The Chevrolet Malibu midsize car is named after the city of Malibu in California. This car has had two lives: one as a fire-breathing, rear-wheel-drive, midsize muscle car and the other as a front-wheel-drive midsize sedan focused on practicality, comfort, and fuel efficiency. The Malibu is in its ninth generation and is still going strong as one of GM’s high-selling car nameplates. With over 20 NASCAR racing titles secured, this car has also had outstanding success in racing and motorsports.
The Malibu was introduced in August 1963 for the 1964 model year as the top trim level of the popular, rear-wheel-drive Chevrolet Chevelle muscle car. The Chevelle hit the market at the peak of the muscle-car era and it became one of the most successful muscle cars ever built. In 1964 alone, Chevrolet sold 338,286 units of the Chevelle. Between 1966 and 1967, the Chevelle did even better with total sales of over 850,000 units.
The 1st-generation Chevelle Malibu (1964 - 1967) was available in a variety of body styles that included a two-door sport hardtop coupe or convertible, a four-door sedan, and two-seat station wagon. The Chevelle Malibu was also offered with an available Super Sport (SS) package. The Malibu SS was pitted against the likes of the Pontiac GTO, the Oldsmobile 442, and the Buick Gran Sport. It was only offered as 2-door sport coupes/convertibles, and it had exclusive performance-themed parts and accessories like sport bucket seats, engine gauges on the center console, a 4-speed manual or Powerglide transmission, and special wheel covers. The 1964 Malibu SS was offered with a 6-cylinder or V8 engine, the most powerful one being a 300-hp 327 cid (5.4 L) V8.
The 2nd-generation Chevelle Malibu came in 1968. It had a semi-fastback look with a long-hood and short deck, and it looked beefier than the prior generation. This generation was also more refined, with richer cloth or vinyl upholstery materials and even wood trim. The base engine for this generation was a 200-horsepower 307 cid (5.0 L) V8.
In the 3rd-generation Chevelle (1973 - 1977), the Malibu and Malibu SS were initially offered as mid-range trim levels, but they soon became the sole trim levels when the base Deluxe trim level was dropped and when the range-topping Laguna trim level was replaced by the Malibu Classic.
After the Chevelle’s 3rd generation, Chevrolet dropped the Chevelle name, so in 1978, the Malibu was offered as a stand-alone model for the first time. This 4th-generation Malibu was produced until 1983, and it had sharper lines, a more streamlined design, and a lighter chassis. This generation offered a 3.3-liter V6 as its base engine, and it could be had in coupe, sedan, or station wagon body styles.
After its 4th generation, the Malibu went on a 14-year hiatus. When it came back to the car market in 1997, it was a completely different car. Unlike the prior Malibu generations that appealed more to thrill-seeking car enthusiasts, the 5th-generation Malibu was a more sensible midsize sedan that appealed to moms and dads and people in the market for daily drivers. It had front-wheel-drive, a sleeker exterior with rounder edges and sweeping lines, and smaller, more fuel-efficient engines that included 150-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and a 155-horsepower 3.1-liter 6-cylinder engine. All V8 engines were dropped.
The 6th-generation Malibu was introduced in 2004 and was available in both sedan and hatchback body styles. This generation saw the reintroduction of the SS (Super Sport) model in 2006. This SS model was driven by a 240-hp 3.9 L LZ9 V6 engine, and it also came with exclusive parts and accessories like a rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, SS-badged sport cloth/leather front seats, chrome tip exhausts, side skirts, and an SS-badged three-spoke steering wheel. However, after this generation, the SS model was again discontinued.
The 7th-generation Malibu (2008-2012) was a bit larger than its predecessor, and it was also more refined in both its look and feel. It was named the North American Car of the Year in 2008 at the Detroit auto show. This generation was only offered as a 4-door sedan, and its engines included a 4-cylinder engine, a V6 engine, and for the first time, a hybrid engine that pairs a 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor. The 7th-generation Malibu also added innovative safety features like GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, a traction control system, an electronic tire pressure monitoring system, and daytime running lamps.
The 8th-generation Malibu (2013-2016) borrows a lot from the 7th-generation model in terms of styling; however, it has sharper and more aggressive contours. The 8th-generation Malibu also looks and feels more modern on the inside, and it adds hi-tech features like a MyLink touch-screen infotainment display that may include Pandora, SiriusXM satellite radio, and 3D navigation.
The current 9th-generation Malibu was introduced in 2016, and it matches the styling of the latest Chevrolet vehicles on the market e.g. the Traverse and Equinox. This generation is nearly 300 pounds lighter than the 8th-generation Malibu, and it also breaks from tradition being the first generation not to feature a V6 or inline-6 engine. All the engine options on offer in the 9th-generation Malibu are advanced and highly fuel-efficient, turbocharged 4-cylinder engines. The 9th-generation Malibu also offers the largest cabin yet, with an equally enormous trunk.
If you have any of the generations of the Chevy Malibu, you can now protect, enhance, and uniquely style it with the latest Chevy parts and accessories here at GrokAuto. For example, you can enhance its exterior with larger alloy wheels, a body kit, and a rear spoiler. You can also personalize its cabin with custom seat covers, an aftermarket steering wheel, aftermarket sport front seats, sun shades, floor mats, monogrammed mats, and much more. Here at GrokAuto.com, we believe in demanding the new! New tech, new products, and new experiences. Whatever your next passion project is for your Malibu, we can help you make it a reality.