The conservatively styled Malibu is Chevrolets mainstay midsize sedan now that the Lumina is sold only to fleet buyers.
A rear window defogger and power door locks are new standard features on the base model. Stereo units with cassette and/or CD players add the Radio Data System, which displays weather and traffic emergency warnings and allows station selection based on the type of programming.
Available only in four-door styling, the Malibu is 190 inches bumper to bumper an inch or so longer than the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, two of its key rivals.
Bucket seats are standard, and a front bench is not available. The Malibus spacious rear seat has more legroom than the Lumina and nearly as much as some full-size sedans. The split rear seatback folds to expand the trunks already spacious 17-cubic-foot capacity, and the trunk has a wide, low opening for easy loading.
Standard features include air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, stereo radio and theft-deterrent system.
Under the Hood
A 3.1-liter V-6 engine with 170 horsepower and a four-speed automatic transmission are now standard on both Malibu models. Antilock brakes, a feature that is optional on several competitors vehicles, are also standard.
Short on thrills and frills but long on practicality and value, the Malibu offers acceptable performance, ample space and a lot of features for a reasonable price. The styling is middle-of-the-road bland, but if you can get beyond the nondescript look, this car is a pretty good deal compared to rivals like the Accord, Camry and Ford Taurus