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american_driver

2008 Chevrolet Malibu >>By Design

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Robert Cumberford gives a workmen-like styling analysis of the 2008 Chevy. Compares it to the Lexus LS. "Nice" but not inspiring.

"I admire this Malibu, but I don't want one."

See pages 44 and 45

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Is he comparing it to the Lexus LS in that it's "nice, but not inspiring" or comparing it in general design/technological/driving terms? Because if it's the latter, the man is clearly not on control of his faculties.

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General design, which is pretty much absolutely spot-on.

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What is even remotely similar between the LS and the new Malibu? That's the automotive equivalent of comparing crème brûlée to Jello pudding.

Edited by Hollingsworth
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I read this too, he is comparing it to the general idea that both designs are nice and wont offend anyone but that they really didnt take any risk, not that the designs are similar in any way.

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What is even remotely similar between the LS and the new Malibu? That's the automotive equivalent of comparing crème brûlée to Jello pudding.

What Autoholic said.

Its more like comparing fresh, hand-churned vanilla ice cream to self-serve vanilla at Sizzler. One may portend to be a bit fancier, but they're both vanilla.

You don't buy an LS with your heart; you buy it so you can tote around a spec sheet and brag about having one more in the gearbox than a Benz or five more speakers than a Bimmer or my owner's manual is bigger than yours. No doubt that the LS is - aside from the aluminum - far more sophisticated than, say, the Jaguar XJ. But the Jag is lustful, sexy, and desireable for the sheetmetal alone. The LS is...not...in any way, shape, or form. I've seen the road presence LSs have and its not much - dark-colored twelve year-old Town Cars have more bespoke elegance than the LS.

Malibu, similarly, will be an altogether competent and - dare I say - class-leading product that lacks the passion, uniqueness, and diversity that other midsizers (even those on the same platform) will have. It really doesn't need to, though, because its a Chevy sedan and the only thing a Chevy sedan needs to do is turn over, drive, and fall apart slower than a Ford, Dodge, or Toyota. Its the other divisions that will have inspiring products.

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Actually I like the LS more than the BMW 7, Jag, S-Class and A8. Now would I rather have an LS or DTS I would take a DTS. But I would rather have an LS and they are really sharp looking cars.

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Malibu, similarly, will be an altogether competent and - dare I say - class-leading product that lacks the passion, uniqueness, and diversity that other midsizers (even those on the same platform) will have.

It ain't no Chrysler Sebring!

And that is a good thing.

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You don't buy an LS with your heart; you buy it so you can tote around a spec sheet and brag about having one more in the gearbox than a Benz or five more speakers than a Bimmer or my owner's manual is bigger than yours. No doubt that the LS is - aside from the aluminum - far more sophisticated than, say, the Jaguar XJ. But the Jag is lustful, sexy, and desireable for the sheetmetal alone. The LS is...not...in any way, shape, or form. I've seen the road presence LSs have and its not much - dark-colored twelve year-old Town Cars have more bespoke elegance than the LS.

I don't quite agree with this assumption. First of all, to give a Jaguar XJ those particular adjectives is subjective at best. I don't find the XJ lustful or sexy in any away, and this is coming from a self-proclaimed anglophile.

The LS is elegant, but tastefully so. XJ = dated elegance. S-class = awkward elegance. Town Car = tacky elegance. Some call the LS boring and "lacking in emotional appeal" (whatever the hell that means), but I find "conservative" to be a better description. And for some buyers in this class, this is precisely what they're looking for. These buyers - WASPs - are probably the most emotionally restrained and least flamboyant group of people in America. They prefer not to pull into the country club in something that should only be kept within the boundaries of Los Angeles.

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Here is my take on this: The Malibu's interior design alone grabs at me to drive it, from the photos I have seen, I want to be inside the car - I am drawn to it. There is an inherent desire to experience the car. The taught lines, the face - the prominent bowtie...all of this draws me to it. The LS, and I would venture to say 99% of the Japanese offerings on the road or at your local dealership do not even garner me a second look. There is no soul. There is no passion in the design. Neat features - sure - but nothing that reaches out and grabs me to pull me into the dealerships. Sure, it has the Hoffmeister Kink at the back window...but a kink does not a BMW make.

In an earlier post, the Jaguar was brought up - sexy as hell to look at and you just want to run your hands over those sinuous flanks...and nearly every BMW out there begs you to drive it just because you KNOW that the engine note alone costs 900 engineering hours to get the sound JUST right. The Japanese brands have learned to zerox something pretty good, and the surface is there, but like a recording of a recording of a recording - the soul of the original is lost.

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I don't quite agree with this assumption. First of all, to give a Jaguar XJ those particular adjectives is subjective at best. I don't find the XJ lustful or sexy in any away, and this is coming from a self-proclaimed anglophile.

The LS is elegant, but tastefully so. XJ = dated elegance. S-class = awkward elegance. Town Car = tacky elegance. Some call the LS boring and "lacking in emotional appeal" (whatever the hell that means), but I find "conservative" to be a better description. And for some buyers in this class, this is precisely what they're looking for. These buyers - WASPs - are probably the most emotionally restrained and least flamboyant group of people in America. They prefer not to pull into the country club in something that should only be kept within the boundaries of Los Angeles.

I only base my opinions on my personal feelings towards different cars and when I look at an LS, I cannot see interesting visually arresting, stirring, or even that tasteful. Its a design composed of derivative cues and upward extrapolations of the GS' design language, which itself isn't that spectacular.

Your own definition of the typical restrained, introverted, characterless LS buyer - something that I do not disagree with - admits that design is not a priority to these people. On the contrary, the lack of anything that can be considered distasteful, unattractive, or downright ugly would steer them away from a certain competitior and towards Lexus. It is the safe choice, the choice of the man who wants his cocoon to waft unnoticed through traffic, never called upon by gazing eyes of fellow motorists or bystanders. He doesn't want his friends or family taking about how his car looks; he doesn't want hallways filled with mumors about "What kind of man buys a ____?" or "Wow, he didn't seem like a _____ guy." And to that regard, I still think Cumberford's analogy is dead-to-rights accurate.

My personal taste means I would have nothing to do with any Lexus - they're boring, unexciting, unstirring. They sit there, wallowing in their micrometer perfection and do nothing. They don't even class up the place wearing boring silver paint and dulled alloy wheels. I've said many times how the 7-Series is frightfully ugly, how the S-Class looks goofy, and that the Town Cazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. But they all have a personality in their distastefulness and I'd rather drive any single one of them than an LS. That, and they're all more engaging - yes even the Town Car because 'floating' is a form of (non)control.

The only Lexuseseses that were ever attractive to my eyes were the original GS and SC. The former was penned by Giugiaro and the latter was "based on emotion and feeling rather than linear aesthetics" as so noted by its own designers. And if it were up to me, all Lexii would be smilarly outsorced. Make the LS look like something, give the GS back to an Italian firm, stop not calling the SC a roadster, and quit using up the big box of leftover RX300 mirrors on the IS.

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I read this too, he is comparing it to the general idea that both designs are nice and wont offend anyone but that they really didnt take any risk, not that the designs are similar in any way.

umm... i dont think this generation is supposed to take any risks... thats next generation... this one is supposed to put the malibu on the market again as the worlds leading family sedan... once it establishes any dominance in selling numbers besides fleet... then it can make risky moves...

but i'd say get 300-400k a year before giving it a hate it or love it style...

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Its a design composed of derivative cues and upward extrapolations of the GS' design language, which itself isn't that spectacular.

Off-topic, but I happen to think the GS is the best-looking car in its class.

Posted Image

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The GS is quite handsome, I like it better than the old one.

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If by 'old one' you mean the preceeding one, then yes, that car made zero sense.

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I find current LS and GS are better looking inside and out than the still awkward STS by quite a margin.

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Cumberford has something bad to say about all designs. It's just how he is. He can find fault in the most beautiful cars out there. Personally, I dont think it would be wise for GM to do a daring design on a mid-size sedan. <cough> <cough Sebring.

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The generic plain side styling and total mis placement of the chrome door strip at the bottom of the door were both directly copied from the Lexus!

The new 08 Malibu looks like every other generic new sedan such as the VW Jetta and brings little to the table for originality and is a big dissapointment to me after all the hype on how awesome it was. Now the interior is a different story. It does look nice and distinctive but seems to carry over the lack of rear seat armrest/air vents and overhead assist handles like the current Malibu, Aura and G6.

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I only base my opinions on my personal feelings towards different cars and when I look at an LS, I cannot see interesting visually arresting, stirring, or even that tasteful. Its a design composed of derivative cues and upward extrapolations of the GS' design language, which itself isn't that spectacular.

Your own definition of the typical restrained, introverted, characterless LS buyer - something that I do not disagree with - admits that design is not a priority to these people. On the contrary, the lack of anything that can be considered distasteful, unattractive, or downright ugly would steer them away from a certain competitior and towards Lexus. It is the safe choice, the choice of the man who wants his cocoon to waft unnoticed through traffic, never called upon by gazing eyes of fellow motorists or bystanders. He doesn't want his friends or family taking about how his car looks; he doesn't want hallways filled with mumors about "What kind of man buys a ____?" or "Wow, he didn't seem like a _____ guy." And to that regard, I still think Cumberford's analogy is dead-to-rights accurate.

My personal taste means I would have nothing to do with any Lexus - they're boring, unexciting, unstirring. They sit there, wallowing in their micrometer perfection and do nothing. They don't even class up the place wearing boring silver paint and dulled alloy wheels. I've said many times how the 7-Series is frightfully ugly, how the S-Class looks goofy, and that the Town Cazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. But they all have a personality in their distastefulness and I'd rather drive any single one of them than an LS. That, and they're all more engaging - yes even the Town Car because 'floating' is a form of (non)control.

The only Lexuseseses that were ever attractive to my eyes were the original GS and SC. The former was penned by Giugiaro and the latter was "based on emotion and feeling rather than linear aesthetics" as so noted by its own designers. And if it were up to me, all Lexii would be smilarly outsorced. Make the LS look like something, give the GS back to an Italian firm, stop not calling the SC a roadster, and quit using up the big box of leftover RX300 mirrors on the IS.

The entire Lexus sedan lineup looks like half baked warmed over versions of there former selves with the bodyside trim decontented or stupidly moved to the bottom of the doors where they do no good whatsoever. Can we say plain, boring and generic!

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GM should have taken the design of the new Commodore and transfered it as much as possible to the new Malibu. I'm really not feeling this design.

Edited by 4gm
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If the lexus ls is some sort of benchmark for it's segment, and toyota sells gobs of sedans with safe, 'non-aspirational' design... AND we accept cumberford'a analysis as being largely 'correct', then Chevy did a bang-up job on the next 'bu- should post a big jump in the standings.

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