Chevrolet Malibu Interior Delivers a Touch of Luxury


DETROIT – The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu features an all-new interior that’s roomier, quieter, comfortable and connected, with luxury touches that push beyond expectations for the segment.

Chevrolet Malibu Interior

The new Malibu offers nearly four cubic feet (113 L) of additional interior volume, along with more shoulder and hip room than previous models and more usable trunk space than Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. It is the quietest Chevrolet ever and offers among the best seating comfort in the segment.

Compared to the current Malibu, the all-new 2013 Malibu is nearly three inches (76 mm) wider and has:

  • More than 1.5 inches (38 mm) greater front shoulder room and 3.5 inches (89 mm) greater rear shoulder room.
  • 2.7 inches (68 mm) more front hip room and 2.8 inches (71 mm) of additional rear hip room.
  • Nearly four cubic feet (113 L) of additional interior volume.
  • More than one additional cubic foot (28 L) of usable trunk capacity: 16.3 cu. ft. / 462 L (14.3 cu. ft. / 405 L on Eco).

And with Chevrolet MyLink, the new Malibu packs the connectivity of a smartphone, with online services like Pandora ® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio ®, as well as the safety of hands-free operation of mobile phone apps. MyLink is simple, safe and connected. (Please see the separate release for complete MyLink details.)


At a glance: The new Malibu’s interior gives customers a touch of luxury, with premium features, high quality materials and easy-to-use technology. It incorporates a more subtle take on Chevrolet’s signature dual cockpit design and features a flowing, uninterrupted theme that reinforces its greater spaciousness. The “center stack” is integrated with the instrument panel, for example, which runs into the front door panels. A richer complement of details throughout the cabin – including high-tech lighting elements – and high-quality materials support the Malibu’s more sophisticated presence.

Key Features:

  • A “dual cockpit zone” mid-instrument panel flows through the doors and enhances the feeling of spaciousness. On most models, it is trimmed with a three-dimensional “tipped” grain surface typically found on luxury cars that enables unique, dual dimensional layers of color and tactility.
  • The center stack sweeps forward and away , enhancing the feeling of spaciousness.
  • Available seven-inch touch screen with full-color interface display that swivels up to reveal a six-inch-deep (152 mm) hidden and illuminated storage compartment deep enough to stow phones, wallets or even a small purse.
  • Control knobs, switches and touch points feature firm, tactile operation and, with certain controls, a higher-quality chrome finish that accent Malibu’s premium appointments.
  • Metallic, chrome or wood accents , depending on the model, are located around the shifter, surrounding the center stack, around the instrument cluster and on doors and the steering wheel.
  • Soft, ice blue ambient lighting illuminates control knobs and storage areas. Ambient IP and door lighting uses light-pipe technology to ensure even, consistent illumination on Eco, LT and LTZ models.
  • Three-point steering wheel tilts and telescopes and includes redundant audio and cruise controls, as well as controls for OnStar and Bluetooth.
  • Auxiliary input jack and USB port in center console and a 250-watt amplifier, nine speaker Pioneer Premium Sound System system available on LT, LTZ and Eco models.
  • Split-folding 60/40 rear seatback on all models for convenience and additional storage capacity.
  • Four interior cloth and leather color combinations available: Jet Black, Jet Black and Dark Titanium, Cocoa and Light Neutral or Jet Black and Brownstone leather (available on LTZ only).
  • Four option packages: Package 1 (Power Convenience): cargo net, auto-dimming mirror, rearview backup camera, remote start, eight-way driver seat with lumbar control, universal garage door opener; Package 2 (Premium Audio) adds: fog lamps, leather-wrapped shifter knob, Pioneer nine-speaker audio system with high-output amplifier; Package 3 (Leather) adds: heated front seats, eight-way passenger seat with lumbar control, leather-trimmed seating; Package 4 (Navigation) adds: memory seats and mirrors, navigation system, driver’s window with express-up feature.

In the Malibu Eco, a power flow display in the driver information center – or the center console screen when equipped with the navigation system – indicates which of the following modes the vehicle is operating in:

  • Battery charging – the eAssist motor is charging the high-voltage battery when the vehicle is slowing
  • Electric assist – the eAssist motor is providing electric power boost to the engine
  • Auto-Stop – the vehicle is stopped, the engine has automatically shut off and is ready to automatically restart when needed.

Driver-selectable modes are offered to enable maximum comfort or efficiency of the air conditioning system and include:

  • Eco mode – which maximizes the frequency and duration of Auto-Stop, while providing excellent cabin comfort
  • Comfort mode – reduces the frequency and duration of Auto-Stop to maximize cabin cabin comfort.

“There is a high level of functional fashion throughout the Malibu’s interior,” said Crystal Windham, director, Passenger Car Interior Design. “We didn’t look at one thing, we looked at everything to make the new Malibu a car that would stand out around the world.”


The challenge: Develop a seat for Malibu that meets the comfort and durability expectations of customers around the world.

How they did it: Engineers balanced objective laboratory work, including use of high-tech tools such as the seat pressure mapping system and Oscar, a mannequin-like tool that simulates a person on the seats, with real-world seat ride evaluations. Seat testers have spent hundreds of hours and logged thousands of miles in prototype vehicles to evaluate the seats’ comfort.

In the end, the 2013 Malibu’s seats feature comfortable support with sport-sculpted shapes with more pronounced bolsters. They’re also made with materials designed to endure long drives over many years without degradation in support and comfort.

Additional seat features include:

  • Three levels of seating trim : flat-woven fabric, leatherette and Meridian leather with a “tipped” grain finish typically found on high-end luxury sedans.
  • LTZ models feature fashion leather seating trim with ice blue stitching and complementing piping (piping not incorporated with Jet Black interior color).
  • Available four-way lumbar adjustment is a rare feature in the segment.
  • The front seat cushions can be raised by 2.5 inches (65 mm).
  • The seatbacks are about 0.6-inch (15 mm) slimmer, which enhances rear-seat legroom.

To help ensure durability, the seats are built on a frame made of high-strength steel and featuring a “tube-end forming” assembly process, in which the frame tubes are flattened where they are joined. This produces a stronger structure, as well as a lighter one. The Malibu’s seat frames are about 10-percent lighter than conventional seat structures.

“Seat comfort is more than simply the softness of the seat cushion – we conduct several tests to allow us to understand how and how far a customer will compress into the seat to ensure that the seat foam and other materials can support the pressure,” said Daniel Cohen, Malibu seat performance engineer. “We’re confident drivers and passengers will find a long drive in the new Malibu a comfortable, refreshing experience.”


Touch points: Beyond its roster of appointments and details, the ergonomics of the new Malibu are also improved. The touch, appearance, lighting, color, grip, reach and hand clearance zones have been optimized through three-dimensional human computer modeling, as well as far-sighted driver and task-based human testing. The results are larger, more intuitively located knobs and controls, more prominent control symbols/fonts and more consistent illumination throughout the interior with light pipe technology.

Examples include:

  • The control knobs in the center stack are about 15-percent larger than previous models, with rubberized sides and inset chrome trim for easier manipulation and a more tactile feel.
  • All fonts and/or ISO symbols on the controls are about 6-mm tall , which makes them easier to read by drivers 45 years and older.
  • Foot pedal spacing is optimized to ensure comfortable foot-to-pedal transfers , regardless of shoe size or type.
  • Computer analysis helped determine the optimal angle positioning of information displays , eliminating the glare or “washout” in all lighting conditions.
  • A gauge cluster – also carrying larger fonts – with sharp, crisp LED illumination that is positioned under a tight hood for a non-glare, sport-oriented appearance and is easily viewed without driver head adjustment.


A sound plan: The new Malibu is the quietest Chevrolet ever and is expected to be one of the quietest cars in the midsize segment. To achieve that, interior engineers used road testing, sound evaluation tools and vehicle components to reduce, block and absorb noise from entering the cabin. Chevrolet engineers evaluate overall interior sound by driving on specific road surfaces and at different speeds.

A digital recording device called Aachen HEAD was used to record sound real-time, while an acoustic evaluation room called the Jury Room was used to evaluate the aural performance. The room allows engineers to listen and rate individual sounds recorded by the Aachen HEAD. It is equipped with acoustic damping panels to ensure uniform sound levels in all corners of the room, and the engineers wore specially calibrated headphones.

During repeated sessions throughout the car’s development, engineers listened to digital sound recordings taken during test drives at various speeds, identifying noise and making recommendations on how to eliminate it. The process accelerated the development, because the recording analysis in the Jury Room reduced the time it normally takes to test, evaluate and test corrections from several days or weeks to only a few hours.

No noise or potential noise source was left unchecked during the Malibu’s development, with the exterior playing a large role in the quietness of the cabin. Aerodynamic tuning helped reduce noise, while a number of acoustic treatments were applied throughout the body structure and interior.

Quieting elements:

  • Malibu’s stiff body structure and isolated engine cradle help reduce noise and vibration from being transmitted to the interior.
  • The wind tunnel-tuned exterior has a low coefficient of drag – a low drag count of .29 C d on non-Eco models helps to reduce wind noise to what is expected to be a segment-best 33 decibels.
  • Air leakage into the passenger compartment, which is a primary noise source for all vehicles, is expected to be the best in the segment , at about 20-25 cubic feet per minute.
  • A 5.4-mm acoustic-laminate windshield and 5-mm front door glass reduce wind noise by about 3 decibels when compared to conventional tempered glass.
  • The shape of the exterior mirrors helps reduce wind noise – the result of 250 hours of wind-tunnel fine tuning.
  • All of the doors are triple-sealed.
  • Sixteen expanding-foam acoustic baffles are placed strategically in cavities throughout the body structure. The foam expands when the body passes through the drying oven in the paint shop, filling the cavities to restrict or eliminate sound paths.
  • Fully sealed, acoustic perimeter water deflectors are used in all four doors – a feature typically used only on luxury cars.
  • Liquid-applied sound deadening and melt-on sound deadening materials are used on the floor pan.
  • A noise baffle barrier is used in the trunk to abate noise generated around the wheel houses.

“It all comes down to three things – shape, sealing and acoustics,” said Kara Gordon, lead acoustic noise engineer for Malibu. “Throughout the development of the new Malibu, we focused on what it’s like to be in the car audibly and we’re very particular when it comes to the ear. We think we can always be better, and in this case, we believe we’ve served the customer well.”

Chevrolet MyLink details:

Chevrolet’s MyLink system is standard on Eco, LT and LTZ models and builds on the safety and security of OnStar. It seamlessly integrates online services like Pandora® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®. MyLink integrates wireless connectivity through Bluetooth to enable hands-free use of selected smart phone apps while the device remains safely stowed. No other automaker offers both the connectivity of MyLink and the embedded safety and security features of OnStar.

Importantly, MyLink retains all of the capabilities of conventional entertainment units, including AM/FM/XM tuners, CD player with MP3 playback, auxiliary and USB inputs and enhances them.

Notable features:

  • MyLink features a high-resolution, full-color touch screen display designed to provide hands-free radio, music and phone operation.
  • It adds stereo audio streaming and wireless control of smart phones , building on the Bluetooth hands-free calling capability already offered in most Chevrolet vehicles.
  • The voice control system powered by Nuance® allows simple voice commands to initiate phone calls and select radio stations or media from portable MP3 players and phones.
  • A tap of a button on the steering wheel enables verbal control of smartphone applications to keep the driver’s hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
  • Pandora® internet radio allows the creation of unique radio stations by music genre or artist, and Stitcher SmartRadio makes the vehicle host to thousands of audio programming choices for a personalized listening experience.
  • Gracenote® helps navigate music collections by solving the common problem of missing or incomplete music metadata and displaying missing album cover art.
  • Gracenote® also enables “More Like This” playlisting and improves the accuracy of voice recognition , allowing drivers to easily access artists with hard=to-pronounce names, irregular spellings and nicknames (“The Boss” or “The Fab Four”).
  • Owners will be able to add to the capabilities of the MyLink system as new approved downloadable features become available. Before any smartphone apps can be used with MyLink, they must go through a validation process to demonstrate that they are safe to use while the vehicle is in motion. Functions such as text input on the touch screen are disabled while the vehicle is moving.

“Chevrolet MyLink is the next logical step for in-vehicle connectivity,” said Kathy McMahon, Infotainment Program Manager for MyLink. “It delivers greater control to a new generation of car buyers who don’t want to settle for mass market radio in their car.”