Garry McBride says he’s not easily taken aback. However, when the Calgary driver saw the redesigned 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ he was set to test for a week, he pulled up short.
“I had no preconceived notion of what the new Malibu would look like, but I was impressed.” Said McBride
And that’s good news, because the last two generations haven’t been that impressive, at least in looks.
After 1983, the Malibu was axed, but brought back in 1997, for a fourth generation. That lasted until 2003, and the car was freshened up in 2004 for a fifth generation which carried until 2007. It would probably be safe to say that over the last five generations, the Malibu went from muscular and handsome, to doughy and stodgy. But according to McBride, that’s changed with the sixth generation.
It’s a four door car with very clean lines, almost visual candy, with low profile windows, large alloy wheels, and dual chrome exhaust tips. This vehicle was designed to sell.
Chevrolet based the new Malibu on its Epsilon global mid-size platform. This platform is longer and wider, and it puts the wheels closer to each corner of the car. With its strong stance and bold proportions the 2008 Malibu has a profile that reinforces its substantial feel. Clean, pure lines and wheels pushed to the corners, as well as a visually lower yet longer greenhouse and a shorter deck suggest motion, agility, and attitude.
While the dash isn’t highly sophisticated, the fit and finish are excellent. The ignition switch is no longer on the steering column but in the dash, and the stereo has more knobs then most would know what to do with.
On the road, the Malibu handles well with great steering response. The ride is not too firm but not mushy either and the suspension edges toward sporty.
McBride says he was prepared to not like the Malibu, but after a week behind the wheel, he felt the overall package was quiet impressive.
“I did look for things I didn’t like,” he concludes. “But I had a hard time finding any. I didn’t want it all to be a glowing review, and driving the car really is key to realizing this a quality auto.”