We don't have to look much further than the 2013 Ford Fusion as proof that family cars should no longer be boring to look at, and after apparently taking some heat for the redesign of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet is reportedly preparing an emergency redesign of its midsize sedan in a similar fashion that we just saw happen to the 2013 Honda Civic. Automotive News is reporting that Chevy is working on refreshing the Malibu by the end of 2013, which is about 18 months after the new car went on sale earlier this year.

General Motors CEO Dan Akerson was quoted as saying that an enhanced, but "not dramatic," design update is being planned for the Malibu by this time next year, and it will at least include a new front fascia. Based on the styling direction at Chevrolet as seen on the new Impala and Traverse, we expect the updated 'Bu to get more of an angular look especially in regards to the grille and headlights.

The sooner-than-expected design change is apparently a result of criticisms from dealers and the media as well as unimpressive sales figures. AN says that Malibu sales were up four percent earlier in the year due to increased incentives to move the 2012 models, but once the full model year changeover took place (in September and October), sales dropped by three percent.


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  • 237 Comments
      cgm9999
      • 2 Years Ago
      Jeez, I know the Malibu underachieves and underwhelms with it's lackluster powertrain options and it's propensity to drive like an old Sonata, but I never once thought this car looked ugly, in or out. A little boring? Perhaps. Ugly, though? That's a bit harsh, especially in a world where Porsche Panameras, Dodge Avengers, and Nissan Murano CrossCabriolets exist. The real issue here isn't the styling, folks. GM has far too long been guilty of building cars that are far too heavy for their class. In the mid-size sedan segment, it's not impossible to buy a Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, VW Passat or Toyota Camry that weighs about 3350 lbs. or less in some cases. The Malibu? Almost a whopping 3,600 lbs. in Eco trim and about 3,700 lbs in 2.0 Turbo trim. That's unacceptable. A 50-100 lb. difference between competing cars is normal and accounts for various size and trim discrepancies. A 300 lb weight difference between cars in the same class is called a design failure. How this car left the design room knowing that it's weight wasn't competitive is beyond me. Extra weight is not only felt every time the go pedal is depressed, or the steering wheel turned, but also at the pump; the fuel efficiency is disappointing in the Malibu despite it's complicated and expensive "mild" hybrid technology. One of these days GM is going to discover that often times the most competitive cars in their respective classes tend to be the ones with the most modern, rigid, light chassis' From an engineering standpoint, less weight means being able to do more with less. Chevy should've peaked over the cubicle and spied what Cadillac was doing with their excellent ATS to get an idea of how to pare unnecessary weight from a chassis. Unless this refresh addresses the Malibu's rotund nature (it won't), expect the Malibu to continue to be a dud until it rolls out with a new platform.
        PatrickH
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cgm9999
        Love your comment but you lost me when you said the ATS was lightweight, lol. Still about 200lbs obese there.
          ss1591
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PatrickH
          I am not sure what you are looking at but the ATS is 130 pounds lighter then either the BMW 3 or the Mercedes 350! It is 300 lbs lighter then the A4 and has been praised by everyone so far. But the Malibu needs to go its like a week old fish dinner.
        design eye
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cgm9999
        GM never focused on mass until the new CAFE regs started emerging. It was always a cost focus.
        Snailguy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cgm9999
        The overweight issue is even more embarrassing considering that Chevy specifically DOWNSIZED the new generation.
        Vinuuz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cgm9999
        This is true for GM in their other segment cars also. The Cruze is amongst the heaviest in its class, eclipsed only by the Dodge Dart.
      irishgal5018
      • 2 Years Ago
      It looks like every other car on the road today, no matter who makes them, they ALL look the same.
      Kuro Houou
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think they have a midsize car with a compact size interior, that is the problem! I sat in one of these and felt more cramped then in a Cruze or Focus. I don't know where the space went. Its like GM went back in time to its old days and made a big heavy car at the sacrifice of interior room and comfort. Cut the thickness and weight of the body and free up some space inside, thats the only thing that will fix it. To bad that would require a total redesign. The Malibu is doomed :(
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      Unless the refresh makes the interior and trunk any larger than the Cruze, they shouldn't even bother.
      Karl T
      • 2 Years Ago
      Need to fix those tail lights while they're at it...
        Danrar
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Karl T
        The new corporate butt is similar to these anyway though. Slight shape change on the Impala and Traverse.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Bruce Lee
        • 2 Years Ago
        I kinda get ehy GM did it, the old Malibu had a horrible turning radius compared to the competition. If you do a lot of highway driving you probably wouldn't notice, but if you had to make a tight U turn it'd end up becoming a 3 point turn in the Malibu when both the accord and camry could do a U turn. And in places where a Camry needed a 3 point turn the Malibu required something like a 9 point turn. GM tried to address this by cutting down the wheelbase but they didn't really make any impressive advancements in packaging...so now you get a cramped back seat. Honestly I think they might have to lengthen it back out an inch or two.
        design eye
        • 2 Years Ago
        Because the new Impala was morphed from the larger, more thirsty RWD Aussi platform to an extended Malibu platform and occupied that package space.
          ss1591
          • 2 Years Ago
          @design eye
          The RWD platform (Pontiac G6) shares no parts with a Malibu. The Malibu has the short wheelbase version of GM FWD platform and the new Impala gets the long wheel base version shared with the Buick Lacrosse. The real issue with the short wheelbase has to do with Chevrolet trying to put a car between the Cruze and the new Impala leaving no size for a car in its class. GM can spend 500 million trying to fix this Malibu but it wont help, give it away for two years and replace it with a lighter car that skips the $3k electric stop and start.
          design eye
          • 2 Years Ago
          @design eye
          Read my comment more carefully.
      MANARC100
      • 2 Years Ago
      1. Putting on the new corporate face is a good move for brand consistency but not going to make a difference in sales. 2. The interior is made up of nice materials designed by a blind man. Ditch the fake wood and that huge A/C vent looking thing across the dash. 3. Much Much more leg room in the rear seat. This is a family sedan that a family can not use. FAIL. 4. Price is too high. Maybe the plan always was to have a high MSRP and load up the incentives which is beginning to happen. $1500 dollars already on a 2013 Malibu. $4000 or more when the 2012's were still around. This 2013 will be at or over $4,000 in incentives in the next 12 months.
      lthrnck68
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let's go completely retro. Make a duplicate of the 67, but with all modern technology and materials.
      Smooth
      • 2 Years Ago
      More power to them. Do like Honda and address you were wrong and early on. The new Civic is very nicely done, hopefully Chevy can follow with the Malibu and change people's minds about it. Once the new Accord and Fusion came out, they really made the Malibu an irrelevant car. They're just that good and the Malibu is, sadly, just that bad.
      John Switzer
      • 2 Years Ago
      Their biggest mistake was trying to tout this 'car' as a worthy recapture of the Malibu's of yesterday. Not even close, Kids. It's boring; just another look a like four door ho-hum sedan. No excitement at all.
        steve
        • 1 Year Ago
        @John Switzer
        No one under 50 can remember the old Malibus. You are talking about a small fraction of buyers. I think Chevy just wanted a storied name to glue on the car--case closed. I will say the 2008-2012 Maibu was better than the current model. It looked more regal and premium and beat Toyota in quality tests.
      NICK1234
      • 2 Years Ago
      Have half of you people even been in one of these yet? The interior quality is far better than the 08-12. I own an 09. Its not bad, but far from what the 13s are. Now, that doesnt mean that the chrome and other glossy bits couldnt go bye bye. I also think that the outside of these car looks good! Catches my eye everytime i see it in a parking lot. I think the new fusion looks good up front, but from A-pillar back its nothing special.
        Brandon A Boone
        • 2 Years Ago
        @NICK1234
        The new Malibu is hot and about the closest thing I can get to the Camaro with having a baby on the way. It's more aggressive and adds more technology. Better consistent MPG nice trim (a bit to much chrome). The fact that the trunk has a much wide mouth resolves the issue with going to pickup bigger items and luggage. If you want a dull downed car please go get a Camry, if you want a more radical design get a Sonata both nice cars but for different reasons. The Fusion is not unique it stole it's entire look from Aston Martin, with that said it's nice but not for me.
      svt2399
      • 2 Years Ago
      They say that they are going to refreshen the front of the Malibu...what about that rear!? That is by far the most off-putting exterior design element.
        wstr1123
        • 2 Years Ago
        @svt2399
        Have you seen the rear end of the new Impala? Bloated, with straight lines on top of curves (schizophrenic). DOG-oh!
          Jesus!
          • 2 Years Ago
          @wstr1123
          You do realize the Impala is in the LARGE vehicle class. I think the 14 Impala looks great. So much in fact, it is on my list for next purchase. That is the first time ever in my life a Chevy came up on the list.
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