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Over the past nine months, we've seen the next-generation Chevrolet Malibu twice at General Motors media events that were closed to the public. On neither occasion were we allowed to take any photographs of the styling buck, but now we can finally show you what the next Malibu looks like. A General Motors filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office shows what is obviously an unidentified Chevrolet four-door sedan.

It retains all of the standard Chevrolet design features including the dual-port grille and four individual tail lights. Compared to the current and very well reviewed Malibu, the new car has more sculpted surfaces, especially around the corners. The chopped off tail of the current generation car is generally considered to be the weakest part of that design, and the new model addresses that area with what looks to be a much more attractive posterior.

The new Malibu will ride on the same Epsilon II platform that underpins the Buick LaCrosse and Regal. The new model will have a shorter wheelbase than the 112.3-inch span of today's car, but it's not clear if it will be as short as the 107.8-inch wheelbase of the new Buick Regal. The new Malibu will, however, be both wider and taller than the current model. The interior is also significantly upgraded with higher quality materials as GM tries to keep up with the advances of new models from Ford.

The next Malibu will probably debut in late in 2011 as a 2012 model, and we may see it in public at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. The timing of the Malibu should line up nicely with the Ford Fusion/Mondeo replacement and make for a very interesting battle in the mid-size sedan market.

[Source: Carscoop]

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