FOR RELEASE: October 7, 1996 CONTACT: Chevrolet Communications Phone: (800) CHEVY-MI or: (810) 492-8841 Fax: (810) 492-8853
WARREN, Mich. -- The midsize shopper is one tough cookie. They read, research and analyze. And, when they finally buy, they want something more than they expected. Good thing thereís the 1997 Chevrolet Malibu.
"Malibu prospects are smart shoppers," said Jim Heckert, Malibu Brand Manager. "They're looking for a balance of features, and Malibu delivers with its emphasis on quality, safety, reliability, value and attention to detail."
Malibu's quality begins "under the skin" with a full frame front chassis cradle -- a "U" shaped backbone of tubular steel that supports the engine and suspension components. This chassis cradle, along with a new body structure, is designed for added stiffness. This stiff structure improves overall fit and finish, and reduces squeaks and rattles -- another hallmark of quality. In addition, acoustical foam baffles are built into strategic places such as door frames, rocker panels and the roof. These blocks expand from the heat of the paint baking ovens to several times their original size to absorb unwanted noise and vibration.
Also contributing to Malibuís quiet ride: A one-piece carpet shell provides an extra sound barrier to minimize noise from outside the cabin, and a thick acoustical mat is used on the engine side of the dash to absorb underhood noise before it gets to the passenger compartment. Vulnerable areas, such as the steering column and wiring harnesses, are also sealed against noise.
Another benefit of Malibuís rigid body structure is enhanced safety. A full safety cage surrounds occupants with a "cocoon" of steel. Crush zones help absorb energy in the event of a front or rear-end collision.
In the event of a side impact, foam filled side doors and steel side guard door beams help deflect the impact away from the passenger compartment. Malibu exceeds 1997 federal standards for side impact protection.
Malibu also features standard dual air bags and anti-lock brakes. Many of Malibuís competitors, including Ford Contour, Dodge Stratus, Toyota Camry DX, Honda Accord LX and Nissan Altima charge extra for anti-lock brakes on their Ď96 models.
Malibuís safety belts feature adjustable guide loops that accommodate different size passengers and allow the belts to perform more effectively. Child comfort guides allow most children (ages four to 10) to wear safety belts without the belt interfering with the face or neck.
Malibuís safety belts are also compatible with child seats.* Some child seat manufacturers require extra clips and retainers. A locking latch on the front and rear outboard positions allows the customer to pull the lap belt snug with very little effort, eliminating the need for any extra hardware.
In addition to safety, reliability is a top requirement for potential Malibu customers.
Malibu features extensive use of two-side galvanized steel for protection against corrosion. Two-side galvanized steel helps prevent corrosion-causing moisture and chemicals from getting to the sheet metal, keeping the exterior of the vehicle looking better, longer. In fact, 100 percent of all Malibu exterior body panels are two-side galvanized, even the roof. Toyota Camry, by comparison, uses non-galvanized sheet metal in roof construction.
Malibuís available aluminum wheels are protected with a layer of metallic paint, plus an extra clear coat. The paint layer helps the clear coat adhere better and provides better protection against corrosion.
Malibu is easy to own and operate, allowing owners to drive up to 100,000 miles between tune-ups. Transmission coolant fluid is filled for life; in fact, the automatic transmission fluid dipstick has been eliminated from the engine compartment. The extended life engine coolant has a scheduled replacement interval of 5 years or 150,000 miles.** Many of the bulbs on the instrument panel have been replaced with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which never need replacement.
Another way Malibu will appeal to discriminating buyers is through attention to detail. Chevrolet conducted extensive research to find out where customersí "hot buttons" were. As a result, Malibu boasts several clever and useful new features created in direct response to customer needs:
Midsize sedan buyers donít want to sacrifice ride and handling for low price. Malibuís four-wheel independent suspension (with fully independent "tri-link" rear) provides responsive ride and handling, excellent driver control and reduced feeling of "rear-end" slide in harsh cornering.
Also, front suspension knuckles are aluminum, reducing mass and "jolt," which occurs when the suspension bounces back from a bump. In addition to being lighter, aluminum wonít rust like iron. Aluminum is also used in some brake components, reducing weight by 20 percent compared with traditional brake systems.
Malibu is available in two trim levels -- Malibu sedan and LS sedan. Malibu sedan is designed to have the look, feel and amenities that some buyers might expect from a more expensive sedan, i.e., up-level carpet and fabrics, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo radio and comfortable, supportive seats.
Malibuís standard engine is the 2.4-liter Twin Cam L4. The Twin Cam produces 150 horsepower -- more than the standard four-cylinder engines offered on Ford Contour, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
A four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is also standard. Most competitors, including Contour, Camry, Accord, Dodge Stratus and Nissan Altima, offer five-speed manual transmissions as standard equipment. This transmission features second-gear start capability. By manually shifting the gear selector to second gear when starting, Malibu provides improved traction on loose or slippery surfaces such as ice or snow.
Malibu features large 11-inch front disc brakes with a generous swept area. A larger swept area helps keep brakes cool and helps reduce the effects of brake fade in hard braking situations.
LS models feature a standard 3.1-liter V6 engine, gage package, power door locks, AM/FM with cassette, power windows, remote keyless entry, fog lamps and aluminum wheels.
Malibu is Chevroletís newest addition to its passenger car lineup, slated for arrival at dealerships during the first quarter of 1997.
* GM recommends that child restraints be placed in the rear seat for optimum protection.
**Actual maintenance may vary depending on use; consult ownerís manual.
Go to 1997 Malibu award presentation information.