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Chevrolet introduces Malibu XL flagship for China; hybrid model following later this year

Chevrolet has launched the Malibu XL, the brand’s new flagship sedan for China. Chevrolet’s latest hybrid technology will also be available in the Malibu XL lineup later this year. (Earlier post.)

The Malibu XL currently comes with a choice of two engines with fuel-saving start/stop technology. GM’s popular Ecotec 1.5L turbocharged engine delivers an unmatched power-to-weight ratio in its segment, with maximum output of 125 kW (168 hp) and peak torque of 252 N·m (186 lb-ft) at 2,000 rpm.

The Malibu XL with a 1.5L turbocharged engine is 120 kg lighter than the current Malibu thanks to the application of lightweight materials. It offers fuel efficiency of 6.0 liters/100 km (39 mpg US), and is eligible for the Chinese government’s 50% purchase tax cut for vehicles with small-displacement engines.

The Malibu XL is also available with a 2.5L direct-injection engine. Through valve timing adjustment and precise fuel delivery control, the engine offers maximum output of 147 kW (197 hp) and peak torque of 253 N·m (187 lb-ft). It offers fuel efficiency of 7.3 liters/100 km (32 mpg). The engine is mated to an all-new six-speed DSS intelligent transmission.

Enhancements were made to key parts through high-precision simulation to boost the body’s strength for better occupant protection in the event of a collision. About 40% of the structure consists of ultra-high-strength steel, for added protection. This also contributes to the exceptional body stiffness and the solid performance of the chassis, suspension and steering systems.

The Malibu XL’s newly upgraded sport-tuned chassis delivers agile and accurate handling. Improvements in its MacPherson front suspension—such as the addition of aluminum parts, a high-quality hollow stabilizer bar and hydraulic bushings—augment its agility. The four-link independent rear suspension in the Malibu XL has an upgraded link between its rear axle and connecting rods, improving adaptability to different road conditions.

Front ventilated brake rotors receive Ferritic Nitro-Carburizing (FNC) treatment, a GM-patented process, to reduce corrosion and abrasion of friction plates and rotors. This has the added benefit of reinforcing braking performance while reducing vibration and noise.

The Malibu XL comes with 10 new-to-Malibu active safety features. They include:

  • Front Pedestrian Alert that uses a forward-looking camera to help avoid or reduce the severity of impact to pedestrians ahead of the vehicle, as the system can apply automatic last-second braking;
  • New Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning;
  • Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert;
  • New Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator;
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert;
  • Front and Rear Park Assist;
  • Intellibeam, which automatically switches the headlamps to high beam for better road illumination and improved visibility;
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Automatic Braking;
  • Automatic Parking Assist.
  • New traction and electronic stability control system, which helps limit wheel slip and assist the driver in maintaining control, especially in slippery road conditions.

Derived from GM’s new midsize global architecture, the Malibu XL benefits from an array of advanced safety, connectivity and fuel efficiency technologies. It challenges the defined boundaries of its segment—hence the XL, or “Cross Limits,” designation, according to Chevrolet.

The Malibu XL is the first sedan in its class in China to offer available built-in OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity. Users can connect up to seven mobile devices within 700 square meters of the car.

The vehicle is also equipped with Chevrolet's new-generation MyLink infotainment system, which supports more than 40 functions for communication, entertainment and driving. When coupled with an iPhone, the system can access apps such as voice navigation and media players through Apple CarPlay.

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