2008 Chevy Malibu
- Written by Patsy Oliver
Well, I've been looking forward to giving the new Malibu a test drive. Frankly, I own a 2001 and unless a lot has changed, wouldn't consider another one. I've heard and read so many good things about the all-new Malibu, and now I had the chance to see for myself. Wow, this was great! There's no way to tell yet if the problems that plagued my "Bu" will reveal themselves later in this car, but I loved just about everything about the new Malibu. The issues I had with mine were with engine gaskets, and from what I've been told, the new model has that worked out. The standard engine is a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder. The one I drove had the optional 3.6-liter V-6. It had power to spare. The first thing you notice is that it looks good - really good. A co-worker said, when he saw it in the parking lot, "You could take off that Chevrolet emblem and put Mercedes there, and you would believe it. It looks that good." The seats are comfortable (leather/suede combination) and the dash is great ... gauges easy to read and in the right places. This one had many options added, bringing the price from base LT, $21, 985, to $25,130. For a reasonable 5-passenger sedan, I think it will do very well among its competition. It's considerably more quiet and comfortable in the cabin than the new Accord. It handles very well, but cannot beat the Accord there. The kids enjoyed the back seat and my Cute Little German Mother said it was easy to get in and out, and she liked that she didn't have to fumble for the seat belt - something that always seems to be a problem for her. The Malibu is built on the same platform as the Saturn Aura. It comes in three body styles: LS, LT and LTZ. You can also get a hybrid. Standard equipment for the LT includes 17-inch ultra bright alloy wheels, touring tires, power mirrors, chrome exhaust tip, reading lamps, power locks and windows, AM/FM stereo with CD, XM satellite radio, heated front seats (lumbar and 6-way power for driver), leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, adjustable pedals, and more. Safety features include a passenger-sensing system in front, head and side-curtain air bags, side-impact air bags, child LATCH system, and OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation. The added goodies on the LT I drove included paddle shifters, the V-6 engine, 18-inch wheels, 6-speed transmission (base has 4-speed), dual chrome exhaust tips, hydraulic power steering assist, 110-volt AC plug (back seat), a rear window sun shade, and premium mats. With the larger engine, gas mileage is 17 city and 26 highway. Oh, and the cupholders are good - two in front and two in back - with extra space in the doors. The trunk is not too deep, but plenty long. I have to say that I think Chevy has really hit the mark with this car. The more I drove it, the more I liked it. I have to agree with their commercials. This one is not be be ignored.