The Malibu does take a major step forward in that it finally has a true navigation system complete with a touch screen. But the smallish, seven-inch unit may be difficult to interact with while driving, and looks more like an afterthought than a central, elegant design element as in new Fords and Chryslers. On the plus side, clearly labeled physical knobs and buttons reside below the screen, so drivers will be able to adjust the stereo and climate control the (correct) old fashioned way. Chevy is also quite proud of the fact that the touch screen opens like a garage door to real a six-inch deep storage compartment. Other technologies new to the Malibu include a rear-view camera and lane departure warning.
New four-cylinder, no six-cylinder
The Malibu's debut also marks the introduction of GM's new workhorse engine, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder to be built in Tonawanda, New York. The normally aspirated engine features direct injection, cam-phasing and in the Malibu will produce "more than" 190 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a new, more efficient six-speed automatic transmission, the four-cylinder should scoot the car to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds and achieve better than 30 mpg on the highway.
Although Chevrolet is remaining a bit cagey on other engine options it's clear they will not include a V-6. The decision, already obvious in light of growing fuel economy pressures and similar moves by competitors, was made easier by that fact that four-cylinders already make up about 85 percent of Malibu sales, said vehicle line director Jeanne Merchant. Still, those accustomed to six-cylinder power shouldn't be left wanting.
"These four cylinders today are so advanced that you're definitely looking at six-cylinder levels of performance in a four-cylinder engine," Merchant said.