General Motors has introduced the new 2019 Chevrolet Malibu for the first time in South Korea this week, launching the midcycle refresh to the midsize sedan at a special media event at the Inje Speedium racing circuit. The presentation took place shortly after the debut of the 2019 Malibu XL in China during the recent 2018 Guangzhou Auto Show. But the refreshed Malibu for Korea comes with a surprise: a new 1.3-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine.
All-New 1.3L I-3 Turbo Engine
In addition to the updated design and other improvements already seen on the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu in North America and China, the Korean version of the refreshed midsize sedan introduces an all-new, turbo-charged 1.3-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine.
No, that’s not a typo: the midsize Malibu will truly be powered by a tiny three-cylinder engine.
The new boosted three is a member of GM’s next-generation turbocharged engines, which the company claims to be the most efficient of its kind. Referred to by GM as “E-Turbo”, the new engine integrates the latest GM engineering technologies to achieve an optimal balance of performance and efficiency, including the use of lightweight aluminum, the inclusion of a new electric water pump that better controls the interior temperature of the engine, an electric waste system that maximizes the efficiency of the turbocharger, and a new electro-hydraulic brake system that replaces the mechanical vacuum booster to reduce the load on the block. An engine auto stop-start system is also present.
That engine is rated at of 156 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque from 1,500 to 4,000 RPM driving the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Fuel economy is rated at 14.2 km/l (33.4 mpg) in combined driving, which Chevrolet claims to be best-in-class.
The new 1.3L three-cylinder engine replaces the 1.5L LFV four-cylinder turbo engine, which was introduced for the 2016 model year Malibu as the base powerplant. The Malibu sold in China and North America continue to use the 1.5L LFV engine, which is rated at 163 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.
The new 2019 Chevrolet Malibu can already be pre-ordered in South Korea.
It delivers improved safety and technology features, an interior with new customization options and a choice of seven exterior colors:
- Kinder Blue (new)
- Dark Shadow (new)
- Snow White Pearl
- Switchblade Silver
- Dark Scarlet Red
- Modern Black
- Cappuccino Brown
The 2019 Chevrolet Malibu is available in four trim levels, and several optional packages in South Korea. Starting prices of each trim level are as follows:
- Malibu LS: KRW 23.45 million ($21,000 USD)
- Malibu LT: KRW 25.66 million ($23,000 USD)
- Malibu Premier: KRW 28.45 million ($25,500 USD)
- Malibu Perfect Black Premier: KRW 29.3 million ($26,200 USD)
The 2019 Chevrolet Malibu for South Korea is manufactured at the GM Bupyeong plant, which is also responsible for supplying other markets in Eurasia.
“Beloved by domestic customers with its attractive design and outstanding driving performance, the Malibu evolved again with more stylish exterior design and newly added cutting-edge features,” said Kaher Kazem, GM Korea CEO. “GM’s latest highly efficient, right-sized turbo engines, in particular, will become the icon of revolution that breaks the existing prejudice against displacement and leads technology trends in the automotive industry,” he added.