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Chevrolet Malibu

Chevrolet Malibu (United States of America, 2008-2012)

Chevrolet > Malibu > Gen.7
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The seventh generation Malibu was designed by Bryan Nesbitt and introduced in 2008. It is based on a modified long-wheelbase Epsilon platform.

The latest generation is offered with a variety of engine and transmission choices. For 2009 the six-speed transmission mated to the 2.4L 4 cylinder engine or the 217 horsepower 3.5L V6 mated to the 4-speed automatic were made available on the 1LT. The 6-speed is standard on 2LT models. LS models were equipped with the 4-speed transmission only.

For 2011 the four speed automatic transmission was dropped from the Malibu powertrain lineup. All models are front-wheel drive sedans. 

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2012 Updates

For 2012, the Chevrolet Malibu is offered in three trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ – all with a standard, four-cylinder 2.4L Ecotec engine and six-speed transmission that deliver 33 mpg highway. A 252-horsepower 3.6L V-6 is the standard engine on new 3LT and 2LZ equipment groups.

The new features in 2012 summarized:

  • Available LS Uplevel Package includes body-side molding, Bluetooth phone connectivity, floor mats, steering wheel audio controls and compact spare tire and jack assembly
  •  Available Sunroof and Convenience Package for 1LT model includes power tilt/sliding sunroof, power six-way driver’s seat, remote start, Bluetooth phone connectivity and 110V three-prong outlet
  • Available Sunroof Package for 2LT model includes power tilt/sliding sunroof, premium floor mats and trunk mat
  • 3LT 3.6L V-6 and 2LZ 3.6L V-6 equipment groups
  • Exterior color: Crystal Red Tintcoat (additional charge)

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2010 Updates

Changes for the Malibu in 2010 include three new exterior colors and the replacement of the driver’s manual lumbar control with a new, power-adjustable control. Also, 17-inch chrome-clad wheels are standard on 2LT models; the 2.4L engine is E85-capable and the six-speed automatic transmission is now standard on 1LT models.

In Detail:

  • New exterior colors: White Diamond Tricoat, Mocha Steel Metallic and Taupe Gray Metallic replace Dark Gray Metallic, Golden Pewter Metallic and Silver Moss Metallic
  •  2.4L engine becomes E85-capable. E85 comprises 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
  • Six-speed automatic transmission becomes standard on 1LT
  • 17-inch Chrome Tech aluminum wheel standard on 2LT (four-cylinder)
  • Driver power-adjustable lumbar replaces manual lumbar on all models



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2009 Updates

One year after the launch of the new series, the Malibu received some smaller updates for the 2009 model year:

  • exterior updates
  • interior with available two-tone trim; gauges with Chevrolet blue backlighting
  • standard head-curtain side air bags and front seat-mounted thorax protection air bags
  • refined family of DOHC powertrains, including a 2.4L Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder and a 3.6L DOHC V-6 with variable valve timing
  • six-speed automatic transmission available with both four-cylinder and V-6 engines
  • hybrid version added to line-up
  • four new exterior colors: Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Gold Mist Metallic and Silver Moss Metallic
  • Bluetooth capability with OnStar 8.0

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Trim lines

The Malibu 2009 comes in the following trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ.


The 2012 Trims in detail:

Malibu LS

Custom cloth front bucket seats, 60/40 split-folding rear, manual fore/aft adjustment AM/FM stereo with CD player, MP3 playback and six speakers; SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with trial subscription); OnStar 9.0 with six months of Directions and Connections service and Turn-by-Turn Navigation; driver seat manual fore/aft adjuster, power driver seat height adjuster with power lumbar; Remote Keyless Entry and cruise control.

Available uplevel LS package includes, Bluetooth phone connectivity, floor mats, steering wheel audio controls and compact spare tire and jack assembly.

Malibu 1LT

This trim adds steering wheel-mounted audio controls, USB port, ambient lighting on front interior door handles, carpeted front and rear floor mats.

Available Sunroof and Convenience Package includes power tilt/sliding sunroof, power six-way driver’s seat, remote start, Bluetooth phone connectivity and 110V three-prong outlet.

Malibu 2LT/3LT

2LT/3LT add UltraLux reclining, heated, six-way power driver and front passenger seats; remote vehicle start; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Bluetooth connectivity for phone and rear power center with 110V three-prong outlet. Available Sunroof Package includes power tilt/sliding sunroof, premium floor mats and trunk mat, inside auto-dimming rearview mirrors, power express down/up windows

Malibu LTZ

The premium Malibu LTZ adds leather-appointed front heated seats with eight-way power driver seat and six-way power passenger seat; eight-speaker Bose premium audio system; automatic climate control; premium carpeted front, rear and trunk mats and power sunroof.

Other available dealer-installed equipment includes remote start (LS and 1LT), and cargo nets, a Convenience Package (cargo organizer) and Protection Package (all-weather floor mats and splash guards) for all models.

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Engines, transmissions and performance

The seventh series Malibu offers 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.

2.4L engine

The Malibu’s 2.4L Ecotec engine was introduced late in the ’08 model year on the LTZ trim and expanded to LT models in 2009. It 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 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.

3.6L V-6 VVT engine

The LT and LTZ trims are also available with the 3.6L V-6 VVT – an all-aluminum DOHC engine that uses variable valve technology to produce 252 horsepower (188 kW) while delivering 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 offer 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.

Malibu Hybrid

Available from 2009 onards is a Malibu Hybrid model that is EPA-rated at 26 mpg in city driving and 34 mpg on the highway.

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Chassis and suspension


The suspension systems are mounted to a chassis and integrated body structure that features a safety cage design and strategic placement of high-strength steel for structural integrity.

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 2008 Malibu has a long, 112.3-inch (2,852 mm) wheelbase and the 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.

StabiliTrak stability control system

GM’s StabiliTrak stability control system is standard on all models. It uses 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.


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.

Wheels and tires

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.

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Clean, pure lines and wheels pushed to the corners, as well as a visually lower, yet longer, greenhouse and a shorter deck caracterize the seventh generation Malibu.

The body sides are clean, interrupted only by wheel-oriented forms that communicate an aggressive stance and a rear profile with Corvette cues.

The Malibu’s grille is characteristic of the global face of Chevrolet cars, and the twin round taillamps also are Chevrolet cues. The design elements are complemented with minimized panel gaps, a tight wheel-to-body relationship and select use of chrome trim. V-6 models come with dual chrome exhaust outlets.



The interior shows an ergonomic design with an integrated instrument panel featuring a Chevrolet-signature dual-cockpit design, with gauges backlit in blue, and metallic or wood grain accents.

The body construction uses noise-reducing materials, such as liquid spray-on sound deadener, laminated steel and composite wheel liners, to deliver a quieter 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 wood grain element.

Malibu also comes with a standard stereo system with standard XM Satellite Radio and offers a range of upgrades, including an eight-speaker, 210-watt sound system that is standard on LTZ and available on 2LT.

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The seventh generation Malibu comes with a number of standard and optional safety features to 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.

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.

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2008 - North American Car of the Year

The seventh generation Malibu was named Nrth American Car of the Year 2008.


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