Up at the front, it seems that the lower half of the Malibu's grille dips lower than the current model. In turn, it looks like the lower intake has been reduced in height. Underneath the headlights, we can see that the foglights and side vents have changed shape. They appear to be more upswept than the current versions.
The tail of the Malibu has seen more substantial changes than the nose. Compared with the current car, the trunk lid doesn't have as dramatic of an arch, and the tops of the fenders have been raised. The result is a rear deck that, while less curvaceous, looks wider and more planted like the front end.
We expect to see the refreshed Malibu fully revealed sometime next year, likely in the first or second quarter. We don't expect any major mechanical updates. Our spy photographer suggests the diesel from the Cruze and Equinox could become available. This would further spread out the costs of the diesel engine and cement Chevrolet's position as the lead economy diesel manufacturer. However, Chevrolet already offers a hybrid Malibu, and it might not make sense to offer two high-fuel economy versions of the midsize sedan, especially when one runs on cheaper 87-octane gasoline.