MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

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Thread: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

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    MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    The bland 1997 Chevrolet Malibu went through some teething pains when it was first introduced, no doubt something the automaker is hoping to avoid with the incoming 2013 Malibu, definitely not a car we’d label bland. The new Malibu’s changes are more than just skin deep, but even the design details suggest the 2013 model is more ambitious than that late-1990s Chevrolet.

    In a long-term test of a 1997 Chevrolet Malibu, editors were impressed at the combination of the car’s competence matched to an unbeatable price. After a year, though, we did find a few faults.



    Interestingly, some who responded to our owner survey explained that they purchased the ’97 Malibu because they’d owned a previous-generation Malibu, a rear-wheel-drive car that shares nothing in common with the front-wheel-drive midsize sedan. Seat comfort was an issue on the 1997 model. With GM so proud of the seats on the upcoming 2013 Malibu that an entire press release was devoted to the thrones this week, we’re don’t expect front seat interior comfort to be an issue.

    A review of the redesigned 2004 Malibu sedan took the same “competitive but not superior” tone used on the 1997 Malibu. The 2004 car’s nimble, quiet chassis “at least matches those of premium Asian brands,” we wrote.



    “New cars like the Nissan Altima and Mazda 6 have cranked up this segment’s low design volume,” we wrote in the 2004 Malibu First Drive. “Unfortunately, the Malibu wears uninspired sheetmetal more befitting a work truck.”

    The 2008 redesign brought a noticeably more modern approach to the Chevrolet midsize sedan.



    “The shift from Malibu/Maxx to its ’08 successor represents the greatest design turnaround in GM’s history, and one of Bob Lutz’s biggest successes during his second tenure at the company,” we wrote in the 2013 Malibu First Look.



    We were so intrigued by the 2008 Malibu that we took it on a 11,306-mile road test across the U.S. That car hasn’t aged well in comparison to the rest of the midsize sedan market, but the 2013 Malibu has a chance to finally succeed on merits like the quality of the car, not how many thousands of dollars in incentives Malibu drivers can get.
    Full text and many more photos here: http://wot.motortrend.com/mt-then-an...bu-101593.html
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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    To say that the 2008 design hasn't aged well is bunk. I Like the new 2013 design but the '08 - '12 has classic lines that will still look good 3 years from now.

    Apparently the Sonata is the new midsized benchmark for design. I, am not a fan.

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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    Quote Originally Posted by goatgary View Post
    To say that the 2008 design hasn't aged well is bunk. I Like the new 2013 design but the '08 - '12 has classic lines that will still look good 3 years from now.

    Apparently the Sonata is the new midsized benchmark for design. I, am not a fan.
    I love the looks of my 09 LT. Its a perfect mix of modern and classic. This car will always look good.
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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    Quote Originally Posted by goatgary View Post
    To say that the 2008 design hasn't aged well is bunk. I Like the new 2013 design but the '08 - '12 has classic lines that will still look good 3 years from now.

    Apparently the Sonata is the new midsized benchmark for design. I, am not a fan.
    I agree, except that I think the Sonata was pretty well done. I probably prefer the Optima, though, between them. MT is off base on this one.

    The current Malibu would still be a class leader, IMO, if A) they did a better job with materials on the door panels; B) it had a better center stack that included a nav system. Otherwise the styling is very refined, and the chassis is top notch. The new Malibu addresses the shortcomings, obviously, but I'm not as impressed with the exterior styling.

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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    i am a really a big fan of the styling of the 08-12. one thing that really works for it, is the formal profile the car has. for some reason i just always look at the area around the C pillar
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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    Quote Originally Posted by goatgary View Post
    To say that the 2008 design hasn't aged well is bunk. I Like the new 2013 design but the '08 - '12 has classic lines that will still look good 3 years from now.

    Apparently the Sonata is the new midsized benchmark for design. I, am not a fan.
    That's just Motor Trend Crazy spew. The 2008 has aged very well, as a matter of fact, I think it's a better looking automobile than the new offerings from Asia, and that includes the Sonata. Too many writers result to silly nonsense to fill the pages of their magazines. That is why some of these articles stink of bullhocky.

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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    Quote Originally Posted by goatgary View Post
    To say that the 2008 design hasn't aged well is bunk. I Like the new 2013 design but the '08 - '12 has classic lines that will still look good 3 years from now.

    Apparently the Sonata is the new midsized benchmark for design. I, am not a fan.
    I don't think MT is saying the design has aged badly. I surmise they're referring to the rest of the vehicle: electronic/gadget offerings, powertrain, materials, and interior accoutrements.

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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    The interior looks awesome.. I am glad it is coming out sooner.. i just wish it was even sooner

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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    It's amazing just how much worse the 2004 model was. Also amazed that it shares most of the door panel with the 1997 version.
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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    Quote Originally Posted by goatgary View Post
    To say that the 2008 design hasn't aged well is bunk. I Like the new 2013 design but the '08 - '12 has classic lines that will still look good 3 years from now.

    Apparently the Sonata is the new midsized benchmark for design. I, am not a fan.
    I agree!! My 2009 LTZ still looks good in this market. What didn't age well is the Altima and Camry. Oh and the Accord is looking long in the tooth for being out there the shortest!
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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    The 1997 model Malibu was Motor Trend's Car of The Year. Despite receiving little fanfare from critics I believe the 'first gen' Malibu leapfrogged it's predecessor the Corsica in ergonomics and engineering and was one of the most stylish midsizers for the money at the time.

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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    Quote Originally Posted by CrunkedRL View Post
    The 1997 model Malibu was Motor Trend's Car of The Year. Despite receiving little fanfare from critics I believe the 'first gen' Malibu leapfrogged it's predecessor the Corsica in ergonomics and engineering and was one of the most stylish midsizers for the money at the time.
    At the time imports had their own separate car of the year.
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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    The 1997 Malibu was a solid workhorse; one of my friend bought a used one in 2000 and its still going strong

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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    You really canot compare the '97 and '04 models to the newer ones. The '97 was built on the same platform as the Grand Am and Alero and shared all the woes of those old-GM designs. It was a troublesome car for many buyers and was not a quality product. The '04, while a better car to drive - I had a few as rentals and was always surprised at how good they drove - was just a disaster from a design and materials standpoint. The styling was atrocious, I don't know what they were thinking when they approved it, and the interior was just awful. I remember seeing one on the lots when they were introduced and cringing at the awful upholstery fabrics and blah dash design. It was amazing they sold as many as they did.

    The '08 was a great effort. The '12 model may be an improvement in design but I am reserving judgment on the interior until I see one in the flesh. The Baretta-esque ribbed dash plastic does not look good to me in photos.

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    Re: MT Then and Now: 1997, 2004, 2008, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

    Quote Originally Posted by Buick61 View Post
    I don't think MT is saying the design has aged badly. I surmise they're referring to the rest of the vehicle: electronic/gadget offerings, powertrain, materials, and interior accoutrements.
    I think you are correct - though the article is not clear. Unfortunately my '08 Malibu LTZ, while mechancially it seems solid, has never been 100% issue free from day 1. There is always some minor issue. Get one thing fixed and another pops up. Currently, now the drivers door electric lock doesn't work. I now have to manually lock and unlock that door (thats after getting the rear passenger side door fixed for the same issue). Also my AM radio doesn't work.

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