2016 Chevy Malibu Sheds 300 Pounds, Gains 4 Inches Of Wheelbase

A lighter, longer Chevy Malibu heralds a forthcoming GM mid-size lineup designed to maximize efficiency, economy and aesthetic appeal. In the case of the 2016 Malibu, weight savings of around 300 pounds will transform one of the heaviest mid-size sedans into one of the lightest.

The new Malibu certainly looked impressive at its New York Auto Show debut but beauty is more than skin deep. Speaking of skin, GM achieved the dramatic weight loss without resorting to aluminum body panels that allowed the new Ford F150 pickup to lose a whopping 700 pounds.

Instead, GM reworked the basic design process for their Epsilon mid-size, front-wheel-drive platform with an eye to easy adaptability between nameplates. As well, the new Malibu will only be offered with 1.5-liter or 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines.

The current vehicle was designed to accommodate engines as large as the 3.6-liter V-6, and thus had to be built stronger regardless of what size powerplant it actually carries.

“We really looked holistically at the entire lineup to get the design elements and proportions that we wanted for each,” explains Jim Fleming, director of design for GM's global architecture team, “rather than doing them one at a time.”

The new Malibu and its platform-mates will also sport an additional 4 inches of wheelbase, allowing for roomier rear seats and easier ingress/egress for back-seat passengers. Mid-size Buicks such as the 2016 LaCrosse and the next-generation 2017 Regal will also enjoy these upgrades (which means no V6's) but Chevy's mid-size flagship gets the honor of bringing them to market first. (via Automotive News, images via Chevrolet.com)