Looking at the 2019 Malibu

Brian Smith, exterior design manager for Chevrolet passenger cars and crossovers, says that the 2019 Malibu has undergone “what we call an MCM—a midcycle major, a refresh, including a new front fascia, grilles, lighting, new taillamps on rear for up level trims, new rear fascia lower and new exhaust tips that we’ve pulled to the corners, to stretch them out a little bit. “The overall goal for us was to make the car more premium.” Malibu Premier And the top trim level Malibu is called the “Premier,” so the premium-ness is part and parcel of the fundamental vehicle itself.

Brian Smith, exterior design manager for Chevrolet passenger cars and crossovers, says that the 2019 Malibu has undergone “what we call an MCM—a midcycle major, a refresh, including a new front fascia, grilles, lighting, new taillamps on rear for up level trims, new rear fascia lower and new exhaust tips that we’ve pulled to the corners, to stretch them out a little bit.

“The overall goal for us was to make the car more premium.”

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MalibuPremier

Malibu Premier

And the top trim level Malibu is called the “Premier,” so the premium-ness is part and parcel of the fundamental vehicle itself.

Smith points out, “The RS is a big story for Malibu now.”

MalibuRS

Malibu RS

Here it is an all-new trim level for the Malibu, one that is sportier, including a black sport grille, black Chevy bowtie emblems, a rear spoiler, and dual exhausts.

“The RS,” Smith says, “is the opportunity for someone to have an affordable sport option.”

Pricing for the RS is expected to start at about $25,000.

The front fascia and larger, bolder grille on the Premier model are like those on the RS except that while the RS is dark, with a smoky chrome surround accenting the piano black crosshatching, the Premier is bright and eye-catching. There is a more subtle distinction between the upper and lower grille openings than is the case with the existing models.

And speaking of eye-catching, Smith notes that the Premier has LED headlamps; the RS has halogen.

Around back there are new taillamps, with a new light signature design for the Premier. That said, the RS, being a sporty model, has a decklid spoiler.

Although midsize sedans sales are decreasing compared to things like crossovers and SUVs (still, Steve Majoros, Chevrolet marketing director for Cars and Crossovers, points out that there are still annual sales of midsize cars on the order of 1.5 million units per year, so that’s nothing to overlook), Smith says, “Not everyone wants a big SUV. There is still volume in the sedan segment. I think the key is to stand out. You have to be distinctive. You have to be expressive. You have to offer the customer more than they expect.”

Other midsize sedans—think, for example, of the current-generation Camry—have also gone toward designs that have one model that is distinctly sporty vis-à-vis the other variants of the same car. Smith says that this is a function of wanting to be able to provide customers with greater choice.

CruzePremier

Cruze Premier

It is worth noting that Malibu’s new front end has made its way to the 2019 Cruze and Spark. “Malibu is the lead, then we wanted to apply it to the other cars, to provide a family appearance,” Smith says.

Spark

2019 Spark