Spy Shots

Spy Shots—Production-Ready 2012 Chevy Malibu Takes Winter Drive

Chevy Malibu

It's been nearly three months since Priddy's team of spy shooters delivered shots of Chevrolet's upcoming Malibu, but here it is experiencing a bit of winter driving.

Back in December 2009, GM showed a select crowd the finished, next-generation Malibu. Priddy reported that she and the team had talked to a few of those in attendance for the December showing, and they confirmed that the interior and exterior design of this prototype matches the styling they were shown.

Unlike previous generations, this new Malibu will be a global car. In foreign markets, this vehicle will be sold as the Holden Epica and Daewoo Tosca.

Originally, it was not expected to go into production for the United States until Q1 of 2012. The start date has now been bumped up to Q4 2011. That said, rumors of an even earlier start date around the summer of 2011 have also been floating around. Much like the Chevy Cruze rollout, production of foreign-market versions of the Malibu will start in China and Korea several months before U.S. production begins. GM will invest $257 million to get the Fairfax and Detroit Hamtramck assembly plants ready to build the ’12 Chevy Malibu for U.S. production.

The Malibu will ride on the same short wheelbase version of the Epsilon II chassis that underpins the ’11 Buick Regal, according to Priddy. While the overall length of the Chevy will shrink compared to today's model, insiders who saw the finished product say the Malibu is roomier on the inside.

Under the hood, the Malibu will have the 2.4L SIDI four-cylinder or the 2.0L, turbo-charged Ecotec four-cylinder. Either will be mated to a six-speed transmission, and all-wheel drive will be optional. A hybrid version will also be available. Until recently, it was thought the Malibu would also get the 3.6L V6 as the top-end model. Pridday says that recent reports suggest GM will stay with an all-four-cylinder lineup.

Chevy Malibu Winter Run
Photo Credit: Brenda Priddy & Company