Okay. To put it simply, the new Chevrolet Malibu hasn’t been well-received. Despite the car being quieter, more efficient, and more modern than the outgoing model, the 2013 ‘Bu is shadowed by just about every other vehicle in the segment in some form or another — be it fuel economy, design language, refinement, technology, or cabin space. So in light of this, GM CEO Dan Akerson himself — who has gone on record in disproving of future product tips — told Automotive News that the Malibu will see a refresh as soon as next year.
All Akerson would mention is that the Malibu would receive a facelift of sorts. We expect it to adopt Chevy’s new design language seen on the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, and ditch the twin-port look currently adorning the Malibu’s front fascia. But the car’s biggest issues are a bit more concrete than what a facelift can fix. So we asked our sources what’s really going on, and they shared with us that changes will be happening underneath the hood just as much as in front of it.
As we pointed out, the Chevrolet Malibu is offered with a 1.6L turbocharged four cylinder Ecotec engine in other parts of the world, but not in North America. However, this particular 1.6T is outgoing, as GM Europe is currently busy putting the finishing touches on a new 1.6L turbo Ecotec engine, one capable of making 200 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. The engine will first debut in the Opel Cascada, but is expected to eventually make its way to North America, where the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu may be one of the first models to receive such an engine. That being the case, we don’t see much need for the 2.5L naturally aspirated Ecotec, which delivers a lesser 197 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque in the Malibu, though perhaps Chevrolet will offer both in tandem for those who are shy about turbocharging technology. There’s no word on fuel economy for the new turbo 1.6 yet, but the small engine can only be so thirsty, if you ask us. Perhaps we’re just asking for too much here, but an eight-speed transmission should also do wonders for the ‘Bu’s fuel economy as well.
Stay tuned to GM Authority for more GM News and updates on what to expect from the Chevrolet Malibu’s upcoming refresh.