By on January 18, 2013

The minor model change for the Chevrolet Malibu will be more than just a Honda Civic-style refresh. Chevrolet will apparently address the cramped rear seating area as part of the overhaul.

Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg claims that the Malibu will feature a new front end that resembles the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, as well as “…Updates [that] will make the back seat feel roomier…” GM executives are on record regarding the existence of the refresh, but have declined to specify what will be involved.

TTAC’s Michael Karesh, who was famously critical of the Malibu Eco, found the Malibu 2.0T to be a much improved car- something that I would concur with, having sampled the turbocharged version during a stay in Florida. The Malibu’s reputation as a toxic vehicle may have more to do with the botched launch rather than the Malibu’s merits as a vehicle. In that case, the fault lies with management rather than the Malibu itself.

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37 Comments on “Chevrolet Malibu Refresh To Address Rear Seating Somehow...”


  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    “The Malibu’s reputation as a toxic vehicle may have more to do with the botched launch rather than the Malibu’s merits as a vehicle. In that case, the fault lies with management rather than the Malibu itself.

    Well I am glad that someone is aware of this.
    I believe that they will replace the front seats with the thin seats similar to the ones in the CTS. This will add about an inch or so in rear seat room.

  • avatar
    JSF22

    There’s no doubt the Malibu launch was horribly mismanaged, mismanagement only amplified by Chairman Dan continuing to talk about the car’s shortcomings. But, you have to admit, somewhere along the way, somebody in design or engineering might have noticed that the back seat was really tight and that that could be a problem in a mid-sized sedan. That said, I have found the car eminently rentable, quite pleasant to drive, and not bad looking on the road. Hope they fix it.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Not only stupid to launch the Malibu Eco, but stupid to opt for the “one-world” formula w/o erring on the side of going larger for the American market.

      Ford made the same mistake w/ the Euro-based Fiesta and Focus, but the Fusion was switched over to a larger platform than the norm (in Europe) for the segment.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Malibu’s launch taught Akerson he should not be making operating decisions.

  • avatar
    prndlol

    So it’ll get collagen injections before the lipstick is applied.
    It’s still a pig.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Thinner seats… how bout some of those mesh office chairs for front seats?

    • 0 avatar
      tmkreutzer

      They could call it the “Aeron Edition by Herman Miller.” It would be like one of those old AMC Javelins with an interior by Pierre Cardin.

      It’d also help eliminate the smell of stale farts that us used car buyers have to deal with.

      *edit* Thinking about it, I should probably copyright this idea…

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Honestly, if they can be made strong enough, and I suspect they can, that may be a viable design.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That’s it: thinner seats, shorter seat cushions front and rear, and a shorter front seat track producing reduced front leg room. Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul has never been more profitable!

  • avatar
    rpol35

    New front facade and a free sawzall to all qualified buyers!

  • avatar
    Rday

    It takes alot of work to miss the rear seat room on one of the hottest class of cars. I mean, it’s like they are clueless. When a leading corporation building cars for what??? a hundred years makes this kind of a screw up….it is just incompetence. They should be allowed to go out of business.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I can’t wait to hear Buickman’s take on this!

    Thinner seats are a good idea. I know the thicker the seats were, that used to mean more luxury. Now? Efficiency in space, weight and ergonomics should be the mantra.

    The major hurdle with thinner seats are the frames. If the OEMs can make the seat frames thinner and just as durable, that will open up lots of usable interior volume, and an airy-feeling interior is much more inviting even with gun-slit windows.

    IF this is what Chevy is thinking and IF they pull this off, it’s a win-win.

    Of course, it shouldn’t have come to this in the first place…

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I wonder if they aren’t trying to find some extra interior space by reconfiguring the seat locations. My brother’s MkIV Jetta back seat is not bad to sit in except the rear seat cushion is too high (or maybe too thick), inhibiting head room. Lower the rear cushion a bit and viola, a more usable back seat.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      No, it shouldn’t have. They should not be building (what they call) cars right now. They should not have been rescued. This is the kind of crap that put them into bankruptcy in the first place. Meet the new Citation.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I’m reading the site in Chrome, and there’s an ebay ad for a Malibu covering half the text. Nice.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    A thinner front seat with a little scalloping as with the Ford Focus(another car with sub par rear legroom but often never talked about) and a slightly re-arranged back seat are what will be addressed reportedly. A similar grille and front fascia from the 2014 Impala will be included along with tweaks to the transmission to eke out another MPG or two to make it more in line with the Camry/Sonata at 35 MPG. There is also talk of adding the new 1.6 turbo to the roster with upwards of 200 ponies so it is unclear if that spells the end of the eAssist or not.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Ford Focus(another car with sub par rear legroom but often never talked about)

      Actually I’m fairly certain that almost every review on TTAC has mentioned that fact, but the thing is that the Focus competes in the compact class not the midsize class that the Malibu is in.

      • 0 avatar
        chicagoland

        In the C class, rear seat room is not a priority. “Fun to drive”, cost and MPG are.

        But, I agree that the Focus has more of a B class interior, but its Euro-ness and MPG are draws.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      Yeah, and GM has a really good track record with turbos…all I can think of is the Pontiac 2000…a real winner there. And knowing GM hasn’t improved anything will guarantee its dependability? Yeah, right.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Is that the new Corvette??? Oh wait, I didn’t see it had 4 doors. I had just seen the tail lights and figured it was the Vette. My bad.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      Actually you are right on!

      What Chev will do is throw out the front seat and let you drive from the back; it’ll be the new 4 door Corvette and the rear leg room problem will no longer be an issue. Kind a, sort a like a Panamera…..

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    make the front and rear seat-backs thinner and the rear seats shorter and you will fool people into thinking you got more rear seat space.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    It sounds like the mid 1990′s again. Why didn’t thy just keep the previous Malibu, which was not really that old, for 1-2 more years? Then, bring out a true D class car?

  • avatar
    cargogh

    I can’t even remember the launch, but I dreaded it because the old Malibu was a lovely sedan in the midst of bulbous headlamps from Camcords and I knew it would not be an improvement. It was not. I don’t know about the Impala. Sometimes from the front 3/4 view, it looks like a Crosstour–not something to copy. Hope that back seat redo is really nice.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yeah the new Impala has me worried on wether they’ll finally fix the flaws of the W-body back seat which is the simple fact that the seat is almost on the floor. Decent rear seat room but very little thigh support unless you splay your legs out.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I’ve rented two Impalas recently, the last time at Christmas to haul five people around, and all the reaer seat passengers complained about it. I had to have an 80 year old sit in front because she couldn’t get out of the back seat last time.

        The problem is raising the seat cushion to true full-size standards will reduce headroom. That’s the downside of four-door coupe styling applied to full size sedans. My 6’2″ nephew barely had enough headroom, and raising the seat cushion about 3-4 inches would have given him minus 2-3 inches of headroom. That’s a pain in the neck!

        Murilee’s 1965 Impala would have been ideal. I owned one, and nobody ever complained about the overstuffed sofa in back. As I recall, I could see out the back window when it was raining, too. Unfortunately, that car had a CD of .60 and the 14″ wheels looked tiny by today’s standards. At today’s gas prices, the 12 MPG (on the freeway) is a non-starter, but it sure was comfortable.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    ““…Updates [that] will make the back seat feel roomier…”

    Uhuh…I know what these updates will consist of: at home we owned one 1983 Chevy Celebrity, as well as a 1984 and a 1985. The 1983 had great front legroom, not so much in the back. Apparently there must have been complaints, as the seat track on the 84 and 85 was noticeably shortened. Which in my opinion sucked, as I was already 6’3″ at sixteen and therefore much preferred the 1983 to the other two newer cars we had. So, my bet is seat travel: they’ll diminish it.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Chebby needs to learn from BMW that you can make a comfortable seat, and make it thin. They keep stuffing pickup truck seats into their cars, which are a foot thick and eat up already crappy rear seat space.

    The Malibu isn’t a terrible car, but bad impressions have been made with the Eco, and it has once again become forgettable.

    Don’t know how they will address rear seat space without just hollowing out the front seats and cushions in the back… Maybe put a Rolls-style umbrella in the door that instead holds a tanto sword for decapitations.

  • avatar
    amca

    Absolutely it was the launch that queered the current Malibu. The Eco is kinda a joke compared to real hybrids. And it doesn’t drive particularly well.

    They’re going to do just enough with the car to completely re-launch it, new front facia. Changes to the rear facsia – make of plastic, easy to revise. Make the interior look different. Maybe launch with one of GM’s rumored 9-speeds. Anything to differentiate it.


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