It’s not often you get a chance to crawl inside a major product more than a year before its official launch, but even as most makers are starting to push their 2012 products, we found ourselves this week getting up-close-and-personal with the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.
The Malibu, you may recall, created something of a shock wave when the current version made its debut as a 2007 model – quickly grabbing an array of awards including the coveted North American Car of the Year trophy. It remains a solid seller, but the market has moved on and with all-new versions of the top-selling Toyota Camry and Honda Accord soon to market – never mind offerings like the Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion to deal with – Chevy is wisely hoping to wow us with the next-gen Malibu.
We got a first glimpse of the midsize sedan at the New York Auto Show, a few months back, but the General Motors division had a prototype on hand – along with some of the key designers and engineers working on the 2013 program – as we headed out to its sprawling Milford (Michigan) Proving Grounds.
There’s no question that Chevrolet isn’t planning to play it safe. As senior GM officials have stressed, the worst thing you can shoot for is simply a “competitive” vehicle. Inside and out, if Chevy ever hopes to seriously tackle the imports it has to be bold and aggressive.