The Korea Herald


[Behind the Wheel] Sharp but stable: All-new Malibu ready to challenge mid-sedan segment

By Korea Herald

Published : May 8, 2016 - 17:26

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In a dramatic change from previous models, GM Korea’s new Chevrolet Malibu 2016 is sleeker than before in design and has more power.

The new Malibu, presented during a media test drive on a rainy day last week, offered a stable driving experience at speeds of around 120 kilometers per hour, proving that it was ready to challenge its rivals in Korea’s mid-sized sedan segment.

The new Chevrolet Malibu (GM Korea) The new Chevrolet Malibu (GM Korea)

At first, the new Malibu gave the impression of a sharp, progressive sedan. But inside, it felt spacious and luxurious, thanks to the soft-leather dash, latest in-car technology and infotainment space offered by Apple’s CarPlay.
The new Malibu features a longer length and wider wheelbase than its competitors, such as Hyundai’s Sonata and Kia’s K5, offering a spacious and comfortable driving experience, according to GM Korea.

Despite the wet road, the 2.0-liter turbo engine-equipped model, quickly responded to acceleration, keeping its stable performance, along with its supportive safety technologies such as “lane keep assist.” However, the brake pedal felt a bit heavy when pressed, especially at high speeds or when making turns at corners. At some points, the car’s rear also felt a bit loose.

The Malibu also got 10.3 kilometers per liter on average for a nearly 60-kilometer round-trip between Seoul and Yangpyeong, slightly lower than its official fuel efficiency of 10.8 kilometers per liter.

Based on these strengths, GM Korea is aiming for the new Malibu to become a game changer in the nation’s mid-size sedan segment, which has long been dominated by Hyundai’s Sonata.

“We got more than 6,000 preorders in the first four days of preorders last month,” said a GM Korea official.

Industry experts are expecting that the new Malibu’s entrance into the market, on top of Renault Samsung’s mid-size sedan SM6, will have a significant impact on Hyundai’s weakening presence in the segment.

The price of the new Malibu ranges from 23.1 million won ($19,750) to 31.8 million won, depending on the engine type and other options.

By Hong Sung-pyo (