The Chinese-spec 2016 Chevrolet Malibu was photographed testing a few days ago, unencumbered by any camouflage nonsense, and it looks remarkably like the current eighth-generation car.
Indian Autos Blog has the spy shots, and as you can probably just make out in the lo-fi pics, the rear passenger doors terminate at a point that’s centered over the rear wheels – just like the current car. The stance, sculpture, and pretty much everything else are practically indiscernible from the pre-facelift 2013 North American Malibu. The only thing that looks to have changed is the narrower front grille.
Meanwhile, if you happen upon any North American Malibu test cars, the differences between those and the Chinese-spec car seen here becomes fairly apparent. The side profile is entirely different, most notably as it relates to the rear glass, which is much more dramatically sloped in the North American testers.
So, chances are that what we are looking at here is not the ninth-generation Chevrolet Malibu but rather a facelift of the current car for the Chinese market. We’ll count that as a blessing, because that would be the most underachieving next-gen model in recent memory.
Update: it is possible that the tester we see here will be sold in China alongside the all-new 2016 Malibu as the Malibu Classic. The practice of continuing to sell a previous-generation vehicle with a few updates alongside the all-new version is common in China, and Chevy does just that with the all-new Cruze and Cruze Classic.