A close-up of a red 2024 Chevy Malibu badge is shown.

From Trim to Top Seller: The Rise of the Chevy Malibu

Everyone loves an underdog story. American pop culture is full of tales about these down-on-their-luck nobodies that turn into bona fide heroes. Films like Miracle, Rocky, Radio, Straight Outta Compton, Shawshank Redemption, A League of Their Own, and Rudy show that nearly everyone—at one time or another—feels like an underdog and hopes that, one day, things will change. Being an underdog means you’re willing to fight for the chance to be noticed, to be recognized by a world that did not acknowledge your existence; this is true everywhere, not just in sports, music, or literature—in fact, one of the most popular and recognizable vehicles of all time was once a lowly trim level for another car…

Though the Chevy Malibu is a big name now, it was nothing more than an optional grade of the Chevy Chevelle at one point in time. Hard to believe, isn’t it? That little underdog waited patiently and fought hard, and today, the 2024 Chevy Malibu is highly anticipated, especially after a 200% sales increase in 2022. Hard to believe, isn’t it? But that’s why we cheer for the underdog; we know there’s something special inside them, something just waiting to be revealed…

The History of Chevrolet

The history of Chevrolet is also the story of an underdog—Louis Chevrolet. Born in Switzerland and raised in France, Chevrolet had an early interest in mechanics, which led him to work at repair shops for carriages, bikes, and, eventually, cars. An encounter with the vehicle of a prominent American began a lifelong obsession with automobiles, and he made his way to America soon thereafter. Unfortunately, his underdog status remained unchanged as he recovered from a series of racing accidents and then gave up racing altogether after the death of another racer, his brother Gaston.

In 1911, the Chevrolet Motor Car Company was founded, partially due to Louis Chevrolet’s relationship with William C. Durant, the man behind Chevrolet’s racing career and the legendary Buick company. After many arguments regarding the future of Chevrolet’s vehicle designs, the underdog left the company, going on to found Frontenac, which focused on assembling race cars. He did eventually return to his eponymous Motor Car Company as a mechanic many years later.

To this day, we still see his name in parking lots, on the road, and in dealerships throughout the country. While he may not have remained a famous figure, Louis Chevrolet’s dreams resulted in millions of popular vehicles helming the travels of a century of cultural change.

A black 2024 Chevy Malibu Midnight Edition is shown parked near a building.

What’s a Trim?

The Malibu name had its humble beginning, serving as a trim level for the Chevelle. You may know that one vehicle can have many trims and that each comes with additional features, but what exactly is a trim? Simply put, a trim is a group of features that enhance a vehicle’s abilities at a different price point than another.

Trim levels might include things like making standard or available a towing package, additional safety features, upgraded tech features, or high-end comfort and convenience features. You can typically mix and match with optional and available features, allowing you to customize the vehicle to suit your needs and wants.

The Malibu Super Sport (SS) was a popular trim level for the Chevrolet Chevelle, a muscle car that went into production in 1963; it’s still highly sought after by collectors, especially in that trim level. In 1977, Chevrolet decided to streamline their lineup, and the Chevelle disappeared, leaving the Malibu trim level in danger of being eradicated forever until it was rescued from obscurity and turned into its own model—a midsize car that recalls features of the racing cars that Louis Chevrolet loved so much. From popular trim to the top of the best-seller list, the Malibu is now considered an American classic.

The Evolution of the Malibu

After being rescued from the discard pile where the Chevelle rests, the Malibu name was assigned to a new vehicle body—but due to world events and fuel prices, muscle cars went out and more economical models became vogue. Instead of going on the chopping block, the Malibu was redesigned into three bodies, including a station wagon—then, in 1983, the Malibu name was retired… For over a decade, drivers mourned the loss of Chevrolet’s sporty sedan—but, fortunately, that wasn’t the end of Malibu’s story. In 1997, the Malibu was reintroduced to the world as a peppy ride for the modern driver.

Though the Malibu name was kept, the concept of the vehicle changed drastically over time. From muscle car trim to station wagon to sedan, the Malibu underwent rigorous redesigns and came out of retirement as a powerful yet practical vehicle with lines that retained the sportiness and agility that people loved so well. Ever since, the Malibu has remained a popular staple among Chevrolet fans. For the 2024 Chevy Malibu, a recent redesign sees a few significant changes, like the addition of two more paint colors and a standard tire inflation kit.

Trims of the 2024 Malibu

The base LS trim comes with 16-inch aluminum wheels, all-season blackwall tires, and Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compatibility, along with the standard Chevy Safety Assist suite, which includes three years of Chevy’s OnStar Remote Access, a ten-airbag system, a Following Distance Indicator, and Forward Collision Alert. This Malibu clocks in at an estimated 30 MPG combined and provides 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque to its driver.

In addition to the standard Malibu features, the RS is equipped with dual-outlet exhaust, 18-inch aluminum wheels, front and rear black bowtie emblems, a rear spoiler, a wrapped steering wheel, and an eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar control, among other things. Available features include an engine block heater, a road emergency toolkit, front and rear splash guards, and a front license plate bracket—helpful for those who must have front and back license plates in accordance with state laws.

The 1LT combines all of the above standard features and adds body-color heated power outside mirrors, LED daytime running lamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated driver and front passenger seats, and a three-month SiriusXM Platinum trial subscription. You can also elect to add the Sport Edition package, which includes a jet-black interior, a blacked-out grille with dark chrome surround, LED taillamps, and a black Malibu badge, in addition to several more aesthetic changes.

At the top of the trim levels stands the 2LT, which includes the previous standard features as well as 19-inch aluminum wheels, a 120-volt power outlet for charging and operating laptops, a six-way power passenger seat, and a Bose premium nine-speaker audio system. If you’re eyeing additional options, you might want to take a look at the Midnight Edition, which outfits the 2LT with a special exterior color (Mosaic Black Metallic), black badging, and a jet-black interior. You could likewise opt for the Redline Edition instead, which joins the black badging and accents on the exterior with red trimming.

A blue 2024 Chevy Malibu is shown parked on a city street.

It’s Malibu Time!

Whether you’re waxing nostalgic over earlier Chevrolet models or you’re looking for an affordable car that will add a bit of spice to your daily commute, the 2024 Chevy Malibu should be at the top of your list. With its pedigree, fresh design, and host of safety, tech, and comfort features, you’ll want to take advantage of driving it whenever possible. After all, the once-underdog-now-hero of the working world has a lot going on, and you can’t do better than partnering with an automotive folk legend.

If you’re a bit of a rebel, an underdog, or just appreciate the aesthetic, the 2024 Chevy Malibu will provide you endless enjoyment and years of reliable service.