This is an interesting story about the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu, which is the seventh generation of the venerable name. The fifth and sixth generation of the The Malibu were really unimpressive vehicles.....basically reduced to rental fleets. The Malibu was redesigned for the 2008 model year.....at the direction of then GM Vice Chairman Robert Lutz.
Lutz was determined to manufacture an American automobile that was competitive with the Japanese mid size cars Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Under his direction, GM finally decided that to be competitive the Malibu needed extensive engineering and re-design.
The Malibu is built on a revised version of the long-wheelbase front-wheel drive platform shared with the Saturn Aura, Pontiac G6, Opel Signum. The only available transmission is a six-speed automatic. It is built at the Kansas City Plant, along with the Saturn Aura.
The interior design has been completely redone.....the selection of the two-tone color combination is very attractive. Higher quality interior pieces also accompany the redesign which has also been completely reworked, with a selection of two-tone color combinations(brick and tan two tone), telescoping steering wheel, higher-quality materials and a twin-cowl dash design.
The Malibu offers a 2.4 liter 169 hp. VVT in line 4-cylinder as the base engine. and a 252 hp, and a 3.6 liter V6 as an option. A hybrid option is available, which increased fuel economy of 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway.
The Malibu has received critical praise from the automotive press, with MotorTrend magazine rating the Malibu higher than the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima in the magazine's 2008 Car of The Year competition.
The 2008 Malibu received the North American Car of the Year Award at the North American International Auto show in Detroit. The runners up being the 2008 Cadillac CTS and the 2008 Honda Accord. The Malibu's win marks the second straight year that a car built on GM's Epsilon platform has won the North American COTY Award with the 2007 North American COTY Award having gone to the 2007 Saturn Aura. The Malibu was also named a Consumer Digest best buy for 2009.
Sales results have been positive with the Malibu joining the Cadillac CTS and Buick Enclave on a list of GM vehicles whose sales have exceeded expectations. The redesigned Malibu sold more than 50% more units in 2008 last year than in 2007, increasing GM's mid-size market share to 8.4% from 5.7%, while the Camry and Accord percentages remained flat at about 21% and 17.5%, according to GM. Sales to rental customers dropped to 27% of the total, as GM limited sales to rental fleets.
Pricing starts for the LS version at $22,325 USD plus options, the hybrid version is priced at $25,555 USD plus options.
The latest generation of the Malibu is a winner! The Malibu looks good, drives well, handles well and braking is good. The Malibu is another example of the kind of cars that GM is capable of building.