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Malibu Magic

The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu is creating quite a buzz in automotive circles. You might have seen the recent onslaught of television commercials highlighting its features and announcing that the Malibu is the 2008 North American Car of the Year. “The car you can’t ignore” (Chevy’s motto for the new Malibu) is now on display at Weaver Auto and Truck Center in Grass Valley.

The Malibu is a mid-sized sedan that comes in several styles, including a hybrid version. It boasts of several safety features that have earned the Malibu a 5-star frontal and side impact crash test rating, including safety cage construction with front and rear energy-absorbing crush zones, six airbags, including head curtain side-impact air bags to help protect front and rear passengers, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and StabiliTrak, which helps reduce over-and-under steering Ð a standard feature on the LT and LTZ styles. Also standard on all models is a remote keyless entry system with content theft alarm and the PassKey III Plus theft deterrent system. A remote vehicle starter system is standard on the 2LT and LTZ models and is optional on the 1LT sedan.

The Malibu’s 2.4-liter VVT (variable valve timing) I-4 engine is capable of producing 169-horsepower with 22 city/30 highway MPGs. The hybrid version produces 164hp and 24 city/32 highway MPGs. Standard functions with the hybrid system are an early fuel cutoff during deceleration that includes torque-smoothing, electric power assist upon acceleration, engine shut-off when the vehicle is stopped, regenerative braking and ‘intelligent battery charging’. There is also a 3.6-liter DOHC (dual overhead camshaft) VVT V6 engine available that yields 252hp with 17 city/26 highway MPGs.



A four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission is offered with the four-cylinder and hybrid models while the V6s come with a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission including TAPshift (touch activated power) with steering wheel controls. Borrowed from Formula One racecars, TAPshift allows the driver to manually shift gears, making the automatic transmission perform like a manual tranny with a touch of steering-wheel mounted control paddles.

Standard features on the new Malibu include the OnStar system and Directions and Connections service with Turn-by-Turn Navigation for the first year. An OnStar advisor downloads your destination information to your vehicle on request and voice-guided directions help you get to your destination without the need to look at or use a GPS screen. The windshield and front side glass are Solar Ray tinted and acoustically laminated to reduce noise and create a quieter ride. Flat front wiper blades decrease wind noise, automatically adjust to the vehicle’s speed and are less likely to ice up.




Another cool feature is the soft blue LED ambient lighting that accents the instrument panel, display stack (stereo, air conditioning controls, etc.), front door handle pockets and even the rear deck on the Malibu. An AM/FM 6-speaker stereo with an MP3-compatible CD player is standard and includes an auxiliary input jack that connects portable music devices to the stereo system. There’s also a DIC (Driver Information Center) on the instrument panel, just below the speedometer, that provides 34 vehicle function messages, such as change oil or low fuel, and can be programmed with 10 driver personalization settings, such as different languages.

With a base sticker price of $19,995, the Chevrolet Malibu is hoping to appeal to all drivers, particularly women. Those little extras that are standard, such as the safety features and attention to interior and exterior details, should do the trick. And there’s even a $1,300 tax credit on the hybrid model!

The Malibu is currently in stock at Weaver Auto and Truck Center, 400 Idaho-Maryland Road, in Grass Valley. Call 530-273-6141 for more information.

Racing News: Last Friday Governor Schwarzenegger spoke to the media about the impact of the California Speedway’s expansion project on the state’s economy. The speedway announced a name change and new business partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest member of the AAA federation of auto clubs. The speedway in Fontana will now be known as the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California.

Although the Craftsman Truck series was able to complete its race there Friday night (Kyle Busch won), the Nationwide series was rained out on Saturday and the Sprint Cup series had to postpone the completion of Sunday’s race until Monday, again due to rain. Carl Edwards won the Sprint Cup race and Tony Stewart took home the trophy in the Nationwide race, which followed the Cup race. Next stop for both series is Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend; the trucks have the weekend off.

Quick note: Infineon Raceway is offering free garage passes to the first 250 people that purchase tickets to the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, August 22-24, 2008. The Indy Car and Champ Car World Series signed an agreement last Friday that unifies the two open-wheeled series into one and Infineon’s offer is a gift to fans to celebrate that union. Call 1-800-870-7223 for more information Ð there are still passes available as of last Monday.


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