CHEVROLET MALIBU’S MOMENTUM PICKS UP IN ’09 WITH CUSTOMER-FOCUSED ENHANCEMENTS
It has been quite a year for the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu. Selected as the 2008 North American Car of the Year and garnering countless accolades and recommendations, the Malibu is making significant advances during an admittedly tough market. With sales of more than 15,000 in March ’08, the Malibu rang up a retail sales increase of more than 120 percent.
“The Malibu has rewritten the segment rules by giving customers a refined, value-packed car that is also drop-dead gorgeous,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “With Malibu retail sales up more than 100 percent in the first quarter of ’08, it’s clear that Chevrolet’s commitment to expressive cars is paying off.”
The 2009 Malibu is offered in several well-equipped trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ – all with standard head curtain side air bags and front-seat thorax air bags, as well as available convenience features including remote vehicle starting.
Also offered is the fuel-saving Malibu Hybrid model that is EPA-rated at 26 mpg in city driving and 34 mpg on the highway. (Please see the separate Malibu Hybrid release in Chevrolet’s 2009 product guide for complete details.)
New for 2009
As dealers strive to meet customer demand for the Malibu, new features and product changes are minimal for 2009. They include an expanded offering of the fuel-saving 2.4L/six-speed automatic powertrain combination, new exterior colors choices and the addition of Bluetooth wireless connectivity with the new OnStar 8.0 system.
Here are the ’09 changes and new features in detail:
- The 2.4L four-cylinder with six-speed automatic transmission is now standard on LTZ models; the V-6/six-speed powertrain is available
- The six-speed automatic transmission is standard on 2LT and available on 1LT
- StabiliTrak electronic stability control with brake assist and traction control is now standard on all models
- Seventeen-inch fascia spoke wheels and touring tires are now standard on LS and 1LT models
- Four new exterior colors: Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White Metallic, Gold Mist Metallic and Silver Moss Metallic
- Bluetooth connectivity available with the new OnStar 8.0 system
The optional Bluetooth capability enables safer, hands-free phone calls and other wireless connections via the OnStar system and the vehicle audio system.
2.4L/six-speed powertrain details
Introduced late in the ’08 model year on LTZ models and expanded to LT models in 2009, the Malibu’s 2.4L Ecotec engine is partnered with a 6T40 transmission to deliver a great balance of performance and fuel efficiency. The EPA-estimated fuel economy for this combination is 22 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway.
The 2.4L engine is rated at 169 horsepower (126 kW), which is comparable to the four-cylinder engines from competitors such as the Nissan Altima and Hyundai Sonata – and it out-powers the Toyota Camry. None of those competitors offers a six-speed automatic with their four-cylinder engine.
With its strong stance and bold proportions, the 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. The body sides are clean and elegant, interrupted only by distinctive, wheel-oriented forms that communicate an aggressive, stable stance and a rear profile with Corvette cues that connects to Chevrolet’s rich performance heritage.
The Malibu’s grille is characteristic of the global face of Chevrolet cars, and the twin round taillamps also are Chevrolet cues. LTZ models are distinguished by front fog lamps and clear-lens LED-lit taillamps. The design elements are complemented with precise details, including minimized panel gaps, a tight wheel-to-body relationship and select use of chrome trim. V-6 models also receive dual chrome exhaust outlets.
The interior’s attention to detail matches the Malibu’s exterior, with an ergonomic design using premium materials that convey quality and value. The integrated, flowing instrument panel features a Chevrolet-signature dual-cockpit design, with prominent gauges backlit in blue, and metallic or wood grain accents.
Quiet, thoughtful environment
Malibu ’s strong structure serves as the foundation for an exceptionally quiet environment. Along with the robust chassis, which minimizes vibration and noise, the body construction uses noise-reducing materials, such as liquid spray-on sound deadener, laminated steel and composite wheel liners, to deliver one the segment’s quietest, most refined driving experiences. Laminated “quiet glass” also contributes to a quiet environment.
The interior is offered with two-tone trim combinations, including Ebony and Brick and Cocoa and Cashmere. There is also an all-Ebony combination, accented with a distinctive wood grain element that offers a unique, upscale appearance. Malibu 2LT models feature standard ultra lux-trimmed seats and a specific instrument layout with unique, two-tone leather seating surfaces. Heated seats are standard on 2LT and LTZ.
Ambient lighting in areas such as the overhead console and door-pull pockets enhances the Malibu’s inviting feel. The overhead console-mounted LED floodlights provide subdued lighting to the center console area between the front seats.
Malibu also comes with a great standard stereo system with standard XM Satellite Radio and offers a range of upgrades, including a premium eight-speaker, 210-watt sound system that is standard on LTZ and available on 2LT.
Malibu ’s long, 112.3-inch (2,852 mm) wheelbase and wheels-at-the corner stance enable precise, responsive ride and handling characteristics, providing a trait that’s rare to the segment: driving satisfaction. The balanced, four-wheel independent suspension system features a MacPherson strut front suspension design and multi-link rear suspension.
Both front and rear suspensions feature aluminum control arms for reduced unsprung mass, direct-acting stabilizer bars to control body roll, and hydraulic bushings to maximize ride compliance while damping road-induced vibrations. The shocks and struts are tuned to smoothly control body motions, enhancing the connected-to-the-road driving feel while maintaining a comfortable ride.
GM’s StabiliTrak stability control system is standard on all models. It uses sophisticated vehicle sensors tied to the anti-lock braking system to help the driver maintain control during certain maneuvers. The new panic brake assistance feature provides full braking power when a panic-braking event is detected. This can reduce the braking distance, providing more control in helping to avoid a crash.
Steering response is precise and immediate, thanks to tuned steering systems designed for each model. Malibu models equipped with the 2.4L engine use a variable electric power-assist steering system, while V-6 models employ a hydraulic-assisted steering system.
A family of 17- and 18-inch wheels is offered with Malibu, all tailored with a tight wheel-to-body relationship. LS and 1LT models come with 17-inch fascia spoke wheels; 2LT models come with 17-inch machined aluminum wheels and LTZ models are fitted with bright 18-inch aluminum wheels.
The suspension systems are mounted to a robust chassis and integrated body structure that features a safety cage design and strategic placement of high-strength steel for outstanding structural integrity. The strong chassis and body structure enable more rigid mounting of the suspension systems, a design trait that enabled engineers to focus on finer degrees of suspension tuning.
A safety cage construction built into the Malibu’s body structure is complemented with reinforced rocker sections, as well as a reinforced front body hinge pillar and roof pillars that were designed to improve impact protection. A magnesium cross-car beam unites the lower sections of the A-pillars. This helps protect passengers in side-impact crashes and serves as a solid foundation for the instrument panel. High-strength steel is used in strategic areas to augment overall structural integrity.
The breadth of depth of Malibu’s choices includes three engines and a trio of automatic transmissions – a four-speed and two six-speeds. The roster includes the 2.4L Ecotec four-cylinder (including the Malibu Hybrid) and a powerful 3.6L V-6 – each featuring variable valve timing technology that optimizes performance and fuel efficiency.
The 2.4L Ecotec DOHC is standard with all trim levels and delivers an SAE-certified 169 horsepower (126 kW) and 160 lb.-ft. (217 Nm) of torque. EPA fuel economy is rated at an impressive 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway with the four-speed automatic that is standard on LS and 1LT models. Highway mileage increases to 33 mpg with the 6T40 six-speed automatic that is standard in LTZ and 2LT models; and available on 1LT.
The LT and LTZ are also available with the 3.6L V-6 VVT – a sophisticated, all-aluminum DOHC engine that uses variable valve technology to produce 252 horsepower (188 kW)* while delivering impressive EPA fuel economy of 17 mpg city and 26 mpg in highway driving. It is mated with a Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission.
The Malibu’s six-speed transmissions enable a strong balance between performance and fuel efficiency, with the six forward gears offering optimized performance at all rpm levels, as well as reduced rpm at highway cruising speeds. Lower rpm can enhance fuel economy and reduce cabin noise. The six-speed transmissions also feature TAPshift, which enables the driver to shift manually with steering wheel-mounted controls.
All Malibu powertrain combinations are supported with GM’s five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Safe and secure
The Malibu has a comprehensive roster of standard and available features that helps protect occupants before, during and after a crash. They include:
- Dual-stage frontal air bags with GM passenger sensing system
- Head curtain side-impact air bags (front and rear outboard seats)
- Front seat-mounted thorax protection air bags
- Front safety belt pretensioners
- LATCH child safety seat anchors
- Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS
- Traction control
- StabiliTrak stability control system with panic brake assistance
- Tire pressure monitoring system
All Malibu models come standard with OnStar 8.0, which features advanced automatic crash notification, remote diagnostics, monthly status report and Turn-By-Turn Navigation. It is the first factory-installed, fully integrated GPS navigation system from OnStar.
Turn-by-Turn allows consumers to talk to a live adviser, who in turn sends complete step-by-step directions to customers' vehicles through their OnStar system. These audio directions automatically play through the vehicle’s stereo as needed, triggered by the OnStar system’s GPS capabilities. The directions also are displayed on the radio screen. This enables drivers to be guided to their destination while keeping their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.