2004 Malibu: Versatility, Refinement And Tailored Comfort

09-01-2003, 06:14 PM

The all-new 2004 Chevrolet Malibu delivers the comfort and style of tailored-to-fit clothing for an off-the-rack price. But not even a $3,000 suit can match the Malibu's ability to mold itself to different individuals and lifestyles.

A tailored suit fits only one person and one purpose. Almost everybody can find a perfect fit in the 2004 Malibu's driver's seat while getting an overall package that adapts to needs that may change from day to day.

With a 60/40 split/folding rear seat and a fold-flat front passenger seat, the Malibu can be a cavernous cargo carrier by day and a refined, comfortable people-hauler by night, or the other way around.

Every Malibu sedan features standard and optional equipment allowing drivers to customize their driving experience. A power driver's seat height adjuster, tilt/telescoping steering column, power windows, door locks and mirrors are standard on all Malibus. Power adjustable brake and accelerator pedals and manual lumbar support are standard on the Malibu LS and LT and available on the base Malibu sedan. Many of these features cannot be found in other cars in the Malibu's class.

The Malibu sedan also will be the first car in its class to offer an optional factory-installed remote vehicle starter system, allowing the driver to get a head start on the car's interior heating and cooling from a range of about 200 feet.

Versatility and refinement everywhere
Everything about the Malibu speaks to its unexpected versatility and refinement, including its available engine and transmission combinations. The base model delivers 145 horsepower (108 kw) from its fuel-efficient Ecotec 2.2L, dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine. The Malibu LS and LT models get a 200-hp (149-kw), 3.5L overhead-valve V-6. All Malibus come with the smooth-shifting Hydra-Matic 4T45-E four-speed electronic automatic transmission.

The Malibu and its Malibu Maxx stable-mate are the first North American applications of General Motors' Epsilon global architecture, which also provides the foundation for the new Saab 9-3 and Opel Vectra.

The main characteristics of the Epsilon architecture were developed with GM's Opel subsidiary in Germany, which accounts, in part, for the European flair in Malibu's ride and handling. But each Epsilon vehicle is adapted regionally to meet local conditions and tastes.

"A lot of customers may not care that we call this the 'Epsilon architecture,' but if they have driven a previous version of the Malibu, they will immediately notice a firmer, quieter, more linear feel in the ride and handling of the '04 version," said Gene Stefanyshyn, vehicle line executive of the Malibu sedan and Malibu Maxx.

The new Malibu is spacious and quiet, with 101 cubic feet (2,871L) of space for passengers and superb acoustical characteristics. In addition to the vibration-reducing properties of the Epsilon architecture itself, the car has a host of noise-elimination features, including a cast foam-rubber barrier covering the dash panel; a modular noise-dampening plate in the dash panel; a compression-molded fiberglass-composite hood insulator; and front and rear "glove-fit" carpet floor modules.

The Epsilon body structure gives the Malibu a high degree of structural stiffness, greatly enhancing both vehicle handling and interior acoustics. A fully isolated powertrain cradle with tuned bushings further contributes to the Malibu's quiet ride. Rounding out the package is an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and a four-link independent rear suspension.

The design features crisp, clean lines that highlight a space-efficient and aerodynamic exterior. Crystalline-like headlamp lenses and a chrome front bar and gold Chevy bowtie highlight these contemporary lines. Compared with its predecessor, the new Malibu has a slightly wider stance and a much more substantial front end. The exterior is a fresh direction that honors Chevrolet's heritage while allowing European influence in execution.

The interior features a Chevrolet-signature dual cockpit design in an upscale environment loaded with luxury features and an overall sense of quality and attention to detail. Seating in the Malibu has the look and feel of an upscale European sedan with comfortable, firm foam padding to give occupants a solid, secure ride that matches the car's nimble performance.

The look and feel of refinement is enhanced with the use of soft, durable foam-backed thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) for the instrument panel, door trim, console and other trim areas. TPO has double the life of conventional automotive paneling materials, and it resists fading and sun damage.

The center console provides exceptional functionality, including best-in-segment storage capacity of 6.2L, four cupholders, a power outlet, a tray and small receptacles for cell phones, PDAs and other items.

Comfort for rear-seat passengers is enhanced with a heating/air conditioning system designed for their needs. In addition to airflow to the feet, two vents on the center of the dash - dubbed "turbo blasters" by the car's engineers - are designed to pour generous amounts of heated or cooled air directly into the back seat.

The headliner console in the LS and LT models has reading lights for front and rear passengers and offers the Homelink system for programming garage door openers and other electronic home-based functions.

Four levels of radio offerings are available on the Malibu, starting with the base model with AM/FM stereo and CD player up to an uplevel radio with an in-dash, six-CD changer, six speakers, automatic volume and tone controls, and XM Satellite Radio (continental U.S. only) compatibility. XM Satellite Radio provides 100 coast-to-coast, digital-quality channels of original music, news, sports and talk. Consumers can subscribe to the basic service for $9.99 a month - less than the cost of a single CD. In addition, GM customers with GMAC financing can choose to include the XM subscription in their car payments.

Safety and strength
Engineers made extensive use of high-strength steel in strategic areas of the body and developed energy-absorbing front and rear crush zones to help obtain impressive structural performance for safety.

Other safety features in the Malibu include:
Dual-stage frontal air bags for the driver and front passenger
Three-point safety belts for all occupants
Standard safety belt pretensioners for front-seat passengers
Optional head curtain side-impact air bags to help protect front and rear outboard passengers
Standard four-wheel anti-lock brakes with traction control on LS and LT models, available on base sedan
<LI>LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat attachment system in all rear seating positions
All Malibu models will be equipped with electric power steering (EPS) with variable assist for low- and high-speed steering maneuvers and power brakes. Other standard features include a driver information center integrated into the radio display that enables personalization of electrical features and provides more than 15 warning messages including low key-fob battery life, the possibility of ice forming on the road and an oil life monitor. Options include heated front seats and OnStar.

The all-new 2004 Malibu sedan will be manufactured at General Motors Kansas City, Kan., assembly plant. Start of production is targeted for the third quarter of 2003.

Source: GM Media

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