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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new 2012 Holden Malibu mid-sized sedan has been previewed in the form of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu at both the 2011 New York International Auto Show and Auto Shanghai 2011.

Holden executive director of sales, marketing and aftersales, John Elsworth, today confirmed the Holden Malibu would go on sale in Australia “late next year”, filling the gap between the locally manufactured Cruze and Commodore.

General Motors says the Malibu will be powered by a range of “fuel efficient and powerful” four-cylinder engines.

Among those will be a brand new 2.5-litre direct injection petrol unit with 141kW of power and 245Nm of torque. The engine will be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that has been tuned to enhance powertrain efficiency.

GM engineers say they benchmarked the Malibu’s ride and handling against more expensive sports cars in their attempt to make it smooth, precise and dynamic on country roads and freeways all around the world.

It will feature MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, as well as ventilated front disc brakes with dual piston aluminium calipers, which GM says should make it the segment leader in stopping distance.

Chassis control safety technology includes ABS, traction control, ESC, EBD, brake assist, corner brake control, hydraulic brake fade assist and drag torque control.

Other standard safety features in North America will include dual front, side, knee and roof rail airbags with rollover protection. Optional features include second-row side airbags (taking the maximum number to 10), lane departure warning with forward collision alert and a rear-view camera.

US customers will have four interior colours to choose from, while the insert materials on the centre console, doors and steering wheel can also be personalised in either chrome, metal or wood. Soft-touch surfaces and ice blue ambient lighting promise to create a high quality cabin feel.

The seven-inch colour touchscreen will incorporate Bluetooth wireless audio streaming as well as a range of other functions controlled by the MyLink infotainment system. Behind the screen is a 15cm bin to store phones and other wireless devices.

The new Malibu has a wider stance than the outgoing model, sporting broader shoulders and a shorter wheelbase for a significantly more aggressive appearance. LED taillights and alloy wheels ranging from 17 to 19 inches add to the Camaro-inspired exterior package.

Production of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will begin early next year. More details of the 2012 Holden Malibu will be revealed closer to the vehicle’s launch.




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