By on September 21, 2012

Hey kids! Are you feeling nostalgic for the old Celebrity Eurosport? Well then — line right up!

Although the Malibu Turbo is coming to market about two years behind the Hyundai Sonata Turbo and Kia Optima Turbo, it does make less power than either and it also has less room in the trunk and rear seat. Probably. Still, based on how long it took GM to bring out the Fiero after the X1/9 debuted, and the length of time between the showroom appearance of the first PT Cruiser and the Chevrolet HHR, this is remarkably rapid response from GM. The car also features a full nineteen more horsepower than the old Malibu Maxx SS from a decade ago, even if it can’t quite match the older car in actual passenger volume or utility.

Look for the Malibu Turbo to comprehensively beat the Sonata Turbo around a road course thanks to aggressive shock settings and for this fact to be widely touted even as the ‘Bu’s inability to keep within javelin distance of a Camry V6’s taillights is thoughtfully ignored by GM’s media lapdog. Sorry, kids, this time the Japanese Beigekrieg is likely to blitz the feckless General.

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33 Comments on “You’re Going To Like The Way You Look In A Malibu Turbo...”

  • avatar

    introductory year: 60% right
    year two: 70% right
    year three: 80% right
    year four: 90% right
    year five: Dead car walking…

  • avatar

    I doubt that the fact the Malibu turbo is slower than the Camry V6 will hurt Chevy any more than the fact that an ’04 Impala SS was faster than an ’04 Camry V6 helped GM.

    The whole “less room” and “the new Fusion exists” thing is probably a bigger deal.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      the new malibu passgenger compartment is almost three inches wider than the old car and feels roomier, though rear knee room is less.

      • 0 avatar

        The wheelbase is fully 4.5 inches shorter than the old one, that has to have some toll on legroom.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        Don’t ask Doc Olds to explain the complexities of basic math. It simply wasn’t required to be an engineer at GM.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @ranwhenparked- The new Malibu actually has a whopping 0.7″ less rear knee room in the generally larger passenger compartment compared to the old one. Rear shoulder room is up 3.2″.

        Malibu’s wheelbase is down 4.5″, but still just 1.5″ shorter than Camry and Altima.

        Go sit in one and you will see that the car is roomier.

        Can’t beat actually checking the car out “live” rather than reading other’s impressions which often project the author’s own biases.

      • 0 avatar

        ……..Don’t ask Doc Olds to explain the complexities of basic math. It simply wasn’t required to be an engineer at GM…….

        I think it is safe to say the engineers were not the ones with the math and logic problem. I’d put that squarely on the back of GM accountants who refused to believe that if you made the car better, you would get better sales. Sadly, the longer the product is lacking, the longer the investment in better product will take to overcome buyer perception. Hyundai took, what, a decade or more to eliminate the Excel from the minds of buyers. And that was after five years of horrid product. GM has a lot more bad inertia to overcome and their product line today is pretty good. A lot of competitive product, but since when does bringing home a “B” constitute being good enough. GM needs bread and butter cars like the Malibu to be class leading and equal in reliability to the cars that “Japan Only” people are used to.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @golden2husky- you are certainly right that GM needs home runs. The jury is still out on the Malibu, though I have seen a few right wing blogs slamming it and of course the GM haters. Lets see how it fares as the full lineup is released. The car looks like a big step up compared to the old one, inside and out. Get the pol’s to dump CAFE and we could have turbo V6 AWD which are all ready to go in these cars and available elsewhere. On the other hand, my son’s Buick GS drives quit nicely and Chevy is likely to get something more like that as well.

      • 0 avatar

        Knee room is a big deal IMO, I was flabbergasted when I sat in the backseat of my friend’s G8 for the first time. I thought the Aussies get it, why does everyone else not?

        “Malibu’s wheelbase is down 4.5″, but still just 1.5″ shorter than Camry and Altima.”

        This comes back to the whole “if we can’t beat ’em join ’em” thing GM is doing with Cadillac. Your Malibu model should be bigger and better than the Camry/Altima if that’s what its intended to compete with… not smaller. I haven’t been in an Altima in ages but I have been in the 07+ Camry and it by no means is a big luxurious car, nor is it in any way impressive… its automotive Prozac. Chevy’s trying to move upmarket right? Give the customer something more upmarket than Camry for the money, previous gen Malibu was able to do just that which is why it was so successful in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Chevrolet wants to sell you an Impala if you want more rear knee room, apparently!

  • avatar

    Just about everyone looks cool in a racing suit, but a Malibu seems like a real stretch. I don’t think anyone really buys those for either style or track times.

  • avatar

    Let’s face it, just about any car is fast enough to do anything that should be done on a public road.

    • 0 avatar

      And I hazard to guess that 85% of the driving public doesn’t use a car to anywhere near it’s potential, even though it’s needed. 260+hp in a CamCordSonatima is of no use when most people stop at the bottom of ramps to merge or do the cruise control pass.

      • 0 avatar

        Bingo – my 104hp (supposedly) Hyundai spends way too much time pulling away from cars it has no right pulling away from. Granted, I mostly treat the gas pedal as digital rather than analogue, but still. I still feel slightly sorry for the 1M owner who I managed to thoroughly out-accelerate merging on the highway.

  • avatar


    You heard it here first (at least I did).

  • avatar

    After finally seeing the “game changer” 2013 Ford Fusion, being unimpressed with the interior design, and nothing less than massively skeptical about the reliability and durability (or lack thereof, to be more precise) of a 1.6 liter turbo mill that’s pulling around 3,600 lbs (with just a driver) to 4,000 lbs (with a full crew and their “stuff”), I am beginning to see the new Malibu in a decisively favorable light.

    That the Malibu has more power, more choices under the hood, and a broader range of suspensions to choose from makes it even more appealing to people who are looking to get into a 4 door sedan of the CamCordFusionAtaMalima breed.

  • avatar

    Are the other 2013 Malibu powertrains out yet? I saw a new Malibu LT today; Since it didn’t have any “Eco” badging, I assume it didn’t have E-Assist. I haven’t heard PR about them. Considering the beating GM has been taking in the press over this car, you’d think they’d be shouting from the mountaintops about new powertrains.

  • avatar
    dash riprock

    Was there a point to this post? Seems that the Malibu has been thoroughly trashed here in the past, did this entry add anything? Just seems like a lazy effort that reinforces apparent biases

    • 0 avatar

      It’s my very humble opinion, but if what I’ve been hearing first hand from specific individuals I know and trust is remotely credible (and I have zero reason to doubt that it is), the Malibu is going to be very much redeemed as a great car, early trashing by automotive critics/pundits notwithstanding.

      I even got into a terse bitch fest with a B&B here on TTAC about how some of the claims he was making about fuel economy of the Malibu Eco (aka mild hybrid) was a stretch, and I’ll probably eat crow on that debate.

      I am the furthest thing from a brand loyalist (though Mazda tends to pull my heart strings – and wallet open, like the circa-1996 to 2002 Acuras did), but I after seeing a Malibu in the flesh recently, I absolutely think the interior is fantastic in styling and materials, and the exterior looks way better than it appears in photos.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    With a 3.6 SIDI there’s a chance to leave the fridge in the dust. But thanks to “downsizing”, I guess it won’t happen.

  • avatar

    Broken clock is right twice a day…
    My HHR SS is blast to drive and still a practical,economical mini-wagon. Yet I’m NOT a big GM fan. But it sounds like the Bu turbo has the same engine as my HHR (2.0L, 260 Hp), so I’ll give it a long look.

  • avatar

    1000 internets will be awarded to the first person to put authentic black and red “Eurosport” badges on a new Malibu.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Wonder how many former Saab 9-3 owners will trade in for a Malibu turbo since the next gen 9-3 was to be based on this platform.

    • 0 avatar

      Probably very few considering that Saab would take and change 1/3 to 1/2 of the parts of any another car on the platform. They would have become very different vehicles.

      • 0 avatar

        There’s also the issue that the last few Saabs didn’t sell all that well to Saab owners because they weren’t very Saabish.

        I mean, the 9-3 sedan was a nice enough car, but it was more of a mediocre front-drive BMW, or an Acura without the reliability. No hatch, not a lot of quirks, not particularly practical.

        Saab fans, and admittedly there aren’t many, are (anecdotally) defecting in equal measure to VW and the Toyota Prius.

  • avatar

    Frankly, it was very silly for Chevy to even consider unveiling a next-generation Malibu that isn’t the best at ANYTHING.

    The Malibu should have sported the most interior room OR the most horsepower OR the best fuel economy OR the lowest price OR the most toys OR the best looks OR any number of superlatives.

    But it doesn’t do ANY of those things. Not on paper; not in real life (real life advantages are better).

    In this day an age, “just good enough” is just another way of saying “mediocre.” Chevy has no one to blame but themselves.

    And unlike the Civic, this isn’t going to automatically sell like gangbusters regardless of the lack of effort. This segment is too cutthroat. We’ll see if consumers prove me wrong, but I forsee the Fusion eating Chevy’s lunch.

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