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2013 Chevrolet Malibu: 2011 New York Auto Show Preview

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GM's best-selling sedan gets a major refurbishing early next year in the form of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, which will be shown this week in New York after a global reveal in Shanghai.

The new car will be the eighth new vehicle to wear the storied nameplate. This time around, the Malibu's a bit smaller and a lot softer, too. Chevrolet's bowtie is framed in a tiered grille, and its taillights are squared off in an homage to the Camaro muscle car. The cabin has been reshaped around a new center console with a flip-up radio control panel, flanked by woodgrain, metallic or chrome trim and blue ambient lighting.

The power of...four?

Over the decades the Malibu has been transformed from a rear-wheel-drive car with V-8 power, to a front-driver with either a V-6 or a four-cylinder engine, with or without mild-hybrid add-ons.

For the 2013 redo, the Malibu tips its gunsights squarely at the Hyundai Sonata, with only four-cylinder power. The 2.5-liter four ushers 190 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission, which Chevy says gives it the performance of a V-6--which V-6, they don't specify. 

Fuel economy is promised to be improved; the Malibu gains electric power steering in the all-out effort to trim weight and friction and to save fuel.

At the same time, Chevy's also gambling that a tauter feel will pay off as it has for the Sonata, not to mention the Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion. The Malibu's front suspension remains MacPherson struts, the rear a four-link design, but GM says they've been tuned for European-style handling. Turning circle for the not-so-big sedan is nearly 38 feet, though.

All four corners wear disc brakes, and the Malibu will be offered with wheels sized from 17 to 19 inches.

Shorter, wider, roomier?

Downsizing brings the Malibu closer to its global cousins on GM's Epsilon II platform, while it brings the four-door down to a different niche of family sedans in overall size.

The Honda Accord is a large car, by EPA standards, while the old Malibu came close; the new version is 4.5 inches smaller in wheelbase at 107.8 inches, and it's 191.3 inches long--but an inch wider, which repackages the rear-seat space and still leaves the Malibu with the same interior volume as the Sonata. That nets out to more shoulder and hip room front and back, Chevy promises.

Chevy also says the Malibu's trunk is a cubic foot larger than before, at 16.3 cu ft. 

And that flip-up audio system? It hides one of the new cubbies tucked into the Malibu's interior trim. The LCD screen cloaks a deep, illuminated bin that's bound to be a favorite hiding space for iPhones and other things better hidden from thieves.

More bags for all

All the mandatory safety gear is bolted into the Malibu, from dual front and curtain airbags to anti-lock brakes and traction control.

The Malibu will be one of the few domestic-brand family sedans to offer rear-seat side airbags as an option--while it'll also sport dual front knee airbags as standard equipment.

Safety options will include a rearview camera and a lane-departure warning system that also warns drivers of vehicles slowing in the lane ahead.

GM's OnStar hardware and six months of service also will be included.

Malibu eAssist?

In this new iteration, GM says the Malibu will put an emphasis on fuel economy with a range of four-cylinder engines and six-speed transmissions. A GM spokesman says no V-6 powertrain will be offered in the new Malibu.

In fact, the Malibu may be the next GM product to offer a new mild-hybrid system that's been dubbed eAssist, as it's applied to the Buick LaCrosse. An announcement is expected at the 2011 New York Auto Show.


 
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Comments (20)
  1. Millions of drivers are breaking the law with no insurance because they don't know this about a savings called "Auto Insurance Clearance"
     
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  2. I hope that a stick shift version finds its way to the US; this is why I wouldn't even consider this car in '09 when I eventualy went with a Hyundai Sonata.
     
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  3. Malibu is just a few units behind Civic so far this year, and along with Cruze and Impala, is selling far more than Sonata.
    Volt is an extended range Electric Vehicle and really should not be called a serial hybrid. It is capable of operating 100% of the time as a pure electric.
    None of the hybrids can do this for a practical distance, unless you never leave your neighborhood.
     
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  4. I think I'll just hang on to my V8 powered, rear wheel drive, non-computer, no air bag, no smog check required, 1969 Malibu thank you.
     
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  5. nice car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  6. No V6, not interested!
     
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  7. No V-6? I just cancelled my "want" for a new Malibu. It looks good, but I still want the old fashioned V-6 with dual exhausts. GM still doesn't get it!
     
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  8. Of what we can see of it, I quite like the Audi/Camaroesque tail lamp design - interesting and American! We will have to wait and see if the rest of the design delivers.
     
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  9. Heck with the v6, Heck with the fwd. No more impala ss or monte ss so how about a 2 door rwd malibu ss with the camero drivetrain. Make it a kind of retro look alike to the 70ss. Kind of like what dodge did with the charger. A muscle car for a bit older croud or a family man.
     
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  10. seems like a winner , hope these uaw peeps can start building em with confidence and quality -sure like to see some american ingenuity back in place in the top spots - everything thats happening with toyota is giving them every opportunity to do so
     
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  11. By caliph1r #7, Posted: 4/8/2011
    No V-6? I just cancelled my "want" for a new Malibu. It looks good, but I still want the old fashioned V-6 with dual exhausts. GM still doesn't get it!
    GM doesn't get it? Check the 2011 Sonata's sales, consider the impending CAFE requirements, then see who doesn't "get it"?
     
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  12. Ugly tail lights and the Camero surrounds on the Speedometer have to go. Where is the TDI?
     
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  13. Why the report this is spam notice on comment #12? Do you have to agree with all comments in the aricle? I thought this was for legitimate comments.
     
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  14. As a person who's experience with G.M. products equals nearly 90 years i can honestly say that GM's demise began in the 1981 model year, the year that computers were introduced in their vehicles, utter garbage! then GM took iconic names like Camaro, Monte Carlo, Caprice, Le Mans, Grand Prix, Regal, Cadillac. and Malibu and literally destroyed the legendary reputation of the vehicles. The latest screwup of GM? the Cadillac CTS. The rear differential bushings are junk! the things cannot handle the power that is being imposed upon them. I love GM vehicles but if the Engineers and Designers don't stop acting stupid i'm afraid that General Motors will cease to exist.
     
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  15. 2013 Malibu looks lake a bigger Cruze. It should be a good car for the high priced gas. I just purchased a Cruze for me and will probably trade my wifes 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix GT ,which she purchased new, for a 2013 Malibu.
     
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  16. Looks and sounds good to me. I'm a new Camaro lover so I love the taillights. As for the four-cylinder, I wouldn't mind it since the gas prices are over the top. No Hyundais, Hondas, Nissans, Toyotas for me. It's a Chevy or nada.
     
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  17. For 40 years,only buy V/8's All the cars look-alike,only difference is the badge change,foreign or domestic,can't tell the difference?
     
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  18. No V-6? Bah.......
     
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  19. Anything with osamabamas finger prints on it benefiting the UAW thugs will not see the inside of my garage.
     
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  20. Anything with osamabamas finger prints on it benefiting the UAW thugs will not see the inside of my garage.
     
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