We didn't think Ed Peper required corrective action nearly as badly as the Malibu, but "Fashion Police" star Bobbie Thomas was on hand this morning to give Chevrolet's general manager a fashion makeover in a quick skit that showed that, if nothing else, Peper is one hell of a good sport.
Kidding aside, Peper introduced the 2008 Malibu, a sedan that GM claims will lead the Chevrolet brand's effort to regain competitiveness in the passenger car market. In person, the pre-production interior is excellent, and we're quite anxious to see the production hardware. GM's official photography made the front fascia appear to be a bit bulky, but the shape looks much better in real life, and the exterior in general shows an attention to detail that we're just not used to seeing from the General's mainstream vehicles. Overall, we'd say that the design and styling will be a strong asset when battling it out in the hyper-competitive midsize sedan market.
Under the hood, you'll no longer find any pushrods, as the Ecotec four-banger is standard, while the "High Feature" DOHC 3.6L V6 provides additional motivation. A new six-speed auto is available with both engines, which is the first time such a trans has been paired with a four-cylinder in this segment.
Click on our updated high-resolution gallery to see more of the Malibu's official introduction. We've also included the official press release after the jump, as well as video released by GM of the Malibu being driven through the country.
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Performance comes from a family of powerful dual-overhead cam four- and six-cylinder engines, including a 2.4L Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine and a 3.6L DOHC V-6 with variable valve timing. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the V-6 and is offered with the 2.4L four-cylinder – a segment first.
Here's a look at
The rear suspension also features a direct-acting stabilizer bar, as well as monotube or twin-tube shock absorbers, depending on the model. The front and rear suspension systems are tuned for each powertrain combination, delivering tailored driving characteristics for all models. Hydraulic ride bushings and body control damping measures enhance the connected-to-the-road driving feel while supporting a comfortable ride.
GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability control system is standard on LT and LTZ 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.
A family of 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheels is offered with
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 precise 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
The 2.4L Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine is rated at 164 horsepower (122 kW)* and delivers an estimated 31 mpg in highway driving, which is projected to be as good as or better than the segment's current sales leader. It also is good enough to join the exclusive ranks of vehicles rated at 30 mpg or more – a club that will be tougher to join in 2008 because of revised EPA mileage test standards. GM has more "members" in the 30-mpg club than any other manufacturer.
The 2.4L Ecotec DOHC will be offered with all trim levels. LS and LT models are backed by a Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic transmission. Malibu LTZ models with the 2.4L engine are equipped with a new Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic – the only four-cylinder/six-speed automatic combination in the segment.
The available 3.6L V-6 VVT is a sophisticated, all-aluminum DOHC engine that uses variable valve technology to produce 252 horsepower (188 kW)** while delivering an estimated 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 Driver Shift Control (DSC), which enables the driver to shift manually with steering wheel-mounted controls.
Quiet, thoughtful environment
The interior's attention to detail complements the quieting features, with an ergonomic design using materials that convey quality and value, including a cast skin material on the instrument panel. For the first time, the
Ambient lighting in areas such as the overhead console and door-pull pockets enhances the
*Pending SAE certification.
**SAE certified. A new voluntary power and torque certification procedure developed by the SAE Engine Test Code committee was approved March 31, 2005. This procedure (J2723) ensures fair, accurate ratings for horsepower and torque by allowing manufacturers to certify their engines through third-party witness testing. GM was the first auto manufacturer to begin using the procedure and expects to use it for all newly rated engines in the future.