Chevrolet Malibu Origins
Named after the famed Southern California suburb, the Chevrolet Malibu has a long and varied history that stretches back to the early 1960s; an era when the Beach Boys were king of the airwaves. Originally designed by General Motors as a midsize car to slot under the popular full-size Impala, the Malibu was known for its reasonable price and roominess. In Chevelle Malibu guise, first generation of Chevrolet Malibu was considered a muscle car.
For the first time in its nearly 50 year history, GM is planning to offer the Malibu on a global scale in its foreign markets. For the 2013 model year, GM plans to launch the eighth generation of the Chevrolet Malibu worldwide.About the Chevrolet Malibu
The original Chevrolet Malibu was conceived, designed, and marketed to compete with the Ford Fairlane. With a 327-cubic-inch V-8 and 300 horsepower, the Malibu was forced to keep pace with Pontiac’s GTO released that year with a 389-cubic-inch engine. The Chevrolet Malibu’s engine was improved to 375 horsepower, with a limited edition 396 engine package available, named the Z-16. Stiffer frames, better suspension, anti-roll bars in front and back, and better power steering are the hallmark of the Malibu’s design.
Another aspect that the Chevrolet Malibu has been known for over the decades is its wide range of body styles that have found their way onto the streets of America: convertibles, hardtops, sedans, four- and even two-door station wagons. These design appeals were matched to an ongoing array of six- and eight-cylinder engines and a long list of available options.
As an added appeal to consumers, one couldn’t forget those distinctive, one-of-a-kind grilles that set the Malibu apart from most other cars on the road. Drivers of these sporty Malibu’s have been relentless in their search for the proper custom upgrades that do these beauties justice; a unique shinny chrome grille has been the added feature that helped the Malibu get, and stay, noticed.Chevrolet Malibu Features
As a nearly identical model to the 2011 version, the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu comes available in three trim levels (LS, LT, and LTZ) with a choice of a four- or six-cylinder engine and a standard six-speed automatic transmission. The 2012 model features include an optional upgrade package on the LS trim, featuring Bluetooth, floor mats, steering wheel audio controls, side body molding, and a spare tire. The 1LT trim can be upgraded with an optional sunroof, power-adjustable driver’s seat, remote start, and a 110-volt, three-prong outlet.
Mirroring a Hyundai Sonata-inspired all-four-cylinder engine lineup, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu comes equipped with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that sports a dual overhead cam setup with direct injection, good for an estimated horsepower of over 190 and a torque falling somewhere in the ballpark of 180 lb-ft. A similarly powerful mild hybrid system will come in the Malibu Eco model, with a turbocharged, 259-horsepower four-cylinder engine available later.
One of the strongest selling points for this year’s Malibu sedan is its inviting interior layout and design, complete with a balanced blend of metallic, chrome, and wood surfaces throughout the cabin. The stylized accents range between spots on the shifter, center stack, instrument cluster, steering wheel, and doors. Rounding out the style is a pale, frosty blue lighting scheme that runs the gamut from dashboard gauge displays to accent lighting that stretches throughout the spacious compartment.
In either 2012 or the new 2013 model, the Malibu comes with standard safety features such as seat-mounted thorax airbags, side curtain airbags, stability control, traction control, and anti-lock brakes. There are even knee airbags, as well as roof air bags that offer rollover protection. OnStar with Automatic Crash Response is also included, now boasting improved voice recognition technology for better occupant safety and vehicle control.
The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu’s base price starts at $22,100.Chevrolet Malibu Evolution
The initial generation of Chevrolet Malibus (not known simply as Malibu until the Chevelle name was dropped in 1983), lasted from 1964 to 1967. Aside from receiving new grilles and revised tail sections with new exhaust pipes, the models showed little change.
It wasn’t until 1968 that the Malibu went through some major design changes with its SS series. These changes included the shortening of the wheelbase, the hood being stretched, the trunk shortened, and the rear of the car gaining a fastback design.
A landmark year was 1970 when Chevrolet introduced its highest rated horsepower factory engine ever: the 454-cubic-inch V-8. The LS5 version came equipped with 360 horsepower, while the LS6 produced 425 horsepower. The hood is available with an optional cowl-induction air inlet close to the windshield.
Between the years 1973 and 1983, the Malibu model was employed extensively in NASCAR competitions. The Malibu’s Laguna S-3 variant vehicle showed particular success by helping racecar driver Carl Yarborough win 20 races during that time, as well as the NASCAR championship one year.
The beginning of the fifth generation of the Chevrolet Malibu, in 1997, saw that year’s model win the coveted Motor Trend “Car Of The Year” award. This new front-wheel-drive Malibu helped pave the way for other successful models like the 2008 Malibu, which earned praise across the board and at the North American Auto Show in Detroit where it was named North American Car of the Year.
That momentum has carried through to the today and the new Chevrolet Malibu, first released in the hybrid Eco model with a standard four-cylinder and turbo model to be added later.