Chevrolet Malibu XTC
A new front-wheel drive Malibu was introduced in 1997 on an extended wheelbase version of the GM N platform shared with the Buick Skylark, Oldsmobile Achieva...More »
Chevrolet Malibu XTC
A new front-wheel drive Malibu was introduced in 1997 on an extended wheelbase version of the GM N platform shared with the Buick Skylark, Oldsmobile Achieva, Oldsmobile Alero and Pontiac Grand Am. All N-body Malibus were produced at the Oklahoma City Assembly plant (after 2002 it was retooled to build the GMT360 SUVs) and the Wilmington Assembly plant (1997 to 1999), before moving production to Lansing, Michigan. The Wilmington plant was retooled to build the Saturn L-Series in 1999. The Oldsmobile Cutlass was a rebadged, slightly more upscale version of the Malibu, produced from 1997 - 1999. It was intended as a placeholder model to fill the gap left by the discontinuation of the aging Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, before the all-new Alero arrived in 1999. The Malibu itself replaced the compact Chevrolet Corsica. Power came from a 2.4 L 150 hp (112 kW) I4 or 3.1 L 155 hp (116 kW) V6. The Malibu was Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year for 1997; this was later criticized by Car and Driver in 2009, citing that the Malibu was insufficiently distinguishable in terms of performance or interior quality to warrant such praise in hindsight.
The 1997 to 1999 Malibus had a front grille with the Malibu logo in silver in the center; 2000 to 2003 models, and the Classic, had the blue Chevrolet emblem on the front grille. The 1997 to 1999 LS models were sometimes equipped with special gold-colored badges (the rear Malibu lettering and logo).
When a new Malibu was introduced on the Epsilon platform for 2004, the N-body Malibu was renamed Chevrolet Classic and remained in production for the 2004 and 2005 model years, being restricted to rental car companies and fleet orders.
The 3.1 L V6 was updated in 2000 with a new power rating of 170 hp (127 kW), and the 2.4 L 4-cylinder was dropped after that year. However, a 4-cylinder was reintroduced in 2004 when the 2.2 L Ecotec was offered on the Classic. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel mileage estimates for the 2.2 L Ecotec engine are 21 mpg-US (11 L/100 km; 25 mpg-imp)-31 mpg-US (7.6 L/100 km; 37 mpg-imp).
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