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2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

Chevy Impala FlexFuel

Mercedes-Benz C-Class FlexFuel

Chevy Malibu Hybrid

Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC

Chrysler Town & Country

Mercury Grand Marquis

Honda Civic Hybrid

Nissan Altima Hybrid

Lexus GS 450h Hybrid

Toyota Camry Hybrid


When Chevrolet rolled out its new generation Malibu last Fall, it won accolades from some of the industry's toughest critics for its elegance of design and crisp handling. That was the cake. The frosting was the subsequent addition of a hybrid version meant to save fuel and pamper the environment.

2008 Chevrolet Impala Interior
Chevrolet Malibu Interior

2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is the latest in GM's growing stable of green vehicles that includes the Saturn Aura hybrid and Green Line Vue. Like those cousins, Malibu shows that being earth conscious doesn't mean looking quirky. The sedan you get with dual power technologies is the same one that runs only on fossil fuels.

Under the hybrid's hood there's a 2.4-liter four cylinder gas engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. That connects with a 36-volt electric motor that's also a generator. Unlike some hybrids, Chevy's is called a two-stage or "mild" hybrid. It has relatively simpler technology than the full hybrid variety that can be driven for short distances on electricity alone, but still delivers fuel savings and lower emissions. Like competitors, however, the engine shuts down during idle and braking helps regenerate the battery.

Packing components into a hybrid vehicle can be a space robber. Some trunks turn into storage depots for the weighty battery packs that are necessary to hold huge quantities of electricity. As a midsize rather than compact, Malibu has room for equipment but keeps adequate trunk space, including a rear-seat pass through for people needs such as luggage, golf clubs, skis or packages.

The Malibu hybrid won't break fuel savings records. That's left to much smaller, less flexible true hybrids that probably wouldn't provide family comfort or amenities on a long trip. But as gasoline prices continue to escalate with no end in sight, the Malibu's 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway EPA fuel economy numbers grow in importance. For a base price of $24,290 with $1,300 tax credit, it's an affordable way to address environmental responsibility in style.