The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid gave us a strong sense of déjà vu. We read the accolades accorded to the gas-only version, the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, after its launch late last year, which reminded us of the good press received by the Saturn Aura the year before. And the Malibu Hybrid, with its belt alternator starter (BAS) hybrid system, reminded us of the mild hybrid system of the Saturn Aura Green Line. It seems that GM pioneered a good car launch story with the Aura, and chose to repeat it with the Malibu this year. We've started taking bets around the office whether GM will repeat the strategy with Buick or Pontiac later this year.
From a tech standpoint, the Malibu Hybrid doesn't stand out. The hybrid system doesn't improve the emissions rating and only delivers a small economy boost. The cabin electronics rely on OnStar for most of their functionality. We like the stereo interface, which is simple but functional. The Malibu Hybrid works primarily as a value proposition, giving you a lot of car for relatively little money.