The 2003 Chevrolet Malibu doesn't have anything fancy that makes this model stand out, but it continues to be one of General Motors’ most functional family-friendly vehicles. It boasts a comfortable cabin, plenty of storage space, and a long list of features ranging from a practical split-folding rear seat to a luxurious power sunroof. While it doesn’t offer the six-person seating capacity of its larger cousin, the Chevrolet Impala, the five-passenger sedan compensates with quicker acceleration, a lower price tag, and a slightly more upscale interior.
The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu is available in two trim levels. The base Malibu and more sophisticated Malibu LS both come equipped with the line’s only available engine: a 3.1-liter V-6 that produces 170 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive system are standard.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 3.1-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Malibu LS
The 2003 Chevrolet Malibu carries over few changes. The base model is now available with an optional anti-lock brake system, while the more luxurious LS trim receives improved upholstery. Buyers can choose from two new exterior paint colors: Medium Gray Metallic and Summit White.
The 2003 Chevrolet Malibu features a refined but simple sedan shape with a long hood and short deck lid, unlike the Impala. Body-color bumpers and mirrors lend a streamlined appearance to the four-door family car. Standard exterior features on the base Malibu include 15-inch steel wheels, full wheel covers, intermittent windshield wipers, and a rear defogger. The LS adds 15-inch alloy wheels and foglamps but is mostly distinguished by its more luxurious interior amenities. Both trims come with a MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension. Base models can be fitted with optional alloy wheels, ABS, and an available engine block heater. The LS trim is also eligible for the block heater, as well as a power sunroof and an appearance package that includes a rear spoiler and other sporty details.
The 2003 Chevrolet Malibu is basic but polished. Standard features on the base trim include cloth upholstery, contoured front bucket seats, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, air-conditioning, rear ventilation ducts, front and rear floor mats, dual vanity mirrors, a trunk light, power steering, power door locks, a front console with storage compartment, front door storage, a 12-volt power outlet, a clock, a tachometer, a low-fuel warning system, and a four-speaker sound system with a single-disc CD player.
The 2003 Chevrolet Malibu LS gains a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with height adjustment settings, a split-folding rear seat back, remote power door locks, power mirrors, one-touch power windows, cruise control, and front reading lights. Base Malibu models can be upgraded with many of the LS trim’s features including cruise control, a split-folding rear seat, and alloy wheels. The LS can also be outfitted with optional leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
While the 2003 Chevrolet Malibu's cargo space is not quite as generous as in the Chevrolet Impala, it still offers an impressive 17.3 cubic feet of capacity in its flat-bottomed trunk. In its relatively spacious cabin, front occupants receive 39.4 inches of headroom, 41.9 inches of legroom, 52 inches of hip room, and 55.5 inches of shoulder room, while rear passengers get 37.6 inches of headroom, 38 inches of legroom, 52 inches of hip room, and 55.3 inches of shoulder room.
Performance & Handling
The 2003 Chevrolet Malibu comes with just one engine: a 3.1-liter V-6 producing 170 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed automatic is the only transmission offered. Despite its small powertrain, it doesn’t come with the advantage of great gas mileage. Acceleration is adequate on city streets, but has been criticized for being sluggish at highway speeds. Its well-constructed body makes for a mostly smooth ride during normal driving conditions but contributes to have body lean around sharp turns and road noise at high speeds. While braking distance is normal, some buyers may be disappointed at the exclusion of standard ABS from base models.
The base 2003 Chevrolet Malibu offers such safety features as front side airbags, front disc brakes, child seat anchors, front adjustable headrests, electronic brake force distribution, interior trunk release, and dusk-sensing headlamps. ABS is optional on the base model and standard on the LS. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tests, it earned four out of five possible stars for driver and passenger protection in front-impact crashes, four stars for its performance in rear-side crashes, and three stars for front-side crashes.
EPA Fuel Economy
Chevrolet Malibu: 18/26 mpg city/highway
- Spacious cabin
- Comfortable ride
- Upscale feel
- Affordable price
You Won't Like
- Basic exterior design
- Slow steering
- No V-8 option
Midsize family sedan continues to offer plenty of space and comfort.
If You Like This Vehicle
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