QOTD: Does Any Car Do a Better (or Worse) Job of Looking Good and Bad Than the Chevrolet Malibu?

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

Sometimes the little things make a big difference. Body color door handles, for example, can take a simple compact car from appearing fit for penalty box duty to appearing worthy of driveway placement. Swap those black side mouldings and matte black mirror housings for body color paint and you’re home free.

In other instances, the absence of foglights in foglight housings turns a decent front fascia into a disappointment. A bigger front air dam has the potential to suggest the addition of horsepower. Chrome window surrounds, upgraded lighting, metallic paint, and red-trimmed grilles can add a premium aura to otherwise pitiful products.

Oh, and don’t forget the wheels. Wheels can cover a multitude of design errors.

But does any car benefit more from big, stylish wheels; body colour mirrors; and LED daytime running lights than the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu? And does any car suffer more from small wheels with puffy tires, black mirrors, and stock lighting than the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu?

On the one hand, the ninth-generation Chevrolet Malibu that was introduced earlier than expected for the 2016 model year can be downright eye-catching? Long, low, and wide, the Chevrolet Malibu Premier appears worthy of the $31,850 price GM wishes to charge. Sure, it’s a bit droopy from some angles and there are a wide variety of conflicting shapes around the lower air intake and the foglight housings. But overall, the current Malibu represents a massive leap forward for GM’s remaining midsize sedan.

Or does it? Strip away the mirrors’ paint, swap the Malibu Premier’s optional 245/40R19 Continental ProContact TX tires for 205/65R16 Firestone FT140s, eliminate the $695 sport suspension kit’s 10-millimeter drop and the $495 chrome-edged grille, slap on wheel covers, remove the LED lights, and the Chevrolet Malibu L loses all of its luster. Dealers don’t want this poverty-spec midsize car any closer to their actual showroom than a pre-owned first-gen Spark.

Does any car do a better job of swapping stained sweatpants for a three-piece suit than the ninth-gen Chevrolet Malibu? Does any car do a worse job of trading tuxedos for tracksuits than the ninth-gen Chevrolet Malibu?

[Images: General Motors]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

Timothy Cain
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  • SPPPP SPPPP on Aug 24, 2017

    When I look at this car, I don't think long, low and wide. I think long, tall, and narrow. The "bustle butt" is mostly responsible for this, I think. And the super-high beltline.

  • Pig_Iron Pig_Iron on Aug 25, 2017

    Does it come in a brown electric self-driving wagon with stick? Then no.

  • Kars This article was about Ford not Tesla - you are clearly confused.
  • Ollicat Those are individual charging stations vs entire gas stations that have 8 - 16 pumps. And gas stations take 3 minutes to fill vs 30 min to hours for a charging station. And gas pumps are much more likely to be working vs charging statins. Nice try with more propaganda though.
  • Richard Poore Sure, as the article itself notes (hence my ire) California has mandated that all new vehicles sold in state be EV by 2035. They require EV or hybrid by 2026. Since the author admits to this mandate it seems that the article title is clickbait... was really hoping that there was some sort of changes in the CA position since the state is sorely behind on where they need to be with charging stations for this sort of requirement.
  • VoGhost When will Audi eliminate the fake, oversized grills that impede aerodynamics?