A mid-size car, the Chevrolet Malibu was first introduced in 1964 as a Chevrolet Chevelle trim level. The Malibu became its own model line in 1978 as a rear-wheel drive vehicle. It was named after Malibu, California, an affluent coastal community in Los Angeles County.
Between 1964 and 1983, there were four generations of Malibu. Body styles included a four-door sedan, convertible, two-door Sport Coupe hardtop, and a two-seat station wagon. The roofline was redesigned with the second generation launched in 1968. There were several different stylistic changes between then and 1973, when the third generation was introduced, which included the Malibu Classic with four square headlights.
The fourth generation, sold from 1978 to 1983, completely replaced the Chevelle name and was up to 1,000 pounds lighter. During this model run, the Malibu was often used by NASCAR.
A fifth generation was introduced as a front-wheel drive model, using the GM N platform. Similar to some Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac models, it had an extended wheelbase. The Malibu Cruiser was launched in 2002. From 2004 to 2008, the GM Epsilon platform dominated sixth generation models that were sold as four-door sedans and the five-door Malibu Maxx hatchback.
The 2008 to 2012 series featured many trim levels and engine choices with a redesign intended to compete with Japanese mid-size cars. In 2016, the ninth generation Chevrolet Malibu was introduced with a sleeker design similar to the Impala, but larger. It also included a full hybrid model.
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