The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu is well liked in the automotive community and by some of the most finicky review sources. The 2008 redesign was sorely needed.
Edmunds notes that the 2008 styling upgrades (which continue into 2009) ensure that "the car is smoothly handsome and free of styling gimmicks, which bodes well for its long-term appeal. And it has none of the self-conscious oddness of recent Honda and Toyota designs." The Los Angeles Times contends that its "average" styling may be a good thing. Cars.com thinks that "Chevrolet finally has done its job on styling." "Unpretentious" may be another good adjective. The Washington Post applauds Chevrolet; 2009's Malibu looks good, they opine, "without trying to be something that it isn't."
Inside, Edmunds observes that "two-tone interior treatments help lift ... cabin into the premium class," and believes that "only the [Honda] Accord's interior really stands clearly above the Malibu's effort." Cars.com notes that "interior styling is much better than anything other than the Saturn Aura in General Motors' family sedan lineup." They also feel that the "two-tone gray interior...looks modern while reflecting some dash designs from the late 1950s and early '60s." Overall, the interior trim isn't quite up to Honda's gold standard, but the dual-tone interior treatments are truly novel and give buyers a real reason to choose the latest GM family sedan over the more established Japanese titans.