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We Hear: "Dramatic" Chevrolet Malibu Refresh Coming Early 2016

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/22/2014 Jake Holmes, Robin Trajano
2015 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo

A redesigned version of the Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedan will debut about a year from now with a "dramatic" design, according to Automotive News. That confirms earlier reports about the next Malibu and signals that the car could be ready for the 2016 Detroit auto show. The new Malibu (the 2015 model is pictured) will receive significant updates to help counter its falling sales.

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Chevrolet Malibu sales continue to disappoint General Motors, with year-to-date volumes down 7.2 percent compared to last year. The car was launched in early 2012 to lukewarm reviews, and was hastily refreshed for the 2014 model year, but Chevrolet Malibu sales still lag far behind those of the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, and Hyundai Sonata.

Automotive News reports that GM executives have high praise for the new Chevrolet Malibu. At an investor conference in October, GM product development chief Mark Reuss reportedly said the Malibu would have, "groundbreaking design but also groundbreaking technology."

"When is the last time you saw a [midsize] car this distinctive and this dramatic from General Motors?" he reportedly told investors.

Similarly, GM global design chief Ed Welburn told Automotive News that the next Chevrolet Malibu will have a, "very passionate design" that will, "make a significant statement."

2015 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo We Hear: "Dramatic" Chevrolet Malibu Refresh Coming Early 2016

When spy photographers caught camouflaged prototypes of the next Chevrolet Malibu testing, it was clear the midsize sedan will have a very different look compared to today's model. The new car's greenhouse appears to slope more dramatically in the four-door coupe style seen on rivals like the Ford Fusion and Chrysler 200, and the car's nose could take on a sleeker, more rounded look.

GM's Welburn has also told reporters that the new Chevrolet Malibu will draw some design inspiration from the new C7 Corvette. "As Malibu and Cruze and [the 2016 Chevrolet] Volt come to market, you'll be able to see a subtle link between some of the form vocabulary for all of them and Corvette," he previously told Automotive News. "I always look at the hood of the Corvette and the sectioning, the way it's taut, very lean, very sporty. That will be a part of really everything we do for Chevrolet."

It's also possible the next Chevrolet Malibu could ditch its current 2.5-liter inline-four base engine in favor of a smaller turbocharged four, possibly the 1.4-liter turbo used in several Chevrolet products. The Malibu's 259-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-four could remain as the upgrade engine.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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