The 1997 Chevrolet Malibu improves the old version of the Malibu. While the classic Malibu classifies as a large coupe, the contemporary version uses a sedan body design. It comes in two models: the base and the LS. The LS includes a number of luxury features and comes fully loaded with good speed, acceleration, and maneuverability.
The Chevrolet Malibu provides a reasonably priced car with four doors and plenty of room for a small or medium-sized family. It comes with a complete power package in both models. Its extra-large trunk offers a surplus of luggage room for long trips. Both models get above average gas mileage.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 3.1-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Malibu LS
1997 marks the first year that the entirely redesigned Malibu launches from Chevrolet. It looks completely new in every regard, especially because it sells as a sedan, not a coupe.
The 1997 Chevrolet Malibu classifies as a four-door midsize sedan with a somewhat sleek and aerodynamic look. It features a conservative design and comes with standard features that include 15-inch wheels and automatic on/off headlights. Optional features include alloy wheels and a keyless entry system, both options that come standard on the LS. Fog lights also come standard on the LS and daytime running lights come standard on both models, which make for a safer driving experience. A rear window defroster remains optional on the base but comes standard on the LS.
The interior varies between the 1997 Chevrolet Malibu and the Malibu LS. The base model includes standard air-conditioning and tinted glass. Other standard features include a tilt steering wheel and an AM/FM radio. The center console and driver displays look ergonomically designed for a more comfortable drive. The Chevrolet Malibu LS adds a cassette player to the stereo system, power door locks, power windows, and a power driver's seat. Optional features for both models include an AM/FM/CD audio system or an AM/FM/cassette/CD audio system. Both models of the Chevrolet Malibu come with a tachometer, easy-to-read displays, cruise control, driver and passenger airbags, and a full floor console. The cargo area in both models uses carpeting and both models come with floor mats.
Performance & Handling
The base features a 2.4-liter, twin cam, four-cylinder engine that boasts decent acceleration and 150 horsepower. The LS contains a more powerful 3.1-liter V-6 engine.
The LS gets high marks from most consumers for power. Both models provide decent acceleration and adequate power, but neither model delivers high-end performance. The 1997 Chevrolet Malibu receives high marks for the reliability of the steering and suspension. It serves as a family sedan that provides sufficient performance, good fuel economy, and overall comfort.
Passenger and driver front airbags come standard with both models. A four-wheel anti-lock braking system and an anti-theft system come standard as well. The Malibu has daytime running lights and gets high marks in crash tests for the driver and passenger, as well as in rear side impacts. The 1997 Chevrolet Malibu features rack and pinion steering, a rear anti-roll bar for safety, and front and rear disc or drum brakes.
EPA Fuel Economy
Chevrolet Malibu: 18/26 mpg city/highway
- Trunk space
- Rear-seat room
- Large trunk
- Power of the LS V-6
- Good fuel economy
You Won't Like
- Mechanical issues
- Uncomfortable front seats on the base model
- High depreciation rates
- Noisy when driven
The return of the Malibu—nothing like the original.
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