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Copyright © 2012 Autos Weblog, All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners. Malibu has a five star safety rating with all that brings and is a five seater sedan with a large boot and optional spare.
It has a sporty ride with the edge going to the petrol model which has electric power steering, while the diesel has hydraulic steering. We like the look of Malibu and suggest it's almost on par with the new Commodore with which it can be (fleetingly) mistaken. The petrol engine is economical and sings sweetly, revving out willingly and smoothly thanks in part to the locally calibrated six-speed auto.
You could shop Malibu against Commodore though that is sacrilege if you think all cars should be made here. Here's a radical thought: if Holden was to build the Malibu in Australia, put Commodore badges on it and add a bit more pep to the engines it might sell up a storm.
Australian car buyers have made it clear they no longer want large family cars, now preferring medium SUVs or small cars.
Named after the famous California beachside suburb on the west coast of the USA, the Holden Malibu comes in two trim levels, CD and CDX. Malibu CDX moves up to 18-inch wheels, front foglamps, chrome highlights on the body, and LED rear lights. Coming out of the Chevrolet design centre in the United States, the Malibu had extensive input from downunder, with Australian Mike Simcoe, GM's Executive Director Design, overseeing the operation.
Holden Malibu exterior design manager, Justin Thompson, led work on the new VF Commodore and says the Malibu shares design highlights with the Holden Commodore.
The interior styling of the Malibu was the work of a team led by Yan Huang from Holden, while she was working in the United States.

All of which means that Australia is alive and healthy in the GM engineering and styling world, something that bodes well for the future of the automotive industry here. We reviewed both engine options during our two-week road test period with the new Holden Malibu. We found that the turbo-diesel took some time to get into its stride off the mark, exhibiting more lag than is the norm these days.
Importantly, the Holden Malibu rides and handles like an Australian car thanks to engineering input from Holden vehicle dynamics engineers based at the Lang Lang proving ground south west of Melbourne. Road and engine noise were kept at bay from the passenger cabin in both cases, occupants held in well sculpted, comfortable, leather clad seats. Soft interior surfaces give the feeling of prestige, there's plenty of storage for personal items and cup holders, the largest to take a one-litre container.
The boot is huge, a real plus in a front-drive car compared to one with a differential under the floor. The diesel is not as smooth but has more torque and uses less fuel though it costs more in both grades.
It's as good as anything in this class and is pitched at an affordable price with generous kit, attractive styling and pleasing engine performance.
The Holden Malibu, which is sold as a family car by Chevrolet in the USA, is a size down on the Commodore and may have turned out to be exactly what Aussies are looking for in the second decade of the 21st century. The entry level Malibu CD has 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, automatic headlamps, powered height-adjustable seats, an electric park brake and a seven-inch colour touch screen to access Holden's MyLink app-based infotainment system for music and satellite navigation use. Interestingly, the new Chevrolet Camaro is also a product that benefited a lot from the Holden design team. It has a strong suite of other items, including stability control, brake assist and six airbags.

Sensor key and push button start give it a thoroughly modern feel the moment you approach it.
This can be frustrating to driver who have come to love the response of Holden engines over the years.
Instruments and gauges were well positioned and the touch screen image was as clear as a bell.
Rear seat legroom proved marginal if there were taller occupants up front, unless they were prepared to give up a notch to three in their own legroom. These are important factors in a family car and the designers should be complimented for their attention to detail.
Score one for the Malibu in the comparo with the Commodore - that is, if you're not the sort of driver who loves the added control provided by a rear-wheel-drive car. In comparison, the 2.4-litre petrol unit positively sprinted from standstill and was much more flexible in its feel. Perhaps the idea of fitting Commodore badges on the Malibu would be scuppered for this reason alone. Only time will tell, but in the early days Malibu is generating a reasonable amount of showroom traffic and certainly deserves to succeed.

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