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2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 4dr Sedan

2008 Chevrolet Malibu
Trim Info:
Front Wheel Drive, 4 Door Sedan, Midsize
24 mpg city / 32 mpg hwy
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Expert Reviews

May 4, 2019 by Alison Lakin, Associate Editor

2008 Chevrolet Malibu 1
2008 Chevrolet Malibu

DriverSide Overview
The new 2008 Chevrolet Malibu has had more than a minor facelift - it’s had an extreme makeover. An all-new design, more refined cabin and tighter performance have sparked life into this previously lackluster car. A good-looking, chrome-accented cabin and a bolder exterior design demonstrate just how much the Malibu has stepped it up. The ‘Bu is now available in its first ever hybrid option. As a “mild" hybrid, it now has battery-operated capabilities like regenerative braking and an engine-off function at idle – giving you a (very) small boost in fuel economy: just 2 mpg more than its non-hybrid sibling. There is still room for improvement in its hybrid motor, but we think this newly polished sedan will surely be hard to resist.

What's to Like
The Malibu’s aggressive exterior design is striking, and the roomy interior feels pricier than its $22,140 starting price. Its cavernous trunk, even with the hybrid battery back there, could easily fit luggage for five.

What's Not to Like
The A-pillar mounted side mirror controls are nearly out of reach when settled in the driver’s seat. The squarish steering wheel feels cheap to the touch and is awkward to grip. Large gaps between some of the interior body panels make some areas of the car look fragmentary.

The Drive:
DriverSide Driving Impressions
Driving a mild hybrid for the first time can take some getting used to. While the Malibu fires up and handles exactly like a regular car, little things like the engine’s auto-off at a stop feature reminds you that you’re in a different breed of automobile. Regenerative braking, which reverses the electric motor, turning it into a generator to create electricity, gently helps slow down the car while you’re gliding to a stop - and produces a weird, phantom driver feeling. However, the Malibu’s agile and responsive handling will make any driving distance an easy commute; and though you’ll find it sluggish ramping up to 60 mph compared to others in its class, once the Malibu gets a head of steam going, it can be quite energetic.

Engine and Drivetrain
This front-wheel drive mild hybrid has an Ecotec 2.4-liter inline-4 DOHC engine that produces 164 horsepower and 159 ft-lb of torque. It’s available only with a four-speed automatic. A 36-volt battery powers the hybrid electric system.

Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
When you can’t have something, it inevitably becomes more attractive to you. This is the case with leather seats, bigger wheels and an upgraded stereo – options you’ll be missing on the hybrid. Thankfully, bare bones it is not. The audio system, with a six-disc CD changer and auxiliary input jack, also has standard XM satellite radio. Underneath the glowing, chrome-rimmed gauges is a driver information center that tells you everything from the current mpg to the tire pressure. Steering wheel controls can browse through the driver information or adjust the audio volume.

Key Technology Evaluation
Five-star crash ratings and a myriad of safety features in the Malibu, including side impact airbags and traction control, will help put your mind at ease. OnStar is now standard for all Malibu models, making turn-by-turn navigation available, along with roadside assistance and the system’s other helpful amenities. Its hybrid technology, though an advance compared to where we were ten years ago, is still not comparable to other, more efficient systems out there – like those from Toyota.

Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
The Malibu’s battery enables engine off at idle and regenerative braking, among other fuel-saving measures. The one difference between it and the “full" hybrids is its inability to accelerate from a stop using only the battery; it must rely on the fuel engine. Because of this, the Malibu - at 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway – saves only 2 mpg more than the non-hybrid version. Its LEV-II emissions rating, isn’t doing it any favors either, leaving you wondering why you’d buy the hybrid over the identically rated base model in the first place.

A Closer Look:  Vehicle Details

The Malibu’s affordable pricing belies the superior quality of the interior – which has been elevated beyond what we expect from Chevy. Yes, some of its hard plastics appear to be more suited for a Chevrolet Silverado than this four-door sedan, but the optional two-toned seats are plush and the instrument panel is actually quite stunning.

Its split front grill and pointed headlights update the Malibu’s look considerably. A more squared-off, linear look is completed by a smoothly arched roofline. The styling feels a little subpar in the back though, with the tail lights looking bug-eyed, but we love the sliver of a brake light on the rear side panels.

Market Segment and Pricing
With the Malibu Hybrid, what you see is what you get. Starting at $22,140, there are currently no packages available, except for an optional engine heater. More expensive hybrid rivals, like the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Nissan Altima Hybrid, present pricey options that will increase the bottom line significantly. 

What We Think
Even though the hybrid's miniscule reduction in fuel consumption doesn’t warrant much praise, a revamp has worked wonders for this economical sedan. Crisp lines and a restructured interior have positioned the Malibu strongly against rivals, and its competitive price will entice the budget-savvy consumer. Think of the 2008 model as Malibu 2.0.

Other Resources

Interest in Chevy Malibu sets record for domestic mid-sizer – Filed under: Car Buying, Sedans/Saloons, Marketing/Advertising, Chevrolet, Honda The 2008 Chevy Malibu has already taken home some prestigious hardware in the form of the 2008 North American Car of the Year award, and now it seems to be winning over Source:

Buyers dropping more coin on the 2008 Chevy Malibu – Filed under: Car Buying, Sedans/Saloons, Chevrolet, GMThe 2008 Chevy Malibu has snatched up awards and media accolades, and JD Power data shows that customers are paying Chevy dealers handsomely to own one. The average transaction price of a Chevy Ma Source:

Consumer Guide Auto Review – Consumer Guide Auto Review Source:

Auto Savant Review – Auto Savant Review Source:

US News Ranking – US News Ranking Source:

Autoblog First Drive: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu – Autoblog First Drive: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Source:

The Truth About Cars Review – The Truth About Cars Review Source:

Best new cars of 2008 – Best new cars of 2008 Source:

Chevy offering up new Malibu with four-cylinder engine – Filed under: Car Buying, Sedans/Saloons, Chevrolet, GMWhen the Chevy Malibu was launched back in the fall, we were promised a four cylinder version mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and it's finally here. The newest Malibu will achieve 22 Source:

Chevy introduces six-speed automatic for four-cylinder Malibu – Chevy introduces six-speed automatic for four-cylinder MalibuWhen Chevy unveiled its new Malibu last fall, its standard four-cylinder Ecotec engine was mated only with an outdated four-speed automatic transmission. GM promised that a proper, modern a Source:

Chevrolet officially adds 2.4 liter/6-speed powertrain to Malibu lineup – When I test drove the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, I mentioned that I got a chance to sample the 2.4 liter four cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission that Chevy planned... Source:

2008 Chevrolet Malibu – The all-new 2008 Chevrolet Malibu is General Motors' latest attempt to take on the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Honda Accord in the race for mid-size sales. Sharply styled, strong on safety, and with a particular emphasis on a quiet, refined ride, Source:

Top Ten Cars to Give as Gifts – Want to give your loved one a car as a gift? Here's a list of the ten best cars to give as gifts, with links to test drives and new car reviews from Aaron Gold and the experts at Cars. Source:

New 4-cylinder, 6-speed Malibu scores 30mpg in real world test – Filed under: MPG, ChevroletChevrolet recently launched a four cylinder version of their mid-sized Malibu sedan which is combined with a six speed automatic transmission. The six speed unit is only offered in the top LTZ model for now and replaces the Source:

Review: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ – (Credit: Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks) With the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ, Chevrolet makes its strongest bid yet to unseat the Toyota Camry as America's most popular car. For cabin quality, the Malibu LTZ equals the Camry and even the Honda Accord. Source:

Rusty Blackwell on the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid – Rusty Blackwell on the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu HybridThis is the first new Malibu I've driven, and it's pretty darn impressive. That's not surprising, though, since my colleagues chose this car as one of our ten 2008 All-Stars (I didn't vote, because t Source:

Dubai Welcomes Chevrolet Tahoe, Malibu Hybrids as Taxis – Dubai Welcomes Chevrolet Tahoe, Malibu Hybrids as TaxisWhen it comes to cities that need taxis - hybrid taxis, at that - Dubai isn't the first locale that springs to mind. However, the city in the United Arab Emirates is placing brightly-colored Chev Source:

Quick Test: 2008 Chevy Malibu LTZ – Quick Test: 2008 Chevy Malibu LTZ Source:

Chevrolet Forum – Interact with the Chevrolet community on the Chevrolet forums. Source:

In the AutoblogGreen Garage: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ and Hybrid – Filed under: Hybrid, MPG, Chevrolet, In The AutoblogGreen GarageClick the Malibu for a high res galleryThere was a time not so many years ago when the best-selling cars in the U.S. market were mid-sized models from General Motors. Cars like the Oldsm Source:

Follow-up test: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ – When I first tested the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, Chevy was still working on what was to be its fourth powertrain -- the 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed... Source:

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