• Dec 22, 2010
2012 Chevrolet Malibu spy shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's been a while since we've heard about the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. In its current form, the aging 'Bu is a competent aging dog in need of some new tricks, but General Motors is hoping to put its mid-sizer back at the top of the segment with the all-new model. Early predictions lead us to believe that the 2012 Malibu would show its face at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show in January, but we're now thinking that a New York debut is in order.

For 2012, the Malibu will be shortened, riding on the smaller Epsilon II platform that underpins the Buick Regal. Sources who have seen the finished product tell us that while the exterior dimensions have shrunk, there's no shortage of space inside the car, and we expect the interior to be a giant leap forward from the cabin found in the current model.

Earlier reports have suggested that the 2012 Malibu will only be offered with four-cylinder powertrains (like the Regal), meaning GM's 2.4-liter direct-injected inline-four is a safe bet for the base engine, and the more powerful 2.0-liter Ecotec turbo-four will likely replace the V6 option. A hybrid powerplant is also understood to be in the works. All engines will come with six-speed transmissions, and we've even heard rumblings about optional all-wheel drive for the Malibu. Currently, only the Ford Fusion and Subaru Legacy mid-size sedans are available with all-wheel drive.

Production of the new Malibu is slated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2011, though rumors have been circulating about an even earlier start date. Initial production will begin in China and Korea several months before the North American-spec version, as GM is prepping its Fairfax and Detroit Hamtramck plants for 2012 Malibu duty. While you're waiting, check out the latest set of high-res spy shots in our gallery.

[Source: Brenda Priddy & Company]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks pretty good to me from what we can see. Good move by Chevy to downsize the Malibu a little to make the Impala still relevant. Looks like Chevy is following Hyundai's lead by offering downsized engines with turbochargers.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am so sick of new cars with a jacked up trunk, and rear door handles higher than the front ones, they look like ugly wedges from the profile.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Have you seen the new Taurus? Looks like a three-story building in the back.

        The Regal looks so much better in person than in pictures. I was very impressed with it at the auto show. The Malibu might be the same. Really hope they are planning to use nicer wheels - those look rather heavy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Get used to it? No, I don't have to get used to it. I agree with Scott. It may be a styling trick to get better highway mileage but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Malibu wasn't first and on the top respectively simply 'cause it came a year later after now discontinued corporate cousin and identical twin Saturn Aura. But if Aura is somehow forgetable, Malibu is still decent car and vital for new GM.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks to me that its much larger than the regal and its really a chevy Impala based off the lacrosse platform.

      Photos can be decieving but it looks to me to be the new impala not the malibu

      • 4 Years Ago
      There is no difference in this and what GM had been doing. It's still badge engineering, still great when it comes out and quickly gets outpaced by it's rivals.

      To see how to do it right, look to Hyundai.

      Same ol'GM except minus 169 billion in liabilities, lots of pissed off former fans, stockholders, bondholders and creditors.

      SORRY GM, I WILL NEVER FORGET. And why shouldn't I? Everyone else today is as good or better. Ford took no money, only the secret 16 billion in credit from the government.

      Go big government! Go socialism! Go America...

      ...right down the toilet.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ford took the billions you mention, plus the cash windfall from Cash for Clunkers and in addition they took more than another billion in 2010 alone and don't even begin to pay it back for years.

        Take a look at Ford's filings.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is 2012 too early for the next generation?
      Indeed, the spy car looks more like a facelift version rather than an all new one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      With the disguise on, it masks every part that doesn't look exactly like the Regal, so I can't really get any feel for it. We'll just have to see later.

      I'm not sure why AB even bothers commenting on the interior. The current one is a good (but not great one) and it's not like AB isn't going to slag the new interior regardless of what it looks like anyway.
      • 4 Years Ago
      the 2.0T with AWD and a manual transmission would make a pretty nice Malibu SS.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Look at it side-by-side with the Insignia/Regal, it's the same lines, same hard points and many of the same and lightly restyled parts. They're all the same car underneath.

      GM isn't going to invest millions in making US tooling to produce just one car (the Regal) without making other variations of it to amortize the costs which is what the new Malibu is.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Do I really have to ask again? How in the hell do you see any of this with the masking? By the way, the Epsilon II chassis is under more cars than just this and the Regal. The Lacrosse and the upcoming XTS use the Epsilon II platform. Both look nothing like the Insignia. So yes, they are spending money to make different looking cars upon the same chassis.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Duh. Of course GM is going to maximize platforms - it's what every smart manufacturer does. GM just does a somewhat better job of reskinning their platforms than some others, say, Ford.
      • 4 Years Ago

      Good point MyThreeRocks. The current malibu is not even close to competitive. GM has never been at the top, they have been at the back of the pack the whole time.

      This car may be an improvement over the current Malibu (how could it possibly be any worse?) but unfortunately for GM both the Camry and Accord are getting revised soon and the Sonata and Optima are solid cars in this class.

      Lets hope this Malibu is not as uncompetitive as the Volt.


      How can anyone have such a warp mind? You either work for a Japanese company or are not very informative or both to put it mildly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Camry and Accord will have stretched wheelbases of around 111 inches. Regal's wheelbase might not work for Malibu. Just saying.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why redesign the outside? That old one is probably the best looking car in their lineup. Its only problem is once you get past the pretty face say 10 feet away you see how cheap the rest is, like the interior. How about fix that guys, stop redesigning the outside when that is not the problem!
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