There's a Lot to Like About the '08 Malibu
I hadn't had an opportunity to test-drive a Chevy in my MotherProof.com career before the 2008 Malibu, and I must say that it really won me over. I enjoyed my test drive more than I expected to, because this is a pretty great car for a mom. It takes a lot for me to really love a car, and while I'm not totally in love with the Malibu, I do really, really like it.
The Malibu wasted no time in attempting to charm me: My test car had a beautiful red metallic paint color, the interior is full of attentive details and there are three sets of Latch connectors in the back.
The Malibu welcomes you inside with her lovely two-tone cocoa-colored leather seats with contrast piping, which I always love. She has beautiful faux wood detailing on the dash, consoles and doors, and her cupholders are perfectly situated and sized - they even have a sliding door that covers them in the event they get cruddy. I found it so easy to adjust the seat to a comfortable position. My whole family was comfortable in the Malibu, too. Nobody was squished or crammed when all four of us were in attendance - that's a pretty amazing feat, people. It's also amazing that the kids' booster seats fit flat against the backseat and we didn't have to finagle them into fitting properly.
The controls were within easy reach and were easy to use, although the knobs were a little flimsy-feeling. The center stack had a lot of shiny plastic, but I got used to it and enjoyed its simplicity. I also enjoyed the auxiliary jack where I could plug in my own tunes. I really appreciate a system that does this simply and seamlessly, as the Malibu's does. There are no special buttons to push in a particular sequence to start rockin' out in the Mali!
But the Malibu will really win the hearts and minds of parents with its third set of Latch connectors in the backseat. Yes folks, you can put that child-safety seat in the Malibu's middle seat. Can I get a "hallelujah?" The rear cupholders are located in the back of the front center console. I don't usually approve of this cupholder position, but my kids are getting bigger and can reach them, so we can cope with the placement. If your kids are in child-safety seats or are on the shorter side, this position can be frustrating.
My Malibu's red paint is pretty. I got lots of comments on it, usually followed by questions as to what kind of car it was. Most people were surprised to learn it was a Chevy (which is weird because the logo is featured pretty prominently). The front end is sloped and feels contemporary without going overboard. Its lines are less upright, less boxy; it's a look I like.
The Malibu's tail end is pretty bland. It's kind of like a pair of jeans without a design on the back pocket. The Malibu is clean and tidy-looking, but it lacks some flair. To get into the trunk, you need to have the key fob in hand or open it from the inside of the car, which can be an issue if you're not used to it. The inside of the trunk's hatch has a nice leather handle to pull it closed (so you don't have to reach so high that you untuck your shirt).
The chrome-looking wheels are a bit over-the-top for me. While the new Malibu is much less likely to be made into a mock police car for a security company, the shiny aluminum wheels make it look like it's trying too hard to not be that. You don't need the bling, honey; you're lovely as you are.
The Malibu has airbags galore. She has antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and traction control. Nice! What's better is she comes with one year of OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation; I like OnStar, but check to make sure that you have coverage where you live or where you drive the most.
The three lovely sets of Latch connectors must be mentioned again. I'm so happy about those. Did you know that the center position is the safest place in the car? So thank you, Chevy, for putting anchors in that position.
Lastly, the Malibu earns five stars from NHTSA for front and rear passengers in front and side collisions. You like her now, too, don't you?
*For more information on the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu and its safety features, visit Cars.com. With questions or comments regarding this review, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS
Latch Connectors: 3
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Good Times
2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ
Price as tested:
Engine: 252-hp, 3.6L V-6
Fuel: 17/26 mpg city/highway
Ground Clearance: n/a
Turning Radius: 20.2'
Cargo space: 15.1 cu. ft.
NHTSA Crash-Test Ratings
Driver's side: 5 stars
Passenger's side: 5 stars
Front occupant: 5 stars
Rear occupant: 5 stars
Rollover resistance: 4 stars
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||May 23, 2008|
|David Thomas||Cars.com National||November 5, 2007|
|Mike Hanley||Cars.com National||April 18, 2007|
|Sara Lacey||Mother Proof||September 23, 2008|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||August 21, 2008|
|Emily Hansen||Mother Proof||May 12, 2008|
|Steven Cole Smith||Orlando Sentinel||March 8, 2008|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||February 24, 2008|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||February 17, 2008|
|Royal Ford||Boston.com||January 6, 2008|
|Steven Cole Smith||Orlando Sentinel||December 8, 2007|
|Dan Neil||Los Angeles Times||December 5, 2007|
|Scott Burgess||The Detroit Newspapers||November 21, 2007|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||November 18, 2007|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||November 9, 2007|
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