Just one of the ways GM is keeping the Malibu fresh as the world shuns sedans.
At Ford, "traditional sedans" like the Focus and Fusion are a dying breed - lingering remnants of a business plan that didn't account for the ever-rising popularity of trucks and utility vehicles. But over at the offices of crosstown rival GM, the sedan lives on for now, and the automaker is doing everything in its power to keep selling cars like the Chevrolet Malibu to an increasingly disinterested consumer base.
On that note, Chevrolet's ninth-generation Malibu is gaining a new spec as it enters its sixth year on the market: the Sport Edition. Somewhat unsurprisingly, though, the 2021 Sport Edition package amounts to little more than a few aesthetic upgrades.
Those upgrades include a black nameplate badge, black bowtie emblems, and black-painted alloy wheels measuring 19 inches in diameter, wrapped in 245-section all-season tires. The Sport Edition is based on the LT trim level - one step down from the range-topping Premier trim - and it requires a Jet Black exterior paint option.
We don't yet have any photos of the Chevrolet Malibu Sport Edition, but in addition to that package, the Malibu is also set to get a couple of other fresh changes for 2021. Namely, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are going wireless, where before a USB cable connection was required, and a new available safety feature is being added to encourage seat belt use.
The new safety feature, dubbed "Buckle to Drive", has been rolling out to multiple GM products of late. It's really quite simple: when activated, the driver won't be permitted to shift out of Park until the car detects that their seat belt has been fastened. Don't worry, though; it's fully defeatable in the menu system if it proves to be too annoying.
Beyond 2021, it's unclear what will happen to the Malibu, which has seen its sales slip consistently year-over-year since the ninth-generation car's introduction for 2016, but we expect that it will be discontinued after the end of its life-cycle - or turned into a crossover. The Impala has already been discontinued, so it seems likely the Malibu may face the same fate.