Which 2008 Chevy Malibu is Right For You?


The new Chevy Malibu went on sale last week behind a massive advertising blitz. The sedan comes in four trim levels with three engine choices, and ranges in price from $19,345 to $26,345, before a $650 destination charge. GM is hoping the car’s value statement will attract as many customers as its all-new design. To help decipher the difference in trim levels, we’ve designed the guide below. A review of the new Malibu can be found here.

LS: Starting at $19,345

  • This is the base model that gets Chevy all that good advertising of a starting price below $20,000. The LS comes well-equipped, but its biggest drawback is a lack of standard stability control. It does come with the same six airbags and traction control as the rest of the lineup, plus 16-inch wheels, but for just another $1,000 we’d opt for the LT.   

LT 1LT: Starting at $20,305

  • Moving up to the LT gets you 17-inch wheels instead of 16s, and it’s also the lowest trim level to include stability control. You can walk out the door with a cloth, four-cylinder LT for $21,000, and that includes antilock brakes, six airbags, OnStar and Turn by Turn directions for a year, XM Satellite Radio free for three months, and a decent stereo. 

LT 2LT: Starting at $21,985

  • This is where things might get confusing. Simply put, the 2LT version of the LT gets you leather seats. Oh, and they’re powered leather seats. But we would think the 2LT’s big selling point is the fact that it’s the lowest point at which you can add the V-6 engine as an option, for $2,060. That means you save about $2,000 off the price of the LTZ but still get a V-6. This is also the trim level that features monotone, suede-inserted seats instead of the two-tone leather of the LTZ.

LTZ: Starting at $26,345

  • So now you’re asking, “But Dave, why would I spend another $2,000 for the LTZ if you just told me I could get the V-6 in the 2LT?” Well for that amount of dough you get the V-6 standard, 18-inch wheels, chrome door handles, fog lamps, a premium sound system, automatic climate control, and heated two-tone leather seats. With every option loaded on, including a sunroof, the top price is $27,765 before destination.

Hybrid: Starting at $22,140

  • The Hybrid comes equipped exactly the same as the LT 1LT, except the wheels are smaller (16 inches) and there’s this electric motor stuck to the four-cylinder gas engine. Mileage is rated 2 mpg higher than the gasoline engine alone. There is currently a $1,300 credit available on the Hybrid, but that still makes the Hybrid $500 more than the regular LT, which performs better and doesn’t have a large battery back taking up valuable trunk space.
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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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