A single shadowy image shows what appears to be little more than a light styling update, but the new model (debuting as the Chevrolet Malibu) will actually sit upon a new, stronger platform which increases its size and cuts weight by 136kg.
Almost 100mm has been added to the Malibu’s wheelbase, addressing one of the outgoing model’s shortfalls by increasing rear seat leg room.
No such problems with the current Malibu’s boot however, which should point to a new model that meets the compromise of cargo space and rear seat comfort for a medium sedan.
But is the new Malibu still a ‘medium’ sized car, and will we see the next model in Australia?
The current Malibu is 4865mm long, while our home-grown Holden Commodore sedan measures 4947mm. Adding around 100mm to the Malibu’s wheelbase could well see it overtake the Commodore for length.
GM’s Design Vice President, Ed Welburn, has hinted that this won’t be the case, saying the new model will have shorter front and rear overhangs than its predecessor to keep sheet-metal content roughly the same.
The Malibu could feasibly replace the Commodore as Holden’s ‘large’ family sedan when the latter departs in 2017, but that won’t be happening if the current sales charts are anything to go by.
While the midsized passenger car segment is far from Australia’s favourite right now, the Malibu’s sales tally of 74 units last month puts it well behind the likes of Subaru’s Liberty, the Mazda6 and Volkswagen’s Passat - ignoring the segment-leading Toyota Camry, which had almost 47 percent market share in February.
This has yet to be confirmed however, and several other vehicles in GM’s global range could yet emerge as the new Commodore; including a road-going version of the Buick Avenir sedan concept, which was designed in Australia.
The Insignia is due to arrive back in Australia soon wearing Holden badges as the Insignia VRX, giving Holden a preview of how the car might perform sales-wise as its sole ‘large’ family car; replacing both the Commodore and Malibu.
Stay tuned to TMR for more.
MORE: GM Talks Up Next Malibu As Sales Slide In The US - Report
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