Meet Chevrolet’s mid-size sedan The New Malibu.
The second-generation Malibu, which first debuted in 2016, is a model that showed GM Korea’s presence in the midsize car market after a long time. On the day of launching, the server was down due to crowds of visitors to the homepage of GM Korea Chevrolet, and the pre-contract exceeded 15,000 units. In fact, in 2016, it achieved the No. 1 sales of mid-sized cars based on gasoline models, and was recognized for its product capabilities.
The downsizing power train, spacious interior space, various convenience and safety equipment, and a sophisticated design that properly compensated for the shortcomings of the predecessor were evaluated as the secret to leading the successful sales.
Contrary to the expectation that it will continue to be a box office with such a decent build quality and marketability, with the closing of the Gunsan plant in 2018, the withdrawal of the domestic market will emerge, and sales will be severely affected. The undervaluation due to the anxiety of the brand has continued for quite some time, and this leads to the partially modified model, The New Malibu, which was introduced at the end of 2018. The partially modified model, which was introduced three years after its release, has undergone quite a major change, including the design that incorporates Chevrolet’s latest design language, the commerciality including infotainment, and the power train of light sizing, and the completeness is also impeccable. Nevertheless, the undervaluation due to external factors continues to this day.
Nevertheless, at the end of 2020, we are continuing our efforts to restore the lost presence by introducing a model of 2021 that has slightly improved its marketability. Excluding the aforementioned external factors, I met the New Malibu in person, how attractive the product itself is, is it worth buying even in 2021, and continues struggling.
At the end of 2018, we performed a facelift once and improved the design slightly, so there was no change in the design from the model year change. As it reflects the latest design language through a single retouch, it is judged that additional changes are unnecessary, and even though it has reached its sixth year since its launch, the refined design still shows that there is no need for additional changes.
The front part that made the biggest change with the last facelift was none other than the front.
Chevrolet’s new design language that emphasizes flexibility and strength, Lean Muscularity, has been applied, and the design has been renewed with a bolder and wider radiator grille and headlamp. Chevrolet’s unique dual-port radiator grille enhances its presence by emphasizing the chrome line in the center, and the design that naturally connects to the headlamps reflects the trend. Along with the change in the shape of the radiator grille, the shape of the LED DRL at the bottom of the bumper was changed, and the turn indicators were also changed to move the position to the bumper.
Unlike the front, which has a wide range of changes, the sides are the same as the existing all-new Malibu. In the case of a test ride with 19-inch alloy wheels, even the wheel design is the same, so it is not easy to see the difference due to the facelift or the model year change from the side. The composition without noticeable changes left a regret, but even after entering the sixth year with the number of years, I still think that the stylish, cool, and elegant design is the biggest attraction and strength of The New Malibu.
Particularly from the side, the perfect sedan proportions, smooth body and roofline made us guess why it was so popular at the time of launch.
The rear is also the same as The New Malibu, which once facelifted. The design of the tail lamp and bumper fascia is slightly changed, while the design of the large frame is left as it is, talking about the difference from the all-new Malibu.
The monotonous shape of the tail lamp was reversed with a three-dimensional lighting pattern, and the design of the diffuser and muffler tip at the bottom of the bumper was changed to renew the atmosphere. Of course, in the case of gasoline 2.0, a test-drive, we did not forget to imply strong performance through the dual muffler tip with a wider design. Instead of a change for change, a necessary and sufficient level of change made a clear difference from the existing model, and at the same time, it can be evaluated as a successful facelift with maintaining the design balance and completeness.
Unlike the exterior design, where changes can be easily confirmed, the interior design focuses on improving usability, that is, upgrading functions. Thanks to this, the symmetrical layout centered on the infotainment monitor, the improved visibility by lowering the height of the dashboard, and the simple configuration with minimal physical buttons are all the same as the all-new Malibu. At the time of launch, the two interior colors, black and brown, were reborn as The New Malibu and changed to black and cream beige, and the bright cream beige plays a role in making the interior look brighter and spacious.
The three-spoke steering wheel wrapped in textured leather remains unchanged, but it is reborn as the New Malibu, and the dashboard beyond the steering wheel has an 8-inch color LCD in the center to deliver a variety of driving-related information more intuitively. The content displayed on the dashboard can be set in quite detail, and two graphic themes have been prepared.
The changes in the 8-inch infotainment display at the top of the center fascia are also the same.
The high-end infotainment applied in place of the existing all-new Malibu MyLink boasts a sharper resolution, as well as improved menu composition and operation speed, making it quite usable. Of course, the pure navigation, which searches for the best route in real time through data communication when linked with a smartphone, has also improved its completeness and graphics. Compared to the wide-type and vertical-type infotainment of competing models, the originality is somewhat lacking, but the overall usability, such as interlocking with the dashboard and voice recognition, has been greatly impeccable.
BOSE Premium Surround Sound, which gives you a smooth and well-structured sound, also conveyed its charm.
Below the infotainment display are dials and button controllers for multimedia and air conditioning, and the periphery is wrapped in soft-touch interior materials to create a luxurious atmosphere.
At the top of the center tunnel, there is a small storage space, a gear change lever finished with leather boots, two cup holders, and a wireless charging tray for smartphones. You can get a glimpse of what you wrote. The layout of the gear lever, cup holder, and smartphone charging tray is impeccable, but the wireless charging tray, which is inserted downwards, is small in size, so it seemed a little unreasonable to store the latest smartphones.
2021 The New Malibu
The New Malibu, which has improved usability and functionality compared to the existing All New Malibu. It was reborn as a 2021 model, and by adding small features, we made the change clearly felt. First of all, the wireless phone projection function introduced for the first time in domestic cars through the trail blazer was also applied to Malibu. This allows both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to connect and utilize wirelessly without cumbersome cable connections. Once linked to the car, you can use the projection function right away just by boarding without any additional settings.
The design of the gear knob with manual mode on top of the gear knob has also been changed to the same design as the trail blazer. The manual mode allows simple operation with a button on the side, and both the design and the grip feeling are improved compared to the existing design.
Since our debut in 2016, we only performed face lift once, so the interior space has not changed. At the time of its launch, the entire length, width, and wheelbase were significantly expanded compared to the predecessor models, and especially, it received a lot of praise for its leisurely interior space through the wheelbase secured at the highest level in its class. The strength of the spacious and comfortable interior space can be seen in the 2021 The New Malibu as well, and the seating comfort, position, and space of the seat are both impeccable.
However, unlike the trend of applying a variety of functions or seeking luxury through quilting and nappa leather, the simple and easy seat composition left a relatively disappointing.
The amount of space remains the same in the rear seats. It has plenty of legroom in a relaxed body size, and headroom isn’t lacking in a smoothly falling roofline. Of course, if you sit in a standing position with your back completely close to the backrest, headroom may be a bit insufficient, but if you sit comfortably, it will not be a problem at all. Air vents, USB ports, and power outlets are also available for rear seats.
In addition, the part that was meticulously finished with interior materials was also noticeable so that the door frame is not exposed from the interior.
Like the interior space, the loading space is the same as the existing all-new Malibu. The capacity of the secured storage space is 447ℓ, and if you use the seat folding function of 60:40, you can use the space more efficiently. The ski-through function of the competitive model, which connects the interior and the trunk through an arm rest, was not applied, but the part that applied the seat folding that can fold the entire seat is the strength of The New Malibu.
At the time of launch, two gasoline turbos and one diesel turbo were prepared, and a gasoline hybrid was added afterwards, whereas the 2021 model cleaned up the low-selling gasoline hybrid and diesel turbo, and built a powertrain with only gasoline turbos. Of the 2.0T and 1.35T gasoline turbos, the 1.35T was the first light sizing unit introduced through The New Malibu. Light sizing, which boasts an optimized configuration with the body, is a step further advanced compared to downsizing, and I was impressed by the fact that it secured both efficiency and performance.
The engine on the test drive was a gasoline 2.0 turbo.
The 2.0T, which has been keeping the Malibu lineup since its launch, is an engine that is applied to various GM lineups including Cadillac. It has a maximum output of 253/5,300 (ps/rpm) and a maximum output of 36.0/2,000 to 5,000 (kg.m/rpm). It demonstrates the maximum torque. The transmission is automatic 6-speed, and the rolling method is front-wheel drive. The efficiency is 10.5km/ℓ combined with government-approved standard fuel efficiency (9.1km/ℓ in city center and 13.0km/ℓ on highway) and CO2 emission is 163g/km.
It’s a powertrain that hasn’t changed compared to the time it was launched in 2016, but I went on the road and looked at The New Malibu, recalling the old memories of good driving performance.
First of all, the noise and vibration right after start-up and the engine’s spinning texture are still great. This was mentioned again in the test drive in 2016 and in the test drive in 2019, and I was impressed with the smooth and smooth sensation that replaces the rough texture of the four-cylinder turbo. The engine’s rotational texture like this makes Malibu’s strengths clearer and clearer while driving. It is not comparable to a multi-cylinder engine with the number of cylinders added, but the refined feel is an optimized configuration for use as a family car.
The performance produced by the maximum output of 253 hp and the maximum torque of 36.0 kg.m is also impeccable.
Thanks to the body that was downsized to 1,470kg, it allows you to experience consistently fast and powerful acceleration. The New Malibu’s light movement is not only a maximum output of 253 horsepower, but also the maximum torque and role that is exerted in the practical section of 2,000 to 5,000 rpm. The generously radiated torque delivers enough power even if you don’t want to lower the gear, so you can experience the performance without needing to increase the number of revolutions. As mentioned at the beginning of the launch, Malibu with a 2.0 turbo engine runs fairly quickly and effortlessly on both urban and high-speed roads.
Recalling that even the 1.35T light sizing engine wasn’t too short, the 2.0T’s performance is sufficient and overflowing. Malibu’s distinctive features are that it doesn’t seem sensitive or tense all the time because of its powerful performance. As if taking into account the characteristics of the North American market, which runs slowly and calmly over long distances, Malibu’s driving performance captures the atmosphere of a mid-size American sedan.
The engine’s output is impeccable, but the transmission that delivers it to the road is a cross between satisfaction and regret. The difference with North America, which has been controversial since the beginning of its release, remains the same. Unlike the North American Malibu, which is currently equipped with an automatic 9-speed, The New Malibu is still sticking to the automatic 6-speed. Of course, in general and most everyday driving, the automatic six-speed is not too short. It shifts gears calmly and not only delivers the engine’s performance well, but also keeps the revs quite low at high speeds and runs well. However, unlike a multi-stage transmission that quickly speeds up by engaging the appropriate gear in re-acceleration or overtaking acceleration, the automatic 6-speed showed an extremely relaxed appearance, so there was a feeling that it could not utilize all the potential of the engine.
In addition, the competing model is applying transmissions that consider both performance and efficiency, such as a multi-stage transmission with more than 8 speeds or a dual clutch, and as a multi-stage transmission has already been introduced into a model for sale in North America, it should have been introduced in the face lift or change of year. Idea. In particular, as sales have stalled due to external factors, changes are clearly necessary to dismiss and rebound.
Looking at Ride & Handling, leaving behind the regrets of the transmission, the harmony of the driving stability of driving calmly and the comfort of the ride stand out. Unlike the mid-2000s when Chevrolet’s driving texture was well received, the driving stability of domestic cars is now leveled upward regardless of brand. Running calmly and well was no longer a Chevrolet strength. However, the part that achieves driving stability while maintaining a moderately comfortable ride is still a strength of Malibu. In particular, each of the competing models emphasizes sporty drivability, and the Malibu, which runs flexibly absorbing the impact of the road surface while tightening the lower body as tightly as possible, can be said to be the best fit for the family sedan.
It doesn’t seek the pleasure of driving, but the sense of the steering wheel responds honestly. However, unlike competing models in which the response of the engine and transmission and the damping force of the suspension can all be set in detail from the sense of the steering wheel, the appearance of not preparing any driving mode left a little regret. Like Spark, the steering wheel is a little more heavier, and I think it is necessary to improve and change details, such as establishing the CITY mode for convenience in the city.
Driver Driving Assistance (ADAS)
A total of 11 driver assistance systems applied to The New Malibu. Universal driving assistance functions such as intelligent adaptive cruise control, lane maintenance assistance, blind spot warning, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking are all applied. Each function also works well for both city centers and highways, but compared to the time it was launched in 2016, the difference in functions is not significant. Despite the passage of time, there was no noticeable update. For this reason, it does not support features such as lane maintenance assistance or traffic jam assist that maintains the lane center, which is also part of GM’s policy.
The essential ADAS remains at its current level, but rather than updating it, we are preparing a super cruise that raised the level to the next level, and it is known that it will be applied to Chevrolet through the next-generation Volt EUV. ADAS is preparing for the next stage of ultra cruise and hyper cruise, as well as super cruise using high-resolution map data, cameras and radar, so ADAS can expect a major change in later models.
Six years after launch, it’s time to prepare for a model change, but Malibu’s values and charm were still in effect.
Of course, it is impossible to compare the specifications and configurations of the rapidly changing competitive models 1:1, but we have prepared all the necessary parts, and how to use and use them was not difficult. Although it is a bit quick to digitize in connection with the communication network, Malibu’s strength also stood out as it was expected to be a midsize sedan or a family sedan. Spacious interior space and comfortable driving are distinct and distinct strengths of Malibu that are different from competing models that put sporty at the fore.
If you can’t throw the number of winnings just by product power, I think following the success equation of Traverse and Colorado is also a necessary change for GM Korea now. In the domestic mid-sized sedan market, which has been leveled upward, I hope to reveal its presence again as a product with clear colors, not just such substitutes.
The price of the Chevrolet 2021 The New Malibu starts at 23.64 million won.
The test car 2.0 Turbo Premier Special + Midnight Blue + Panoramic Sunroof + LED Headlamp + Prime Safety Pack costs 3564 million won.
“This content was created by receiving a test ride from GM Korea.”
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