A four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatically transmission room a first in the mid-size sedan segment.

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General Motors has started shipping its very first batch that 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZs come dealers through a four-cylinder petrol engine and six-speed automatically transmission—a combination the automaker says will boost EPA fuel performance by 2 mpg in highway driving.

The relocate is no a surprise. GM told united state last summer together it ready to beginning the all-new Malibu that it known a growing consumer appetite for four-cylinder power in the face of boosting gasoline prices. With 70 percent that Malibu buyers opting because that the smaller sized engine, executives are abandoning the old paradigm whereby the highest possible trim level, the LTZ, was associated with V-6 power. The LTZ accounts for between 25 and 30 percent of full Malibu sales.

In this mid-2008 change, the LTZ is now available with a 169-hp, 2.4-liter four cylinder Ecotec engine, and also it i do not care a segment-first through pairing it v a six-speed automatic. The sedan is identified by the single, chrome exhaust outlet and 17-inch “Chrometec” wheels.

Beats Camry and also Accord on Highway

Fuel economy in highway driving rises by 2 mpg come 32 mpg, GM says, i m sorry beats the 31-mpg number posted through both the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. City usage is unmodified at 22 mpg for the Malibu, a number that matches the Accord and Camry.

When the 2009 Malibu launches in June, the six-speed automatic will certainly be made available in the reduced LT trim together well. The 2009 Saturn Aura and Pontiac G6 also will get the transmission, which was emerged in-house through GM.

It is a smaller sized variant that the six-speed arisen with Ford the GM provides in other vehicles v its 3.6-liter V-6. The Malibu is the very first to usage this brand-new smaller six-speed, the 6T40, i beg your pardon is built in Korea. It will additionally be supplied in the Buick LaCrosse in China and also the Daewoo Tosca/Chevy Epica marketed in Asia and Europe.

To Be developed in the U.S

In 2010, GM will resource the transmission from a brand-new plant in Toledo, Ohio, because that the phibìc American market. As the six-speed’s use ramps up, that will replace the four-speed automatically in the Malibu lineup, states Mike Meloeny, the Malibu’s chef engineer.

The brand-new addition to the LTZ household starts at $26,545. Ed Peper, Chevrolet basic manager, claims the typical transaction price the the brand-new Malibu lineup is around $21,000—$4000 an ext than the average cash outlay because that the previous-generation sedan.

Peper claims the other encouraging statistic is the 42 percent of Malibu sales are for higher-equipped models. And also continued solid sales mean the sedans sit on the lot for an typical of 31 days, i beg your pardon is an outstanding turnover rate—one the vault Malibu most likely never saw.

In its very first six month on the market, the 2008 Malibu is enjoying a 38 percent conquest rate, and the car most frequently taken in on profession is the Toyota Camry, Peper says.

The Chevy chief says he is pleased that data so far shows the brand-new Malibu is no cannibalizing sales of the bigger Chevy Impala. Combined, castle sold about 25,000 units in March, split about 50/50, although Peper expects the Malibu come outsell the Impala walk forward.

And he states GM is close come a decision on whether to save the Impala front-wheel drive together opposed come the recent plan to walk rear-drive—a plan that seems to it is in all however scuttled with proposals come meet new national CAFE requirements of 35 mpg because that cars and trucks merged by 2020, boost of 40 percent. Also, any kind of depreciation in the Impala’s 29-mpg highway rating would certainly run contradictory to Chevy’s efforts to position itself together a eco-friendly brand, perpetuated through a growing variety of hybrids, the currently accessible Equinox fuel-cell vehicle, and the comes Volt plug-in electrical vehicle.

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In ongoing boasting, Peper states the Malibu is on monitor to be one of the lowest-cost guarantee launches in GM phibìc America’s history.

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