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2008-01-17

Look out, Camry - new Malibu debuts at Bandera Chevrolet

By David Arny

Bandera Chevrolet will unveil the new Chevy Malibu from 6 pm until 8 pm, Friday, Jan. 25, at the dealership showroom on Highway 16 South. General Manager Tom Barnett invites everyone to attend the celebration for what General Motors Corporation bills as “The Car You Can’t Ignore.”

The automotive world is buzzing about the latest incarnation of the medium-sized family sedan, with some reviewers suggesting it has the potential of giving Toyota, Honda and Nissan a run for their money - and market share.

Originally introduced in 1964 - a golden era for American automakers - the Malibu was designed to fill the gap between the full-sized Impala and the smaller Chevy II. Like most Detroit products turned out in the days of a cheap, seemingly limitless gas supply, the Malibu was a fuel-guzzler, but nonetheless a solid, dependable family car.

Forty-four years later, the Malibu is back - sleeker, safer, less polluting and more fuel-efficient than its original designers could have imagined. The Malibu LTZV-6 has also acquired an additional 32 horses under the hood, moving from 0 to 60 mph in a zippy 6.5 seconds, rather than the 9.7 seconds it took back when Dinah Shore invited car buyers to “ See the USA in your Chevrolet.”

The Feb. 2008 issue of Motor Trend magazine fairly gushes over the new Malibu’s “sleek and spare styling, engine and transmission stats, posh interior trim,” as well as other features it offers. Editors for the respected journal recently drove the Malibu on an 11,306-mile “torture test” across America and rated it superior to both the Honda Accord and the Nissan Altima for performance, luxury and overall quality.

Motor Trend reviewers have unanimously designated the Malibu a Car of the Year finalist for 2008. One editor there wrote, ”Chevy has a reason to be proud. Finally, there’s a genuine alternative to the (Toyota) Camry.”

GMC, parent company of Chevrolet, took home the 2008 North American Car of the Year award for the Chevrolet Malibu from the 2008 North American International Auto Show held in Detroit, Saturday, Jan. 12, and Sunday, Jan. 13.

“The new Malibu is the best mid-sized car we’ve ever produced,” Chevrolet’s General Manager Ed Piper told car enthusiasts attending the show. He accepted the award while standing next to a shiny new Malibu on center stage.

“The Malibu is made in Orion Township, Michigan, and in Fairfax, Kansas. It’s a great looking vehicle,” Peper added. “It’s got great fuel economy and it’s the quietest car in its class.”

Area residents are invited to come see for themselves what the buzz is all about and be on hand when this example of American automotive excellence makes its Hill Country debut.