By Carl Malek
Rather than wait until the formal start of the Shanghai Auto Show, Chevrolet has decided to give the world a sneak preview of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. The lone exterior image that GM has officially released showcases the models brand new LED tail lamps, which are based off the units currently on the Chevrolet Camaro sports car and are designed to help give the car a more aggressive appearance. In subsequent days, GM released two interior teaser photos that depicted the car’s significantly-upgraded center stack. It’s clear that GM means business in terms of catching up to the class leaders in in-car connectivity and technology. The photos look great; material quality and feel still remain to be seen, of course, but the Cruze acquits itself well in this regard.
When the 2012 Malibu is formally revealed on April 19th in Shanghai, expect to see a car that will be wider but shorter than the model it replaces, as well as having a much more rakish and cohesive exterior design theme. To go with its new exterior styling the 2012 Malibu will ride on GM’s Epsilon II platform. Epsilon II is the same excellent platform that is currently used on the Buick Regal and Buick LaCrosse. As far as powertrains are concerned, the 2012 Malibu will have a four cylinder only engine lineup when it does eventually go on sale, which would most likely include the 2.4 liter Ecotec four cylinder and the 2.0 liter turbo four. Unlike the current Malibu, we expect that there will be no V6 option available.
Shanghai will not be the only venue where the new Malibu will be unveiled. In addition to that venue, GM will also be unveiling the new Malibu via its Facebook and Twitter pages, and for American consumers that may be wondering when the new Malibu will venture stateside, GM will have one on hand for the New York Auto Show next week as well.
GM’s website inadvertently (or perhaps purposely) posted a photo of the 2013 Malibu’s front three-quarter view about a week after the official teaser images were released. The photo shows a very cleanly-styled, modern-looking sedan. Though not as expressive as the designs of the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima, it certainly appears to be a very handsome car. We’ll know more when we see the car in person in New York next week, and also get our hands on some rear and profile shots. It’s certainly a far more expressive design than the Cruze, which is the other Chevrolet sold around the world.
GM expects the new Malibu to fill the lofty shoes of the old car, which has won over 40 awards and honors since it made its debut in 2008. With what has been seen so far it seems that GM is on the right path to achieving that goal but final judgment will have to wait until the car is fully revealed April 19th.