I saw a new 05 Malibu the other day, and for the first time, I thought it looked pretty good. It was a new Dark Blue Metallic, riding on 19 inch chrome wheels, and wow, did those wheels make a big different for the Malibu. At first when I saw it out of the corner of my eye (from the rear) I thought it was some sort of odd looking CTS, (the color enhancing some of the angular lines) The color, and the wheels really made it look a lot more upscale than it otherwise does.
My biggest problem with the Malibu as it comes from the factory is, it LOOKS like an entry level car, and in this era, even cars that ARE entry level need to offer a little more in terms of looks and upscale appeal, ala the new Fusion. But this Malibu looked pretty good. Maybe Chevrolet needs to take a look at the wheel issue and try to dress the Malibu up a little bit. Otherwise it just screams bland and cheap to me.