The ninth-generation Malibu is now almost five metres long, growing 58mm to 4.92m, while its wheelbase is also 91mm longer than the outgoing eighth-generation sedan, measuring 2.83m.
Despite its larger proportions, the new Chevrolet Malibu sheds almost 136kg, with one third of the savings achieved through the use of thinner, higher-strength steel in the car’s body structure.
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu range will initially feature three distinct drivetrains: the 136kW 1.8-litre Malibu Hybrid, which was detailed in the lead up to the car’s unveiling, a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol and a larger, high-power 2.0-litre turbo.
The smaller turbo engine produces 119kW and 250Nm – torque that’s comparable to the current Malibu’s naturally aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, from a powerplant that promises to use significantly less fuel. It teams with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The larger unit pumps out a meatier 186kW and 350Nm, and comes paired with an eight-speed auto – the first eight-speed automatic in a front-wheel-drive vehicle from General Motors.
A host of advanced technology features will be available when the ninth-gen Malibu launches in North America in the final quarter of this year. Among those is the Teen Driver safety system that was announced last month, as well as front pedestrian alert, lane keep assist and lane departure warning, blind-spot and lane change alert, forward collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert, auto high-beam, adaptive cruise control, and semi-automated parking.
Features of the new interior include wireless phone charging, OnStar 4G with a WiFi hotspot, dual rear USB ports, ventilated seats, and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system, which displays on either 7.0- or 8.0-inch colour touchscreens depending on the trim level.
Chevrolet says the Malibu’s longer wheelbase improves rear legroom by 33mm, while it claims comfort has also been a focus of the new cabin.
The exterior design is influenced by the 2014 Impala and advances Chevrolet’s global styling language with features such as slim headlights and the brand’s now-signature dual-port grille. Three creases in the side panels add character to the Malibu’s profile, while the heavily raked rear window create a coupe-style impression at the back. Angular LED tail-lights retain the double-scalloped lenses of the current car, but are now packaged in tighter, cleaner clusters.
Chevrolet will offer L, LS, LT and Premier trim levels in the US, as well as the Hybrid variant.
The 2016 Malibu’s prospects of being branded with a Holden badge remain unknown at this stage, which GM’s local division declining to comment on the car’s potential for our market as a successor to the current Malibu, sold here.
“We continuously review all potential products that may suit the Australian market, but have no announcements at this time. Holden is committed to leveraging GM’s global product portfolio to provide the best vehicles for our customers,” the company said in a statement.
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