After a two pic tease last week, the Chevrolet Malibu has been fully unveiled online ahead of its Shanghai world debut. Like the Cruze, the Malibu is now a global car intended for nearly 100 markets on six continents. This is a first for Chevy, as the Malibu was previously a domestic Camry/Accord fighter, while some overseas markets got the dreary Epica to do the same job.

The new Malibu features a global lineup of four-cylinder engines that “complements its European-inspired driving characteristics”. Of the range, they’re focusing on the new Ecotec 2.5-litre direct injection unit. This DOHC engine features “enhanced authority” continuously variable valve timing, variable-displacement oil pump and electronic thermostat that save fuel.

Said to deliver “V6-like performance”, the Ecotec is estimated to have 190 hp and 245 Nm, which is quite a bit more than a Mazda6 with the same displacement.

The engine has noise-reducing features such as a cast exhaust manifold, steel crank, low-noise timing chain and direct mount accessories. It’s mated to a Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic with features designed to enhance efficiency. They include changes to clutch controls and hardware that improves shift response and time. These enabled engineers to specify higher gearing to improve cruising efficiency while maintaining performance and driveability.

With a “body structure as stiff as any” in the midsize market (as Americans call this size of cars), the Malibu sits on MacPherson strut front and mutli-link rear suspensions. The steering is of the EPS variety with “variable-effort” function.

Large, ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes, clamped on by dual-piston front and single-piston rear aluminum calipers, are expected to deliver segment-best stopping distance. Airbags will include side, knee, roof rail and second-row head/thorax ones.

In terms of appearance, there’s nothing really unexpected. The exterior features a prominent Chevy dual-port grille, projector HIDs and Camaro inspired LED dual-element taillamps. The smallest wheels are 17-inch items. Inside, the Malibu gets Chevy’s usual “dual cockpit” design and ice blue lighting, although the overall look doesn’t look very contemporary for a new car. The cabin is 113 litres larger than the previous model’s.

In the US, Malibu will come with Chevrolet’s new MyLink infotainment package at launch. It builds on the safety and security of OnStar and seamlessly integrates online services like Pandora internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio. There’s a six-inch deep storage area behind the seven-inch touch-screen that can flip open.

Selected US models also get electronically controlled integrated active aero shutters (lower air intakes are sealed when cooling isn’t needed) to improve aerodynamics (claimed to be segment best, Cd is near 0.28) and enhance fuel economy without sacrificing the exterior design.