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2008 Chevrolet Malibu

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2008 Chevrolet Malibu Review

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Chevy's mid-size Malibu, like most GM passenger cars, suffered corporate neglect in the 1990s and early 2000s as customers---and the company's engineering attention and budget---increasingly shifted toward trucks and SUVs. Still, the plain-looking previous Malibu has drawn kudos as a solid, reliable, high-value contender and has sold fairly well. This new one, though, vaults Chevrolet straight to the top of the mid-size sedan game. It looks wonderful, is solidly built and carefully crafted inside and out, offers good fuel economy, drives wonderfully and is priced to sell in serious volumes. There is even an affordable "mild" hybrid version that performs better than the base four-cylinder car and gets two miles-per-gallon better economy.

You'll Like This Car If...

The Malibu's bold, attractive sheetmetal and stylish interior touches are backed by confident handling, a quiet ride and an overall level of refinement competitive with the category's best.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Malibu doesn't offer the same all-encompassing feel of precision that some of its competitors have been able to achieve.

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu---which shares GM's global mid-size platform with the Saturn Aura, Saab 9-3 and same-size German Opels---offers a stiff, solid, quiet-riding structure and precise build quality. More than three inches longer than the 2007 Malibu sedan, and on a six inch-longer wheelbase, its added length and wheels-at-the-corners stance simultaneously enhances its appearance, handling and interior roominess.

Driving the Malibu
Driving Impressions

The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu's long wheelbase, wide stance and stiff structure combine for a pleasing balance of ride and handling that's not at all common in this class, particularly for...

... a domestic brand. The energy-efficient electric power steering on four-cylinder models---though better than earlier GM electric power steering applications---feels a bit artificial on-center; the conventional hydraulic power steering on V6 cars offers more precise feel. The standard four-speed automatic, a perceived disadvantage to competitors with five-speeds, is smooth and pleasant on the road. GM's new six-speed automatic, offered with the V6 only at launch, will become available on four-cylinder cars later in the year. The Malibu hybrid, though not as fuel-efficient around town as the more expensive "full" hybrid Camry, delivers smooth performance and a two miles-per-gallon economy enhancement for about $1,800 more than a conventional 1LT four-cylinder.

Remote Starting
Available on 1LT models and standard on 2LT and LTZ, this terrific feature lets you start the engine and warm or cool the interior from a distance, with the car still locked, well before departing.

Turn-by-Turn Navigation
A GM OnStar feature, this service provides precise verbal directions through the car's audio system without the need to program in a destination.

2008 Chevrolet Malibu Details
Interior

The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu's beautifully crafted interior uses premium materials throughout. The "dual-cockpit" instrument panel's major gauges are backlit in blue, ambient lighting provides a warm environment and overhead LED floodlights project subdued light on the console area between the front seats. The deep center console's sliding cover opens to accommodate large items, there's a handy storage compartment atop the instrument panel and an available "rear power center" provides a 110-volt AC power outlet. Two available two-tone trim combinations---Ebony and Brick and Cocoa and Cashmere---offer a choice of metallic-look or woodgrain accents, while an all-Ebony combination is accented with tasteful woodgrain.

Exterior

The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu hits a high-water mark for its size and price with taut proportions, elegant lines and a crisp, clean profile. Its split grille represents the new global face of Chevrolet cars, and its twin round taillamps are traditional Chevy cues. LTZ models feature front fog lamps and clear-lens LED taillamps, while V-6-powered Malibus sport twin chrome exhausts. With tight panel gaps and rich-looking details, this new mid-size Chevy looks like $40,000 while starting at half that price.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Malibu's comprehensive list of standard safety features includes four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control, front seat-belt pretensioners, "Gen 7" OnStar and six air bags: Dual-stage front, front seat-mounted thorax (side) and two-row head-curtain bags. Also standard are a four-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch painted steel wheels, XM Satellite radio and (surprisingly) a choice of interiors that includes two-tone trim combinations. Mid-range LT models add Stabilitrak stability control with panic brake assist, remote starting (2LT) and 17-inch chrome wheels. The range-topping LTZ offers front fog lamps, 18-inch aluminum wheels, dual chrome exhausts and clear-lens LED taillamps.

Optional Equipment

2008 Chevrolet Malibu option and equipment packages include such features as power-adjustable pedals, uplevel interiors, leather seats, power equipment groups and a premium audio system. A GPS navigation system is not yet available (partially because the center stack design doesn't provide room for a screen), but "turn-by-turn" verbal directions can be easier to use (you call in destinations to an OnStar operator rather than program them in) and you may not miss the screen.

Under the Hood

The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu offers a choice of a standard 169-horsepower 2.4-liter ECOTEC four, a 164-horsepower four-cylinder "mild" hybrid system or a 252-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, all with dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing. The Hybrid teams a small electric motor with a more fuel-efficient version of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder to deliver two miles-per-gallon better fuel economy. The four-cylinder is teamed with a four-speed automatic, while a six-speed automatic is standard with the V6. A new six-speed automatic will become available on four-cylinder models later in the model year.

2.4-liter 4-cylinder
169 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
160 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30

3.6-liter V6
252 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
251 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26

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2008 Chevrolet Malibu Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 585 Ratings for the 2008 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Worst performing vehicle i have ever owned

By on Monday, June 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 134,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
4/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Worst performing vehicle I have ever owned. Absolutely zero acceleration of the line and takes forever to get up to highway speed. Definitely an issue that Chevrolet needs to address for future vehicles."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Good car but has its issues

By on Friday, June 3, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Exterior styling, nice sound system, quiet ride"

Cons: "Engine problems at 50k miles, plastic interior"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I bought my 2011 Malibu LS new and I've had it for almost 5 years now. It's a good ride and I get compliments on it from friends and family about how nice it looks and how great the ride is. I drive around town mostly but every month or so I drive up to Chicago to visit family and friends. I get about 28 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in town. Both numbers are lower than the EPA estimates but still pretty good. I have driven this car on a couple long road trips with no issue. The interior is a little too plastic but well designed. At around 40k miles my car started to shake when I drove between 40-60 mph. I had no idea what could be the case but I read that many people with Malibus were having similar problems. I got new tires since my factory installed Firestone ones were going bad (they sucked to begin with). The tires have fixed my issue with the shaking. Then at 48k miles my check engine light came on. I thought this was due to my gas cap not being on tight (happened to me couple other times) so I made sure the cap was on tight. After a week the light didn't go away. I decided to drive to Chicago (about 250 miles from where I live) to visit my parents. My dad ran a diagnostic and the problems popping up just couldn't make sense. The codes stated that I could have a major issue but my dad is a mechanic and he said that at under 50K miles these issues are almost impossible AND I just drove 250 miles to see him. So I came back home (drove another 250 miles) and my dad told me to get the car looked at just in case... I took my car to a mechanic in my town and he told me the guides to my timing chain had broke and my timing chain had about 2 inches just GONE. The broken pieces had got into my solenoids and sensor so those were now broken too. The mechanic couldn't believe I was still able to drive the car. I then had the mechanic put my engine back together and I took the car to a Chevy dealer to see if my Powertrain Warranty would cover this. Luckily my problems were under warranty and I got about $2500 worth of problems fixed at no cost to me. Overall the car has been good to me and even when it should not have been able to drive it STILL drove me wherever I needed to go. I take good care of it and get the oil changed and my tires balanced and rotated regularly. My goal is to keep this car for another 10 years or until I reach 200K miles, whichever comes first."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

What a lemon, I will not buy another Chevy product

By on Friday, April 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "none"

Cons: "Not dependable"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Bought new in 2009. Waterpump did not even make it through warrenty before it went out. Alternator went out with less than 80,000 on it, Now transmition out with less than 90000. You buy one of these be sure to have a phone # for a wreaker handy."

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

1 Owner, 2012 Chevy Malibu 2LT with low miles.

By on Saturday, March 12, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Excellent condition, No accidents, oil changed regularly with synthetic oil. Includes blue tooth phone connect, A/C power outlet, XM Radio, and all power options."

1 person out of 5 found this review helpful

Better have a large wallet, mechanical issues

By on Sunday, December 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Riders good"

Cons: "Not a well built car mechanical."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"At under 50000 miles, it had to have a torque converter, battery, $275.00 for a blinker on the front. Now $600.00 switch to control the vents and it isn't covered under the extended warranty. At 52000 miles . Bad on gas consumption."

11 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Great car for the money!

By on Saturday, December 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great family car, & sporty looking in Red!"

Cons: "Gas Mileage around town is below average for a 4 c"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Car is enjoyable to drive. Gas mileage is a little below average. 30 on trip, 24 around town. Plenty of room inside & trunk space is above average."

7 people out of 18 found this review helpful

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