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Chevy tweaks Malibu, but not for Holden

Local look: Chevy's grille tweaks won't apply to Aussie versions of the Malibu, since Holden already designed its own unique grille.

Holden says Malibu’s fast-tracked US facelift won’t make its way to Australia


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3 Jun 2013

CHEVROLET has fast-tracked a facelift for its Malibu mid-sizer in response to slow US sales, but the changes won’t apply to Australia’s Holden-badged versions when they launch next week.

General Motors last night revealed a slew of updates to its US-market model, including a sharper grille design, a roomier rear seat, tweaked centre console design, a punchier turbo engine, revised suspension tune and extra active safety.

It is believed GM hastened this update in response to slower-than-expected domestic sales and some unfavourable reviews. The Malibu was launched only 18 months ago, and most mid-life upgrades occur about three years into a car’s life cycle.

In short, the company has re-designed the front seat-backs to free up 32mm of extra rear knee room, added more cabin storage, and included a blind-spot monitor and rear traffic alert system (similar to the one used on Holden’s new VF Commodore).

GM has also added idle-stop to its base 145kW/253Nm 2.5-litre engine for fuel economy gains of five per cent, re-calibrated the flagship 193kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo engine to produce about 14 per cent more torque, and tweaked the dampers to keep it flatter in the corners.

Holden’s versions – to be built in South Korea and set for media launch next week – will get none of these changes, but director of external communications Craig Cheetham says most wouldn’t apply to our market anyway.

Our versions will be powered by either 2.4-litre petrol or 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engines, and will already have their own Australian-specific suspension tune and unique Lion-badged grille design.

It is unclear whether our versions will get the active safety technology, but it seems likely Australia will miss out on the small improvement in rear legroom.

As reported, the Malibu will replace the unloved Epica in the mid-size segment, and take on rivals such as the Toyota Camry and Mazda6.

Full details on the Australian-market Malibu, including pricing, will become available following its launch next week.

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