History of the Chevy Malibu
This year Chevrolet is highlighting its Malibu as the premier midsize family sedan. In its’ 30 plus years of history, the Malibu has been a consistent winner for its safety features and has taken home Car of Year Award on multiple occasions.
The 2016 Malibu is favored as its reviewed at the 2015 New York Auto show. If one thing has been made clear throughout its history it’s how impressive the Chevy Malibu has been and how it continues to be.
The Dawning of the Age of the Malibu
Since 1964, America has been watching the Chevy Malibu grow and we have been growing with it.
From its fast paced youth to refined practicality, this mid-size sedan is showing us what ‘grown up’ looks like; sophisticated elegance that lacks pretension. With its numerous accolades proving that being a grown up is actually kind of fun.
In 1964 when the Malibu first premiered, it was a small family sedan. As boring as that might sound, the Malibu redefined sedan to mean…
Like its namesake city, it was fun, youthful and happening. It was a rear wheel drive vehicle in its first four generations and it offered 300 horsepower in a small block V8. It was a bit audacious and fun to drive.
Brothers In Arms
With muscle cars everywhere, Chevy didn’t want to miss out. Born from the Malibu came the Chevelle and SS. These were introduced as the Malibu’s muscle car brothers. For the next four years it would increase its horsepower to 375 in 1968. It was offered in a range of different styles; two door hardtop, two door convertible and a four door sedan.
For its second generation, 1968-1972, little changed and why would it? You never fix what isn’t broken and the second generation Chevy Malibu was anything but broken.
The Chevy Malibu was proving to be successful as Chevy’s premium sedan. They added a wagon to its line-up. They also lowered the wheelbase on the coupes and convertibles as well as lengthening them for the sedans and wagons. It was still a smaller vehicle with a lot of energy.
The third generation model was introduced in 1973 and lasted until 1977. It was during this Generation that SS was now available in all designs. The change in design was to become more aerodynamic. With these changes, Malibu acquired a total of 25 wins in Nascar.
The Fourth Generation Malibu came out in 1978. It answered the demands of the people who wanted to have better fuel economy. While it was still being offered as a coupe, sedan or wagon, it was smaller in size than its predecessors. This generation would last until 1983 when the Malibu was discontinued.
Talking ‘Bout My Generation
After a brief hiatus, the Malibu returned in 1997 as a brand new car. After 30 years of providing fun, sunny Malibu weather to our everyday drives, its re-introduction was met with fame and praise. Those who had grown up driving the Malibu from the 60’s were now buying this Malibu for the kids. This was a new generation and expectations were different. New focuses on safety and image were emerging.
During its absence, other sedans had been taking its place but the 1997 Malibu showed up and reclaimed its spot as the favorite. The reviews were showing that it had indeed been missed and people were glad to see it back on the market.
As a front wheel drive midsize sedan, it offered a four and six cylinder engine accompanied by 150 or 155 horsepower.
Chevrolet had a lot to be proud of in 1997 as the Malibu was awarded Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. There was no question whether or not this was the right choice. The only question following that was how to keep this momentum going. Chevy had it figured out.
And Still Does…
Still growing and maturing, the Sixth Generation started offering more advanced features. This was both a generation and a customer that knew what it was looking for in a sedan. With improved technology, more efficient in performance, they sought to improve the riding and handling.
Chevy brought back the SS, which offered 240 horsepower with 2.9L V6 engine, and introduced the Malibu Maxx, a 5 door extended sedan. The Maxx had such features like more cargo room with sliding and reclining rear seats. Indeed this was a changed Malibu.
Lucky Number Seven
The Seventh Generation received critical acclaim again when it was voted North American Car of the Year award in 2008.
Its model was now based off a global platform with updates to its exterior including a brand new grill which would become the new face for Chevrolet, as well as two signature rounded tailights.
Green With Envy
In 2009 Chevy introduced the Malibu Hybrid. Featuring an electric motor/generator that shuts the gasoline engine off when idling, it boasted a 2.4L ecotec with a 4 cylinder engine and 4 speed manual transmission.
Offering other features like keyless entry, automatic climate control and satellite radio, it was clear they had clued into exactly who was buying their new Hybrid.
In 2010, the Malibu was GM’s top selling passenger car at nearly 200,000 units sold.
Producing for global market for the first time in 2013, GM announced the Malibu Eco into the world market. Designed for 100 markets in six continents, the Malibu continues to meet success all over the world.
Offering two different versions; the first comes with a powerful 197 horsepower 2.5L, 4-cylinder ecotec engine in a 6 speed automatic transmission.
The second boasts an even more powerful 259 horsepower 2.0L Ecotec turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Both engines give strong performance and have excellent fuel economy.
In 2015 the Chevy Malibu sought to stay relevant by appealing to both parent and teen drivers.
This new 2016 model year Malibu includes a feature developed for teen drivers. By entering a special PIN code in the onboard computer system, parents will be able to track distance, speed and any safety features that may have been activated while the teen was driving.
This system also helps to increase safety with features set to remind driver of seatbelts, warn of speeding when predetermined speed is set. In the very competitive setting of family sedans, this is putting the Malibu above the rest.
Audiences are already, rather impatiently, awaiting for the entrance of the 2016 Malibu. Its debut at the New York Auto Show show a promising release is coming soon. Best to keep both eyes fixed toward Chevy dealers in Lexington, KY for arrival.
With all the successes that Chevrolet has encountered with the Malibu since its return to the stage in 1997, it is no wonder that it continues to grow, impress and win with car dealers, shows and audiences.