Chevrolet's midsize contender gets a host of new technologies, gains in length and loses weight. The Impala inspired sedan will hit the roads in the fourth quarter of 2015 in North America. With the all new Malibu, Chevrolet hopes to make a bigger impact in the midsize sedan market.
The new Malibu is bigger than before. It's longer by 58 mm and its wheelbase is stretched by 91 mm. Its shape follows the form of Chevrolet's full size sedan, the Impala. Compared to the Camaro-like lines of the current generation, the 2016 model is sleeker and curvier with its sloped roofline and softer edges.
At the front, it retains Chevrolet's split grille look but the rest of the front is very much Impala-like. The rear looks almost European with the slope of the rear windshield extending to the car's trunklid, something you may have seen in an Audi A7. Despite the bigger size, the new Malibu is 136 kg lighter than the current model thanks to the use of lightweight high strength steel.
Inside, the gains in wheelbase are seen with the larger cabin area. With the lengthening of its wheelbase, it is expected to have more knee and legroom than the previous generation model. Lower entry models get a 7-inch screen standard with Chevy MyLink. On the higher spec Malibus, the screen is upgraded to 8-inches. At the back, it comes with two USB ports and a power outlet. For the top of the line models, wireless charging is also available.
New to the Malibu is the 1.5-liter Ecotec with a turbo. It produces 160 PS and 250 NM. There is also a 2.0-liter Turbo model with 250PS with 350 nm of torque. The 1.5 is paired to a six speed automatic while the 2.0 models get the eight speed automatic.
This generation also marks the return of the Malibu Hybrid wherein the model will come with a 1.8-liter inline-four cylinder engine that is paired with a two motor drive unit. Combined, the hybrid model puts out a total of 182 PS. The hybrid system is adapted from the Volt and can run up to 88 km/h on full electric mode.
On the technological front, Chevrolet has come up with something called Teen Driver which disables the radio when the occupants are not wearing their seatbelts. Speed warning chimes are triggered if the car is going faster than its recommended speed. The system also generates a user report which shows highest speed during the journey or distance travelled. It also takes note of the number of times stability control was triggered during the trip. Other tech include 4G LTE with Wifi hotspot, and adaptive cruise control with brake function.
The new Malibu is now in its ninth generation since the nameplate was introduced in 1964.