Chevrolet Malibu

Chevrolet Malibu
Manufacturer Chevrolet (General Motors)
Model years 1964–1983
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size car

The Chevrolet Malibu is a mid-size car manufactured and marketed by Chevrolet from 1964 to 1983 and since 1997. The Malibu began as a trim-level of the Chevrolet Chevelle, becoming its own model line in 1978. Originally a rear-wheel-drive intermediate, GM revived the Malibu nameplate as a front-wheel-drive car in 1997.

Named after the city of Malibu, California, the Malibu was marketed primarily in North America, with the eighth generation introduced globally.

First generation (1964–1967)

First generation

1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu convertible
Model years 1964–1967
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
Station wagon
Related Chevrolet Chevelle
Chevrolet El Camino
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Oldsmobile Cutlass
Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
Pontiac Grand Prix
Pontiac LeMans
Main article: Chevrolet Chevelle

The first Malibu was a top-line subseries of the mid-sized Chevrolet Chevelle from 1964 to 1972. Malibus were generally available in a full range of bodystyles including a four-door sedan, two-door Sport Coupe hardtop, convertible and two-seat station wagon. Interiors were more lavish than lesser Chevelle 300 and 300 Deluxe models thanks to patterned cloth and vinyl upholstery (all-vinyl in convertibles and station wagons), deep-twist carpeting, deluxe steering wheel and other items. The Malibu SS was available only as a two-door Sport Coupe hardtop or convertible and added bucket seats, center console (with optional four-speed manual or Powerglide transmissions), engine gauges and special wheelcovers, and offered with any six-cylinder or V8 engine offered in other Chevelles - with the top option being a 300 hp (224 kW; 304 PS) 327 cu in (5.4 L) in 1964.

For 1965, Malibus and other Chevelles received new grilles and revised tail sections and had the exhaust pipes replaced but carried over the same basic styling and bodystyles from 1964. The Malibu and Malibu SS models continued as before with the SS featuring a blacked-out grille and special wheelcovers. Top engine option was now a 350 hp (261 kW; 355 PS) 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8.

The Malibu SS was replaced in 1966 by a new Chevelle SS-396 series that included a big-block 396 cu in (6.5 L) V8 engine, heavy duty suspension and other performance equipment. Other SS-396 equipment was similar to Malibu Sport Coupes and convertibles including an all-vinyl bench seat. Bucket seats and console with floor shift were now optional on the SS and for 1966 with the SS now denoting a car with a big-block engine, the bucket seats became a new option on the regular Malibu Sport Coupe and convertible, upon which any six-cylinder or small-block V8 could be ordered. Also new for 1966 was the Chevelle Malibu four-door Sport Sedan hardtop. Styling revisions on all 1966 Chevelles including more rounded styling similar to the full-sized Chevrolets with sail panels and tunneled rear windows featured on two-door hardtop coupes.

For 1967, the same assortment of bodystyles were continued with styling changes similar to all other Chevelles including a new grille and revised tail section with taillights that wrapped around to the side. New this year was a Chevelle Malibu Concours station wagon with simulated woodgrain exterior side panel trim. Front disc brakes were a new option along with a stereo 8-track tape player. The same assortment of drivetrains carried over from 1966 with the top 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8 dropped from 350 to 325 hp (261 to 242 kW; 355 to 330 PS).

Second generation (1968–1972)

Main article: Chevrolet Chevelle
Second generation
Also called Chevrolet Chevelle
Model years 1966–1972
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Platform A platform (RWD)
Related Buick Century
Buick Regal
Chevrolet El Camino
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Oldsmobile Cutlass
Oldsmobile Cutlass 442
Pontiac Grand Am
Pontiac Grand Prix
Pontiac LeMans

Malibus and all other Chevelles were completely restyled for 1968 with semi-fastback rooflines on two-door hardtops and wheelbases split to 112 inches (2,800 mm)} on two-door models and 116 for four-door sedans and station wagons. Engine offerings included a new 307 cu in (5.0 L) V8 rated at 200 hp (149 kW; 203 PS) that replaced the 283 cu in (4.6 L) V8 that had served as the base V8 since the Chevelle's introduction in 1964. Inside was a new instrument panel featuring round gauges in square pods similar to what would appear in Camaros the following year. New for 1968 was the Concours luxury option for Malibu sedans and coupes that included upgraded cloth or vinyl bench seats, carpeted lower door panels, woodgrain trim on dash and door panels, a center console and floor shifter (only with the hardtop and convertible, which was shared with the SS396) and Concours nameplates. There was again a top-line Concours Estate wagon with simulated woodgrain trim that had the same interior and exterior appointments as the Malibu sedans.

1970 Chevelle Malibu 2-door sport coupe

New grilles and rear decks with revised taillights highlighted the 1969 Malibus and other Chevelles. Instrument panels were revised and front seat headrests were now standard equipment due to federal safety mandate. The ignition switch moved from the instrument panel to the steering column and also doubled as a steering wheel lock. The 307 continued as the base V8, but the 327 engines were replaced by new 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8s of 255 and 300 hp (190 and 224 kW; 259 and 304 PS). GM's three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission, previously only offered on SS-396 Chevelles (RPO M40), was now available on all models with all engines (THM400s were used with the 396 while the THM350 (RPO M38) first introduced with the Camaro and Nova) was phased in with the small blocks optioned, including the six-cylinder and small-block V8s which in previous years were only available with the two-speed Powerglide. A police package Chevelle 300 (pillared 4 door sedan) was available for the 1969 model year which came with the L35 code 396 - it was built in few numbers when the Chrysler Corporation held the market for its law enforcement orders. Some 1964 and 1965 Chevelle 300s came with the BO7 police package but was powered with the inline six.

For 1970, the Malibu was initially the only series of Chevelle offered, aside from the SS-396 and new SS-454, as the low-line 300 and 300 Deluxe models were discontinued, which also eliminated the two-door pillared coupes from the Chevelle lineup – which were never included in the Malibu series. New grilles, rear decks with taillights moved into the bumper and revised Sport Coupe roofline highlighted this year's changes. The standard six-cylinder engine was punched up from 230 cu in (3.8 L) to 250 cu in (4.1 L) and 155 hp (116 kW; 157 PS), while the same assortment of V8s carried over with the addition of a 330 hp (246 kW; 335 PS), 400 cu in (6.6 L) V8 on non-SS Chevelles. At mid-year, the Malibu was rejoined by lower-line Chevelle models that were simply called the base Chevelle in both four-door sedans and two-door hardtops.

In 1971, Malibus and all other Chevelles got a new grille surrounded by single headlamps replacing the duals of previous years, and four round taillights similar to Camaros and Corvettes were located in the bumper. All engines were detuned to use lower-octane unleaded gasoline this year per GM corporate policy as a first step toward the catalytic converter-equipped cars planned for 1975 and later models which would require no-lead fuel.

Only new grilles highlighted the 1972 Malibu and other Chevelles. All bodystyles were carried over from 1971, but 1972 would be the final year for hardtops and convertibles as the redesigned Chevelles originally planned for this year, but delayed until 1973, would feature Colonnade styling with side pillars and frameless door windows. The 1972 Chevelle was also ordered with the police package which used RPO 9C1 (which became the default SEO (service option) code for subsequent Chevrolet PPV packages).

Third generation (1973–1977)

1977 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Classic Landau Coupe

The Malibu was redesigned for the 1973 model year. Models included the base Chevelle Deluxe, mid-range Malibu and the top-line Laguna.

For 1974, the Deluxe was dropped, and the Malibu became the entry-level Chevelle. The Laguna trim package was replaced with the Malibu Classic that had the unusual arrangement for that time of 4 square headlights and made its way to the dealers in the 1977 model year, offering the Chevrolet built inline six 250 CID as the base engine. The Laguna S-3 model was introduced to replace the SS, and continued through 1976.

Fourth generation (1978–1983)

Fourth generation

Malibu Classic Landau
Production 1978–1983
Assembly Arlington, Texas, United States
Lakewood Heights, Georgia
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Ramos Arizpe, Mexico
Valencia, Venezuela
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Platform A-body (1978–1981)
G-body (1982–1983)
Wheelbase 108 in (2,743 mm)
Successor Chevrolet Celebrity

For the 1978 model year, the Malibu name, which had been the bestselling badge in the lineup, replaced the Chevelle name. This was Chevrolet's second downsized nameplate, following the lead of the 1977 Chevrolet Caprice. The new, more efficient platform was over a foot shorter and had shed 500 to 1,000 pounds (230 to 450 kg) compared to previous versions, yet offered increased trunk space, leg room, and head room.[1] Only two trim levels were offered - Malibu and Malibu Classic. The Malibu Classic Landau series had a two-tone paint job on the upper and lower body sections, and a vinyl top. This generation introduced the Chevrolet 90° V6 family of engines, with the 200 CID (3.3 L) V6 as the base engine for the all new 1978 Chevrolet Malibu, along with the 229 CID (3.8 L) V6 and the 305 CID (5.0 L) Chevy built V8 as options.

Three bodystyles were produced (station wagon, sedan, and coupe), and the design was also used as the basis for the El Camino pickup truck with its own chassis. The sedan initially had a conservative six-window notchback roofline. This was in contrast to the unusual fastback rooflines adopted by Oldsmobile and Buick divisions which would later revert a more formal pillar style. To reduce cost, the windows in the rear doors of four-door sedans were fixed, while the wagons had small moveable vents. No doubt this design contributed to the number of factory air conditioning units sold with the cars, to the benefit of General Motors and Chevrolet dealers. For the 1981 model year, sedans adopted a four-window profile and "formal" pillared upright roofline. The two-door coupe was last produced in this year, as the Monte Carlo assumed the market position held by the 2-door coupe. For 1982 the Malibu was facelifted with more squared-off front styling marked by quad headlights with long, thin turn signals beneath them. The look was very reminiscent of the also recently facelifted Chevrolet Caprice. For 1983, Malibus gained a block-style "Malibu" badge on the front fenders to replace the cursive-style script located on the rear quarter panels of previous model years.

The four-door Malibu was commonly used in fleet service, especially for law enforcement. After the Chevrolet Nova ceased production in 1979, the mid-size 9C1 police option (not to be confused with the full-size Chevrolet Impala 9C1 which was also available) was transferred to the Malibu, filling a void for mid-sized police vehicles. A 9C1-equipped Malibu with an LT-1 Z-28 Camaro engine driven by E. Pierce Marshall placed 13th of 47 in the 1979 Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, better known as the Cannonball Run.[2]

There was no factory Malibu SS option available from 1980. The SS only came in the El Camino. The very rare 1980 Malibu M80 was a dealer package for only North and South Carolina in an effort to revive the muscle car era. It was, however, mostly aimed at NASCAR fans who regularly traveled to Darlington Raceway. To this day, the number actually produced is unknown; estimates place this around 1,901 cars. All M80s had to be white with dark blue bucket seats and center console interior. The base of the M80 was a two-door sport coupe equipped with the F41 Sport Suspension package and the normal V8 (140 hp) drive train. The M80 option added two dark blue skunk stripes on top and a lower door stripe with the M80 identification. The package also added front and rear spoilers and 1981 steel rally wheels (sourced from the 1980 Monte Carlo).

In Mexico, General Motors produced this generation in the Ramos Arizpe plant, which was sold during three years (1979 to '81). Mexican versions came in three trim levels (Chevelle, Malibu and Malibu Classic) and two body styles (sedan and coupe) with the 250 cu in (4.1 L) I-6 as basic engine and the 350 cu in (5.7 L) 260 hp (194 kW) V-8 as the optional; this engine was standard on Malibu Classic models during those three years. This was possible because the Mexican emissions regulations remained relatively free at the time.

Iraqi taxi

In 1981, General Motors of Canada in Oshawa produced a special order of 25,500 four-door Malibu sedans for Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government. The deal was reportedly worth well over $100 million to GMCL. These special-order Malibus carried the unusual combination of GM's lowest-power carburated V6, the 110 hp (82 kW) 229 cu in (3.8 L) engine mated to three-speed transmission with a unique on-the-floor stick shifter. All of the cars were equipped with air conditioning, heavy duty cooling systems, AM/FM cassette decks, front bench seats, 200 km/h speedometers, tough tweed and vinyl upholstery and 14-inch (360 mm) stamped steel wheels with "baby moon" hubcaps.

However, only 13,000 units ever made it to Iraq, with the majority of the cars becoming taxis in Baghdad (once the cab-identifying orange paint was added to the front and rear fenders). With the remaining balance of about 12,500 additional Malibus either sitting on a dock in Halifax or awaiting port shipment in Oshawa, where they were built, the Iraqis suddenly cancelled the order in 1982.[3] Excuses reportedly included various "quality concerns", including the inability of the local drivers to shift the finicky Saginaw manual transmission. This issue was eventually identified as being due to an apparent clutch release issue that eventually required on-site retrofitting by a crew of Canadian technicians sent to Iraq to support the infamous "Recall in the Desert". Later speculation was that the Iraqis were actually forced to back out for financial reasons, due to their escalating hostilities with Iran requiring the immediate diversion of funds to support the Iraqi war effort. Then GM of Canada President Donald Hackworth was initially quoted as stating GMCL intended to still try to sell the Malibus overseas in other Middle East markets; however in the end, the orphaned "Iraqi Taxi" Malibus were all sold to the Canadian public at the greatly reduced price of about C$6,800. Over the years, they have acquired a low-key 'celebrity' status, sometimes being colloquially referred to as "Iraqibu".


The Malibu was an extensively used body style in NASCAR competition from 1973 to 1983. The Laguna S-3 variant, in particular, was extremely successful during the 1975-77 racing seasons, allowing Cale Yarborough to win 20 races in those years as well as winning the NASCAR championship one year. As it was considered a limited edition model, NASCAR declared it ineligible for competition following the 1977 season, even though (given NASCARs three-year eligibility rule) it should have been allowed to run through 1979. Beginning in 1981, the downsized Malibu body style was eligible to run, but given its boxy shape, only one driver Dave Marcis ran it in 1981 and 1982, with one victory in a rain-shortened Richmond 400 at Richmond in 1982, the popular independent driver's last win.


The base 200 cu in (3.3 L) V-6 engine for the 1978 Chevrolet Malibu developed just 95 hp (71 kW; 96 PS) with optional upgrade to a 105 hp (78 kW; 106 PS) V-6, or 145 hp (108 kW; 147 PS) V-8. The largest 170 hp (127 kW; 172 PS) 350 cu in (5.7 L) V-8.

Year Model Available Engines
78 = 200 V6 (95 hp), 231 (3.8 L) V6 (105 hp), 305 V8 (140 hp), 350 V8 (165 hp)
79 = 200 V6 (95 hp), 231 (3.8 L) V6 (115 hp), 267 V8 (125 hp), 305 V8 (140 hp), 350 V8 (165 hp)
80 = 229 V6 (110 hp), 231 (3.8 L) V6 (110 hp), 267 V8 (115 hp), 305 V8 (140 hp), 350 V8 (170 hp)
81 = 229 V6 (110 hp), 231 (3.8 L) V6 (110 hp), 267 V8 (115 hp), 305 V8 (140 hp), 350 V8 (170 hp)
82 = 229 V6 (110 hp), 231 (3.8 L) V6 (110 hp), 4.3 L V6 Diesel (85 hp), 305 V8, 350 V8 Diesel (105 hp)
83 = 229 V6 (110 hp), 231 (3.8 L) V6 (110 hp), 4.3 L V6 Diesel (85 hp), 305 V8, 350 V8 Diesel (105 hp)

G platform

Beginning in 1981, the Malibu shared GM's redesignated rear-wheel-drive G platform with cars like the Pontiac Grand Prix, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and Buick Regal. The Malibu Classic was last marketed in 1982; Malibus were produced as four-door sedans and as station wagons until 1983, at which time it was fully replaced by the front-wheel-drive Chevrolet Celebrity. Although the sedan and wagon were phased out, the El Camino utility, which shared styling with the Malibu, remained in production until 1987.

Scale models

GM commissioned 1/25 scale plastic model cars of the El Camino from Model Products Corporation (MPC) as promotional merchandise. These were updated annually from 1978 to at least 1982. Kit versions of it were also made, and the tooling was later modified to an El Camino SS. Monogram also produced a 1978 El Camino in their then-usual, slightly larger 1/24 scale, as well as a 1979 police package sedan as a simplified 1/32 scale snap-together kit. Both have been reissued multiple times.

While the second generation body was widely replicated in many scales as die cast models and toys, this downsized generation was rarely represented, with Maisto producing an El Camino with quad headlights.

Fifth generation (1997–2005)

Fifth generation
Also called Chevrolet Classic
Model years 1997–2003 (Chevrolet Malibu)
2004–2005 (Chevrolet Classic)
Assembly Wilmington, DE, United States
Lansing, MI, United States
Oklahoma City, OK, United States
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform P-90 platform[4]
Related Oldsmobile Alero
Oldsmobile Cutlass
Pontiac Grand Am
Oldsmobile Achieva
Buick Skylark
Engine 2.2 L L61 I4 (gasoline)
2.4 L LD9 I4 (gasoline)
3.1 L L82 V6 (gasoline)
3.1 L LG8 V6 (gasoline)
Transmission 4-speed 4T40-E automatic
Wheelbase 107 in (2,718 mm)
Length 190.4 in (4,836 mm)
Width 69.4 in (1,763 mm)
Height 56.4 in (1,433 mm)
Curb weight 3,051–3,142 lb (1,384–1,425 kg)
Predecessor Chevrolet Corsica
Chevrolet Beretta

A new front-wheel drive Malibu was introduced in 1997 on an extended wheelbase version of the GM N platform shared with the Buick Skylark, Oldsmobile Achieva Oldsmobile Alero and Pontiac Grand Am. All N-body Malibus were produced at the Oklahoma City Assembly plant (after 2002 it was retooled to build the GMT360 SUVs) and the Wilmington Assembly plant (1997 to 1999), before moving production to Lansing, Michigan. The Wilmington plant was retooled to build the Saturn L-Series in 1999. The Oldsmobile Cutlass was a rebadged, slightly more upscale version of the Malibu, produced from 1997 – 1999. It was intended as a placeholder model to fill the gap left by the discontinuation of the aging Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, before the all-new Alero arrived in 1999. The Malibu itself replaced the compact Chevrolet Corsica. Power came from a 2.4 L 150 hp (112 kW) I4 or 3.1 L 155 hp (116 kW) V6. The Malibu was Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year for 1997; this was later criticized by Car and Driver in 2009, citing that the Malibu was insufficiently distinguishable in terms of performance or interior quality to warrant such praise in hindsight.[5]

2000 Chevrolet Malibu

The 1997 to 1999 Malibus had a front grille with the Malibu logo in silver in the center; 2000 to 2003 models, and the Classic, had the blue Chevrolet emblem on the front grille. The 1997 to 1999 LS models were sometimes equipped with special gold-colored badges (the rear Malibu lettering and logo).

When a new Malibu was introduced on the Epsilon platform for 2004, the N-body Malibu was renamed Chevrolet Classic and remained in production for the 2004 and 2005 model years, being restricted to rental car companies and fleet orders.

The 3.1 L V6 was updated in 2000 with a new power rating of 170 hp (127 kW), and the 2.4 L 4-cylinder was dropped after that year. However, a 4-cylinder was reintroduced in 2004 when the 2.2 L Ecotec was offered on the Classic. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel mileage estimates for the 2.2 L Ecotec engine are 21 mpg-US (11 L/100 km; 25 mpg-imp)-31 mpg-US (7.6 L/100 km; 37 mpg-imp).


Years Engine Power Torque
1997–1999.5 3.1 L GM 60° L82 V6 155 hp (116 kW) 185 lb·ft (251 N·m)
1999.5–2003 3.1 L GM 60° LG8 V6 170 hp (127 kW) 190 lb·ft (258 N·m)
1997–2000 2.4 L TwinCam LD9 I4 150 hp (112 kW) 155 lb·ft (210 N·m)
2004–2005 2.2 L Ecotec L61 I4 144 hp (107 kW) 155 lb·ft (210 N·m)

Malibu Cruiser

The February 2002 issue of HCI: Hot Compact & Imports magazine featured the Chevrolet Malibu Cruiser concept that GM Performance Division built for the SEMA show in 2001. The car was painted in "Sublime Lime" by BASF[6] and featured a highly modified turbocharged 3500 SFI 60-degree V-6 (producing 230 hp (170 kW) at 5,000 rpm and 280 lb·ft (380 N·m) of torque at 2,900 rpm), a 4T65-E four-speed transmission with overdrive, a set of 19x8-inch wheels by Evo wrapped in Toyo Proxes T1-S high-performance tires. Numerous interior modifications included a full-length custom center console, four black leather Sparco racing seats, and a Kenwood entertainment center (with radio, CD, DVD, TV, 10-disc changer and numerous amps and speakers). Exterior modifications included custom HID headlamps (both low and high beams), "Altezza" style taillights, and a custom bodykit.[7]

Chevrolet produced the Cruiser as a concept, and it was therefore never available for purchase. Their intent was to attract younger buyers to the stock model and demonstrate that aftermarket modifications could be made.

Sixth generation (2004–2008)

Sixth generation
Also called Chevrolet Malibu Classic
Chevrolet Malibu Maxx
Model years 2004–2007[8]
2008 (Malibu Classic)
Assembly Kansas City, Kansas, United States (Fairfax Assembly)
Designer Crystal Windham (interior)[9]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform Epsilon platform
Related Saab 9-3
Pontiac G6
Saturn Aura
Cadillac BLS
Fiat Croma
Opel Vectra
Engine 2.2 L L61 I4 (gasoline)
3.5 L LX9 V6 (gasoline)
3.5 L LZ4 V6 (gasoline)
3.9 L LZ9 V6 (gasoline)
Wheelbase 106.3 in (2,700 mm) (sedan)
112.3 in (2,852 mm) (wagon)
Length 187.8 in (4,770 mm) (wagon)
188.3 in (4,783 mm) (sedan)
Width 69.8 in (1,773 mm) (wagon)
69.9 in (1,775 mm) (sedan)
Height 57.5 in (1,460 mm) (sedan)
58.1 in (1,476 mm) (wagon)
Curb weight 3,174–3,415 lb (1,440–1,549 kg) (sedan)
3,458–3,620 lb (1,569–1,642 kg) (wagon)
Chevrolet Malibu sedan
Chevrolet Malibu MAXX LS

The Malibu name was moved to the new Epsilon platform based on the 2002 Opel Vectra C for 2004. The Epsilon-based Malibu came in two bodystyles, a standard 4-door sedan and a 5-door Malibu Maxx hatchback (the first mid-size Chevrolet hatchback since the 1989 Chevrolet Corsica).[10][11] The Malibu Maxx has a fixed glass roof panel over the rear seats with a retractable sunshade, and an optional glass panel sunroof over the front seats.

Base power for the sedan came from a 2.2 L Ecotec L61 I4 producing 144 hp (108 kW). LS and LT trim sedans and Maxx models originally came with a 3.5 L 201 hp (149 kW) High Value LX9 V6. SS sedan and Maxx models were powered by the 3.9 L 240 hp (179 kW) High Value LZ9 V6.[12] For 2007, the LX9 was replaced with the LZ4 V6, which in the Malibu produced 217 hp (162 kW). The L61 Ecotec was also updated for the 2007 model year with many improvements. A remote starter was also available, which was introduced on several other GM vehicles for 2004.

2007 Chevrolet Malibu LT sedan

This generation of the Malibu initially debuted with a front fascia design featuring a wide grille split horizontally by a prominent chrome bar that ran the entire width of the car, which was intended to make it resemble Chevrolet's trucks. However, for 2006, the front end was updated with more conventional styling: the chrome bar was removed, and the grille itself was made smaller, bearing a resemblance to the grille on the previous Malibu.[13] The car also added GM badges near the front doors.

The Malibu Maxx was discontinued for 2008. However, the Malibu sedans remained in production for fleet orders for the 2008 model year. GM refers to these models as the Chevrolet Malibu Classic. The cars themselves bear Malibu badges, unlike the past generation Classic. In 2006, Motor Trend blogs editor-in-chief Angus MacKenzie said of the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu: "The Chevy Malibu – fundamentally the same car [as the Opel Vectra] – had all the sex appeal of a wet Tuesday afternoon in Cleveland."[14]


Years Engine Power Torque
2004–2008 2.2 L Ecotec L61 I4 144 hp (107 kW) 155 lb·ft (210 N·m)
2004–2006 3.5 L High Value LX9 V6 200 hp (149 kW) 220 lb·ft (298 N·m)
2007 3.5 L High Value LZ4 V6 217 hp (162 kW) 220 lb·ft (298 N·m)
2006–2007 3.9 L High Value LZ9 V6 240 hp (179 kW) 240 lb·ft (325 N·m)
Chevrolet Malibu SS


A special SS trim was available on the Malibu and Malibu Maxx with the 3.9 L LZ9 V6 from 2006 to 2007, developing 240 hp (179 kW) and 240 lb·ft (325 N·m) and channeled through a 4T65-E four-speed automatic with Tap-Up/Tap-Down shifting, sport suspension with tower-to-tower brace, 18" alloy wheels, universal home remote transmitter, rear spoiler and hydraulic power steering. Changes to differentiate the SS from the lower trims include three-spoke, leather wrapped steering wheel with SS badge, chrome-trimmed instruments, sport cloth and leather seats, side skirts, chrome tip exhausts, more aggressive front and rear clips and fog lights.[15]

Seventh generation (2008–2012)

Seventh generation
Model years 2008–2012
Assembly Kansas City, Kansas, United States (Fairfax Assembly)
Orion Township, Michigan, United States (Orion Assembly)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform Epsilon platform
Related Saab 9-3
Pontiac G6
Saturn Aura
Cadillac BLS
Fiat Croma
Opel Vectra
Wheelbase 112.3 in (2,852 mm)
Length 191.8 in (4,872 mm)
Width 70.3 in (1,786 mm)
Height 57.1 in (1,450 mm)
Curb weight 3,415–3,649 lb (1,549–1,655 kg)
Rear view

The Malibu was redesigned for the 2008 model year by Bryan Nesbitt,[16] under the direction of GM Vice Chairman Robert Lutz—who was determined to make the nameplate competitive with Japanese mid-size cars. Extensive engineering and design went into the remodel.[17] This generation of Malibu came in many trim levels: the Base (2008 only) (1SB), the LS 1LS (or 1FL for fleet models 2011 and 2012), the LT 1LT (or 2FL for fleet models 2011 and 2012), the Hybrid (2008 and 2009 only), and the LTZ 1LZ. The top level LTZ was only installed with clear brake light lenses and red LED lights, while all other trim packages came with red colored lenses and conventional brake light bulbs.

The seventh generation Malibu is built on a revised version of the long-wheelbase Epsilon platform shared with the Saturn Aura, the Opel Signum, and Pontiac G6. It is assembled in Kansas City, Kansas. Overall, it is three inches (76 mm) longer, with a six inches (152 mm) longer wheelbase. Interior room remains mid-size, like the previous Malibus, and has been decreased from 101 cubic feet (2.9 m3) to 97.7 cubic feet (2.8 m3), despite having a longer wheelbase, although front legroom has increased from 41.9 in (1,064 mm) to 42.2 in (1,072 mm).[12][18] Rear legroom has decreased from 38.5 in (978 mm) to 37.6 in (955 mm).[19] The interior design has also been completely reworked, with a selection of two-tone color combinations (brick and tan two-tone), telescoping steering wheel, higher-quality materials and a twin-cowl dash design.[20] Drag (Cd) is at 0.33.[21]


The seventh generation Malibu offered these engine choices:

Years Disp. Series HP Torque (Lb-ft) Description Transmission EPA City EPA Hwy
2008–2010 2.4 L LE5 169 162 Ecotec inline-4 4-speed automatic 22 30
2008–2012 2.4 L LE5 169 162 Ecotec inline-4 6-speed automatic 22 33
2008–2009 2.4 L LAT 164 159 Ecotec Hybrid inline-4 4-speed automatic 26 34
2008–2010 3.5 L LZ4 217 214 High Value V6 4-speed automatic 19 29
2008–2012 3.6 L LY7 252 251 High Feature V6 6-speed automatic 17 26

The 2.4 L I4 and 3.6 L V6 engine have aluminum blocks and heads, dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, twin balance shafts, and variable valve timing. The 3.5 L V6 has aluminum heads, an iron block, overhead valves, and limited variable valve timing. The 3.5 L V6 was offered as an upgrade for special-order fleet vehicles, to replace the Ecotec engine, and generally was not available for retail customers. The 3.5 L V6 was not available in the LTZ. The 3.5 L V6 with four-speed transmission has been the only drivetrain available in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 models in Israel. Partway through the 2008 model year, the 2.4 L Ecotec was offered with a six-speed automatic transmission to improve performance and fuel economy.[20]

For 2009 models, the six-speed transmission mated to the 2.4 L 4-cylinder engine or the 217 horsepower 3.5 L V6 mated to the four-speed automatic were made available on the 1LT; the six-speed became standard on 2LT models the same year. LS models were equipped with the four-speed transmission only. A manual transmission was not offered.[22] All models are front-wheel-drive sedans, as Chevrolet dropped the Malibu MAXX station wagon model.

Partway through the 2010 model year, the GM badges were removed from the front doors.[23][24]

OnStar was included on all Malibu models as standard equipment (excluding fleet vehicles, where this feature is optional). Six air bags were also standard on the seventh generation Malibu; two dual-stage front bags, two side-impact curtain air bags protecting the heads of both front and rear passengers, and two side-impact thorax bags mounted in the front seats. Traction control, electronic tire pressure monitoring system, four-wheel disc brakes, antilock brakes, and daytime running lamps were standard included safety features on all Malibus. GM's StabiliTrak brand electronic stability control was standard on all models including the very base LS model.

In 2011, the base LS 1LS Malibu gained more standard features, like Bluetooth technology with stereo audio playback capability, a remote USB and iPod/iPhone port, remote start, a security alarm, an upgraded OnStar system, power front driver's seat, chrome hubcap wheel covers, body-colored side mirrors with power adjustments and body-colored accents, a single wood dashboard accent, tinted windows, and a six-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and manual shift capabilities. This also raised the base price or MSRP up to about $22,000.00, before factory and dealer rebates. The LT 1LT model lost its available eight-speaker Bose premium sound system. The LT 2LT got a package that included a sunroof, leather power heated seats, and more convenience and comfort features. For 2011, the four-speed automatic transmission was dropped from the Malibu powertrain lineup.[25] This same model year also saw the deletion of the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters on 6AT cars in favor of a selector mounted rocker switch for manual operation; no reason was ever given for the change.

Hybrid version

A BAS mild hybrid, with the base inline-4 like the Saturn Aura Green Line, was available offering an increased fuel economy of 24 mpg-US (9.8 L/100 km; 29 mpg-imp)/32 mpg-US (7.4 L/100 km; 38 mpg-imp), which for the 2009 model was increased to 26 mpg-US (9.0 L/100 km; 31 mpg-imp)/34 mpg-US (6.9 L/100 km; 41 mpg-imp). The Malibu hybrid was dropped for the 2010 model year.[26][27]


The 2008 Malibu received critical praise from the automotive press, with The New York Times referring to it as being "like a super Accord, but from GM" and Car and Driver magazine declaring, "Camry, Beware." It also garnered high praise from Motor Trend magazine, being rated higher than the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima in the magazine's 2008 Car of The Year competition. Kelley Blue Book named it the "2008 best redesigned vehicle".[28] Car and Driver stated that while it would not be "enough to steal the top-dog sales title from the perennial Honda and Toyota mid-sizers", they noted "for the first time since Chevrolet revived the storied nameplate in 1997, it has enough of what it needs to sell in significant numbers to the public, not just rental fleets".[29]

Interior praised the Malibu's interior and exterior styling, quietness, and balance between ride and handling, while criticizing the thick C-pillars that obstruct the driver's view, the narrower chassis compared to other midsize cars[30] (which reduces rear seating room and also lacks a center armrest) and lack of features such as dual-zone HVAC, Bluetooth compatibility, and keyless ignition.[31]

While Robert Cumberford, design critic at Automobile magazine noted the interior of the platform-variant, the Saturn Aura featured cheap interior materials, he noted improved in the Malibu.[32][33] Writers of various reviews for the 2008 Malibu believed Chevrolet would be getting back on track in quality and excitement in the mid-size segment after a history of ordinary, bland offerings, such as the Celebrity, Corsica, Lumina, and even the previous two generations of Malibu since its 1997 revival.

In January 2008, the redesigned Malibu received the North American Car of the Year award at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in voting among a panel of 50 automotive journalists in a field of entries, with the runners up being the 2008 Cadillac CTS and the 2008 Honda Accord. The Malibu's win marked the second straight year a car built on GM's Epsilon platform won the North American COTY award with the 2007 North American COTY award having gone to the 2007 Saturn Aura.

Initial sales results were positive, with the Malibu joining the Cadillac CTS and Buick Enclave on a list of GM vehicles whose sales have exceeded expectations. The redesigned Malibu sold more than 50% more units in 2008 than in 2007, increasing GM's mid-size market share to 8.4% from 5.7%, while the Camry and Accord percentages remained flat at about 21% and 17.5%, according to GM. Sales to rental customers dropped to 27% of the total, as GM limited sales to rental fleets.[17][34]

The short-lived Malibu Hybrid, along with its sister, the Saturn Aura Green Line, which share the powertrain and other major components, was particularly criticized due to its lack of fuel savings and cost (relative to a standard 4-cylinder Malibu), plus the Hybrid's worsened driving dynamics.[27][35]


On September 21, 2012. General Motors recalled 473,841 vehicles involving the Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura from model years 2007 through 2010 equipped with four-speed automatic transmissions. The problem is a condition that could make cars roll when in park. The recall affected 426,240 in the United States, 40,029 in Canada and 7,572 in other markets.[36]

Eighth generation (2011-2016)

Eighth generation
Also called Holden Malibu

Oct. 18, 2011–2016 (North America)

2012-present production continues in China, Uzbekistan and Russia [37]
Model years

2016 (Malibu Limited)

2013-present (China,Uzbekistan,Russia) [38]
Assembly Detroit, Michigan United States (Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly)
Kansas City, Kansas, United States (Fairfax Assembly)
Bupyeong, South Korea (GM Korea)
Jinqiao, China (Shanghai GM)
Asaka, Uzbekistan (GM Uzbekistan)[39]
Kaliningrad, Russia (Avtotor)
Designer Dan Gifford (2009)[40]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform Epsilon II platform
Wheelbase 107.8 in (2,738 mm)
Length 191.3 in (4,859 mm)
Width 73.0 in (1,854 mm)
Height 57.6 in (1,463 mm)
Curb weight 3,393–3,660 lb (1,539–1,660 kg)
Holden Malibu CDX
Holden Malibu CD

The 2013 Malibu moved to GM Epsilon II platform and debuted in 2012.[41] The new Malibu became a global vehicle, replacing both the North American Malibu and GM Korea vehicles previously sold around the world. The Malibu was unveiled as a show car simultaneously at Auto Shanghai in China (written as "迈锐宝", Mai-Rui-Bao [42]), and on Facebook, on April 18, 2011.[43][44] It was also shown at the New York International Auto Show in New York City later in April.

The eighth generation Malibu was available in the trim levels LS 1LS (not available for fleet-ordered models), the LT 1LT (this is the base model for fleet-ordered models), the LT 2LT, the ECO 1SB, the ECO 2SA, and the LTZ 1LZ. Both ECO models officially went on sale in the spring of 2012, with the gas-only models following in late summer 2012. The Turbo models followed in early 2013

All models, aside from the LS 1LS, were equipped with a large touch-screen display using Chevrolet's MyLink and offering Pandora Internet Radio playback capabilities via a USB cable and an iPhone 4, 4S, or 5. SiriusXM Travel Link was also included on all navigation-equipped Malibu models.


The eighth generation Malibu was offered with four-cylinder engines and six-speed automatic transmissions. The European version is offered with a 2.4 L Ecotec engine, which uses an aluminum block and cylinder head and a 2.0 L Diesel (1,956 cc) VCDi developing 160 PS (120 kW) (this was the only engine available in Italy).[45][46] The Middle-East version was offered with the 2.4 L Ecotec engine. Also available was a 3.0 L V6 engine making 260 hp and 290NM, available on LTZ trim.[47] The Australian market had two versions on offer: CD (2.4 L Otto) and CDX (2.0 L Diesel)[48] The North American version was offered in 2.5L.


Standard safety features on the eighth generation Malibu include dual-stage front airbags for the driver and front passenger, along with pelvic/thorax side-impact and knee airbags up front also. Roof rail airbags with rollover protection are standard. Also available as option extras are second-row head/thorax side-impact airbags, lane departure warning system with forward collision alert and a rearview camera system.[49]


The eighth generation Malibu was sold in "nearly 100 countries on six continents". In the United States, it is manufactured in two plants, Fairfax, KS and Detroit-Hamtramck.[50] In Australia and New Zealand, the Malibu replaced the Holden Epica, and made its debut in 2013 as the Holden Malibu. It is positioned between the Holden Cruze and Holden Commodore.[51] In South Korea, the Malibu replaces the Daewoo Tosca, as GM has phased-out the Daewoo brand in favor of Chevrolet. Korea was the first market to get the Malibu, in late 2011, followed by China later in 2011 and North America beginning in early 2012.[52] The Malibu made its Middle Eastern debut in 2012 replacing the Holden VE Commodore based Lumina. In Europe, the Malibu replaced the Chevrolet Epica. The facelifted Malibu was never sold in Europe.

In North America, the eighth generation Malibu continues to be sold as the Malibu Limited after the next generation goes on sale.[38][53]


In a March 2012 comparison test by Car and Driver, the “light electrification" Chevrolet Malibu Eco hybrid came in sixth place out of six cars.[54] It should be noted that the Eco is not a Malibu LS, LT, or LTZ. The Malibu Eco was criticized for its reduced wheelbase, causing a 0.8" reduction in legroom for back seat passengers. The interior was also criticized for being disappointing and cramped. The ride, however, was said to be smooth and quiet, with the only problem being the stiff steering.[55]

The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu received the highest score in its class from J.D. Power's 2014 Initial Quality Study.[56] The IQS study "examines problems experienced by vehicle owners during the first 90 days of ownership." [57]


2014 Chevrolet Malibu
Facelifted Chevrolet Malibu (China)

Eighteen months after the 2013 Malibu's debut, it received a mild refresh. The changes included additional technology, improved fuel economy, and a sportier front end that more closely matched the refreshed Chevrolet Traverse and the newly redesigned Chevrolet Impala. Chevrolet also made some minor changes to the center console to deliver a longer, ostensibly more comfortable armrest, and replaced the former covered storage area with a pair of cup holders and two cell-phone bins.[58]

Among the technology that Chevrolet debuted on the 2014 Malibu was a new six-speed transmission. Because the transmission was designed to reduce the energy required to pump transmission fluid, it contributed to fuel savings on the refreshed Malibu. In addition, for the first time in a non-hybrid GM vehicle, an engine stop/start system came standard with the 2.5-liter engine.[59] EPA fuel-economy estimates showed an improvement to 25/36 mpg city/highway, up from the 2013 model’s 22/34 for the base 2.5L engine.[60] The 2014 Malibu was available for purchase in late 2013.[61]


Type Power Torque Transmission Years EPA-estimated fuel economy (city/hwy)
2.4 L (2,384 cc) LUK I-4 with eAssist 182 hp (136 kW) at 6200 rpm 172 lb·ft (233 N·m) at 4900 rpm 2011–2014 25 / 37
2.4 L (2,384 cc) Ecotec I-4 167.2 PS (123.0 kW; 164.9 hp) at 5800 rpm 166 lb·ft (225 N·m) at 4600 rpm * 6-speed manual/6-speed automatic 2013– (Europe & Middle-East)
2.5 L (2,499 cc) LCV I-4 197 hp (147 kW) at 6300 rpm 191 lb·ft (259 N·m) at 4400 rpm * 6-speed automatic 2013– N/A
2.0 L (1,998 cc) LTG I-4 (t/c) 259 hp (193 kW) at 5500 rpm 295 lb·ft (400 N·m) at 1700-5500 rpm * 6-speed automatic 2013– N/A
3.0 L (2,997 cc) LFW V6 260 hp (190 kW) at 6900 rpm 214 lb·ft (290 N·m) at 5600 rpm * 6-speed automatic 2013– (Middle-East)
Diesel (European and Australian Market Only)[63]
Type Power Torque Transmission Years Notes
2.0 L (1,956 cc) VCDi I-4 (t/c) 160 PS (118 kW) at 4000 rpm 258 lb·ft (350 N·m) at 1750 * 6-speed manual/6-speed automatic 2013–[64]

Ninth generation (2016–present)

Ninth generation
Also called Chevrolet Malibu XL (China)
Production 2015-present
Model years 2016–present
Assembly United States: GM Fairfax Assembly, Kansas City, Kansas
Designer Jaymer Starbody[65]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Platform E2XX platform
Wheelbase 111.4 in (2,830 mm)
Length 193.8 in (4,923 mm)
Width 73.0 in (1,854 mm)
Height 57.7 in (1,466 mm)
Curb weight 3,086–3,457 lb (1,400–1,568 kg)[66]

On April 1, 2015, Chevrolet unveiled a redesigned Malibu at the 2015 New York Auto Show, which went on sale in late 2015 as a 2016 model. The updated Malibu features a sleeker, yet larger design similar to its full size sister Impala. Its wheelbase has been stretched close to four inches, creating more interior space; but the fuel efficiency is improved, as it is nearly 300 pounds lighter than the eighth generation model it is replacing.[67] The 2016 Malibu comes in four trims: L, LS, LT, and Premier (replacing the LTZ trim).

2016 Chevrolet Malibu (rear)
2016 Chevrolet Malibu XL (China)

The Malibu features an all-new, LFV Ecotec 1.5L turbo that is standard, while a 2.0L turbocharged engine is offered as an optional feature. No six-cylinders are offered from now. Other new features on the ninth-generation Malibu that were introduced for the 2016 model year include available OnStar 4G LTE in-vehicle connectivity, as well as available wireless phone charging, preventive safety technologies including ten standard air bags featuring forward collision avoidance system rear cross traffic alerts, and an optional automatic parking assist. It features Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator, Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Automatic Braking, and Front Pedestrian Alert with last-second automatic braking.[68] It is also installed with start-stop ignition once the engine is at operating temperature and the brake is applied while the vehicle is stopped.

The 2016 Malibu features a first for the automotive industry, a teen driver feature, which allows parents to view their kids' driving statistics, such as maximum speed, warning alerts and more.[67] In order to operate the vehicle a parent enables the feature with a PIN in the settings menu of the Malibu's MyLink system, which allows them to register their teen's key fob. The system's settings are turned on only to registered key fobs.[69] This technology also mutes the radio until the seat belts are buckled. The 2016 Malibu comes equipped with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Capability features. However, only one of their phone brands at any one time can be used.[70][71]

A few months ahead of the 2016 model arriving in dealerships, Chevrolet announced that the Malibu had hit a milestone, with more than 10 million sold worldwide since the car was introduced 51 years earlier.[72] China and South Korea are currently the only two countries outside of North America where the 2016 Malibu is sold.

Hybrid version

The ninth generation Malibu offers a full hybrid model for the first time, featuring a 1.8L four-cylinder engine mated to a two-motor drive unit, providing additional power to assist the engine during acceleration for 182 horsepower of total system power. An Exhaust Gas Heat Recovery system allows the engine and cabin to warm up during winter conditions, while an 80-cell, 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides electric power to the hybrid system, powering the Malibu Hybrid up to 55 mph (89 km/h) on electricity alone, while the gasoline-powered engine automatically comes on at higher speeds and loads to provide additional power. The Malibu Hybrid uses a transmission ("two motor drive unit" in GM terms) similar to the Chevrolet Volt (second generation),[68] but a much smaller battery, no plug-in option and a different engine.

The following table compares the fuel economy for all variants of the 2016 model year Malibu.

2016 Chevrolet Malibu fuel economy and operating costs[73]
Variant Model
Fuel economy Cost to Drive
25 mi (40 km)
Annual fuel cost[lower-alpha 1]
Combined City Highway
Malibu Hybrid
1.8 L, 4 cyl, Automatic
2016 46 mpg-US (5.1 L/100 km; 55 mpg-imp) 47 mpg-US (5.0 L/100 km; 56 mpg-imp) 46 mpg-US (5.1 L/100 km; 55 mpg-imp) US$1.22 US$750
Malibu gasoline
1.5 L, 4 cyl, Automatic 6-spd, Turbo
2016 31 mpg-US (7.6 L/100 km; 37 mpg-imp) 27 mpg-US (8.7 L/100 km; 32 mpg-imp) 37 mpg-US (6.4 L/100 km; 44 mpg-imp) US$1.81 US$1,100
Malibu gasoline
2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (S8), Turbo
2016 26 mpg-US (9.0 L/100 km; 31 mpg-imp) 22 mpg-US (11 L/100 km; 26 mpg-imp) 33 mpg-US (7.1 L/100 km; 40 mpg-imp) US$2.15 US$1,300
  1. Based on 45% highway and 55% city driving. Values rounded to the nearest US$50. Gasoline cost of US$2.24 per gallon as of 6 May 2016.[73]

Yearly American sales

Calendar Year Total American sales
2000[74] 207,376
2001[75] 176,583
2002 169,000
2003 122,771
2004[76] 179,806
2005 203,503
2006[77] 163,853
2007 128,312
2008[78] 178,253
2009[79] 161,568
2010[80] 198,770
2011[81] 204,808
2012[82] 210,952
2013[83] 200,594
2014[84] 188,519
2015[85] 194,854


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