With an updated refined styling, a fuel-efficient powertrain family that includes a hybrid model, and fleet-specific options, the all-new 2008 Chevrolet Malibu is touted as a sedan that fits fleet’s unique needs, according to Connie Scarpelli, commercial marketing and product manager, passenger cars, GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. Base pricing starts at $19,995, making the 2008 Malibu a great value for fleets, said Scarpelli.

All three trim levels — LS, LT, and LTZ — come standard with head-curtain side airbags, front-seat thorax airbags, OnStar with Turn-by-Turn Navigation, ABS brakes, traction control, and XM satellite radio. StabiliTrak stability control with panic brake assist is standard on LT, LTZ, and hybrid models.

Fleet-Only Package Offered
The 2008 Malibu LS is offered with the fleet-only 1FL package featuring all the Malibu LS retail model’s standard features, such as air conditioning, rear defogger, remote keyless entry, tire pressure monitor system, as well as the standard 2.4L, 169-hp, four-cylinder, 4-speed engine and oil life monitoring system.

Designed to provide “more of what fleets want and less of what they don’t want or need in a fleet vehicle,” the 1FL package also features flexible ordering with freeflow options, including adjustable pedals and a six-way power seat adjuster. Additionally, only fleets can order the LS with the 3.5L V-6.

Two Engines Provide Fuel-Efficiency
The Malibu’s two engines deliver fuel efficiency and power. The standard 2.4L engine provides 2008 EPA ratings of 30 mpg highway and 22 city. The available 252-hp 3.6L V-6 with variable valve timing, is rated 26 mpg highway and 17 city.

Priced at $22,790, the Malibu Hybrid is powered by a hybrid version of the 2.4L Ecotec and EPA-rated at 32 mpg highway and 24 city.

Four-cylinder models feature a 4-speed transmission with overdrive. A 6-speed automatic transmission, standard with the 3.6L V-6, will be available spring 2008 on the four-cylinder LTZ.

During a test drive on country roads and highways, both the 2.4L engine and hybrid models provided smooth responsiveness and plenty of pickup.

Styled to ‘Drip with Luxury’
The 2008 Malibu’s new design is intended to project several classes above its modest base MSRP. “Our idea from the beginning was to make it look dripping with luxury, but at a reasonable cost,” said lead exterior designer Tim Koso.

The refined touch is echoed in the interior with such features as a dual cockpit accented by two-tone color schemes, brushed metal or wood trim, and ambient lighting in the overhead console and door-pull pockets.

Chevy engineers paid particular attention to reducing noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) in the 2008 Malibu. A liquid spray-on sound deadener, specially laminated glass, and composite wheel liners produce one of the segment’s most comfortably quiet rides.

Another fleet-desirable feature is the 2008 Malibu’s roominess. With a 112- in. wheelbase — six inches longer than its predecessor — the Malibu now rivals its mid-sized competition in spacious interior volume and cargo capacity.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet

Cindy Brauer

Cindy Brauer

Former Managing Editor

Cindy Brauer is a former managing editor for Bobit Business Media’s AutoGroup. A native of Chicago but resident of Southern California since her teens, Brauer studied journalism and earned a communications degree at California State University Fullerton. Over her career, she has written and edited content for a variety of publishing venues in a disparate range of fields.