My wife and I test drove an 09 1LT with the 2.4 and S6--the 33 mpg combo--yesterday, along with a new 08 Accord. There was really no comparison. The Malibu was a much nicer car. We are considering ordering a 2LT in a better color. Test drive car was Gold Mist, and it had the two-tone brown interior. Ugly.
GREAT car. We've passed the 6 month mark with our '08 2LT and I would have loved for it to be a 6-speed, but even as is, it's fantastic. Over 6k miles and zero bugs, and just a smooth, silent, efficient, and stylish ride.