Chevrolet Malibu driven 1 million test miles across globe
A very interesting experiment has been done on the all-new Chevrolet Malibu. Engineers have driven over 1 million miles (1.6 million km) with the vehicle. The aim was on-road development testing. However, to achieve this goal of 1 million miles, it took them about 22 months and sent them on six continents. Of course, this extensive road development and validation process served as a guarantee for the new Malibu's overall ride and handling, comfort, quality and durability. We have to admit that with this experiment, Chevrolet has made a great advertisement of the new model. The new Malibu will be sold in 100 countries on six continents, making it Chevrolet's first truly global midsize sedan.
Interesting information to be considered here is that driving 1 million miles in 22 months is equivalent of: 66,66 years of driving a car 15,000 miles (24,140 km) annually; 201 round-trips between New York City and Los Angeles; or two trips to the moon and back.
In details, the early prototypes of the model were hand-built by General Motors in the United States and shipped around the globe. They were driven at GM's proving grounds around North America, as well as on the freeways, highways and back roads of the United States, Canada, Australia, South Korea, China, the U.K., Dubai and Germany. In this development stage the Malibu pre-production cars represented meant the powertrains, suspensions and other core elements of the cars were already green-lighted for production. More importantly this test-driving have helped a lot for the final refinement, upgrade and fine tuning of the overall dynamics in performance, interior quietness, seat comfort and drivability of the Malibu. In addition the Malibus were driven through Death Valley in the hottest summer days to validate the air conditioning performance. Of course, to make the picture even more clearly, the vehicles were also driven to the top of the Rocky Mountains for high-altitude tests. Furthermore the Malibus were went through hundreds of miles of stop-and-go rush hour drives in Chicago and Seoul; and through the winding hills of North Carolina to evaluate seat comfort and other long-drive factors. And when driving on the concrete dry road surfaces there is generated a considerable amount of noise. However the Chevrolet Malibu engineers have made it possible to develop the car in such way that it can Malibu soaked up those grooved roads quietly. Important fact as well is that the final chassis tuning for the European variant of the Chevrolet Malibu was finished in the Germany. The evaluation involved putting the car through its paces on a former air base which today serves as a test facility. And around 3,000 kilometers were accumulated in order to determine which chassis set-up is best suited for European roads. Additional testings were made around Europe, which were focused on engine and transmission calibration, or on navigation and radio systems.
On the other hand there was also some not so "far-away-driving" development of the Malibu models. For example the development cars in the U.K. and the U.S. were run through salt water troughs and placed in a chamber to simulate years of corrosion and winter road driving. In addition to these experiments, other Mlibus were parked in the Arizona sun to see how the interior materials held up to extreme heat. Of course not everything went so smoothly. Engineers found a few areas of the vehicle that required a bit more attention. For example there was a need of change in the application of liquid sealer to steel parts of the body structure, which helped produce a quieter ride.
This is Chevrolet's eighth-generation Malibu. It will serve as the brand's flagship vehicle in China, Korea, Europe, Australia and other parts of the world. In addition, in Europe, the Malibu will be equipped with a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter diesel or a 2.4-liter gasoline engine. The gasoline models will be at dealerships in several markets in the spring of 2012. The diesel version, however, will be launched in the second half of the year.