To say the new Malibu is an important car for Chevrolet is to engage in a daring bit of understatement. The mid-size sedan segment is a lynchpin to success in our market, and the Malibu will face stiff competition from the likes of Ford, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and Kia. With a week until the full unveiling of the 2013 Malibu at the 2011 New York Auto Show, Chevy let slip an early preview of the car, and so far, things are looking good.
Fuel economy figures, available options and features, and all the other key information on the car will have to wait until the full unveiling, but from the aesthetic perspective, the Malibu is definitely a solid entry. It looks characteristically new-Chevy, while also not going too far into uncharted territory--a key for success with the typically style-conservative buyers of midsize sedans.
The large grille, dynamic front fascia, sculpted hood, and flowing sides do lend the car character, however, preventing it from succumbing fully to beige-box syndrome. Though we also get a peek at the interior, which looks much more coherent and unified in its layout than the current Malibu, we don't get the full idea of how it flows together. That, too, will have to wait until next week.
The question now becomes Chevrolet can put together the right combination of engines, transmissions, options, standard features, and techno-goodies--for the right price. We'll know the answer soon enough. For now, enjoy the preview.