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Avg. Price Paid:$8,315 - $11,234
Original MSRP: $19,900 - $27,095
MPG: 22 City / 30 Hwy
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2008 Chevrolet Malibu Interior

This interior review was written when the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu was new.

Critics praise the Malibu's improved fit and finish. But still some report the sedan's interior quality is not ideal. Most praise the front seats as accomodating, but several feel that level of comfort isn't replicated in the back row.

  • "Like the suspension, the interior also coddles. Gone is the hard plastic rental-car look." -- Road and Track
  • "The Malibu's fit, finish and features also compared favorably against the Camry's, and some on staff say the Malibu is better, more in line with a Volkswagen Passat." -- AutoWeek
  • In a decidedly more negative opinion, Car and Driver reports, "The front seating area's mix of materials gives way to a sea of darkness made less inviting by the cheap-looking shiny, hard black plastic on the front seatbacks and door panels." -- Car and Driver
  • Also supporting a negative view, USA Today notes, "Malibu's interior wallows in…what the industry calls cut lines, or parting lines, where two pieces adjoin, an invitation to misalignment. No effect on function, of course, but eye-maddening in a car that's supposed to challenge Toyota Camry and Honda Accord." -- USA Today

Seating

Though the Chevy Malibu has plenty of room for five passengers, some critics aren't satisfied by the seats' comfort.

  • "The Malibu's wheelbase (a big determinant of interior room) is six inches longer than the old model's. The Malibu now virtually matches the Camry's total legroom, meaning stretch-out room for six footers front and rear." -- New Car Test Drive
  • " Front and rear seat passengers will have little to complain about in terms of ride quality." -- Edmunds
  • "The driving position and seat support were excellent, in part thanks to adjustable pedals and the tilt and telescoping steering column." -- AutoWeek
  • "The Malibu falls in overall length between the 2.6-inch shorter Camry and the 2.3-inch longer Accord. The Malibu is a little narrower than either the Toyota or Honda, which translates to less hip and shoulder room. And its swoopy roof is lower, a potential problem for tall folks apt to clip their noggins as they enter and exit. That concession to styling also results in the Malibu's having the least amount of rear-seat headroom of the three cars." -- Newsday
  • "The front seats offer reasonable support and comfort for the short trips we took. ... In the back seats, however, the mood changes drastically. The front seating area's mix of materials gives way to a sea of darkness made less inviting by the cheap-looking shiny, hard black plastic on the front seatbacks and door panels…the narrow windows and sloping roofline make for a more confined seating area that is a challenging fit for six-foot-plus occupants." -- Car and Driver

Interior Features

The Malibu's features have improved in quality, but many reviews say they have yet to match the standard set by other midsize sedans.

  • "The new Malibu has far better interior materials than that past generation, and it's a step above the Saturn Aura sedan, with which it shares a platform. … The Malibu's interior is more stylish than the Camry's, and of similar quality, but I'd still call the Accord the segment leader when it comes to the quality of the material." -- Cars.com
  • "A nicely cowled main instrument cluster is reminiscent of early Corvettes and gives a cockpit look without spoiling the familial feel of the interior." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "We only wish the dash itself were made up of fewer actual pieces to reduce the number of visible cutlines. … The silver trim that defines the dual cockpit theme in front does not continue in the back." -- Car and Driver
  • "With a slew of standard features, including…remote vehicle start (on upper trim levels), OnStar, XM Satellite Radio and more, the Malibu is really rather luxurious...and it's a Chevy. Seriously. Who'd've thunk?" -- Mother Proof

Stereo and Entertainment

Writers favorably review the 2008 Malibu's audio system, but knock Chevy for not providing a navigation system outside of the OnStar service. Luckily, there are some great deals for portable GPS systems, and a device from TomTom, Garmin or Mio could complement a Chevy Malibu nicely. Check out our GPS reviews for information on the best portable navigation device for you.

  • "The sound system is in no way neglected in the 2008 Malibu. Featuring XM radio, am/fm, CD player, MP3 capability, input jack and six speakers, the audio will not disappoint. Those who are looking for an audio system that has a little more oomph will appreciate the premium stereo system that comes standard in the 2008 Malibu LTZ that integrates a CD changer, MP3 capability, a powerful amplifier and eight speakers, including subwoofers." -- Wheels Direct2U
  • "The 'Black Tie' audio system is intuitive and easy to use. We like the ability to set presets that vary from FM to AM and satellite, all on the same row of buttons. And every model will come with OnStar and XM Satellite radio, though you'll have to pay for the latter when your first three months run out." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "We think it's a mistake on GM's part not to offer a navigation system. The company believes that OnStar (standard for every Malibu) and its turn-by-turn navigation is a good substitute. It's not." -- Edmunds

Cargo

Reviewers largely praise for the Chevy Malibu's trunk space, which is slightly larger than major competitors Accord and Camry, and only a small group raises issues with the sedan's cabin storage.

  • "Bigger than both the Accord's and Camry's trunks, which come in at 14.0 and 14.5 cubic feet, respectively." -- Cars.com
  • "We also marveled at the huge trunk space (where did all that space come from?), made even more usable by its wide and flat floor and the split-folding rear seatback allowing for longer items." -- AutoWeek
  • "And there is ample storage, ranging from a small cellphone cubby to the left of the steering wheel to a large covered bin in the center of the dash." -- Road and Track
  • "I have a pet peeve…not having a place in the car to store my purse, leaving it to sit impatiently on the passenger seat, mischievously waiting to launch itself into the air and spew its contents all over the car. … Crystal Windham, the interior design manager for the 2008 Chevy Malibu, seems to understand my pain. In addition to creating a center console large enough to store my purse, she's also added a center dash compartment to keep my cell phone easily accessibly so that the next time the pediatrician calls, I won't miss it." -- Mother Proof
Review Last Updated: 3/10/09

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