We'd speculate Chevy will also offer a 2.0-liter turbo similar to the 255-hp unit coming for the Regal GS. Or at least it had better if it expects the Malibu to compete with the 274-hp Sonata Turbo, not to mention the V-6 variants of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
More certain is a high fuel-economy model similar the new LaCrosse eAssist, which uses a small lithium-ion battery pack and aero improvements to boost fuel economy by about 25 percent. GM also claims segment-best aerodynamics, with some models featuring a motorized flap that seals off the lower grille at highway speeds for even lower drag. Still, it's unlikely even the most efficient Malibu will match the Fusion hybrid's 39 mpg combined rating. In some markets the Malibu will offer diesel engines, but Merchant dismissed any likelihood of those appearing here.
Conclusion: Can the Malibu do it all?
The salient question regarding the new Malibu when production ramps up next year at Fairfax, Kansas; Detroit, Michigan; and Shanghai, China, will be whether its new global purview has sharpened or distracted from its war at home. We won't know the answer until we drive it. However, our first impression is that Chevy has managed to improve a car that was already quite good and at the same time broaden its horizons.