Vehicle Type: Sedan

History/Description:  The last-generation Malibu launched to numerous awards in 2008, earning trophies for North American Car of the Year, a Car and Driver Top Ten pick, the Motoring 2008 Family Car of the Year, and others.

A four-door, front-drive sedan, Malibu was Chevrolet’s answer to machines like the Fusion, Camry, Accord, 6, Sonata, 200 and others.

Available features include heated leather seats, a household power outlet, a sunroof and remote start. Antilock brakes, tire pressure monitoring and a full traction control system were standard – along with side and curtain airbags. Further, GM’s exclusive OnStar system was on board to connect drivers with a real live advisor at the press of a button. OnStar works through its own dedicated cellular phone system and can summon assistance, directions or emergency response personnel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Engines / Trim: At launch, power came from a 2.4L inline four-cylinder engine or a 3.6L V6 with power rated at 169 or 252 horses, respectively. Class-leading mileage was promised, especially when the four-cylinder engine is teamed up with the available six-speed automatic.

A mild hybrid variant of the Malibu was added to the lineup, and it went on to win numerous environmental awards, including a Pyramid Award for Environmental Initiatives from the Canadian Automobile Association. This version of the Malibu combines power from a fuel-efficient ECOTEC four-cylinder engine with electric assist from a motor and battery system. The resulting hybrid powertrain generates 164 horsepower and improved mileage.

Note that higher-end Malibu models are named LT and LTZ.

2008 Chevrolet Malibu LT2008 Chevrolet Malibu LT2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ
2008 Chevrolet Malibu LT, 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ. Click image to enlarge

What Owners Like: Owner reviews, and a look back at your writer’s testing notes of a 2009 Malibu, confirm that the model offered a curiously quiet highway ride that’s also well-sprung, comfortable, and highly suitable for long-distance cruising. Easy entry and exit, a large trunk, plenty of organization via cubbies and compartments and an overall easy-to-drive feel round out the package. Some owners also praise the easy-to-use Bluetooth system, all-around visibility and very decent performance from even the four-cylinder engine. Fuel mileage is also highly rated.

What Owners Dislike: Complaints include a narrow trunk opening, some questionable-looking bits of interior trim, and a steering wheel that can feel too large.

Here are some owner reviews from

The Test Drive: By and large, owners taking to the web to chat about their Malibu ownership experiences report few issues, and even fewer major ones. There are a few points to be aware of on your test-drive, though.

First off, confirm proper operation of all door locks, numerous times, to be sure there are no issues. There have been reports of failed door-lock actuators that could leave one or more of the Malibu’s door locks inoperable. Be sure to try all locks, in both their locked and unlocked position, confirming they work properly.

2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ
2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ, 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. Click image to enlarge
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