2008 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Chevrolet Malibu 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 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 169 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/30 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu

  • No longer a bench warmer in the midsize family sedan game, the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu gains starting lineup status thanks to its generous measures of style, refinement and performance.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Strong performance from V6, excellent ride and handling balance, roomy cabin, comfortable seats, very good fit and finish.

  • Cons

    Some ergonomic gaffes and subpar cabin materials, no rear center armrest, a few key features are unavailable.

  • What's New for 2008

    Fully redesigned for 2008, the Chevrolet Malibu is now roomier, more powerful and of notably higher quality. It shares a platform with the Saturn Aura but is definitely not a simple rebadge, as it features unique exterior and interior styling along with different suspension tuning for a softer ride.

Full 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Review

What's New for 2008

Fully redesigned for 2008, the Chevrolet Malibu is now roomier, more powerful and of notably higher quality. It shares a platform with the Saturn Aura but is definitely not a simple rebadge, as it features unique exterior and interior styling along with different suspension tuning for a softer ride.


Life for the Chevy Malibu the last couple of decades hasn't been easy. With its midsize family sedan rivals outgunning it in terms of overall performance, refinement and features, this gets-no-respect, not-too-handsome Chevy was often like the last kid picked for a neighborhood pick-up basketball game. For 2008, however, there's a new Chevy Malibu, and this one has hit the gym, relentlessly practiced its game, gotten over acne and ditched the glasses for contacts.

Based on the same European-derived platform used for the Saturn Aura, the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu is larger than before and rides a 112-inch wheelbase, one of the longest in the segment. Along with a robust chassis comes a quiet cabin and suspension tuning that's not as sporty as the Aura's, but still strikes an agreeable balance between ride and handling. The engine lineup is composed of an inline-4 with a respectable 169 horsepower and a new 252-hp V6.

Those competent underpinnings are wrapped in a body that looks more premium sedan than rental car. Apart from the somewhat controversial but distinctive nose, the Malibu sports clean, classy lines, with tight panel gaps and just enough chrome trim to impart a high-end feel. Other key improvements involve the cabin. We've often criticized past Malibus for their cheap materials and lackadaisical build quality. Now, instead of a sea of hard plastic, there are higher-grade materials, a fresh dash design and much-improved build quality -- although there are still a few cheap bits, lending a literal "hit or miss" feel. Another downside is that although OnStar offers a "Turn-by-Turn" navigation feature, there is no traditional nav system available.

Overall, the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu has certainly earned a "Most Improved" award. True, it still faces some tough rivals in the midsize family sedan game such as the redesigned Honda Accord, the enjoyable Ford Fusion, the sporty Nissan Altima and the hugely popular Toyota Camry. But unlike past years, where the Malibu would've been resigned to riding the pine, it's now in the game, scrapping for rebounds, hitting threes and winning over fans in the process.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu is a midsize sedan that comes in four trim levels: LS, 1LT, 2LT and LTZ. The LS comes with 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, full power accessories, air-conditioning and OnStar. A six-speaker CD audio system with satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack is also standard. On top of this, the Malibu 1LT adds 17-inch alloy wheels and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. The 2LT upgrades further with polished wheels, remote engine start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power driver seat, power-adjustable pedals and heated front seats. The luxury-laden Malibu LTZ adds silver grille inserts (versus black), foglamps, LED taillights, 18-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded audio system with a CD changer and eight speakers, leather seating and a power passenger seat. A few key features, such as a traditional navigation system and dual-zone climate control, are not available on any Malibu.

Options are grouped into a handful of packages that allow many of the higher trims' features to be added to the lower trims. There's also a rear power package that includes a 110-volt AC outlet (behind the center console) and a manual rear sunshade.

Powertrains and Performance

All Malibu trims except the LTZ come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 169 hp and 160 pound-feet of torque. It's paired to a four-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels. Standard on the LTZ and optional on the 2LT is a 3.6-liter V6 with 252 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque, matched to a six-speed automatic with manual shift control. Later in the model year, the LTZ will be available with the four-cylinder engine matched to a six-speed automatic, giving it a performance edge over the lower trims that make do with the four-speed gearbox.

Although the Malibu is no lightweight at about 3,500 pounds, even the four-cylinder version provides decent performance, with the 0-60-mph sprint taking less than 10 seconds. The V6 furnishes very impressive acceleration, running to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway for the four-cylinder, while the V6 earns a 17/26 mpg rating (a tad worse than Accord, Camry and Altima).


Antilock disc brakes, traction control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags are standard on all trims. The LT and LTZ versions add stability control. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal offset crash test, the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu scored a "Good" rating, the highest possible.

Interior Design and Special Features

A dual-cowl dash design, somewhat reminiscent of a 1960s Corvette, highlights the cabin, while much improved materials and build quality put this Malibu light-years ahead of prior models. Contrasting piping on the seats, once the hallmark of ultra-luxury cars, is seen on LTZ models with the two-tone upholstery scheme, and all trims feature an impressively quiet ride, thanks to features such as acoustic laminated front windows.

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.

Driving Impressions

Striking an excellent balance between handling and ride, the 2008 Chevy Malibu's chassis provides confident cornering along with a smooth ride on broken pavement. Steering is precise, if a bit numb on-center, and body roll is well-controlled, even in quick maneuvers. Braking distances are good, though under heavy braking the body moves around noticeably. Although you can hear the power steering whine at low speeds, the cabin is impressively hushed at highway speeds and seat comfort and support is superb, making the Malibu ideal for long trips. With a wide range of adjustment, the driver seat provides a good driving position, but awkwardly placed pedals and a large-diameter steering wheel can be an annoyance for some drivers.

The four-cylinder engine should prove sufficient for most buyers, though obviously the V6 provides considerably more gusto. There's plenty of power available, though getting the six-speed automatic to downshift (as for a quick freeway passing maneuver) requires a deliberate foot to the throttle. Sadly, in such situations, the LTZ's paddle shifters can only be used after the gearlever has been put into "M" -- other such systems allow for an automatic override when a paddle is pressed.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Good car but some problems

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Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LT 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Car is reliable car, but has some issues. Had to replace both door look motors (both front left, front right). One catalytic converter, 2 wiper transmissions/assemblies. Also sometimes temp sensor doesn't read and AC wont turn on. Other than that car has worked great. Mad about wiper assembly, its just a bad design. I am trying after market to see if it works better.

Worst car i ever owned

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Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

This was a company car that I obtained in early 2009 with 12K miles on it. History prior to me owning all window motors were replaced, 2 around 5k, the other 2 at 8k. I have had replaced 2 catalytic converters(first 1 at 22K), all door lock mechs, door speakers, ecm, front shocks(43k), passenger seat airbag sensor(car was parked for a week while on vaca, came back started car air bag light on) and practically every Oxy sensor and cam sensors in the engine. The air conditioning doesnt work half the time and a rattle in the rear that the dealer cant figure it out whats wrong. This is all before the car had 70K on it. I got rid of it at 87K. Slow acceleration for a 4 cyl. Interior good.

Great car

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Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LT 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

I got my 2008 LT Malibu in May 2013. I have to say that it is comfortable to drive and the gas mileage is great. I get about 26-28 driving in the city and 30-35 highway. I mostly have been hitting 31 mpg. This car has had no problems and runs great at 99k miles. I do however plan to trade in this car for a chevy cruze this coming spring.

This car sucks and so

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Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LT 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Bought my 2008 Malibu in 2011 . And since I pulled off the lot I have had problems . Catholic converter gone shocks gone brakes gone sensors gone steering horrible and so on the list goes and I have emailed and called gm after I tlod them I had to pay $1500 for my exhaust system and they don't even care and it was at there dealership . So much for standing behind your product . That new hyndia sonata is looking very good I'm about to go foreign for the first time in 13 years. Good bye gm [non-permissible content removed].

So far very reliable

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Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LT 4dr Sedan w/2LT (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

You know... I love german sedans and the quality that comes with them. However I hate the price tag that comes with it. My 2011 chevy malibu has been great so far. It has 57k on it and the only maintenance costs I have had are the occasional oil change, brake pads at 50k and air filters. I really love the car its been great. The interior is perfect for long trip too. The only issue I have is the interior plastic on driver side door squeaks when going over major bumps but I tend to really beat on a car too. Quality and reliability gets 5 stars. GREAT VALUE for the money!With a little bang.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great car

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Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I have 111K on my 3.6L LTZ. I still like the quality interior and have been in few mid priced cars that can match the interior quality. It still runs and handles like new barring a minor squeek hear and there. The only thing that has gone wrong is that I had to replace one power door lock mechanism. It's slowly loosing oil and coolant after 111K miles, but I think I can get at least another couple years out of it before I'd have to fix it. Also, the chevy key fobs are junk, and break but are pretty cheap to replace. I

Talk About The 2008 Malibu

2008 Chevrolet Malibu Discussions See all Started By

2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ Road Test We test the V6-powered 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ and find that Chevy has jumped squarely back into the Midsize Sedan game with a strong product....

I saw this out on leftlane news. Spy shots with very little camo of the new 2008 Malibu. There is discussion that it will launch early part of next year....

Recently purchased 08 Malibu LZT and on the 1st cold morning remote start the engine made a horrific knocking noise, as if the lifters were stuck, or oil not circulating. This is not a problem with re...

Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 30
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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