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.
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."