The Chevrolet Malibu did something remarkable last year - it stole the show in the midsize sedan segment. That's not easy to do when you consider that the competition in this arena is quite formidable.
Midsize sedan buyers had all but abandoned the Chevy brand. So kudos to General Motors for putting Chevy back on the map.
The all-new Malibu has garnered a lot of attention. It was selected as the 2008 North American Car of the Year and it was also awarded J.D. Power and Associates' "Highest Ranked Midsize Car in Initial Quality."
So the nagging question is: "What will the 'General' do for year two?" Well, you can expect Malibu to be just as good if not better.
For 2009 Malibu now offers Bluetooth connectivity, standard stability control and an expanded offering of the fuel-saving four-cylinder engine mated to the smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission.
That combination features an impressive fuel economy rating of 22/33 mpg city/highway. Additionally, Chevy has added four new exterior color choices - Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White Metallic, Gold Mist Metallic and Silver Moss Metallic - for 2009.
My 2009 Chevy Malibu tester was a top-of-the-line LTZ trim level with Red Jewel paint. I like the elegant styling that Malibu possesses.
I also like Malibu's strong athletic stance and bold proportions. My Malibu tester received many compliments from other motorists.
Malibu is offered in three well-equipped trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ - all with standard head-curtain side air bags and front-seat thorax air bags. Plus, for 2009, StabiliTrak electronic stability control is now standard across the line.
All models now come standard with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which is rated at 169 horsepower. In LS and LT models, the four-cylinder is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.
A six-speed automatic transmission is standard in LTZ models and is optional for those choosing for the LT trim. Also, those wanting more power can choose to equip the LT or LTZ with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine rated at 252 horsepower.
While the V-6 is very potent, the 2.4-liter four-cylinder is surprisingly good and not like previous four-bangers offered by General Motors. The 2.4-liter is obviously fuel efficient, but it also accelerates nicely and feels smooth and quiet enough, providing a V-6-like experience while cruising at highway speeds.