Her and His Reviews

April 29, 2008

2009 Chevy Malibu 1LT
2009 Chevy Malibu 1LT

There are always two sides to everything, right? Well, the truth is there are many more than that!

To keep our car reviews innovative, we are providing you with not just one, but two points of view – Her and His perspectives.

Anne Matt
MSRP: $25,400
MSRP: $25,400
A surprising new entry to this category, the Malibu has 256 horsepower, a V6 engine and offers quick lift and snug handling on the turns. The V6 model has petals on the steering wheel to convert it to a standard – not sure the practicality or frequency of use of this feature. As for the “petals” they are actually Formula One inspired “paddles” and are a lot of fun to use because they give fun and performance of a stick shift without the clutch. This car has so much torque that when you hit the gas hard and pull out onto to the road you have a hard time controlling the steering wheel (this is known as over-steer). While not dangerous it is just something that is indicative of front wheel drive cars that I don't like (guy thing). For its wheel base and stance it handles very well, although not as well as the Pontiac Grand Prix or Grand AM which I would compare it to. If Chevy wants to really compete with the best in this price range from a performance standpoint, they will need to come out with a rear wheel drive option (which they won't) or at least an all wheel drive option. I own a front wheel drive car now and it is the last one I will ever own.
Fuel Economy
26 mpg/highway; 17 in cities. Also available in a hybrid 4 cylinder V6 engine for about $1200 more – buyers will receive a $1300 tax credit in 2008. 26 mpg/highway; 17 in cities. Also available in a hybrid.
The Car
Crowned 2008 North American Car of the Year and the ‘top 10 list’ of Car & Driver, this sleek auto is a rave jump from its predecessor. A bold move – it is marketing itself front to rear feature against the Camry, Altima – and yes, even the Accord. While the Malibu is a tremendous value, I am not ready to give it the nod just yet over these models.

Sleek interior, with two tone attractive color combinations. The seats in front and back have a comfy suede covering; both front seats are heated. The coolest feature for us gals under 5'5 – the foot pedals are adjustable! Also dig the adjustable console which slides easily forward or back.

Nice touch for cargo capacity with the 60-40 split fold-down rear seat. The seats do not recline 100% flat, but that will not impede their smart functionality.
I could not wait to drive this car and actually thought that I might potentially buy one. If you are used to driving German or Japanese cars in this price range you will probably not like this car. However, from the standpoint of an American automobile it really is a good car and an upgrade from the standards of this price point. If you are currently in an American vehicle in this price range and looking to make a change, you will love the Malibu. The fit and finish are good, the engine sounds great and the driving position is just about as good as any car I have ever driven. It is also one of the most quiet if not the quietest cars in its class due in part to the acoustic laminated glass used for the windshield.
Six air bags – front and side airbags. Holds three child car seats in rear. Read below about On Star technology. Six air bagsfront and side airbags. Holds three child car seats in rear.
A one-year drive info center has the standard (or upgraded if you buy it) On Star system – a really great value-added feature with automatic crash notification on almost all Chevy/GM models. Three months of free satellite XM radio is a gimme on this model.

Keyless entry is standard on this model with remote starter – which engages and starts car from 200 feet away. Sound system with six 40 watt speakers is a solid sound DVD. In the rear is a 110 vol AC plug.

No NAV system in this vehicle – too bad as it's a feature found in its peer, the Toyota Camry.
This car gets technology right with just about everything that higher end competitors have with the exception of Blue Tooth. From a guy's perspective – technology is critical. It even has an available rear sear 110-volt power outlet so that you can take your portable cooler stocked with your favorite beer on golf trips with the girls or more likely the DVD player for the kids. While On Star is great, the big drawback is that it does not have a display screen for maps when listening to driving directions. If you currently have a GPS systemthis may be a deal killer for you.
Aesthetics & Styling
What a roar this car brought to the midsize market – a loud enough wake-up call indeed. Its powerful clean design, great performance, sporty sophistication, gutsy grille and 17" wheels will pique your attention. I don't think I can write anything negative here. This car has a really sharp grill and the cut line for the hood is on top so that it is not visible from the side. If you like Corvettes, you will notice the Corvette inspired rear tail lights. Inside, if you get the base model...blah...it is just like any other American-made entry-level interior. However, if you pony up for the 2LT or especially the LTZ you will travel inside one of the best designed interiors in this class and comparable to some above it of similar size.
36 month/36,000 mile; 60 month/100,000 on Power train. 36 month/36,000 mile; 60 month/100,000 on Power train.
Non-tangibles / Other
Panic activated alarm is included. three-point safety bags. Assembled in Lake Orion, Michigan. Additional discounts available to all GM vendors and their employees and families. N/A