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2008-2009 Chevrolet Malibu



  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Agreed ...thats why I stated...

    Now, do this 4 or 5 times to have several samples

    I made an assumption that the same 5 mile stretch would not be used on each example. Overall, I do think that it will give a representative example to determine how "off" the speedo might be in this case.
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,907
    SALES: 14,931 in March 2008, up 7.2 percent from 13,929 in March 2007.

    RIVALS: Toyota Camry, sales of which dropped 4.2 percent in March 2008 to 40,487; and Honda Accord, which dropped 0.8 percent in March 2008 to 36,214.

    WHAT'S NEW: Malibu just unveiled a six-speed automatic transmission mated with a four-cylinder engine for its high-end LTZ. Its estimated highway fuel economy is 32 miles per gallon, up from 30 mpg on the existing four-cylinder Malibu with a four-speed transmission. The equivalent four-cylinder Toyota Camry and Honda Accord models offer 31 mpg on the highway.

    Source: Autodata Corp., General Motors Corp.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    It's an improvement over the very uncompetitive old model, but as I suspected by the low numbers I have been seeing on dealer lots and on the road, Malibu sales are still well under half of the volume of Camry and Accord even after their sales drops.

    Too bad for Honda that sales are roughly flat for the Accord even with an all-new model.
  • Hey, good information. Thanks a lot. I guess I need to make a call / visit to my local dealer.
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,907
    Here are a few pics of our Malibu with the two-tone cocoa and cashmere after market leather. Since there was not much difference in interior accoutrements between the LS and the LTZ except the leather we decided to pay $1,200 for after market leather. A shrewd compromise we thought warranty issues not withstanding.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    Interesting. It seems to match pretty well. Even the aftermarket leather was done in two colors though.
    I'd like to see someone post pictures of a one-tone leather interior.
    Of someone does it on a 2LT, they will have factory seat-heaters too.
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,907
    jaxs1, the colors matched perfectly but somehow the camera did not capture that. We opted for the two-tone leather to maintain the theme of the interior design. We looked at the single color option but it was not as interesting as the two-tone.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    Looks great. I'd say your photos are toning the actual colors down a bit (I have the factory LTZ), but otherwise it's still good looking.

    The only real complaint I have about the factory leather is that it seems a bit hard, even compared to the leather on my wife's 07 Trailblazer. My Avalanche was the same. I bet your aftermarket leather feels a lot better. That may significantly improve the wearability of the factory interior though. Too bad, because I was thinking that I'll go with some Katzkin leather as a future replacement when the factory stuff wears out enough. But that may never happen. :P
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,907
    According to Edmunds Auto Observer....sales of the new Malibu continued to surge, gaining three percentage points in the mid-size car segment, to 17.5 percent in April from 14.5 percent a year ago, according to Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. “And dealers are ordering it at four times the current build rate,” he said, “so there’s a lot of upside.”
  • roho1roho1 Posts: 318
    upside for who? Certainly not for the customer especially if there's a strike. What is the status of that anyway, haven't heard anything?
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I saw an article (brief) in my local paper the other day saying that it had been averted, so it looks like the strike is off...for now, at least.
  • mnt70mnt70 Posts: 2
    I understand that the availability of the 6 speed transmission will be extended to trim levels below the LTZ in the 2009 model year. In particular, I am interested in a 6 speed mated to a 4 cylinder engine in a 1LT with no other options. My dealer has confirmed that the six speed will be an upgrade on a '09 1LT but he has no price info yet. Any educated guesses on the upgrade price just to replace the standard 4 speed with a 6 speed? I guess it would have to be less than the price jump from a 1LT to a 2LT in '09 because the 6 speed will be standard on the 2LT. Of course, that starts one thinking about whether the price difference between the 1LT and the 2LT might be greater in '09 than '08.

    My alternative is to buy an '08 1LT and forget about the six speed. I anticipate that the 6 speed would provide a little better acceleration from a dead stop and about 2 MPG better highway fuel economy.

    Worth the wait and the (unknown) extra expense?
  • beach15beach15 Posts: 1,305
    Correct, it will be standard on all 2LT's and LTZ's with both engines and optional on 1LT's. But there's really no telling about price. My guess would be, at most, $500. Probably less, or maybe that, who knows. Very hard to tell yet.

    We have an '08 2LT 4-cyl with the 4-speed and are very happy with it, though after a few thousand miles, I could *see* where an extra 2 cogs could help--mainly in keeping the revs down a bit, as the 2.4L works splendidly with the 4-speed that keeps it in its rev band, but also makes for it to rev out higher and more than probably helps economy. Things like really holding onto 3rd gear until about 50. It never feels lacking, but the extra 2 cogs will probably help this out a bit.

    This car is my mother's, after my experience with an '07 rental, and now with the '08 I'm very much thinking of adding another one to the fleet for myself and a 2.4L as well. I'd go with a 4-speed one right now if the colors/package/options were right, but really am tempted to hold off for the 6-speed more so. I'm planning on driving one of the late '08 LTZ's now on dealer lots with the 2.4L/6-speed to see the change.

    That's what I'd recommend for you too. Find someone who has a new '08 LTZ with the 2.4L/6-speed (which is a package this year and will be standard for '09 in that trim), and drive it to compare. That will be the instant answer whether you care to have one NOW or wait. It's what I'm doing.
  • mnt70mnt70 Posts: 2
    Thank you for the good feedback and advice. Unfortunately, my dealer tells me that there are no 2.4L/6-speed 2008 LTZs on dealer lots in the SF Bay Area. The nearest one is 400 miles away, at least for now. Perhaps when the last of the '08 production run is delivered some will show up nearby. I agree with the dealer that test driving a 3.6L/6-speed would not be relevant to my question.

    Thanks again.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    I own two Malibu 2005 Base Sedans and couldn't have been happier with
    them: powerful, spacious, low-maintenance and consistently get close
    to 37 MPG on long trips.

    With one of my cars getting off the manufacturer's warranty in May, I
    test drove Malibu 2008 a while ago and decided to stay with my current

    I would be, however, very interested in knowing what the people who
    have owned both the Malibus of the new (2008) and the previous
    generation (2004+) think of them, in comparison. Personally, I am
    truly, really and completely not interested in the opinions on the
    looks' (sorry!) -- this is a matter of personal preferences, nor am I
    interested in the opinions of those who haven't owned or leased at
    least one car of either generation.

    See, if you had a 2004+ one and switched to the 2008, in a while you
    may feel that you did right or wrong by switching -- and I would like
    to know what you think: do you have any regrets about going to the new

    I did see the comments about the new car being more liked than the
    2004 Maxx but I didn't see any detailed comparison.

    In particular, one thing that is pretty important for me is the
    interior space of the car: it seemed to me that the new Bu's trunk is
    noticeably smaller than the old one's one -- is this true, you think?

  • beach15beach15 Posts: 1,305
    We didn't own an '04-08, but I had a rental '07 for a month and it was that car that was a big factor in us buying the '08.

    In overall feel, the last gen is more upright and is a touch easier to get in & out of and with taller windows, you can see more out. It's just very square and upright, which helps in that. Otherwise, the seating and legroom is essentially identical with just a touch more I would say with the wheelbase stretch (now on the previous Maxx model wheelbase). The new car feels a touch more closed in...but it's all in the looks and those are STUNNING.

    In that regard, the looks are shockingly different. Doesn't even seem like the two can share as much as they do, and the '08 is just a stunner. Perfect proportions, great details and lines, stunning interior shapes and sculpting, etc. Is it a Lexus or MB in terms of overall final materials and finishes? No. But it's stronger than the last gen and just oozes style and solidity throughout.

    On the road is dramatically different too. Both my rental and the '08 we bought are Ecotec 4-cyl cars, so similar in weight, and with the electric steering. While the '07 had that--as reviews have said--easy but oddly loose then tight steering, the '08 just feels firm and sharp at all times. Much better feel. Then with suspension, the previous car was fine, but the new one feels much more tied down still and without any of the also sometimes odd float. It absorbs things very well but is still a firm, supple feel, with tight handling.

    One of the biggest differences is the noise level. Though I never thought it was horrible, my '07 had pretty significant road roar and impact noise. The '08 really, truly with all the new sound deadening, special glass, etc. is like a rolling whisper. That was my first shock driving one of the new ones. Even more so, specifically with the 4-cyl, the engine roar is next to nil in a new '08 compared to a last gen. The decrease in noise levels alone makes it feel SO much more refined and high quality.

    So, all in all, while the new styling has impinged a bit on overall ingress/egress and visibility out, that's all that's negative in comparison. As Car & Driver said in a review, the guts were always there, but the '08 finally has the right styling and all the right driving dynamics to match. Great, great car. I'm a fan of the rental special '07 still, and it's a great car (I LOVED getting 37+ mpg effortlessly in my 2.2L car, and it was extremely comfortable), but the '08 now takes those good traits and adds emotion in the styling and dynamics to the mix. Now it's really a "want" car with those merits.
  • bryanbryan Northern VAPosts: 217
    Could not agree more with beach15's astute observations. I own an '07 LS, purchased in October '07 new, and an '08 2LT I ordered late March and picked up May 3. The LS is beige with the cashmere cloth interior, and had floor mats as the only option (dealer swap), while I ordered the '08 2LT in Imperial Blue Metallic with the cashmere/cocoa interior, optioned with everything except 6 cyl and sunroof.

    The '07 replaced a '96 Olds LSS that needed too much $$$ to keep it going (110,000 virtually trouble-free miles up to that point) and the '08 replaced an '04 Olds Alero Final 500 with 39K miles, that quite frankly, was stunning in the Dark Cherry Metallic with the embossed cashmere leather, but I never enjoyed driving it (too "buzzy", if that makes sense).

    While I truly appreciate both cars, the '08 is like a different car in so many respects. The interior combo (cashmere/cocoa) is stunning--I like the suede inserts in the seats, and the light/dark contast elsewhere in the dash, door panels, etc. is very pleasing to my eye. It's so quiet compared to the '07 LS, but especially to the '04 Alero.

    The '07 interior is more stark, and not as "pretty", but the car does exactly what it was purchased to do. 35 mpg highway without even trying. Thought I had a "thunk' in the rear end, but I cleaned out the trunk and found a bottle that was rattling in a cardboard box! Other than one oil change, the car at 4,700 miles presently has been super.

    Back to the '08--I paid $300 over dealer invoice, got the $1,000 GM loyalty rebate, bought an extended warranty for an additional three years $400 off "retail". I would buy this car again--and may just buy an '09 or a '10 LTZ with the 4cyl and 6 speed transmission when my '03 Olds Aurora (yes, I have four cars :sick: ) is out of warranty. That's how impressed I am with the '08.
  • kplacerkplacer Posts: 97
    Bryan, as an obviously loyal Oldsmobile man you must have been dismayed by the General's decision to axe the brand. I am in the same boat. How do you find the Chevrolets in terms of trim quality, refinement, features, etc? I always found Chevys to be a cut below Olds in that respect and always felt that Chevys just felt "cheaper". I know that's probably where GM wants me to go when it's time to buy my next car but I still have my doubts..
  • beach15beach15 Posts: 1,305

    OH do you ever need to try out the vehicles of "new" GM. In terms of solidity, materials, finish, quality, driving dynamics, etc. pretty much every GM vehicle--brand regardless--coming out is leaps and bounds above what they were putting out just a few years ago. Case in point, and I too am an Olds fan, there was NO Oldsmobile from the 90's until the last of the last in '04 that had anywhere near the solidity, materials & finish, ride/handling, or overall performance that a new Malibu does.

    Seeing Chevy as a step below is understandable, but the overall bar has been raised so far and beyond even a couple of years ago, the volume brand products (i.e. Chevy) are world class compared to what was best not long ago. Nothing is perfect, but you'll be in for a pleasant surprise if you just walk into a Chevy dealer and try one. As I said in my previous post, it doesn't overly compete with a top end Lexus or MB on the technical level with materials and such, but is such a tight, solid, silent, and refined vehicle, the Malibu is a knockout for the price.

    The last Olds I've been familiar with is my grandmother's '99 Intrigue. Always enjoyed the look of that car and really so the driving experience, but in comparison, such an old-tech and clunky feeling vehicle--specifically in terms of the terrible interior materials (nice design...but "old" GM materials and finish) and the ride/handling/body feel. Nice car at the time, but far surpassed now.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    So.... Which model is more spacious? The trunk? By how much, in your experience? (I know the specs -- I want an owner's perception.)

    Beauty aside, how do the visibilities compare? The gauges and displays?
    DIC is located differently on the two and I am not sure I like its place and visibility on the 08 model. What's your opinion on that?

    What could you say about fuel economy differences that you've observed?

    Thanks for all your and beach15's input!
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    We previously owned a 2004 Malibu LT sedan, loaded with everything but OnStar. Our new Malibu is a 2008 LTZ (completely loaded this time). So the comparison is basically the original 3.5l / 4 speed equipped car versus the new 3.6l / 6 speed car.

    It's hard to talk about the differences without going straight to how improved everything looks, but you said "Beauty aside", so here goes my attempt:

    It's been a couple of years since we had the 04, but my recollection was of a fairly spacious trunk, even then. The new car carries on with that tradition, but the longer, sleeker lines have led to a shorter opening (both heightwise, and especially, depthwise- as in, from the rear of the trunklid's upper edge to the front edge). The opening itself is wider, but the decreased depth still makes it seem tighter. I'd guess that some things would go into the original car's trunk easier (say, small computer CRT monitors) than the new one. And by the same token, some things will fit into the new one easier (longer slim objects that wouldn't fit through the opening because of the width). Overall, a tie- with a perk to the new one being the struts rather than intrusive hinges our 04 had (crushed a few Christmas presents with THOSE).

    The old car seemed to have better visibility. Enough so that my wife is nervous driving the new one (never was with the other car). It's mostly because of the higher beltline, as well as the more steeply raked windshield and the wider rear pillars / long, raked rear window. I find that it's mostly an illusion, but the feeling is what it is when you're behind the wheel. The guages in the old car were functional, if not necessarily superbly attractive. The new guages have gained some nicer trim, and blend well with the dash. Both cars were fine at conveying all the necessary information in the places you'd intuitively look for it. So another tie.

    The DIC issue- My Avalanche had the DIC display in the dash, just like the new car. I prefer it that way, especially with steering wheel mounted buttons to access it. My eyes feel less distracted when I am using them there than the original location in the center console (integrated with the stereo). Both the buttons and the display were there in the 04, and required not only looking down and to the side (as in the stereo display for the new car too), but also moving at least one hand from the steering wheel to find the button you want. The only downside I see with the new one's location is that there's not enough space to present much information at the same time. But of course, sharing DIC info with the stereo pretty much had the same effect.

    A bigger issue, and one that GM seems to be regressing in on all their vehicles lately, is the location of the compass display / external temperature readouts. The 04 Silverado and 07 Avalanches both had both items in the rearview mirror. The 07 Trailblazer moves the external temperature readout down to the automatic climate control's display (hiding the internal temperature setting within a second or so after changing the internal temperature!), while my 08 bu has it in the DIC, but only on the standard odo display. The new 09 Avalanches are also moving it to one of the latter locations for some reason. To me, making me toggle info displays to find something that was superbly located before (hiding other stuff I want to see quickly in the process) is an oversite that shouldn't be happening.

    V6 / V6 fuel economy. First, let's not forget that the 04-07 cars didn't stick with the same V6's throughout the run, so my comments are based both on personal experience with the *first* 3.5l (non VVT, etc.), as well as what I've read of the newer ones, and my current experiences with the 3.6l in just over 3 months of late winter / early spring driving.

    The original 3.5l cars were rated higher by the EPA than the later cars, but had lower horsepower and torque numbers. The addition of the VVT might've added something, but the marginal increase in power doesn't seem like it would've made an adequate tradeoff for the lost fuel economy in my mind, especially since I thought the torquey engine we had in the 04 was plenty strong, if not class leading. I never had issues pulling any of the mountains around here, even with the car fully loaded, nor any problems passing at will. And with my routine daily drive, at roughly 95% highway and 62 miles round-trip, it consistently returned 32-36 mpg (usually the lower end of the range). On long all-highway trips, even with my family and luggage included, the range was more like 34-38 mpg. For a 200hp V6, I was well pleased. Higher numbers seemed to occur during warmer months (so long as I left the A/C off, else about a 1 or 2 mpg penalty occurred). I have no doubt that the electric steering of the early cars with V6's helped somewhat, and the change to hydraulic assisted steering on the newer 3.5's (or later bigger 3.9 SS cars) probably subtracted even more from the ratings than just the engine change alone.

    Keeping the above in mind, the new car with the 3.6l, six speed automatic, and hydraulically assisted steering hasn't been too bad. I haven't hit the highest numbers I expect to see for my daily drive, as we've only recently been getting into consistently > 70 degree fahrenheit daytime temps throughout the week. Still the worst numbers I've seen were over 25 mpg, and that was for the two weeks I drove by the breakin instructions, keeping under 55, staying to side roads (so varied speeds were the rule, with stop and go more than usual- think 50% highway equivalent). Once the breakin was done I went back to my usual drive, but in colder, windy, and sometimes rainy weather, all of which seem to sap economy a bit over the ideal warm dry windless days. The numbers I've seen so far have been between 28 and just over 31 mpg. I expect to see 32 or maybe even 33 mpg at the best, with 30 being just about average with this car. That's a decent drop from the 04's fuel economy, but still not bad, especially when you have to step into the car for a pass and realize just how much more is waiting under the hood. As I said, I wouldn't classify the last car as a slouch, but in comparison to the new one, it sometimes feels like it was just the same.

    Back to the four cylinder cars- purely based on reading here and elsewhere, the newer car seems to actually be holding its own on fuel economy and performance when compared to the last gen cars. I don't know why that is, but I suppose it's all to the good if the best possible fuel economy is on your list. And the 6 speed automatic equipped cars are expected to improve to best-in-class highway ratings, so that may be right up your alley.

    Do I miss the old car- DEFINITELY. But not in a I-wish-I'd-kept-it-and-hadn't-bought-this-one sort of way. More of a I-want-both. ;)
  • bryanbryan Northern VAPosts: 217
    As to axeing the Olds brand, I'm one who thought it should have been Saturn, as Olds had the 100 year history, and for many years they were very popular and sold well. And at the time the decision was made, Saturn seemed to be really struggling with its quality, etc. Interesting how Saturn seems to have turned the corner now.

    Some history--I've been in the GM stable since my first car ('72 Nova bought new), except for the 1981 Datsun 200SX that, looking back now, was the stupidest impulse buy ever! It did get good mpg, especially coming out of a 1978 Pontiac Grand Prix. I ended up hating that Datsun; traded into an '83 Olds '98 Regency Brougham. What a slug that car was, but oh was it stunning!

    In looking back at all the cars I've owned, two Olds come to mind--the first one was my 1977 Olds Cutlass Salon. It had a firmer ride that the other Cutlass models that year, which I really enjoyed, and it was a blast to drive. Only problem with that car was the clock never worked right. That's the excuse I used to buy a new car--the '78 GP! :shades:

    Second was my '96 Olds LSS, until now, the best car I've ever owned--the ONLY warranty repair was a cracked door sill on the front passenger side. 30 mpg highway, wonderful to drive, comfortable, fit and finish best I'd had until the '08 Malibu. I kept that car until 110,000 miles (11 years, longest ever for me), but it needed more $$$ to keep it going than the car would be worth, so I sold it to my Olds mechanic! It only costs him parts since his labor is free! ;)

    As to the '08 Malibu, I've only had it since May 3, 220 miles so far. I'm just blown away by the fit and finish--best in any car I've ever owned, and it's quiet. I traded an '04 Olds Alero Final 500 on it, and do NOT miss that car, at all! Had a nice peppy V6, but just a tedious car to drive.

    I also have an '03 Olds Aurora. It's simply stunning--Red Bordeaux with the cashmere leather interior. That car has had quite the relationship with the Olds service shop--blown Bose speaker, rattling door speaker, sunroof rattles, DIC misfires that resulted in some computer stuff being replaced twice, stupid stuff that should not have happened in an almost $40K car! Has had the intermittent steering shaft issue twice. Had a wheel bearing issue that was replaced. Recently was getting hard shifts, and since that repair, car drives like new. But, other than normal maintenance, it's been covered by warranty. It came with a 5 year, 60K warranty, and for an additional $100, I was able to add one year. The car has 41,xxx miles, and will be out of warranty in February '09. It's paid for, and I do like to drive that lux-o-boat! Same Olds mechanic has taken care of this car that serviced the LSS, and he wants this one when I'm done, It's paid for, not worth much now, so I'll keep it until it starts to cost $$$.

    The new Malibu seems to be perfect for me. I fit just fine, have more legroom than any car yet, it has all the bells and whistles I need. I test drove an '08 LS, and was so impressed with that lower end model, that I decided to special order my 2LT. I'm looking forward to a couple of hundred mile drive in the car this weekend.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    Thank you very much, jerrywimer, for the extremely thoughtful and objective report -- this is exactly what I was looking for!

    I know that beauty is important, and I remember the feeling when I got into my beloved Bu-05 after test-driving Bu-08: boy, wasn't I shocked with the "plainless" of my car!...

    But in a while that feeling went away: I feel quite happy inside my 05 -- and I mostly look at the road, not at the panels (which, thankfully, don't rattle :-). Functionality, however, never loses its importance.

    I'll be rereading your post more attentively later -- there is plenty in it. Thank you again!
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    A reporter is hoping to talk with consumers who had considered purchasing a Hyundai Sonata and ended up purchasing another vehicle. Please respond to before Friday, May 16, 2008 with your daytime contact information and what you ended up purchasing.

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • mazda6dudemazda6dude Posts: 283
    Does the 2008 chevy malibu LT1 have a timing belt or timing chain? Thanks.
  • beach15beach15 Posts: 1,305
    ALL Malibu drivetrains use a timing chain--2.4L and 3.6L.

    Actually, ALL GM vehicles and their engines use a chain except for the new Saturn Astra (engine is a slightly different iteration, as it's a Euro vehicle) and the Chevy Aveo, also a foreign based vehicle. All else, chains, and no change interval.
  • sidewinderzsidewinderz Posts: 49
    I always owned a GM car . Before the 08 Malibu was announced , I was looking at the Hyunda Elantra or Sonata . However after finding the following site
    I decided not to purchase either one . Looks like they don't really want to back their warranty . I'll probably get the LS before the end of the month .
    Just my 2 cents
  • kingdomsakingdomsa Posts: 14
    It seems GM has put lots of 'quality' into even their lowest LS level 08 Malibu. Which makes the LS seem like a very nice basic car - what I need. Can anyone comment on the noise/vibration/harshness & 'quality' differences between the 08 LS and 08 LT-2LT-LTZ? I've read the spec differences & test drove, but is there any less quality in the LS design/construction that I might notice in the longer term - like less insulation, lower quality seats, less of anything?
  • mazda6dudemazda6dude Posts: 283
    Thanks for the info.
  • beach15beach15 Posts: 1,305
    No, there's ZERO difference in NVH between the trim levels. The only difference are wheels & tires, with the LS (at least until '09) using steel wheels and 16" Uniroyal tires. So, if anything, in that regard, it has the most cushion in ride due to the extra sidewall.

    But otherwise, all the glass, all the insulation, the suspension tuning, etc. is identical across all the models. Only the features and trim details separate them.
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