- Supple, well-controlled ride
- Torquey and fuel-efficient engine
- Spacious trunk
- Dated exterior styling
- Interior materials feel dull next to the newest models
- Seats aren't very supportive for long hauls
The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Classic is a good car, offered at a slight discount, but the new, redesigned '08 Malibu is much better.
A completely redesigned Chevrolet Malibu mid-size sedan was introduced for 2008, but the old version of the Malibu soldiers on, as the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Classic. The Classic comes in one streamlined trim, with the 219-horsepower, 3.5-liter pushrod V-6 engine and four-speed automatic transmission. The so-called Maxx model, a hatchback or wagon version of the Malibu Classic, has been discontinued.
The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Classic's design, when it was originally introduced in 2003, stood out for its quiet and refinement inside, and for a commendable combination of a supple ride and decent handling--though the electric power steering can be uninspiring at times. The 3.5-liter V-6 can be coarse but provides plenty of power, and the four-speed automatic handles it well; what's more, the combination returns excellent fuel economy, with estimates of 18 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and near the upper end of that in real-world driving.
The Malibu Classic's packaging allows decent comfort for front occupants, though the seats could be more supportive; in back, most adults will be able to fit without a wedge, and entry and exit are easy. The trunk of the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Classic is especially roomy. The instrument panel keeps it neat and simple in design, but the execution is rather dull, with unexciting finishes and some materials that feel cheap.
Value is the primary reason to look at the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Classic, as opposed to the updated Malibu. The single V-6 model comes quite well equipped, with standard keyless entry, power accessories, cruise control, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Options include a remote start system, a sunroof, and an XM Satellite Radio tuner. A screen-based navigation system isn't on the options list.
The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Classic has done quite well in crash tests, with top five-star results in the federal government's frontal tests and four- and five-star results in the side tests. The insurance-affiliated IIHS gave the former Malibu design "good" ratings for both frontal and side protection, with an "acceptable" rating in the rear-impact test, which estimates the likelihood of whiplash and other injuries. The Classic comes with head-curtain side airbags, but side airbags aren't offered, nor is electronic stability control. Anti-lock brakes are standard, however.