2008 Chevy Malibu Hybrid Review | $22,790

2008-hybrid-chevy-malibu.jpgThe GM PR machine has made sure we all know about the 2008 Chevy Malibu, and with good reason.  Having gone for years without a viable midsize sedan to compete with the Camry and Accord, the newly revised Malibu has given Chevrolet a fighting chance.  In fact, the new Malibu was voted 2008 North American Car of the Year and earned a spot on Car and Driver’s 10 Best Cars list for 2008.  I even read a quote from John Gilbert (freelance writer for Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine) who stated, “the 2008 Malibu is , in my opinion, the best Chevrolet ever built…”. 

With awards and high praise for the traditional models, we might expect to find similar reviews for the 2008 Chevy Malibu hybrid, which features a 2.4L EcoTec four cylinder mated to a belt alternator starter/nickel metal hydride battery (mild hybrid system).  This is the same mild hybrid system found in the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line and Saturn Aura, and unfortunately it doesn’t offer the same fuel econonomy improvements found in other hybrid systems.  While the six-cylinder Malibu has an EPA mileage rating of 18/29 (city/hwy), and the standard four-cylinder improves to (22/3o), the hybrid version only betters this by 2 mpg - 24 city & 32 highway.  Several people who drove and reviewed the Malibu hybrid were unable to reach even these levels of fuel efficiency.  Hopefully the newer 2-mode hybrid system will find its way to the Malibu in the next year or two.

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I was a bit surprised to learn that Chevy doesn’t offer any available options for the green ’08 Malibu (except a moonroof and engine block heater).  This is not good news if you normally like to add a few bells and whistles to your ride.  Standard features include a satellite radio, power driver’s seat, split folding rear seat, 6 airbags, and electronic stability control.

At the same time, the 2008 hybrid Malibu seems to do fairly well without all the extras.  It is relatively affordable, compared to other hybrid vehicles.  It gets decent gas mileage.  It looks good from the outside, and the majority of writers like the interior fit and finish.  It also gives car buyers another good option, especially those shopping for a hybrid.  For now, the biggest setback might be availability, as most Chevy dealers don’t have any in inventory.

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More reviews and videos of the 2008 hybrid Chevrolet Malibu:

Review from CNET
Video coverage from CNET (mostly negative)
Video from MotorTrend (mainly positive)
The Auto Channel

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