Back in the ’60s, Chevy Malibus were as affordable as they are today, but they were often found in the driveways of lavish homes. That’s because they were seen as competent, practical, and stylish. For the first time in decades, you can again say the same things about a new Malibu.
This 2008 version has clean and elegant lines that stand out among family sedans that look dead boring or make do with contrived visual details. Inside, the Malibu is equally captivating, with clean instruments and logical controls embedded in a panoramically sweeping dashboard. There’s plenty of space for people and their stuff in this Malibu, which also has the versatility of a split-folding rear seat.
Under the hood comes the choice of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine—one that’s quieter than the excellent four-cylinder in the Honda Accord—or a twin-cam, 24-valve V-6 with 252 horsepower. The Malibu’s chassis delivers an agreeable ride, responsive handling, and a degree of control feel that satisfied us on Hogback Road.
It all adds up to a Malibu that is, once again, a smart purchase for anyone seeking a fine mid-size sedan.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
BASE PRICE: $19,995–$26,995
ENGINES: DOHC 16-valve 2.4-liter inline-4, 169 hp, 160 lb-ft; DOHC 24-valve 3.6-liter V-6, 252 hp, 251 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 4-speed auto, 6-speed auto with manumatic shifting
DIMENSIONS:Wheelbase: 112.3 inLength: 191.8 inWidth: 70.3 inHeight: 57.1 inCurb weight: 3400–3650 lb
FUEL ECONOMY:EPA city driving: 17–22 mpg