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Old 11-12-2007, 02:00 PM
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Arrow 2008 Chevrolet Express

2008 Chevrolet Express

OUR TAKE: When the editor's soon-to-be-16-year-old sons saw the car in the driveway, they asked, "How much is this? Can this be our first car?" These are the same boys who have been talking used foreign cars or Scions.

When young people are checking out the Malibu and giving it their approval, you know Chevy might have a winner on its hands. This is a monstrous improvement over the old Malibu and is more than competitive with the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.

It's essentially an Opel Vectra, so it drives a little stiffer than the Japanese competitors. The V6 puts out good power, and the chassis feels nicely dialed in, with little body roll, almost no crashing over potholes and an eagerness in corners.

The exterior is clean and fuss-free, and the interior is quite nice, though opinions were split on the two-tone treatment found in our particular example. GM claims the car has a $40,000 interior for $25,000. We're not convinced we'd go quite that far, but for the most part, the plastics looked good, with nice tight panel gaps.

The paddle shifter took some getting used to, however. It's not nearly as intuitive as it is for other cars (a small thumb button for upshifts, large behind-the-wheel flanges for downshifts), but it works, even if the radio occasionally gets muted when you reach for a higher gear (the upshift button is located too near the steering-wheel-mounted radio controls).

The faux lighting paint on all the gauges got to be a bit annoying, too. It is meant to give the impression of subdued lighting, the kind you find on cars like the Ford Mustang. The problem is that it comes off looking cheap. Otherwise, the attention this LTZ gets with the chrome accent trim all around is very pleasant.

At this point, the price swing seems a bit steep. With an entry sticker of $19,000 and this one being close to $28,000, the average transaction price probably will fall somewhere closer to $22,000 or $23,000, more than acceptable for a Malibu. And for a Chevrolet.

BOTTOM LINE: Make no mistake, there are no excuses. This is the car the folks at Chevy should have built long ago, but they get serious props for making it happen today.

Source: [url=http://www.trucktrend.com/multimedia/wallpaper/163_0712_2008_chevrolet_express/]TruckTrend Magazine[/url]
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