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

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
qotd does any car do a better or worse job of looking good and bad than the

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.

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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.

  • Tassos And all 3 were ordered by Fisker's mother. Seriously, given Fisker's terrible record of Failure in the past, only an utter loser, (for example, VGhost or Art Vandelay?), looking for a BEV terrible enough to be a proper replacement of his 11 mile range Fiat 500E, would order one of these. (apart from Fisker's mother)
  • Tassos And all 3 of them were ordered by Fisker's mother.Seriously, after Fisker's DISMAL record of UTTER FAILURE in the past, only a GOD DAMNED MORON would order this one.
  • RHD Any truth to the unconfirmed rumor that the new, larger model will be called the bZ6X? We could surmise that with a generous back seat it certainly should be!
  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.https://www.lhd.com.au/lhd-insights/australian-road-death-statistics/