2011 New York Auto Show
What is it?
2013 Chevrolet Malibu
What's special about it?
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu is now what they call a "world car" in the industry. Instead of building several different versions for the various markets around the world, this Malibu will be more or less the same whether it's at a dealer in Beijing or French Lick, which is not in France by the way.
The constraints of the world market have imposed some notable changes to this midsize sedan. Unlike any number of its predecessors, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu is not universally bigger. Its wheelbase has been cut down by 4.5 inches while its overall length has been reduced by half an inch. The car's width is up by nearly 3 inches, though, so the sedan's proportions are still largely intact. The shorter wheelbase reduces legroom slightly but the added width substantially improves hip- and shoulder room.
Along with the slightly smaller overall size, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will also downsize its engine lineup. It will come to market with a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine only. The direct-injected DOHC Ecotec engine is expected to generate 190 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission will be the only gearbox available in the U.S.
Not much changes on the chassis side. There are still MacPherson struts up front and a multilink setup in back, along with electric steering and four-wheel disc brakes. The wheels will range in size from 17 to 19 inches.
You may notice some obvious Chevrolet design cues in this Malibu, and it was fully intentional. "We wanted to bring a sport sensibility to the family sedan segment," said Bryan Nesbitt, executive director of design for GM. Whether that sensibility works for you is a personal thing, but it works well for the Malibu. Chevrolet says this Malibu will be one of the most aerodynamic sedans in the midsize segment, a trait that should translate into some solid EPA numbers when they're officially announced later this year.
Actual production of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu doesn't start until early next year. That should give Chevrolet plenty of time to work out the kinks before it heads to America and abroad.
Edmunds.com says: A nice set of upgrades for what is already a very competent sedan. Nothing ground-breaking here, but that's rarely what this segment demands. — Ed Hellwig, Editor