The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu is a four-door full-size sedan that continues to turn heads. With room for up to five passengers, the Malibu is a great pick for families, and eco-friendly consumers will be pleased with the I4 engine selections and the hybrid edition. A number of innovative safety features make the Chevrolet Malibu stand out from the crowd, but its exterior is a bit lackluster compared to the Pontiac Grand Prix. Comparably priced to other sedans on the market, the Malibu is a carryover from the prior model year. Four different trim levels allow buyers to find the Malibu that specifically fits their needs; however, potential buyers should be aware that the hybrid version has limited availability.
Under the hood, the Malibu can be equipped with a 2.4L DOHC I4 combined with a six-speed automatic transmission, the same engine with a four-speed automatic or four-speed automatic hybrid transmission, or a 3.6L DOHC V6 with a six-speed automatic. Buyers might be impressed with the engine selection, but could be disappointed without a manual transmission option. The regular 2.4L engine can reach up to 169 horsepower, while the hybrid only loses five horses. Nevertheless, the V6 engine can generate up to 252 horsepower, which is more comparable with other sedans on sales lots. However, the I4 engines really prove their worth with the EPA estimated MPG. The regular I4 gets around 22 city MPG and 32 highway MPG, while the hybrid gets 24 city MPG and 32 highway MPG. Ultimately, this “mild” hybrid edition simply does not impress among the crowd of full-hybrid super fuel economy models. The V6 trim can get 17 city MPG and 26 highway MPG as well.
The most attractive features of the 2009 Malibu come from its safety additions. With six standard airbags, Stabilitrak electronic stability control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, and traction control, the Malibu includes more safety features than most sedans. Also, Chevrolet includes a one-year subscription to the OnStar program. The program has instant accident alerts, airbag deployment sensors, roadside assistance, and turn-by-turn navigation. However, the turn-by-turn directions are provided by a live OnStar advisor, so some consumers could be displeased that a digital display is not available. But, with the OnStar program, owners can also have their Malibu unlocked from any location in the event of a lockout.
Overall, the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu continues the maker’s tradition of offering solid vehicles with impressive selections. With a base MSRP of $20,745, the Malibu is one of the most affordable five-passenger models on the American market. Families will find that the sedan’s safety and fuel economy are a good fit, but individuals looking for a sportier feel might want to look elsewhere.