2009 Chevrolet Malibu Review

Practicality meets peace of mind

2009 Chevrolet Malibu Review

FAST FACTS

1.

The Malibu Hybrid has an EPA rating of 24/32 mpg (City/Highway).

2.

New hybrid powerplant makes award-winning Malibu not only a fuel alternative but also an alternative to buying Japanese.

Some drivers rely on their vehicle to stir the senses and invigorate their soul, while others simply see them as a source for transportation. While the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu won’t exactly give you goose bumps, it will give you peace of mind and a clear conscience. Practical and fuel-efficient people-moving is the name of the game here and the Malibu Hybrid knows how to play.

Once laying eyes on the 2009 Malibu, which was redesigned for 2008, it is obvious that things have changed from the outgoing model. Once a consolation prize of the rental fleet, this new ‘Bu is a car that people can see themselves driving and shouldn’t mind having others see them doing so. In these dire times, Chevrolet seems to be where Hyundai was a number of years ago – making good cars that few people care about. This occurred to me when I thought back to how many times curious onlookers would stop in parking lots to admire the car before saying in astonishment, “THAT is a Chevrolet?” The bad news is that GM is going to have to work really hard to lure customers to their showrooms since nobody seems to think they have anything to offer. The good news is that they weren’t the company responsible for such disappointing nameplates as Stellar, Scoupe or Pony, so harder battles have been fought.

SURPRISING NEW LEVEL OF QUALITY

Upon entering the Malibu, it’s obvious that the engineers responsible for its construction have done their homework. Simple things like panel gaps and door hardware quality, once lamented elements of most Chevys, are surprisingly superb. The steering and suspension feel are, dare I say, Accord-esque? Ride and handling are precise and solid.

GOING GREEN: MALIBU HYBRID RATED AT 32 MPG ON THE HIGHWAY

The 2.4L Ecotec inline four with VVT certainly won’t win any drag races, but those who opt for the four cylinder Hybrid engine are unlikely to be speed demons since they are consciously placing fuel consumption above performance. While a 252 hp 3.6L V6 engine is available on the LTZ model, it isn’t an option for the Hybrid. The hybrid powerplant produces 164 hp at 6000 rpm and 159 ft-lbs of torque at 4400 rpm. Economy car owners are unlikely to flinch at these numbers but the Malibu is a substantial car at 3,536 lbs. This large stature, while hindering performance, helps interior space and safety – both of which are likely to trump weight issues when buying a family car.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter by discussing what every potential buyer will be concerned with – fuel economy. The Malibu Hybrid consists of the aforementioned Ecotec 2.4L inline-four cylinder gas powered combustion engine, along with the GM Hybrid Propulsion Electric System. Whenever the car decelerates or stops in traffic, the gas engine shuts off and the 36-volt, six-module battery kicks in with 10,000 watts of power, which is charged through regenerative braking. The EPA rates the Malibu Hybrid at 24/32 mph (city/highway).

So is it effective in getting good gas mileage in the real world? Absolutely! After driving the Malibu Hybrid for an entire week, including a commute of 25 miles (each way) as well as copious errands and shopping excursions on the weekend, I still didn’t know which side of the car the gas tank was on. Ignorance certainly can be bliss. My first experience with General Motors Hybrid technology was driving the 2005 Chevrolet Silverado. While the equipment worked wonders in theory, real world fuel savings were less than expected and the transition from gas engine to electric was, in a word, startling. Luckily, the Malibu does not seem to suffer from either of these downfalls however.

With Red Jewel paint covering the attractive exterior of the Malibu, the grey cloth and plastic interior, while a vast improvement, isn’t quite on par.

USER-FRIENDLY, ERGONOMIC INTERIOR

However, where the Malibu lacks on interior material quality, it excels in layout and ergonomics. The console mounted shifter, mated to a Hydra-Matic 4T45 transmission, is smooth and well placed so as not to obstruct use of dash-mounted controls or cup holders. Additional controls are also mounted on the steering wheel for cruise control and the stereo for convenience and safety. These small improvements, like having the trunk release button on the driver’s door instead of buried in the back of the glove box, make big differences when you buy a car for practicality, not performance. The Malibu also comes standard with Speed Controlled Volume (SCV) which I turned off immediately. Believe it or not, the interior of the Malibu’s cabin is quiet, even on the highway, which makes the stereo’s variable volume compensation infuriating.

Sure, you’ll pay a little more for the Hybrid, with a starting price of $26,225 – exactly $4,000 more than the base model. Still, it comes in at almost $2,000 less than the Camry Hybrid.

VERDICT

Vastly improved styling, impressive fuel economy and some welcome little additions for good measure mean the 2009 Malibu may just put Chevrolet back onto people’s shopping lists.

PLUS Surprisingly good fit and finish Excellent fuel economy Superb new look

MINUS Hefty proportions Anemic performance Interior material quality still lacking

The bottom line is that it is a car that owners can more than just live with; they can actually be happy they purchased one. The new Malibu is a competitive option for family sedan buyers who are interested in saving money and reducing their carbon footprint. Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest differences.

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked