2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 164 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 24/32 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

  • The word "hybrid" may elicit environmental warm fuzzies, but the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid provides negligible "hybrid" benefit. It may cost a lot less than other hybrid sedans, but you also get a lot less in terms of fuel economy and performance.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Stylish inside and out, comfortable seats, good fit and finish, smooth ride, hushed cabin.

  • Cons

    Electric motor provides negligible fuel economy benefits, mediocre acceleration, hit-or-miss cabin materials, no rear center armrest, lifeless steering, high emissions rating for a hybrid car.

  • What's New for 2008

    Like the regular Chevrolet Malibu, the hybrid version is all-new for 2008.

Full 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Review

What's New for 2008

Like the regular Chevrolet Malibu, the hybrid version is all-new for 2008.


The 2008 Chevy Malibu is a winner. Even if it doesn't end up catching the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry in terms of sales, Chevy should at least be pleased that it has created a car good enough to seriously compete with the midsize sedan heavy hitters. Despite this solid base, the Malibu Hybrid is more in line to compete with light-hitting bench guys. Although it may be called a hybrid and feature an electricity-aided gasoline engine, its capabilities pale in comparison to other gas-electric models. Acceleration, emissions and, most importantly, fuel economy, are below the competition. The Malibu Hybrid and its Saturn Aura cousin are the cheapest traditional sedans to wear a hybrid badge, but sadly they're examples of that old saying of "You get what you pay for."

At the heart of the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is an electric motor/generator that produces an underwhelming 4 kilowatts of boost for the 164-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Under very light acceleration, the motor alone is capable of moving the Malibu up to 3 mph, but it's primarily used for starting the engine when it automatically shuts off to save fuel at traffic lights or other stopping situations.

By comparison, the Camry Hybrid features a 30-kilowatt electric motor capable of powering the vehicle by itself up to 30 mph. This difference is most noticed in the city, where stop-and-go driving relies more on electric propulsion. The Malibu's meager electric capabilities simply can't compare, both in terms of gas mileage and acceleration. Highway fuel economy is comparable to other "full" hybrid models like the Camry and Nissan Altima, but it's also pretty close to that of the non-hybrid four-cylinder Malibu.

With a base price of a little more than $22,000, the Malibu is about $3,000 less expensive than the Camry Hybrid and Altima Hybrid. The economics of that price advantage versus fuel savings certainly warrant close examination, and depending on your driving style, the Malibu could remain the better value regardless of fuel economy. As an environmental buy, though, there's no getting around that fuel economy disadvantage and its below-average emissions rating. If price and the environment are priorities, the Toyota Prius remains the best bet, by being both cheap and incredibly fuel efficient while offering an impressive amount of passenger and cargo space. It's also a tad quicker than the Malibu and offers more luxury features.

Despite how impressive the regular 2008 Chevy Malibu is, the Hybrid leaves us cold. General Motors says that its full-fledged "Two-Mode" hybrid system will eventually make its way into the Malibu, and it can't arrive fast enough. We suggest waiting for the real hybrid deal from Chevrolet if the Altima, Camry and Prius don't tickle your fancy.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is a midsize sedan available in one trim level. Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, keyless entry, automatic climate control, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel, power height adjustment for the driver seat and a six-speaker stereo with CD/MP3 player, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. The Power Convenience Package adds a six-way power driver seat and power-adjustable pedals. A sunroof is a stand-alone option.

Powertrains and Performance

The Malibu Hybrid features a small electric motor that starts the 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and adds small amounts of power under high-load conditions. The engine produces 164 hp by itself, and a net 169 hp when aided by the electric motor. Unlike other hybrid setups, the Malibu's offers full electric propulsion only up to about 3 mph -- the Altima and Camry hybrids can get up to almost 30 mph. Subsequently, city gas mileage is unimpressive. Fuel economy ratings stand at 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with 27 mpg combined. By comparison, the four-cylinder Malibu returns 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 25 combined, while the Camry Hybrid gets has a 33/34 mpg rating.

Besides fuel economy, another aspect to consider is air-pollution emissions. The Malibu Hybrid has a Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) rating, three levels below its competitors, which have an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle rating (AT-PZEV).


Standard safety features on the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid include antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control and OnStar. Front side and full-length side curtain airbags are also standard. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset testing, the non-hybrid four-cylinder Malibu scored the best rating of "Good."

Interior Design and Special Features

While its value as a hybrid is debatable, the Chevy Malibu scores big style points inside and out. The dual-cowl dash design is certainly eye-catching, while buyers have a pair of classy two-tone color schemes to choose from: gray/lighter gray and brown/tan. Although there's still some cheap plastic here and there, in total, the Malibu is a vast improvement over past Chevy models and also better than the Saturn Aura hybrid.

Firmly supportive front seats make for comfortable 500-mile days behind the wheel, and the controls for the audio and climate control systems are simple to use. With its long wheelbase, the Malibu offers generous amounts of legroom for rear passengers, though the seat lacks a center armrest and the sloping roof line may impinge on headroom for tall folks. Unlike other hybrid sedans, the Malibu's trunk is not compromised by large battery packs.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid doesn't offer the regular model's level of quality handling. Most people don't expect their hybrid to handle like a sport sedan, so a bigger concern is the fact that the Malibu trails its fellow hybrid midsize sedans in terms of acceleration, braking and general driving involvement. Hybrids aren't expected to be quick, but with a 0-60-mph time of around 11 seconds, the Malibu is much slower than the Camry and Altima hybrids. Even the Prius is quicker. On the upside, the Malibu Hybrid provides the same comfortable, hushed ride as the non-hybrid version.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Not worth 2 cents

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

This car is terrible. It is poorly designed, unreliable, and awful to drive. There is no internal mechanisms to repair a moderately damaged tire: no donut, no jack, no wrench, no spare. The trunk space is minimal and sub-par at best. Good luck fitting anything in it- it requires the packing skills of an engineer. The car stalls upon starting and stopping, and the alert screen below the dash frequently displays false alarms of tire pressure, etc. If you're looking for a cheap car, even this is not worth the hassle. Buy a 1992 Camry, it is far likely to be better designed than this.

Good car

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

I've had this car for almost two years now. It is a great quality car with only a few minor problems. The a/c fan has a ticking sound. (but I've had this problem with every GM car that I have owned). Some of the trim seems to be coming loose around the edges. Also, the hybrid batteries had to be replaced already, but it has an eight year warranty on hybrid parts. I will get anywhere between 25 mpg in the city to 36 mpg on the highway (all highway driving at 60 mph though) The car drives very smoothly and handles great. The acceleration leaves a lot to be desired though. I do wish the hybrid system was a full hybrid.

Love it!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

Just bought this hybrid slightly used. The first tank of combined city/highway driving came in at 29.7 mpg! Very comfortable and quiet car. Lots of features standard equipment, cant wait to take it on a long vacation. Exterior styling is beautiful, my friends are very impressed!

Great value

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

I bought the Chevy Mailbu hybrid 2 weeks ago. And I'm very pleased with the car so far. It gets good MPG and is a lot of fun to drive. GM did a nice job on the new Mailbu hybrid.

Awsome value, impressive looks

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

I just purchased the Malibu Hybrid this week. I love it. It is a mild hybrid, and it drives similar to the regular 4 cyl model. The differences are the engine turns off at a full stop, the engine instantly resumes when you lift your foot off the brake. The car uses regenerative braking and when you take your foot off the gas while cruising the car will slow and the batteries will charge. To coast without slowing down, just leave your foot lightly resting on the accelerator. There is a hump in the back of the trunk where the battery is. I am averaging over 30mpg, this is real good for a large sedan. This car drives like it should cost a lot more than the 22K I paid!

Talk About The 2008 Malibu Hybrid

2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Discussions See all Started By

Since the 2008 Malibu hybrid is a hybrid assist, doesn't do much, but does do something measurable, it needs to be a cheap option. It is . Back when the Prius was a new choice, I calculated that the...

My mistake. The Feds only bought 64% of the Malibu Hybrids. You can count on US buying all the excess Volts that get built....

I'm especially interested in the Malibu hybrid, and I know I've been disappointed that my local Saturn dealer has not been able to get (or keep) an Aura Green Line on their lot for me to test drive. ...

Gas Mileage


  • 24
  • cty
  • 32
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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