- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2008

The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu makes it way to the sweet spot in the midsized sedan market with attributes that many buyers look for; solid performance, superb fuel economy with a sleek, clean design at an affordable price. The all-new model comes in several trim levels; LS, LT, LTZ and Hybrid.

The updated Malibu makes its new model year entrance with six more inches to the wheel base and three additional inches in length.

GM’s designers have fashioned a more contemporary look, featuring a new split-grille design and twin round tail lamps. Malibu’s sophisticated interior comes in cloth, suede or leather styles that are available in many two-tone color scheme combinations. The cockpit is accented by ambient lighting. All Malibu models have power-adjustable outside mirrors, while uplevel LTZ models are graced with front fog lamps, chrome grille surrounds and dual chrome exhaust outlets. Chrome outlets are found on the LT models.

Engineers have achieved the quietest ride yet in a Malibu. This comes as a result of a more sturdy chassis that helps reduces the level of vibration and noise; a sound deadening spray-on application has been implemented throughout the body’s construction; as well as the use of laminated “quiet glass”; and composite coated wheel liners.

Performance and fuel-efficiency come from its two engine choices; dual-overhead cam four- and six-cylinder engines. The 2.4L Ecotec four-cylinder delivers 169-horsepower with 30 mpg highway and 22 mpg city, and is partnered with a four-speed transmission with overdrive. The 252-horsepower, 3.6L V-6, with variable valve timing, delivers 26 mpg highway and 17 mpg city and is set up with a six-speed automatic transmission.

To complement the line and premier its first hybrid mid-sized car, Chevrolet brings the 2008 Malibu Hybrid, which sits at the top of its class in fuel-economy among all Malibu models. This ‘green’ version comes with a 2.4: Ecotec VVT four-cylinder engine matched to a Hydra-Matic 4T45 four-speed transmission, rated at 164-horsepower. The Malibu Hybrid delivers increased efficiency, achieving 32 mpg highway and 24 mpg city rating.

This all-new hybrid comes with GM’s five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and the NiMH battery-pack. All other essential components backing the hybrid are covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

The 2008 Malibu lineup comes with 4-wheel disc brakes with 4-channel ABS and ventilated front discs, while the rear discs are solid. Depending on the model, wheel size and style range from the 16-inch steel painted trim on the LS and the 16-inch aluminum on the Hybrid, to 17-inch steel chrome trim on the 1LT and 17-inch ultra-bright spun cast aluminum on the 2LT. The LTZ sports the 18-inch ultra-bright spun cast aluminum.

Front-seat thorax and head-curtain side air bags set the stage for the vehicle’s safety standards, an added bonus that compliments the safety-cage construction, which has reinforced rocker sections. Dual-stage front air bags with GM Passenger Sensing System determines if the passenger in front is adult, child or an infant in a car seat, and can automatically deploy or disable the airbag should a collision occur.

Each model comes equipped with OnStar’s Safe & Sound package with Automatic advanced Crash Notification and Turn-by-Turn navigation, ABS brakes, traction control and four-wheel independent suspension, and tire-pressure monitoring are found in all models, with StabiliTrak stability control, with a panic brake feature onboard the LT, LTZ and Hybrid models. A standard theft deterrent system and remote vehicle starter, along with a universal home remote system are found on the 2LT and LTZ models.

Malibu comes in new, rich color choices that include Sandstone Metallic, Imperial Blue Metallic, White, Amber Bronze Metallic, Silverstone Metallic, Dark Grey Metallic and Golden Pewter metallic. Black Granite Metallic is available as a premium color on all models, while LTZ and 2LT versions can be ordered with a premium Red Jewel Tintcoat hue.

Optional equipment packages include power-adjustable pedals, premium seating, up-level interiors, power equipment groups and a deluxe audio system. All models come with XM Satellite Radio. An eight-speaker, 210-watt sound system comes standard on the LTZ, and is available on the 2LT model. A rear seat power center, that includes a 110-volt AC adapter with a 3-prong outlet, is available on the 1LT and 2LT and LTZ models.

The 2008 Malibu is priced ranging from $19,995 for the base LS to $26,995 for the uplevel LTZ. The Hybrid has a MSRP of $22,790; a federal tax credit offered for going ‘green’ allows a deduction of $1300.

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