With all this talk of where GM was, is, and will be, we felt the time had come to get behind the wheel of one of its latest hits as a refresher of sorts -- the Chevy Malibu. We're admittedly fans of the
over here at Kelley Blue Book (it was our "2009 Best Redesigned Vehicle" and the winner of our mid-size sedan comparison test in 2008, after all), so when we recently had the chance to spend a week in the 2009 Malibu 2LT, we were on board. Although the changes for the 2009 model year are relatively few, they are fairly significant. Electronic stability and traction control with brake assist have been implemented across the lineup, and, for up-market 2LT and LTZ trims, a fuel-saving six-speed automatic transmission, as well as Bluetooth, are now standard (the latter being good news for us in hands-free states). We had also hoped to see the inclusion of a USB port (since our iPod is always on hand), but alas, in LT form, the Malibu only includes it as part of the $500 "Premium Audio Package". It is, however, standard on LTZ. So, what were our impressions after tooling around town in the new 'bu? We dug the smooth new transmission, the ultra-quiet interior and the two-tone "UltraLux" seats with leather/suede that proved to be extremely leg-friendly in the bright California sun (something those who wear shorts while driving can appreciate). And, gripes about the non-existent USB port aside, we think this mid-sizer remains a good indicator of what kind of well-executed product we can expect from GM in years to come.