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The 2019 Camaro lineup features new front-end styling, with distinct differences between the LS, LT, RS and SS models.Lisa Linke/Handout

Aiming to stay relevant in the ever-competitive car market, Chevrolet is changing the face of the Spark, Malibu, Cruze and Camaro.

Especially the Camaro. The venerable Chevrolet line’s LS, LT, RS, and SS models will have unique grilles, fascias and lighting signatures, along with new colours, wheels and dual taillight designs to distinguish one trim from another.

The 2019 Camaro SS model wears the most significant changes, especially at the front end.

The redesigned front of the SS is intimidating and impossible to miss.

“For the SS, the whole face is all new. We want to keep it very aggressive, menacing, and striking,” John Mack, design manager for the Chevrolet Camaro, explained at a recent event in Las Vegas to introduce the new designs.

The gigantic split grille is intimidating and impossible to miss. Aside from the aesthetics, it also serves an engineering purpose.

“The hood has the extractor in the centre to help with the downforce of the vehicle,” Mack says. “We also have a flowtie [a bowtie grille emblem], so we can get as much air as we can into the radiator. All the elements in the lower grille – air extractor, air curtains, are also functional – all that helps with the aerodynamics.”

The 2019 Camaro RS’s new front-end styling, including the fascia, grille, LED dual-element headlamps and reshaped hood, distinguishes it from LS, LT and SS.Lisa Linke

Looking down the centre of the Camaro RS convertible, you can see the flowing motion of the reshaped hood, which rises towards the centre, accented by sharp creases.

New 20-inch wheel designs and LED front headlamps, refreshed LED taillamps and round quad exhaust tips give the rear an instantly recognizable appearance.

The makeover also features bolder exterior colours, including a new shade, Riverside Blue, on the Camaro SS coupe, which was actually more eye-catching than the satin steel shade on the RS presented on stage.

Chevrolet is introducing a new array of colours, including Riverside Blue, to the Camaro lineup.Lisa Linke/Handout

Also new to Camaro: A state-of-the art infotainment system with cloud connection, more apps and over-the-air software updates, as well as the first-ever, turbo 1LE track-ready package with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

Major changes are likewise evident on the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu, which receives refreshed styling cues on the outside, a new sporty RS trim and some innovative interior design touches.

“We really wanted to take the Malibu more premium and more upscale. We did that through use of colour,” says Kathy Sirvio, global colour and trim design manager for Chevrolet. “We introduced this light-wheat colour, which adds a more elegant, sophisticated ambiance.”

And just in case any potential buyers might be concerned about discolouring or dirt smudging those light-coloured leather seats: “We brought in coating that’s used on the leather, so we don’t have dye transfer from blue jeans or black leather jackets and belts,” Sirvio says. “And if there is any transfer, it now easily cleans off.”

In exterior styling, the 2019 Malibu will receive new headlamps integrated with the upper grille, a bigger, bolder lower grille and flashy chrome accents, all of which combine to give the long-running brand a sharp new look.

The 2019 edition of the Chevy Cruze, meanwhile, will offer drivers a brand-new interior colour option – a rich chocolate-brown shade known as Umber.

“This is new to the Chevy portfolio,” says Sirvio. “What we found is our customers are really enjoying the more expressive, natural-type colour, and we wanted to continue that moving forward.”

Chevrolet has applied a similar variety of choice to its popular micro-car, the Spark, which for 2019 will add more exterior colour options – including purple, fuchsia, orange and red – in a move designed to attract more female buyers.

In Canada, 65 per cent of Spark buyers are women – the highest rate in the segment. The Spark also gets an updated face and new available active safety technology for 2019.

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