Morgan Pritchett
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History of the Chevrolet Malibu

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A dark blue 2000 Chevrolet Malibu parked in a parking lot
Photo: Akdylan18 via CC

Chevrolet has an affinity for creating legendary family sedans, and the Malibu is right up there with the best of them. Introduced in 1964, the Chevrolet Malibu has one of the most storied histories of any American vehicle and is still performing well today.


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Early history

The Malibu was first introduced in 1964 as a trim level of the Chevrolet Chevelle and existed as such for over a decade. It wasn’t until 1978 that the Malibu became its own model. The Malibu ran as its own nameplate for only 5 years before going on a hiatus that would last 14 years. Chevy finally reintroduced the Malibu in 1997, and it has been in constant production ever since.

In 1978, the Malibu had a design that mirrored many cars of that time period. It featured a boxy shape and a long hood. The model was available as a two-door coupe, a four-door sedan, and a five-door station wagon. When the Malibu was reintroduced in 1997 in its fifth generation, Chevy ditched the coupe and station wagon options and exclusively sold the car as a four-door sedan.

The Malibu entered its sixth generation in 2004 and was briefly offered as a station wagon once again. However, this did not last long, as by the time the vehicle entered its seventh generation in 2008, it was back to the four-door sedan as the only option. Throughout the next 5 years, the Malibu was offered with a handful of engines, ranging from an efficient 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder to a more robust 3.6-liter V6.

In 2013, the Malibu headed into its eighth generation and featured a similarly diverse engine lineup. This was also when the Malibu moved to the GM Epsilon II platform and became a global vehicle. It made its worldwide debut at Auto Shanghai in China and was marketed in nearly 100 countries on six continents.

A gray 2022 Chevrolet Malibu parked in front of a city building
2022 Chevy Malibu
Photo: Chevrolet

Recent generation

The Chevy Malibu is currently in its ninth generation, which it entered in 2016. The design was much sleeker than previous models and it was also a lot lighter than the last generation, which helped to improve fuel efficiency. On top of that, this generation was the first time the Malibu was available as a full hybrid model.

A mid-cycle refresh occurred in 2019, with the Malibu receiving a larger grille, a new RS trim, and various exterior and interior updates. For 2022, the Malibu ditched the base L trim and made the LS its new base trim. This model also introduced electronic parking brakes on all models as well as two new exterior colors: Mineral Grey Metallic and Dark Ash Metallic.  

Even with such a long and well-loved history, there have been reports that the Malibu will be discontinued in the near future. But since it made a comeback previously, there’s still a chance that it could make its return another time.