Holden drives away to Malibu

After suffering through almost four years of the slow-selling Korean-built Epica, Holden has revealed its fresh mid-sized force for 2012. Its new sedan will be known as Malibu, a nameplate that has existed in US on Chevrolets since 1964 and, like its smaller Cruze sibling, will become GM’s global offering.

Unveiled at Auto Shanghai in China, the Malibu is built on GM’s Epsilon II platform, which also underpins the Opel Insignia and Saab 9-5. The front-drive chassis utilises a MacPherson strut front and four-link independent rear suspension arrangement.

When the Malibu arrives in Oz in late 2012, Holden says it will be powered by a “range of efficient four-cylinder engines.” However only specs for an all-new 2.5-litre direct-injection four-cylinder were released. Producing 141kW at 6200rpm and 245Nm at 4500, the Ecotec-badged donk is tied to a GM Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission. Holden will also likely pine for a diesel engine option.

While the sharp-suited exterior takes front-headlight cues from the Insignia, its rear tailights are based on the sportier Chevrolet Camaro’s. One nifty interior feature is a flip-out touch-screen audio system that reveals a hidden storage pocket behind it. Holden claims the interior also utilises premium soft-touch materials and classy ice-blue lighting.

While Australian Malibus will come from South Korea, the car will also be built in the US and China.

More information on the Malibu will be available in Wheels, June 2011 issue, out May 18th.

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