New 2018 Chevrolet Malibu Review

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Nothing substantive, given timing that places this midsize sedan between a major redesign for 2016 and an expected freshening for 2019. Bringing sleeker styling, a roomier interior, more sophisticated powertrains (including a fuel-saving hybrid), and added features, the ‘16 redesign helped turn what was little more than a rental-agency’s standby into a bona fide contender for your retail dollar.

Indeed, Malibu sales are trending upward; it sits comfortably in fourth place among midsize cars behind the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima. Demand jumped 15.8 percent over the first nine months of 2016, even as midsize-car sales dropped 8.3 percent. The reason? Shoppers are snapping up crossover SUVs, sending that segment to a nearly 9-percent sales increase.

New 2018 Chevrolet Malibu Price

Why should I wait for the 2018?

Only if you’re primed for what’s likely to be a fairly mild update, but one almost certain to be accompanied by higher prices. We might see expanded availability of select features, a few fresh paint treatments, perhaps addition of a new appearance or equipment package to spur sales. On the upside, you’re ’18 Malibu will look fresher than a ’17 and its appearance and content will probably see it through until its next full redesign, slated for model-year 2021.

Should I buy a 2017 model instead?

If having the absolutely newest look is a low priority. You’ll sidestep the anticipated annual price boost, and get what’s a solid family-sedan value. The ’17 lineup consists of the base L, volume LS, and upscale LT models with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The posh Premier model has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a nine-speed gearbox. There’s also a fuel-frugal Hybrid model that pairs a four-cylinder gasoline engine with a two-motor electric drive unit (it’s otherwise equipped similarly to the LT).

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