While the Chevrolet Malibu has evolved technologically since its debut in 1964, what hasn’t changed is Malibu’s mission as a midsize car with styling that stands the test of time.
Here’s a look at nine generations of Malibu:
Generation 1 – 1964-1967
Although originally launched as premium sedan for families, the first Malibu was quickly caught up in the muscle car wars of the 1960s and soon after its introduction, the sporty Malibu SS was born. The Chevelle SS took the lead for Chevrolet’s muscle cars in 1966 and the Malibu continued as the premium model, tailored for the growing number of suburban customers who sought roominess yet efficiency for their long commutes every day.
Generation 2 – 1968-1972
Based on the original intermediate platform, the 1968-72 models’ dimensions shifted with a slightly shorter 112-inch wheelbase for coupes and convertibles and a longer, 116-inch wheelbase for sedans and wagons. Like the 1964-67 models, each model year in the second generation had distinctive year-over-year styling differences.
Generation 3 – 1973-1977
The 1973 introduction of the third-generation Malibu brought a new frame that retained the previous 112-/116-inch wheelbases, but to accommodate new federal crash standards, the bodies grew about five inches in length and one inch in width. A European-inspired Laguna model briefly dethroned the Malibu from its perch atop the midsize hierarchy.
Generation 4 – 1978-1983
Chevrolet discontinued the Chevelle line after 1977 and the next generation of downsized midsize cars would stick strictly with the Malibu name from 1978 onward. They were a foot shorter and more than 500 pounds lighter, offering V-6 and V-8 engines. There was even a dedicated police car package.
Generation 5 – 1997-2003
After a five-year run with the fourth generation, the sun set on Malibu from 1984 until 1997, when it was reborn as an all-new, front-wheel-drive sedan, offering four- and six-cylinder engines. It was named Motor Trend Car of the Year for 1997.
Generation 6 – 2004-2007
Malibu moved to GM’s award-winning global platform for 2004, offering greater technology, efficiency and performance – including the return of the Malibu SS, which featured a 240-horsepower 3.9L V-6. The Malibu range also included the Malibu Maxx five-door extended sedan, which offered greater cargo room and innovations such as the ability of the rear seat to slide seven inches fore and after and reclining rear seat.
Generation 7 – 2008-2012
Riding on an enhanced, longer version of the platform introduced on the 2004 Malibu, the seventh-generation models introduced greater levels of refinement, performance and efficiency – along with enhanced safety features, including standard head curtain side air bags. It was voted the 2008 North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Generation 8 – 2013-2014
Redesigned for 2013, Chevrolet further enhanced Malibu for 2014 with greater efficiency, new connectivity features, comfort enhancements and a new front-end appearance. It offers the segment’s first engine with standard stop/start technology and an available 2.0L turbo engine with 259 horsepower that continues a performance legacy established 50 years ago.
Generation 9 – 2016
Lighter, leaner and longer, the completely redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Malibu delivers more efficiency, connectivity and advanced safety features than ever, along with more rear legroom and interior space. An available hybrid powertrain helps Malibu achieve a GM-estimated 48 mpg in city fuel economy. Malibu also features Teen Driver, a system that provides parents with a tool to help encourage safe driving habits for their kids, even when they are not in the car with them. It is the first in the industry with a built-in system that lets parents view on a display how their teenager drove the vehicle.
The 2016 Malibu will be manufactured in Kansas City, Kansas, at the Fairfax Assembly plant from globally sourced parts. It is due in Chevrolet dealer showrooms in spring 2016.