Having witnessed the reveal of the next generation Malibu as far back as the 2011 Shanghai auto show and read through innumerable reviews, this week we welcomed its appearance at our little garage located north of the 49th parallel. After all of the contentious banter we were anxious to take the car for a spin and get an opportunity to do a hands-on evaluation.
Exterior colour is Silver Ice Metallic and the interior is Jet Black/Light Titanium.
Price of this vehicle, including 1SE preferred equipment group options (sunroof, rear vision camera, 8-way seating adjustments) and destination fee: $31,740 (Canadian currency).
Noteworthy initial impressions:
- Fuel economy estimates can be readily attained with judicious driving habits. We experienced mileage numbers of 8.3L/100km (28 mpg) in the city and 5.7L/100 km (41 mpg) on the highway.
- Steering and handling is excellent for a vehicle of this heft, resulting in a solid if not particularly engaging driving experience.
- The MyLink infotainment system and driver console display are a significant upgrade over the outgoing model.
- The (optional) premium cloth seat fabric is a certifiable butt grater: it's like riding with an S.O.S pad inserted into your posterior.
- Interior appointments are a bit of a bric-a-brac, with hard plastic surfaces, insufferable faux wood grain inserts and walleyed center console dials that are positioned more for symmetry than ease of access.
- The exterior design is at times both incongruous and staid. If you're an aft man (or woman), the rear end is particularly inoffensive. Cues are clearly inspired by the Camaro but appear reluctantly diluted, in sharp contrast to the more aggressive front end of the car.
Stay tuned as we'll also be driving the 2.5L and 2.0L turbo versions of the Malibu and compiling a complete review.
Questions? Ask away and we'll do our best to oblige.