critical U.S. market, the Malibu has been completely redesigned.

International design, American style

Those of you who have perused the photos might be wondering what the big deal is. From afar, the Malibu looks a mild, if slightly bloated evolution of the current car. A closer examination, though, reveals important differences. For one, the stance is noticeably wider, due to an increase in track of about 2.5-inches. In fact, the car now shares its wheelbase and track with the Buick Regal. It also has a noticeably higher hood to meet pedestrian impact standards that don't exist in our market.

"That's a big difference from today's car," said Bryan Nesbitt, executive director of global design. "We're not only meeting U.S. requirements, but it's comprehending all safety for all markets."

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I really like this car. I am hopeing and praying that GM makes a wise decision and turbocharge this 2.5L I4 instead of that silly 2.0L I4 in the Regal. The Malibu is going to need at least 290 horses, preferably more, to stay competitive. This is a fact because Toyota and Honda are going to of course ramp up their 4 cylinder engines and Ford is going to bring out the new Fusion with a their exsisting high powered turbo 4. I am a huge GM fan but GM needs to aim ahead of the game instead of right now competition.
Wow! This car looks great! I can't believe it took Chevy this long to figure out that the public likes good looking cars. Those Impalas and Luminas and pre-07 malibus they we're peddling were, in their time, some of the worst and most boring designs of their time.

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