2008 Chevy Malibu Review

2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid The 2008 Chevy Malibu is all new, and shares a platform with the new Saturn Aura. The Malibu is the most important car in Chevy’s lineup by far – it’s a volume unit. Styling is improved vs the old Malibu, there’s no mistaking that. It’s a midsize family sedan, so it’s not going to get you all hot and bothered, but it’s reasonably attractive. The interior is the real story – it’s downright fantastic looking. Whether you get the aluminum trim or woodgrain, you get an absolutely fantastic looking interior. And no, I don’t mean “fantastic for GM”, I mean fantastic, period. This is a case of GM doing something right.

Once you move on from looks, things don’t go over as well. The 169 HP 4 cylinder and 252 HP V6 still fall short of the competition. Nissan has had a 175 HP 4 cylinder for years, and the Altima is sporting a 270 HP 3.5 liter V6. Toyota and Honda have 268 HP V6’s in their offerings too. There’s no reason for Chevy to offer a larger engine that produces less horsepower, unless it were more efficient on gas. That, unfortunately, is not the case. It’s actually quite a bit less efficient. Instead of the 19/28 that the Camry and Accord get ( or the 19/26 for the Altima ), the Malibu V6 achieves just 17 city / 26 highway. You can’t have a bigger engine, make less power, and use more fuel – that’s simply embarrassing.

And the crowning achievement for the 08 Malibu is the transmission. In both the 4 cylinder and the hybrid versions, you get stuck with a 4 cylinder transmission straight out of 1986. Only those who step up to the V6 get the privilege of owing a modern-day 6 speed automatic. When it all adds up, the Malibu is an improvement over the old version. But it’s GM’s life story all over again – it’s better than the old version of itself, and still not as good as the competition. Maybe next time.

2008 Malibu Specs

  • 169 HP 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine
  • Optional 252 HP 3.6 liter V6 engine
  • Hybrid powertrain available with 164 combined HP ( I4 and electric motor )
  • 4 speed auto with the I4, 6 speed auto with the V6
  • Standard side and side curtain airbags
  • EPA Says : 22 mpg city / 30 MPG highway ( I4 ), 17 MPG city / 26 MPG highway ( V6 ), 24 MPG city / 32 MPG highway ( hybrid )

2008 Malibu Reviews

2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid The Torque Report reviews the 2008 Malibu and writes – ‘One big negative that I had with regards to performance was the design of the “paddle shifters” or TAPshift manual shift control according to GM. The two paddle shifters in the Malibu serve the same function, so rather than the left one shifting the transmission down a gear and the right one shifting up or vice versa both of the paddles in the Malibu can shift the transmission up or down. This was very confusing and hard to get used to for many of the drivers. I found myself hitting the red line the first few times because I couldn’t get used to the layout. I guess if you have never driven a car with paddle shifters you could get used to this design, but I could not understand why GM decided to go this route. It eventually frustrated me and I just threw the gear shift back into automatic mode.’

Autoweek reviews the 2008 Malibu and writes – ‘Our test car, the top-of-the-line LTZ model with a 3.6-liter, 252-hp, 251-lb-ft, dohc V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, was plenty powerful and-dare we say it?-fun to drive hard via the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. While we’d like a more elegant method for shifting into manual mode than yanking on the center shifter, and the shift paddles could be better positioned (oops, we meant to upshift, not mute the radio), the machinery behind the scenes all works flawlessly.’

Autoblog reviews the 2008 Malibu and writes – ‘But after opening the door to the new Malibu, it’s easy to see where GM really spent some coin. This car has one of the best mid-size interiors to come out of Detroit… ever. The seats are comfortable but supportive and covered in either seemingly high-quality earthtone fabric or leather. All visible plastics are textured, including the A-pillar cover, and every little storage hole is rubber-lined. Starting at the driver’s shoulder, a line of either aluminum or faux wood separates the two-tone interior trim, and continues over the chrome-ringed instrument cluster, above the console, tops the glove box and ends on the front passenger’s left. It’s a unifying element that was obviously intentional, not an afterthought. “One complete, awesome design,” we were told at the presentation.’

Published on November 6, 2007 in Chevrolet

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