Here's the short answer on the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu: It's good.
After almost a year's worth of buildup and anticipation, we have now driven the new Malibu. So the time has finally come to pass judgment.
You'll forgive us if we were a bit skeptical about the vehicle that GM's car khan Bob Lutz calls "one of the most important in 100 years for Chevy." We've been through this more than a couple times with domestic carmakers, a sequence of over-promise and under-delivery followed by over-promise on the next generation, and so forth and so on.
And so it is with considerable relief that we report that Chevy has broadly hit its mark with the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu.
Talking the Talk This might sound remarkable, but the most notable thing about Chevy's presentation of the '08 Malibu is its stark assessment of the company's past performance with this model. Consider this sampling of honesty from GM executives:
"We'll take on the quality challenge which we've avoided in the past."
"It's going to take an extensive amount of time to get it [changing consumer perceptions] done."
"We came to work every day humble, with our heads down."
You might think that it would be difficult to not acknowledge the failings of its recent past, given how Honda, Nissan, Toyota and other players including Hyundai have absolutely eaten Chevy's lunch for the past couple of decades. But trust us, we've seen them attempt to swerve, duck and leap around that 800-pound gorilla before.
Speak Quietly Chevy is taking a fairly sensible approach with the Malibu. The company has defined a couple of areas where it believes the Malibu can be best-in-class and has devoted human and financial resources to achieve it. According to Chevy, these areas include styling and the control of noise, vibration and harshness.
Repeated viewings of the car over the last year have drained some of the drama out of the Malibu's new look. But the car is smoothly handsome and free of styling gimmicks, which bodes well for its long-term appeal. And it has none of the self-conscious oddness of recent Honda and Toyota designs. At the very least, few potential customers will be put off by the new Malibu's look.
But styling is a largely subjective matter. Noise, vibration and harshness are far less so. Chevy spent the money to use quiet laminated glass for the windshield and the front-seat windows to reduce wind noise in the Malibu's cabin. The company specified spray-on acoustic insulation and composite liners within the wheel wells to reduce road noise. And more sound deadening at the dash and tighter orifices in the firewall reduce the amount of engine noise that can leak into the cabin.
Special attention went into controlling the honking ruckus that intake air makes while entering the standard 169-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-4, which Chevy anticipates will power 70 percent of all the Malibu models sold. Incoming air encounters nine tuners and resonators before reaching the engine. The effect is, well, the absence of vice. The engine seems smoother and the average driver is probably more likely to keep his foot on the gas because the engine doesn't sound like it's eating itself. Meanwhile the optional 252-hp V6 is so smooth and sonorous that it feels plenty powerful mated to the standard six-speed automatic, even though it's not the most powerful V6 in its class.
Careful tuning of the Malibu's engine mounts also quells much of the vibration that would otherwise come zinging through the steering column and unibody. Whether you're in a Malibu four or V6, the car feels serene. This lends the Malibu a perceived quality that is worth whatever GM paid to get it done. (Naturally, the company won't say how much that might be.)
Welcome to Pleasantville The new Malibu shares the same basic chassis as the well-received Saturn Aura, and this means the expected MacPherson strut front suspension and multilink independent rear. It differs from the Aura only in tuning, really. Chevrolet says it used a new tuning philosophy for the Malibu, and as far as we can tell, this means the car now slots between the mushy Camry and the sporty Accord.
For now, we've only driven the Malibu on smooth roads in Tennessee and Mississippi. Still, we feel comfortable saying Chevy has achieved its target here. The Malibu's big body (it rides on a 112.3-inch wheelbase that's the longest in its class) feels well-controlled over low-frequency undulations. It does not float. It does not bounce. The Malibu will not goad its operator into pushing the car to the outer limits of its performance envelope, but its high-speed cornering and general deportment is poised and confidence-inspiring.
The Malibu makes for an excellent highway cruiser. Sharper suspension inputs from things such as tar strips are not absorbed entirely but are largely heard as a light "thwack" rather than felt. Front and rear seat passengers will have little to complain about in terms of ride quality.
Our only major quibble with the Malibu's dynamic package is its steering. Models with the four-cylinder engine feature electrically assisted steering, which has a short and ugly history at GM. (We're still trying to cleanse our memory of any recollection of the first-generation Saturn Vue.) Models with the V6 use conventional hydraulic assist. Neither is very good.
The electric assist feels less artificial than it used to, and GM should get some credit for that. But neither system feels natural or linear in the way, say, a Honda Accord's steering does. The Malibu's steering wheel feels dead on-center and then seems to abruptly come to life as you begin your turn. This might not be a deal-breaker for consumers, but it might be for people like us who like to drive.
The Story Inside Passengers won't have a whole lot to complain about in terms of interior accoutrements. This Chevrolet sedan actually has a pretty nice interior. The dual-cowl architecture is a great improvement over the passionless previous interior. It also appears to be assembled with care.
Overall the new interior is attractive and cosseting, and it's even available in two-tone combinations with sassy names such as Brick, Cashmere and Cocoa. And they actually look pretty good. In the class, only the Accord's interior really stands clearly above the Malibu's effort, while the Camry shows evidence of Toyota's cost-consciousness and is certainly no better in terms of either design consistency or materials quality.
The Malibu's instrumentation and controls are clear and sensibly laid out, and there's plenty of room in the cabin both front and rear. We wish GM could figure out a way to make passenger grab handles compatible with the car's standard side curtain airbags. And we think it's a mistake on GM's part not to offer a navigation system. The company believes that OnStar (standard for every Malibu) and its turn-by-turn navigation is a good substitute. It's not. We tried it on our drive and found that at first it wouldn't work at all. Then it did work after awhile, but we kept a map at the ready because we had no faith in it.
The Heart of the, Um, Beast The Malibu's powertrain offerings are par for the class. The 2.4-liter inline-4 is standard for all three trim lines, and its 169 hp and 160 lb-ft of torque put it squarely in the middle of the output range of the competition's offerings. Chevy's optional 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 makes a credible 252 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. That's less than the big three Japanese-brand sedans but more than the Dodge Avenger, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata can muster.
Despite a standard six-speed automatic, the V6-equipped Malibu returns fuel economy figures of 17 mpg city and 26 highway — a couple of mpg worse than its competitors. Possibly this is due in part to the Malibu's heft. At 3,649 pounds, the Malibu V6 is the fat kid of the group.
Even so, the Malibu four returns fuel economy of 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway, which is competitive in its class. This fuel economy number is an estimate based on the four-cylinder mated with the four-speed automatic. Next spring, the four-cylinder will be offered with a six-speed automatic, which should improve the fuel economy numbers as well as the driving experience.
As it is, the four gear ratios in the current transmission feel too widely spaced and not capable of keeping the inline-4 in its power band. For now, we recommend the V6.
The Malibu will also be offered with the same mild-hybrid powertrain as the Saturn Aura Green Line and should return 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The electric motor adds only 6-7 horsepower to the gas engine under heavy load, so it's basically a four-cylinder car with an idle shut-off feature. It doesn't seem like a lot of efficiency improvement considering the $1,800 price premium over the standard car. Of course, the substantial federal tax break reduces the added cost of the hybrid to about $500 more.
Happy Crashing! If you're the kind of driver who runs into things, you'll be happy to know that the Malibu will cover virtually the entire interior with inflatable bags.
Front and rear head curtain side-impact bags and front-seat-mounted thorax bags are standard, along with dual-stage front bags. Standard ABS and traction control along with electronic stability control (standard on the Malibu LT and Malibu LTZ models) are there to prevent impromptu testing of any of those airbags.
There isn't a competitor that offers a better allotment of standard safety features.
Furnishings and Financials The base-level $19,995 LS comes with 16-inch wheels, the above-mentioned safety gear and XM Satellite Radio. The LT version adds 17-inch wheels, dual chrome exhaust tips and drive shift control. The full-zoot LTZ adds 18-inch wheels, LED taillamps and foglamps. It starts at $26,995. The Malibu Hybrid carries a $22,790 base price. Even though the new car starts a couple thousand dollars higher than the outgoing model, the 2008 Malibu is competitively priced.
So the Malibu is good. Let's hope it's the beginning of a long sustained effort to regain and retain a competitive position in the midsize market for Chevy, and in passenger cars generally.
For now, Chevy is talking the right talk and has made its first step in a long walk.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
2008 Chevrolet Malibu Overview
The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu is offered in the following submodels: Sedan. Available styles include LTZ 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), LS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), and LT 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A). Malibu models are available with a 3.6 l-liter gas engine or a 2.4 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 252 hp, depending on engine type. The 2008 Malibu comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic, 4-speed automatic. The 2008 Malibu comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2008 Chevrolet Malibu?
Save up to $238.7 on one of 43 used 2008 Chevrolet Malibus for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $3500 as of Dec 11, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 26 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 3 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2008 Chevrolet Malibu trim styles:
The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LT is priced around $6762 with average odometer reading of 82236 miles.
The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LS is priced around $6300 with average odometer reading of 110854 miles.
The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ is priced around $7323 with average odometer reading of 101162 miles.
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Is the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2008 Malibu featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2008 Malibu 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2008 Malibu.
Review 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.
2008 Chevrolet Malibu inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Chevrolet Malibu for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 892 new and 1813 used and CPO 2008 Malibus listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 3500 and mileage as low as 0. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 239 on a new, used, or CPO 2008 Malibu available from one of 2804 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
2008 chevrolet malibu LTZ 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), 6-speed shiftable automatic, regular unleaded 20 combined MPG 17 city MPG/26 highway MPG
2008 chevrolet malibu LS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), 4-speed automatic, regular unleaded 25 combined MPG 22 city MPG/30 highway MPG
2008 chevrolet malibu LT 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), 4-speed automatic, regular unleaded 25 combined MPG 22 city MPG/30 highway MPG
What options are available on the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu?
Available Chevrolet Malibu 2008 Submodel Types: Hybrid, Sedan
Available Trims: Premier, LS Fleet, LT1, LT w/1LT, Hybrid, LT2, LT, Eco, Base, LTZ, LS, Fleet, SS, LT w/2LT, L
Exterior Colors: Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Nightfall Gray Metallic, Mosaic Black Metallic, Blue Velvet Metallic, Cajun Red Tintcoat, Champagne Silver Metallic, Atlantis Blue Metallic, Ashen Gray Metallic, Iridescent Pearl Tricoat, Pepperdust Metallic, Mocha Steel Metallic, Taupe Gray Metallic, Butte Red Metalllic, Gold Mist Metallic, Arctic Blue Metallic, White Diamond Tricoat, Sandy Ridge Metallic, Sable Metallic, Crystal Red Tintcoat , Silver Moss Metallic, Black, Dark Gray Metallic, Imperial Blue Metallic, Light Driftwood Metallic, Galaxy Silver Metallic, Medium Gray Metallic, Black Granite Metallic, Golden Pewter Metallic, Silverstone Metallic, Autumn Bronze Metallic, Crystal Red Tintcoat, Red Jewel Tintcoat, Sandstone Metallic, Blue Topaz Metallic, Dark Blue Metallic, Silver Topaz Metallic, Sport Red Metallic, Amber Bronze Metallic, Dark Jade Green Metallic, Navy Blue Metallic, Silver Green Metallic, Silvermist Metallic, White, Butte Red Metallic (Late Availability), Dark Tropic Teal Metallic, Laser Blue Metallic, Medium Bronzemist Metallic, Redfire Metallic