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?
The sport package, long associated with entry-level vehicles boasting questionable rear spoilers and not much else, remains a puzzling fixture in the automotive landscape.
For low-end imports — rebadged or otherwise — this package historically meant a swoopy graphic plastered along the bodyside, supposedly meant to alert bystanders to the vehicle’s blistering, paint-peeling speed. For others, it simply meant nicer wheels and a spoiler. Ideally a large one, so those same bystanders could ponder the downforce needed to keep a midsize, front-wheel-drive sedan’s tail planted. Rarely was there an addition of a single extra horsepower, and most lucid people knew this.
Chevrolet is keeping this tradition alive, resurrecting the sport package for its 2017 Malibu. However, while the current generation Malibu bowed to positive press, several changes coming for 2017 contain hidden downsides.