Can This Aging Sedan Hold Out Until Help Arrives? 2010 Chevrolet Malibu - Click above for high-res image gallery The year was 2007. The top-selling mid-size sedan, the Toyota Camry, was garnering a lot of praise from its most recent refresh, and automakers were furiously scribbling on notepads trying to get their next round of competitive vehicles out the door. General Motors had been going through a long string of bad press due to lackluster quality on the vast majority of its vehicles, and a big change needed to take place. Enter the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu. When it launched, GM was proud not only of its design and engineering, but of the improved quality and higher-grade craftsmanship that had been put into its new mid-sizer. The new Malibu made a big splash – so much so that it was named the 2008 North American Car of the Year, and the well-to-do sedan started selling in droves. But now it's 2010, and since the Malibu's launch we've seen new versions of the Mazda6, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and Subaru Legacy, not to mention first-time entries into the segment like the Suzuki Kizashi. The initial praise that the Camry enjoyed in 2007 is now fading fast, and the Malibu has two more years left until an all-new model arrives. So with all the stiff new competition on the block, does the Malibu still lead the pack, simply keep up or something worse? Continue reading... %Gallery-102514% Photos copyright ©2010 Steven J. Ewing / AOL One thing we've always noticed about the current Chevrolet Malibu is how big the sedan looks compared to everything else in its class – odd, too, because at 191.8 inches long, it's actually shorter than the Honda Accord and Mazda6. This size illusion can mostly be chalked up to the fact that, of every car in the mid-size sedan segment, the Malibu's design is the one that could stand to flex its muscles a bit more. Still, we don't think GM made any mistakes by sticking to a more conservative design with perhaps its most important volume model – remember, this is a car that has to be attractive to the widest variety of shoppers. The Camry, for example, certainly won't win any beauty pageants, but those still sell like there's a winning lottery ticket locked in the trunk. Our mid-grade 1LT tester wasn't loaded to the brim with exterior goodies like foglamps, large alloy wheels or the LED taillamps found on higher-spec Malibus, but it's still an attractive package (though we'd never order a tan/brown car with GM's 17-inch chrome-clad wheels). Our only real beef with the Malibu's design is the rear fascia – those pointed-tip taillamps slapped on a flat, upright surface don't exactly speak of stylishness. What starts as a clean, attractive car up front comes to a quick end out back, and we're interested to see what the 2012 Mailbu, with its reportedly Camaro-inspired rear end, will look like. While the exterior styling is a …
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