Chevrolet's new Malibu makes its debut at this week’s New York and Shanghai shows and will reach Europe — but not necessarily the UK — in 2012.
Chevrolet’s owner, General Motors, calls the Malibu its “first global mid-size car”. It’s a 4859mm-long saloon, broadly the same size as the Vauxhall Insignia, with which it shares its platform. Chevrolet claims the car has “European-influenced ride and handling” and plans to offer it across six continents, in left and right-hand drive.
The car’s wheelbase is shortened slightly for the latest incarnation, but the track is wider and Chevrolet claims that it has over 110 litres more cabin space. The firm also says it takes styling cues from the Camaro and Corvette.
The Malibu will offer a range of 10 powerplants across all its markets. The biggest seller could well be the combination of the new 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol motor, which produces 189bhp and 180lb ft, and a six-speed automatic transmission.
Interior features include a touchscreen display that moves up and down to reveal a storage compartment behind it, soft-touch materials on the dashboard, blue ambient lighting and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment and internet radio systems. Safety features includes 10 airbags, a lane departure warning system and a rear-view camera.
A Chevrolet UK spokesman said that the firm plans to “gauge public reaction” to the car’s launch — but admitted that the lack of a diesel engine in the initial line-up would be “a problem” for British dealers.
GM has already confirmed that plans are in place for a diesel model, though. This would probably use the 2.2-litre motor that already features in the Captiva, producing 180bhp.