"This is the best Chevrolet family sedan I've ever driven." No, that's not from a Chevy TV ad; it was uttered spontaneously by one of our drivers after a twenty-mile thrash on challenging roads. Enough of us agree with that assessment to put the good-looking new sedan on the All-Star list with cars costing several times more. The Malibu might not be quite as good as Bob Lutz claimed after the car's Detroit show introduction, but it's not far off. Smooth, quiet, very well-finished, and more than able to keep up with more powerful cars, it represents a true sea change in what GM is offering the public.
This is not a sedan of extremes. It's not the quickest Chevy sedan ever - that would be a 1960s big-block bruiser. But no big V-8 Chevrolet ever provided a ride as supple and well-controlled as this, nor did any of them answer to the helm with the alacrity and accuracy that the Malibu offers. The Malibu isn't as flashy as some past Chevrolets, but buyers will decide whether that's important. We like the understated exterior but would welcome a bit more style in the cabin. That everything fits well is far more important than the fact that it's a touch plain. Even the supportive seats are excellent.
Substance, not appearance, is what makes the Malibu an All-Star. Its six-speed automatic is worlds away from the two-speed Powerglides of yore, and it contributes to the relaxed feel of the car. The Malibu's V-6 gives away sixteen horses to the Honda Accord yet kept up with it effortlessly. This is the kind of car Americans have wanted from Detroit for years. Now it's here, an Automobile Magazine All-Star.