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2008 Chevrolet Malibu First Impressions

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Marc Bouchard
A leap forward

With Twisted Sisters on full blast (you know, We're Not Gonna Take It) and its occupants trying their best to sing along, the Chevrolet Malibu is driving down Road 101 in the heart of California.

Inside, two Canadian journalists (including yours truly) are accompanied by Chris Hay, Marketing Director for the new Malibu -- and quite a good vocalist, I must confess.

The highly anticipated 2008 Malibu will soon arrive in showrooms.

Our goal was to complete a 350-km trip with the completely redesigned 2008 Chevrolet Malibu. It was a one-day adventure under California's hot sun, a test drive that allowed us to get fully acquainted with this new generation -- by far superior to the previous ones.

First off, let me tell you that the new Malibu is decidedly stylish. The exterior was redesigned from the ground up, incorporating a nicely executed dual front grille which gives the car a much sportier look. The more aerodynamic nose, stretched headlights and overall silhouette are among the additions that unequivocally make this design a success.

The rear end, although promising at first glance, did not grow on me. The two-tier brake lights sure are interesting to look at, but the simplistic yet slightly raised trunk reminded me of other, more conservative sedans.

Still, I have to admit that the new Malibu, while not spectacular, clearly has more panache than its predecessor. And thank God, the weird-looking Maxx wagon has been killed off. On that basis alone, the car already deserves a high note. True, a couple of design cues from this model remain, most notably the extended length that allows for a roomier interior.

Speaking of interior, the new one is so beautifully appointed, it resembles a cocoon. Little details can be appreciated everywhere, like the thin metallic or wood trim that runs along the dashboard and over the door panels. All this style does not come at the expense of ergonomics; the controls are readily accessible and easy to use. As for the instruments, I could admire them all day long.

With acoustic windows and soundproofed body panels, the all-new Malibu also offers class-leading quietness levels, according to GM. Our road trip confirmed this claim.

Interior fit and finish is much more rigorous than with previous generations.
Marc Bouchard
Marc Bouchard
Automotive expert