By on March 6, 2009

The General’s Chevrolet Malibu LS won this competition versus the Chrysler Sebring LX and Ford Fusion S because it’s a complete car with no manifest weaknesses. For less than $18K, I could have driven away from the Chevy dealership in the only vehicle capable of going head to head with the very best entry level cars in its class. In a prior competition, I compared the Honda Accord LX, Toyota Camry (base model), Nissan Altima 2.5 and Mazda Mazda6i Sport. Neither the dismally shameful Sebring nor the uninspired Fusion compares well to even the weakest of these Japanese models. On the other hand, this Malibu fully deserves serious consideration by cost conscious consumers.

The mission of the new Chevrolet Malibu is to fight, penetrating the market dominated by Camcords. Designing the seventh-generation Malibu to be more attractive than its predecessor was, let’s face it, an easy task. The unfortunate design made the old Malibu look like a fat guy who carries his weight low on his abdomen so that it bulges out below his belt. All the engineers had to do: strike the heavy chrome band across the Gen 6 ug-mobile’s front below the bug-eyed headlights and above the bumper. The worst that can be said for the new Bu is that it might be bland. On the other hand, you could say the conservative look saves it from the gaffes Toyota and Honda made with the latest Camrys and Accords.

Malibu’s front-end carries Cadillac’s bone structure without the harsh edges and up-market bling. Otherwise, the new ’Bu’s expansive steeply raked windshield, expansive door panels under small sidelights, and beefy rear quarters are positively Lexusian. Of the three cars in this comparison, the Malibu is the only one with standard alloy wheels and exclusive touring tires, which helps make the Chevrolet Malibu look like it costs $10K more than it does.

The attractive classic lines carry over to Malibu’s inner confines. The Chevy’s switches and buttons have the look and feel of those found in the current Camry. That is not really a compliment. But it does indicate that the equipment is class-compliant. Front seats are comfortable and the grippy fabric offers decent lateral support. Again, the driver’s seat is the only of these three cars with standard power adjustment. Just be careful of the low bridge when you are climbing in and out of the car.

The Malibu is unabashedly tuned for comfort, floating over bumps the way creamy salad dressing pours over lettuce. My preference is normally for a chassis that feels a little more athletic, but Malibu’s ride is so well-refined that I had to give it top honors in this test over competitors that neither regally waft nor sportingly bob and weave. While the Chevrolet Malibu exhibited a bit more roll than the Ford Fusion, GM engineers have done a superb job quelling most unwanted motions.  The ’Bu is nothing you would want to take to the track, but it does deliver safe and predictable handling.

The base Malibu is powered by GM’s LE5 Ecotec engine. The 2.4-liter DOHC mill utilized variable intake and exhaust valve timing to flatten the torque curve. Mated to GM’s workmanlike four-speed automatic transmission, which isn’t as primitive in the real world as it looks on paper, the car eeks past the Ford for power, while quietly delivering the best gas mileage of the three. The EPA predicts a thrifty 22 mpg in town and up to 30 mpg on the highway. (Buyers must pony up for Chevy’s optional six-speed cog swapper to realize the Malibu’s oft-advertised 32 mpg.)

When I coldly plug numbers for all seven entry level Japanese and American sedans that I have tested into the simple, non-scientific, rank-based evaluation tool I use, the Sebring stinks things up in dead last, well behind everyone else. The Fusion takes sixth place well ahead of the Sebring but posing no threat at surpassing the rest of the pack. Only three points separate the Accord, Altima and Camry in third, fourth and fifth places, respectively.

Surprisingly, the Mazda6 takes second closely behind the Malibu LS. This demonstrates a flaw in my un-weighted system. I would much sooner buy the Mazda because it is so much sportier to drive. To my 4-valve, 4-chamber, 1 hp (human power) pistonhead heart, this is worth more to me than the demerits the Mazda receives for having relatively a poor ride and gas mileage.

Nonetheless, I scored the Malibu in first or second place in six of ten evaluative categories; it did not rank last or next to last in any. In the final analysis, comfort-minded drivers will choose the strong-showing Malibu while those of us desiring a little more pizzazz in our commute will give a nod to the Mazda6.

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110 Comments on “Yankee Econo-Car Comparo: 1st Place: 2009 Chevrolet Malibu...”


  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    This isn’t fair! TTAC is obviously biased against domest…oh, wait… :P

  • avatar

    The new Mazda6 isn’t quite the hard-crow sports-esque sedan its predecessor was.

    A moment of silence for the five-speed, Duratec-powered Mazda6 liftback. One bad-assed little family car.

  • avatar
    pourspeller

    Clearly, the new Bu and a poster of Rob Schneider saying “You can do it!” are now all that holds GM back from success.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    This car, whatever its good points, is unavailable with a manual transmission. I realize that few potential Malibu buyers will take this into account, but it needed to be said…

  • avatar

    Another surprisingly positive review for a GM product from TTAC.

  • avatar
    mocktard

    Ahh… but with GM’s lack of a future, would anyone buy one? In part because I read TTAC, I stayed far away from GM last year.

  • avatar

    Lesuxian

    Is this a mid-word Spoonerism referring to the high end Toyota brand or an adjective I’m not familiar with?

    The ‘bu may be better looking than the last one, and as inoffensive as your above average Japanese car, but it certainly doesn’t qualify as attractive. If I were GM I would have used styling cues from the second gen Corvair (timeless) or the ’64 Chevelle. Why do cars have to be so uninspired in appearance???!

    I suppose I should be happy that it doesn’t have pokemon eyes.

  • avatar
    fitisgo

    I’m just going to come out and say that I find this car flat-out ha-ooougly. The word that comes to mind when I see that dopey bisected grille is “simpering”, the rear end looks unfinished and out of proportion, and the whole thing has a sense of “bigness” that is inappropriate for what’s supposed to be a mid-sized car.

  • avatar
    BDB

    I like that handsome two-tone interior, very nice.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Malibu over Camry/Accord?

    I mean, it’s encouraging to see a failed student make a come back and pass the exam. But it’s too much to claim he becomes the new top student.

    The most important trait that mid-size sedan buyers look at is reliability.

    By default, the previous Malibu is inferior to Camry/Accord in that regard. The new Malibu is new and thus unproven. Given GM’s track record, it’s very safe to assume that the new Malibu is inferior again, until proven otherwise.

    I will look at a 2019 Malibu, if by that time, people still regard the 2009 Malibu as high as a 2009 Accord.

  • avatar
    SpeedJebus

    2 co-workers have Malibu’s, both different trim levels. Both of them are extremely happy with their cars (no issues whatsoever), and I’m still a fan of the look of them.

    Shows what they can do when they want to… :D

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    David Holzman: If I were GM I would have used styling cues from the second gen Corvair (timeless) or the ‘64 Chevelle. Why do cars have to be so uninspired in appearance???!

    Two words: wind tunnel

  • avatar
    walksatnight

    So did it receive 3, 4 or 5 stars?

    The Sebring got 1 and the Fusion 2.

  • avatar
    wsn

    BTW, this Malibu is 70% bland + 30% ugly.

    The best looking midsize would be the new Fusion.
    The sencond best would be the Accord.

  • avatar
    olivehead

    what i’m still unable to figure out is how the ‘bu can consistently score so much higher than the saturn aura–same platform, same factory (i think) and damned near the same interior. i don’t get it.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    A new lean Chevrolet Motor Company carrying forward only the very best of its predecessor General Motors’ products could be a fierce competitor.

  • avatar
    wsn

    olivehead :
    March 6th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    what i’m still unable to figure out is how the ‘bu can consistently score so much higher than the saturn aura–same platform, same factory (i think) and damned near the same interior. i don’t get it.

    Perhaps GM PR demanded it. They need to promote this car, but will have to justify dumping Saturn.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    David Holzman: Lesuxian

    Is this a mid-word Spoonerism referring to the high end Toyota brand or an adjective I’m not familiar with?

    I don’t know. I’ve never been very good at English.

  • avatar
    grog

    A moment of silence for the five-speed, Duratec-powered Mazda6 liftback. One bad-assed little family car.

    Hear Hear! Almost bought one last year. The Forester’s seats won out (the wife has two exploded lower discs in her back so seat comfort for her is a totally different experience from the rest of the planet).

    Tons of room. God I love hatch/liftbacks.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    And yet honda get’s ragged on for only havinging a five speed auto?

  • avatar
    grog

    And yes, the ‘Bu is ugly. Not butt ugly but ugly nonetheless.

    Of course that’s a characteristic it shares with most of its competitors. I tell ya, auto designers seem to get teh stooopids like a dose of the flu when it comes to crafting fugly cars . And it’s seasonal. And contagious.

  • avatar
    thalter

    Having rented several of these (along with platform mate Saturn Aura), I concur that these are very competent cars. While not exceptional, neither to they have any obviously glaring flaws.

    The problem is that it is an answer to a question that does not exist. Most Camcordima buyers are not looking for an alternative.

  • avatar
    r129

    I’ll take the Aura’s exterior, the Malibu’s cocoa/cashmere interior, and the 3.9/6-speed manual combo that was formerly available in the G6. And brand it as an Oldsmobile, please.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Malibu over Camry/Accord?

    I mean, it’s encouraging to see a failed student make a come back and pass the exam. But it’s too much to claim he becomes the new top student.

    The most important trait that mid-size sedan buyers look at is reliability.

    By default, the previous Malibu is inferior to Camry/Accord in that regard. The new Malibu is new and thus unproven. Given GM’s track record, it’s very safe to assume that the new Malibu is inferior again, until proven otherwise.

    I will look at a 2019 Malibu, if by that time, people still regard the 2009 Malibu as high as a 2009 Accord.

    ————————————————————

    Good point wsn. But I think even more relevant is the resale value. In my opinion, all but the bottom 30% of vehicles are pretty darn reliable up to 100,000 miles. Possibly more. Especially if you ‘have a clue’ and actually follow the maintenance schedule. In other words, I don’t think it’s going to cost you any more in repair/maintenance bills owning a Malibu, Accord, or Camry for the first 100,000 miles.

    BUT, look at the value of an Accord/Camry that is 6-7 years old with 100,000 miles. Now look at the value of the Malibu with equal age/mileage. This is what makes the Malibu a tough sale IMHO. People tend to overpay for used Japanese cars, but I don’t write the rules. This is the reality, and something you have to consider when buying new.

  • avatar
    r129

    BUT how much more did you pay for the Accord/Camry in the first place?

  • avatar
    gaycorvette

    The Malibu is in fact a great car. It’s kind of hard to believe, but there it is. Even the styling is very well thought out and coherent, modern without being boring. It puts the Camry (dull dull dull) and the Accord (did the Wu-Tang Clan design those doorhandles?) to shame.

    The part I don’t understand is the gas mileage. The numbers you quote are what I get in my gas-sucking turbo-charged, 210 hp SAAB 9-3, a much more powerful car. The math just isn’t adding up for me here.

    Now if GM would just produce a smaller car with the same quality, I’d be on their lot in a second.

  • avatar
    olivehead

    there really is something to be said for the resale value of the camcord vs. what you actually pay for your brand new malibu/aura/fusion, etc. for example, in my neck of the woods you could pick up a ’09 accord lx-p (with some nice features above the base lx like power driver’s seat) for around $21,000-21,500. a comparably equipped fusion SE can be had for something like $16,000-17,000 (given dealers selling for no more than invoice and $3,500 in rebates). so there’s a possible difference of up to 5,500 bucks for comparably equipped, comparably reliable (if several reputable sources are to be believed) mid-sized sedans. i’m just looking at the numbers here, not whether you hate domestics, hate fords, like fords but wouldn’t buy one, just don’t like the fusion for other reasons, etc. that $5,500 more than makes up for the current resale value of each car with 100k miles on it.

  • avatar
    Victell

    At 6’5″ I fit in the Malibu quite well. The driver’s seat is nice and comfy and the steering wheel adjusts so my knees have room while not resting on any hard surfaces. Lots of headroom.

    In the Malibu you do notice it has Redwood trunk sized a-pillars, which I guess is to be expected in cars these days. The a-pillars also have very cheap appearing tweeter integration; looks like a monkey with an ice pick perforated random holes in the lower pillar trim. Other than that, the interior is quite nice.

    Count me as a fan of the Malibu’s exterior. I dislike the direction Mazda, Toyota and Honda have gone with their wacky, just to be different, cus thats what the other guys are doing, with their front ends. The Malibu keeps it simple and the proportions are right.

    Unfortunately, this is the car GM should have built 10+ years ago. Then its reliability could have a chance to be at least somewhat established by now.

  • avatar
    Colinpolyps

    What went wrong? This is not the GM we have grown to love to hate. How can it be?
    Oh well even a monkey could type a shakeseperian sonnet given enough time I suppose. Lord knows these people certainly have flushed a ton of models away to come up with a winner finally.

    I would still be a bit leary on longevity beyond the 100k plateau.

    Just me sayin.

  • avatar
    Victell

    gaycorvette : March 6th, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    The part I don’t understand is the gas mileage. The numbers you quote are what I get in my gas-sucking turbo-charged, 210 hp SAAB 9-3, a much more powerful car. The math just isn’t adding up for me here.

    Mileage is not dependent on how much power your engine is capable of, but how much you use. The Saab’s 4 cyl has few internal bearing surfaces which allows it to be more efficient also.

    Vehicle weight, aerodynamics and tire choice have far greater impact on mileage.

  • avatar
    Casual Observer

    It looks a lot better as an Aura. The front and rear are trimmed down a lot more on the Saturn.

    I drive an Aura with the 3.5 and 4-speed, and average about 26 mpg in mixed driving, so I’m not quite sure why one would opt for an Ecotec that gets the same.

  • avatar
    Victell

    Who cares how many gears an automatic has? Or a manual for that matter. To me, a car with more gears indicates an engine with a narrow powerband.

    If the Malibu can get decent mileage, acceleration and smoothness with a 4sp auto, then right on. Keeps cost, complexity and weight down. Whats not to like?

    While I’m bitching, I dont really want thirty-twelve airbags, eleventeen speakers, nor fully articulated power seats either.

  • avatar
    gaycorvette

    Victell:

    Your answer is not terribly convincing to me. How do you know that the SAAB 4-cylinder has “few internal bearing surfaces which allows it to be more efficient also”? I’m assuming you meant “fewer of these than the Chevy four cylinder”. Really? How do you know this? And what does it mean?

    My SAAB weighs about as much as the 4 cylinder Malibu, has bigger tires, a bigger engine and a turbo attached to it. Logic and physics tell me the Chevy should be getting much better mileage.

    I wonder if it’s the transmission that’s the culprit?

  • avatar
    Mike S

    My wife owns a Saturn Aura (you know, the car that GM decided to keep a secret) which is a twin of the Malibu. This is a very, very good car from both quality and driveability standponts.

    We test drove the usual suspects and the Aura came out a clear winner. It’s been a year and a half with no issues whatsoever (fingers and toes crossed).

  • avatar
    Gottleib

    Too many cars are now all the same….of six tested cars four ended up with less than a 3 point difference between them according to the tester…….no wonder car sales are decreasing, there are too many cars all very much the same being manufactured and sold today.

  • avatar
    Eric the Red

    Maybe should have posted this on the Fusion review but I don’t think you are comparing apples to apples here. The Fusion S is a bassssse model. As a poster on that review said it is meant to make all Fusion uplevel models look better and sell better in comparison. When you are comparing plastic hubcaps to alloy wheels (Fusion to Malibu) then I think you may want to move a trim level higer to really get a fair comparison. Honestly the first review I have read that did not have great/good things to say about a Fusion and to compliment the driving dynamics.
    Doesn’t take away from the Malibu, but not a true this vehicle is better because comparo.

  • avatar
    06M3S54B32

    “BTW, this Malibu is 70% bland + 30% ugly.”

    Totally agree. Moreover, buying any American car is a gamble of the highest order. Why not just buy what has been proven to last over the long haul? Any Japanese car of your choice. Another silly thing is the names of some of these American cars; i mean Malibu? People in rich areas tend to not buy POS American cars. How about a Chevy “Compton?”

  • avatar
    NN

    Think if GM made only the following models:

    Malibu
    Cruze (or Astra until it comes out)
    Vue
    G8
    CTS
    CTS-V
    SRX
    Corvette
    Tahoe
    Suburban
    Silverado
    Enclave

    hey, they’d be pretty good!

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Eric the Red:

    The point of this comparison test was to evaluate the most economical (basic) available entrant by each of these manufacturers. The base Bu is simply better equipped than the frugal Fu. It’s Ford’s strategic misstep to embarrass the Fusion lineup by putting out such a poorly appointed variant.

  • avatar
    gaycorvette

    Mike S:

    I actually prefer the Malibu to the Aura (I’ve driven both on several occasions). For one thing, the Malibu is much quieter than the Aura (it has more sound-deadening material in its structure), and it’s turning circle is much smaller than the Aura’s.

    These two things make it much more relaxing to drive and maneuver.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    The Malibu is about the only sub-$50K vehicle that I can think of (excepting perhaps the 3-series) that has received UNIVERSAL thumbs-ups in every road test I’ve encountered.

    Nonetheless, suggesting it to my mom as a replacement for her Buick LaCrosse (shudder) seemed a bit of a longshot at the time. To my surprise, she took my advice, drove it, loved it and bought one. Silver over gray, (faux) suede inserts in the heated leather seats, very sharp-looking alloys, rockin’ V-6, the works.

    It’s almost embarrassing to admit how close that $21K car comes to my beloved $40K + Euro-sedans.

    Well done, GM.

  • avatar
    Dragophire

    You are right. This wasnt very scientific.

  • avatar
    MrDot

    I’m normally a Ford guy, but the Malibu is a seriously good car. Well, except for the hybrid, which missed the point. Ford’s monkeying with the options in order to force people into the more expensive SE and SEL is ridiculous, though typical Ford.

    Awesome car. Shame about the rest of the company, though.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    It’s too bad that such a nice car isn’t going to have anybody to build it next year.

  • avatar
    tenmiler

    Any car that occupies 70% of the stalls at any given rental car lot is never, ever going to get my attention, ever as a car that will occupy my garage.

    I like this car’s front end, I think the back side is hideous, and I found it to navigate the Arizona highways as a rental about average.

    Sure, these may not be your criteria. But if this is GM’s best, my best advice is “goodbye”.

  • avatar
    brunorab

    am I the only one who hates this car’s front-end and back design? the back looks just cheap like a cobalt and the front end is way too busy. this corporate chevy grille only works well on trucks, IF it does. the profile looks nice, though.

  • avatar

    How hard would it be to swap a CTS-V powertrain into one of these?

  • avatar
    Victell

    gaycorvette : Victell: Your answer is not terribly convincing to me. How do you know that the SAAB 4-cylinder has “few internal bearing surfaces which allows it to be more efficient also”? I’m assuming you meant “fewer of these than the Chevy four cylinder”. Really? How do you know this? And what does it mean?

    My SAAB weighs about as much as the 4 cylinder Malibu, has bigger tires, a bigger engine and a turbo attached to it. Logic and physics tell me the Chevy should be getting much better mileage.

    I wonder if it’s the transmission that’s the culprit?

    My guess is that these are the factors of gas mileage, in order of greatest to least. Driving style, weight, frontal area or drag coefficiency, engine efficiency, tires, transmission, alignment.

    Looking up the specs of your Saab…
    2.0t engine: Double overhead chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder and dual counter-rotating balance shafts
    3,210-3,570 lbs weight, your car has the 2.0T so probably on the lower end of weight, say ~3300 lbs
    drag coefficient 0.28
    you didn’t say if you had a manual or auto, but I assume manual

    Malibu…
    3415 lbs
    2.4 engine: DOHC, VVT, chain driven cams, balance shafts (engine details not as easy to find)
    drag coefficient 0.34
    4sp auto

    Engine… Most 4 cyl DOHC engines are mechanically the same. So both your 2.0t and the Ecotec 2.4 engines have these bearings and wear surfaces that contribute to friction. Listed in order of most to least friction (guessing): 5 main bearings, 4 pistons and piston rings, 4 rod bearings, 4 wristpins, about 12 cam bearings, balance shaft bearings, cam followers, valve guides, and so on. Where your engine and the Malibu engine differ is displacement and turbo. The Malibu 2.4 engine has more displacement, so it would have more internal friction from heavier parts and more piston side thrust. Your 2.0t has added friction from the turbo, but the turbo can add efficiency at part throttle by using normally wasted exhaust pressures to boost (haha) intake efficiency. So if the engines are mostly the same internally, they would have about the same internal friction.

    But that is moot once you ask an engine to actually do something, like push a car around. Then fuel economy is based solely on how much you ask the engine to do. The more you ask, the more fuel it uses. Driving style, weight, drag, etc all require power. And you can ask your 2.0t to make more power than the Malibu’s 2.4. But we’re not talking about max engine output efficiency, we’re on about part throttle city and highway driving.

    For weight, your car comes in probably about a hundred or so pounds less than the Malibu. Aerodynamically your Saab has a much better drag coefficient than the Malibu. Your manual transmission, if used properly, will always be more efficient than an automatic. Automatics have torque converters and other hydraulic duties that manuals don’t. Your Saabs tires are probably wider and more performance oriented (more friction) than the Malibu tires.

    So, looking at all these things, I’d say the aerodynamics of your Saab is the primary reason you would see better gas mileage on the highway. Then I would guess the Malibu’s auto trans and extra weight brings the gas mileage down for city driving. The engine has much less of an impact.

  • avatar
    CAHIBOstep

    @06M3S54B32

    “People in rich areas tend to not buy POS American cars. How about a Chevy ‘Compton?’”

    You have to reach pretty far to find a way to trash poor people after reading a review of the Chevy Malibu. But you have made your point, nonetheless.

    “What’s in a name? That which we call a Malibu by any other name would fight foo with creamy salad dressing just as well.”

  • avatar
    zohaib

    I found this blog on searching on the google than i visit and find it is very nice and informative blog. I glad to post a comment on your blog. I am optimist automotive fan so thats why i cant say this one is bad or this one is good. I always says all cars have their own qualities.
    Mohammad Zohaib Khan from Toyota Deals

  • avatar
    NickR

    A car that could really recapture buyers from the Japanese manufacturers. I feel a bit sorry for GM that this ‘Bu is flying into the teeth of a gale. That being said once the whole wretched ordeal of bailout, bailout, bailout, reorg, NEW GM is over, this is one of the models that will carry them forward.

    One question…what’s the head room like? That’s one of the things the previous gen Camry’s and Accords managed to provide lots of (I don’t know about the current ones).

  • avatar
    wsn

    NN :
    March 6th, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Think if GM made only the following models:

    Malibu
    Cruze (or Astra until it comes out)
    Vue
    G8
    CTS
    CTS-V
    SRX
    Corvette
    Tahoe
    Suburban
    Silverado
    Enclave

    hey, they’d be pretty good!

    GM holds a 20% market share while being burdened with 50% of pensioners. That’s the single most important reason they going under.

    With your suggestion, they will have a 5% market share at most.

    OK, you say, do it after C11, assume that uncle Sam takes care of all pensioners. But then, 75% of the current work force will be laid off (20%–>5%).

    Will Washington be willing to finance that restructure, given such massive layoff?

    Why not go straight to C7, if the total job loss isn’t off by too much (only 25% more) and yet a HUGE amount of money is saved?

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    It’s good to know GM finally has a competitive car it can build in Chapter 11.

    I recently had occasion to drive a 2005 Malibu with 48,000-miles on the clock. It looked to be a middle line model. Repellent styling. Very quiet running. It drove well. I didn’t realize it was a 4-cylinder until I stopped for gas after about 50-miles!

    It wasn’t aging well. The mirror came off in my hand due to a warped plastic mount. Dash and radio buttons were discolored. Steep depreciation. Resale value is about half a same year and model Camcord, making the Malibu a poor new car buy and a used car bargain.

  • avatar

    I find the Malibu less bland than any major competitor. If anything, it offers the look of a premium luxury sedan, for a $20k or so price. They didn’t target Lexus, though. The Malibu was most inspired by the VW Phaeton. GM has admitted as much.

    Repair rates have been moderately low so far in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey.

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    Have seen many on the road and must say it is one handsome car!

  • avatar
    rpn453

    The part I don’t understand is the gas mileage. The numbers you quote are what I get in my gas-sucking turbo-charged, 210 hp SAAB 9-3, a much more powerful car. The math just isn’t adding up for me here.

    You seriously don’t understand how EPA ratings work, and that they might not be different than what you achieve? Your car is rated at 19/26 with a 5 speed auto. The Malibu is 22/30. The Malibu does 15% better under the same driving conditions, and doesn’t need premium. Even the 6 speed manual 9-3, at 19/29 is behind the Malibu for fuel economy.

    My SAAB weighs about as much as the 4 cylinder Malibu, has bigger tires, a bigger engine and a turbo attached to it. Logic and physics tell me the Chevy should be getting much better mileage.

    Well, good thing it does then. Logic and physics also tell me that 2.4 is larger than 2.0. No wonder your math wasn’t adding up.

  • avatar
    eamiller

    @Victell

    The two engines you describe are more identical than you realize. Both the Saab 9-3 and the Malibu’s engines are from the Ecotec family (Also known as Family II). Both have the same variable valve timing (tuning is obviously different) and the same block. The only real difference is the CR, pistons and rods and minor head differences. In fact, GM designed the Ecotec in the beginning to be flexible in both displacement and induction method. GM Motorsports uses the Ecotec engine in their drag racing applications and they don’t even modify the block. I once read an article that said the only limitation on power they had was the boost level at which the head would begin lifting off the block.

    More than internal engine friction differences (most modern engines are within spitting distance), gear and final drive ratios as well as the aforementioned Cd play the largest part in fuel economy. Engine tuning can even have quite a large impact on fuel economy during periods of acceleration (e.g. how quickly and often does the ECU go into open loop mode).

    Tire drag isn’t even as large a contributor as many people think (5% or so, and only at higher speeds). Often the compromises needed to make a low rolling friction tire result in severe traction performance degredation, which is inherently dangerous.

    One of the reasons many manufacturers are going to higher-gear count transmissions is so they can use taller final drive ratios with very overdriven gears to get good highway mileage while still allowing good performance since you are spreading a wider ratio over more gears.

    In addition, many automatics now get better mileage than manual (especially city EPA cycle) because software controls the shiftpoints and is often programmed for early and often upshifts (something most MT drivers probably don’t do). This often offsets the power losses through the torque converter and then some. Also, once on the highway, the converter spends most of its time locked up, which makes it essentially the same as a clutch in terms of driveline losses.

  • avatar

    My problem with the Malibu is the low cieling makes it overly tight for taller guys. But, considering the 2008 Accord has the exact same tightness, its not a big deal for smaller buyers shorter than 6 feet tall.

    The Malibu should have had an optional Navigation system – and not just that in-radio, dial up onstar bullshit. They shoulda put these out with a lesser version of the Cadillac CTS’ navi. Otherwise, this car is awesome.

    Too bad it can’t be bought with a racing engine.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    r129 & Olivehead:
    March 6th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    BUT how much more did you pay for the Accord/Camry in the first place?

    Olivehead mentioned a low price Fusion.

    OK. I hear what you’re saying, so I did a little price shopping. Olivehead, I didn’t even include the Fusion, because it’s not really comparable according to the review. Keep in mind I tried to match features, but may not be exactly the same. All 2009 invoice numbers + rebates in my area from edmunds:

    Malibu LS – $20,417 – 3,000 rebates = $17,417

    Accord LX-P – $20,592 – 1,000 rebates = $19,592

    Camry LE – $19,593 – 1,500 rebates = $18,093

    ** So yes, the Malibu is the cheapest. But I think after 5-6 years the Accord will be worth at least 2K+ along with the Camry close behind. So in the end, you’re not saving any money. Probably losing a bit. That being said, if it’s the best car maybe you can justify that loss on resale.

  • avatar
    Victell

    eamiller :
    The two engines you describe are more identical than you realize. Both the Saab 9-3 and the Malibu’s engines are from the Ecotec family. I didn’t know was the same engine family. Nice. Sounds like GM did their homework on it too. I once studied a turbo Ecotec engine in a Solstice and wondered how I would it in my e30 325i.

    One of the reasons many manufacturers are going to higher-gear count transmissions is so they can use taller final drive ratios with very overdriven gears to get good highway mileage while still allowing good performance since you are spreading a wider ratio over more gears. True. I realized this also when the t56 6sp transmission came out for Vettes, Vipers and f-bodies; the 5th and 6th gears were for overdrive, not performance. I preferred the old T5 5sp trans myself. One less gear and handled less power, but it was 50+lbs less in weight too.

    In addition, many automatics now get better mileage than manual (especially city EPA cycle) because software controls the shiftpoints and is often programmed for early and often upshifts (something most MT drivers probably don’t do). This often offsets the power losses through the torque converter and then some. Also, once on the highway, the converter spends most of its time locked up, which makes it essentially the same as a clutch in terms of driveline losses. Well put. And torque converters are locking up earlier these days; some will even lock up in 3rd gear. But even at full lockup, the front pump is still building pressure and sapping power. An auto probably has marginally less internal mechanical friction though, as powerflow goes through a central shaft where manual trans has three or more.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    RE Saturn: This is a very, very good car from both quality and driveability standponts.
    To me the Aura is a far better looking car than the Malibu. I liked the way my 4cyl rental drove as well. I know I have child-bearing hips, but am I the only one who knocks the hard plastic sheath cover on the way in and out of the car?

    BTW, I’m not sure why Montgomery didn’t wait 2-3 weeks to get his hands on a ’10 Fusion….

  • avatar

    Why isn’t the six-speed auto standard on the Malibu?

    Seriously, I understand why it’s not — the same reason Chrysler clung to the three-speed box in the Neon (i.e., the presumption that the average buyer is too dumb to know or care, and likes the lower cost). But my understanding is that the six-speed is a good unit, and provides measurable improvements in both performance and fuel economy over the four-speed. God forbid GM do something that would give the car a competitive advantage, y’know?

  • avatar
    r129

    Not that this is exactly relevant, but because I’m a family member of a GM retiree and I have a GMAC lease that’s soon to be up, I can get a new 2009 Malibu LS for $13,372.08. Imagine if I had a GM card, too!

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    meh!
    I’d still take the Fusion. Just for the looks. ‘Bu’s front is boring and back is ugly. It’s just so generic. But a good car, and good enough for most people who’d probably call it handsome.

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    “Another silly thing is the names of some of these American cars; i mean Malibu? ”
    Silly? What’s a Camry? Or an Accordion? Or an Altima? Japanese anime super hero’s?

  • avatar
    best_car

    The name is fine, Malibu is ok but I think I still fall in love with
    Chevrolet Camaro

  • avatar
    BobJava

    Not that this is the only factor, but how does a car with some of the biggest exterior dimensions in its class managed to be so damned cramped inside?

    Passenger Volume in cubed ft …

    Accord 106ft
    Altima 101ft
    Camry 101ft
    Fusion 101ft
    Mazda6 102ft
    Sonata 105ft

    Malibu … 97ft

    Way to go, losers. It’s not like people buy vanilla cars for basic space and comfort.

  • avatar
    nudave

    At least now I know which rental car to shoot for when I’m on official government travel.

    I’m willing to rent one using taxpayer dollars, but not buy one using my own.

  • avatar

    BobJava :

    Its cramped because GM made all their new vehicles cramped by giving them low roof lines, thick pillars, side curtain airbags, etc.

    I’m a huge guy. I drive a Chrysler 300 and an S550 – as they are the most spacious cars I feel you can get having tested numerous cars.

    The Malibu was more cramped for me than the Accord.

    The Sebring strangely enough was easier for me to get in and out of. If I had to choose, it would end up being a Sebring.

  • avatar
    petergottlieb

    They are a bit cramped. My guess is that is an issue for anyone over 6 foot and 220 pounds (i.e. me).

    Too bad really, Malibu’s are very nicely designed and put together. My wife loved it, but I just didn’t fit comfortably in the vehicle.

  • avatar
    Accords

    Hmmm
    The Mazda 6 hatch or wagon from the last gen.. is an absolutely fantastic car. Most credit is given for its hatch / wagon design.

    Current one, Id just overlook becuase no hatch or wagon. Due to the fact that it got canned due to internal competition.
    Cant sell a hatch or wagon with no 4wd when the whole fuckin lazy ass rotten bastard corn fed country wants iMazda’s own competition (Tribute, CX-7, CX-9) AWD / 4wd with ALL SEASONS.. in places where snow hasnt fallen.. since the dawn of time. Instead of an athletic, good looking smartly designed easily driven hatch.

    Not to even mention.. that the hatch / wagon could do.. with the majority of its larger, fatter, more stupid, and heavy breathen do… cart people around for commuters. And it would get decent fuel economy also.. but thats just me talking (the voice of reason.)

    I have to point out..
    That the Malibu interior.. is far worse than what is pictured.

    Ya have to get the LTZ version in either the Aura / Malibu to get an interior that damn sexy.

    I also wouldnt call the Malibu a econocar. That spot is reserved for that KOREAN SHIT BOX the AVEO and the Cobalier.

    Malibu is nice..
    But it just doesnt do it, not for me anyway.

    But thats a whole different discussion.

    But..
    If they did offer the pictured interior.. ON every car they sold.. AS STANDARD… then you’d have something good.

    But this is GM.

    They wouldnt know something good.. if it bit them on the ass.

  • avatar
    fli317

    Where’s the manual tranny? Good effort by GM, but come on, you’ve got to make cars people want. A manual tranny and sport suspension package is still missing. You have to convince me to spend my money. I am not yet ready to put my money down.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    r129:
    Not that this is exactly relevant, but because I’m a family member of a GM retiree and I have a GMAC lease that’s soon to be up, I can get a new 2009 Malibu LS for $13,372.08. Imagine if I had a GM card, too!

    There’s another reason many current import buyers won’t consider buying new from the Big 2.8 — sweetheart deals unavailable to the great (unwashed) majority who don’t “know anyone”. Those deals also add to the domestics’ murderous depreciation.

    Of course, $13,372.08 may NOT be a good price. I’m hoping a post bankruptcy GM dumps nice Silverado’s for $12K, Cobalt’s for $8K. That makes the ‘Bu worth $10k…

  • avatar
    tonycd

    It should be pointed out that the beautifully appointed exterior and interior shots in this article are from higher trim lines. The LS in this test is in fact a bit stripped of decoration, the mid-line LT’s more than adequate, and the LTZ downright blingy. Also, last time I checked, the “alloy wheels” on the base LS are plastic-faced fakes.

    Personally, I just love the lines of this car. To my eye, they blatantly ripped off the last-generation Acura TL. If only Acura had shown such good taste themselves.

    The 6-speed (not tested here) makes a big difference with the Ecotec, all good. I was shocked at how adequate the acceleration was at all in-town speeds, and how quiet and smooth it was. When I drove a V6 Suzuki Grand Vitara recently, it was so rough, noisy and slow that I asked if it was really the 4. When I drove the ‘Bu, my reaction was exactly the opposite. There is a surprising amount of torque steer when you accelerate, though, even with the four.

    As a family sedan customer, I feel there’s one real deal-breaker about the Malibu: cheap interior surfaces. The driver’s door “armrest” and center armrest are second-degree assaults on your elbows. And the rather tight back seat is where they ran out of money for the decorative door trim and center armrest you expect in the mid-price, midsize class.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    fli317 :

    Where’s the manual tranny? Good effort by GM, but come on, you’ve got to make cars people want. A manual tranny and sport suspension package is still missing. You have to convince me to spend my money. I am not yet ready to put my money down.

    People don’t want manual transmission cars. They really, don’t want a manual transmission Chevy Malibu. GM might have lost your money, but in general it was the vastly smarter financial move. The investment wouldn’t have paid for itself.

    • 0 avatar
      clydevanzant

      I disagree, Justin. My parents bought a 1988 Beretta GT (the last competitive car they made in this class) with a five speed manual. Since then I have refused to own a slushbox, having owned three Hondas, a Toyota and a Mazda since. I like the new Malibu and would have seriously considered buying one if a manual transmission was available.

  • avatar
    Accords

    ihatetrees, r129:
    In case you didnt know one of the worst things to EVER plague the industry is the CASH BACK / DISCOUNTS / INCENTIVE / MONEY BACK ON THE HOOD PROGRAM AKA, GM’s cheapo special rebate steal / deal of the month.

    I am an IMPORT BUYER. I only buy ACCORDS MADE IN OHIO! Not to mention, Ive only bought Accords with over 100k on them.. and driven them till well past 200k,

    The worst part about buying domestic.. is the fact that the damn car doesnt sell itself. THE DEAL DOES.

    And while I feel bad for all of your kind, who worked for GM for 30-some-odd-years making parts for GM and their never ending supply of canned and unloved vehicles..

    Doesnt mean that there is any value in the cars they make.

    WHAT would you buy.. if you didnt have those rebates?!

    What would you buy if you didnt have those discounts?

    I wouldnt want a vehicle with rebates on the hood.. because rebates cut into the price of the vehicle / resale of the vehicle.

    Bad enough the price drops 2-3g the moment ya drive it off the lot. Must be horrible to get a discount.. saying we really cant sell this great car, but how bout 5-6g on the hood. Will that make ya by it?

    Worst part is..
    Buying a BASE Malibu doesnt get you any of the goodies that GM spent years engineering into this car. And for 13g… that barely even covers the price of admission. Ya still have to buy drinks.

  • avatar
    red60r

    Entry headroom problems? Just turn around and sit first, then pull your feet in. I found this to work in everything from small buzz-boxes to Ferrari , Viper, and Aston Martin.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    argentla: “God forbid GM do something that would give the car a competitive advantage, y’know?”Just one more reason GM is going down. They’ve always (and I mean always) built vehicles with the objective of being just barely good enough for the commercial fleets (you know, to maximize profit and whatnot).

    Now, when they actually come out with something decent in the highly competitive mid-size market, it’s way too late for any of the regular buying public to care. Having been burned so many times in the past, they’re just not going to cross-shop from their reliable Camcordia6, no matter how competent the Malibu might be.

    But at least with their last, dying breath, GM gave it a decent effort.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    06M3S54B32 :

    buying any American car is a gamble of the highest order. Why not just buy what has been proven to last over the long haul? Any Japanese car of your choice. Another silly thing is the names of some of these American cars; i mean Malibu? People in rich areas tend to not buy POS American cars. How about a Chevy “Compton?”…

    Any American car? That statement is 100% pure unadulterated bullshit. Yes, there are some poor choices that can be made, but even Japanese Reports lists quite a few reliable American cars. Buy what you like, but open your eyes before you make such blanket statements that are based in emotion, not fact.

    Colinpolyps :
    I would still be a bit leary on longevity beyond the 100k plateau.

    We have one old GM car in our family. At 115K, there have been a few items that should not have failed – driver door window motor, rear wheel brake cylinder, but nothing major. Big buck stuff like the transaxle operate as if new. I would like to think that things have improved since ’99.

  • avatar
    Accords

    GM doesnt lead in any faction of the automobile market.

    They dont lead in design.
    They dont lead on features.
    They dont lead on creativity.
    They just figured out that the interiors of cars actually matter.

    GM leads in value (how many discounts can you get on a car GM spent years developing and get it CHEAPER than is financially acceptable / possible.)
    GM leads in sheer amount of crap a company can sell that actually competes with itself.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Yah! Shure!

    They don’t lead in full sized pickups
    They don’t lead in full sized SUV’s
    They don’t lead in full sized sedans
    They don’t lead in this comparo and innumerable others that cover everything from entry level luxury sedans to the bland Camcordians that you seem to hold in such high regard.

    Accord, just because a bleating little nimrod like you can find the caps button on your keyboard, it doesn’t mean the rest of us are willing to agree with you any more or less. Most of the larger manufacturers have rather obvious strengths and weaknesses… including Honda (Ridgelines, Elements, automatic transmissions, first two generations of hybrids, everything now associated with Acura)

    However, I’m sure a guy like you is willing to forgive Honda’s own failures since your vanilla laden runabout has a deformed H on the front of it.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    fli317 :

    Where’s the manual tranny? Good effort by GM, but come on, you’ve got to make cars people want. A manual tranny and sport suspension package is still missing. You have to convince me to spend my money. I am not yet ready to put my money down.

    Thats reserved for the G6, GM’s excitement division. Isn’t it?

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    I recently compared a Malibu, Fusion, Accord, and Altima. Although I prefer a manual transmission (haven’t bought an automatic in many, many years), I didn’t find the base engine/trans combo in the Malibu to comepete well with the Fusion’s. Significant NVH in comparison, and widely spaced ratios made for a pretty noisy and sluggish ride. The Fusion was much the better driving car. Although I’ve had a couple Accords in the past, I thought the new one was too big for my taste and also a bit too noisy. The Altima just didn’t light my fire.

    In the end, I decided to wait for the ’10 Fusion with a six-speed manual and 2.5L Duratec. It will be a better car in every way than the 2002 Accord it will replace, which may sound like faint praise–but Ford pulling up even in this contest (even a decade late) is pretty significant in my book, and I’ll vote my approval with my checkbook. This 20-year import buyer is seriously impressed with Ford these days.

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    I’ve got news for you- just about NOBODY wants a manual trans in this type of car.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    As someone who drives a properly configured Miata, I have to say it’s hard to see the appeal of manuals in bread and butter cars. If you can’t drive a fun, tossable car, then what’s the point of rowing your own gears? Wanting a manual version of a family sedan is kinda like being intrigued by the effort that would be involved in trying to kiss your sister.

  • avatar
    Rix

    Someone ought to put some people like myself, gearheads with young children on the way, and put them out into the car market for a 15-28k daddymobile. See what shakes out. Find a best at 19k, a best at 24k and a best at 29k.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    StrippO:

    If you can’t drive a fun, tossable car, then what’s the point of rowing your own gears? Wanting a manual version of a family sedan is kinda like being intrigued by the effort that would be involved in trying to kiss your sister.

    Honda, BMW, Volkswagen, and yes, even Ford are willing to cater to those folks. For those of us who don’t experience dissonance in these attributes, it certainly affects which dealers’ showrooms we’ll patronize at car replacement time.

  • avatar
    improvement_needed

    rocketrodeo:

    don’t forget Hyundai…

    also – for the original purpose of this comparo:
    still missing the sonata.
    For the cost conscious buyer, worth the look.

    RIX:
    check out the vw jetta wolfsburg
    2l turbo, 6 speed manual, msrp ~ 20k.

  • avatar
    r129

    HEATHROI: The G6 hasn’t had a manual transmission available since 2007, and it was only available with the 3.9 liter V6.

    Many people have mentioned that the Malibu LS looks stripped-down compared to the other models, including the pictured LTZ. I don’t disagree, but I wanted to point out that there have been some improvements to the appearance of the LS model for 2009. For one thing, they got rid of the awkward looking 16″ steel wheels with ugly wheel covers that just seemed too small for the car. The LS now comes standard with the 17″ “fascia spoke” wheels, which may not be true alloy wheels, but are still more attractive than most other wheel covers out there. Another thing, the LS is now available with the cocoa/cashmere two-tone interior, whereas it was previously only available in titanium, better known as “rental car gray.” All that being said, if I were buying a Malibu I’d still want the additional features available on the LT model. But I’m not buying a Malibu, so I guess it really doesn’t matter.

  • avatar
    revolver1978

    I enjoyed this comparison, even though I won’t shop for any of these mid-size offerings because I need a wagon. Sort of a “state-of-the-Union” for car companies, their mid-size offerings.

    However, I have been continually dismayed at the use of the photos in all the reviews. It’s especially evident here, the reviews almost always use press photos or manufacturer’s photos, and not photos of the cars that were reviewed. This isn’t very “Truth about Cars,”, especially if you want to point out the cheapness of one trim interior over another. I’m sure the Malibu in this review didn’t have two-tone leather as pictured.

  • avatar
    philbailey

    This review needs a sound track. How about “Hail to the Chief’?

  • avatar
    puppyknuckles

    This car “ugly”? Nah. The design is cohesive. Other cars in the segment come off a bit garish in comparison (looking at you Camry, but not directly because that hurts).

    I found myself in one of these as a rental and was really pleased that I was riding in a cheap, quiet, solid and comfortable American car. Kudos Chevy.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    I guess it’s an ok car. It would have more back seat knee room if the front seatbacks weren’t so (needlessly) thick. Also, the lack of a rear center armrest would rule the ‘bu out for me. If I am going to choose to drive a 4 door sedan, it is because I want my rear seat passengers to be comfortable.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    I would take this over the re-skinned Fusion any day. The Fusion is way overpriced (like all new Fords) and has a face only a mother could love. Plus, the interior, while looking nicer than the old Fusion, still has terrible materials.

  • avatar
    Ronman

    “To my 4-valve, 4-chamber, 1 hp (human power) pistonhead heart”

    This is Genius. Did you come up with that? or have you heard it before. Pecause if you have, my hat’s off to you… you have put in words what I always thought of myself. powered by the most complex non Piston/rotary powered engine in the world. now I know the true specs…..

    keep those comparo’s coming, althought not scientific but truly relevant to everyday buyers…

  • avatar
    highrpm

    I’m in the camp of folks that have had one too many bad experiences with GM products, warranties, dealers, etc. Sure, the car looks nice, and so do a lot of the recent GM vehicles (CTS, Aura, Solstice, Vette, etc.) but I’ve been burned a lot with GM in the past.

    What I want is a real 10 year / 100k warranty from GM. And not a BS warranty like the Chrysler Lifetime where they cover a handful of parts that would never break while excluding most everything else. The last thing I want is to feel tricked by basically a fake warranty. No, I want a real warranty where GM will fix any leak, parts failure, or electrical gremlin up to 100k miles.

    I’ll do Mr. Montgomery one better and assume that the Malibu is much better than the Accord, Camry, and the other vehicles. That’s still not enough to get me to look at it. I’ve been stiffed by GM before and I need that 10/100 warranty or I won’t even slow down as I cruise past their dealership.

    I just can’t understand why GM is not giving us the warranty if their cars are as good as they say. The only logical conclusion is that the cars aren’t that good.

  • avatar

    I just can’t understand why GM is not giving us the warranty if their cars are as good as they say. The only logical conclusion is that the cars aren’t that good.

    To extend your decidedly short sighted “logic”, Chevy has 100k/5year warranty while Honda has 60k/5year. Moving up to an Acura gets you an additional 10k more worry free warranty miles and one more year to use them. BMW is 50k/5year. Toyota is 60k/5year. Volvo is 50k/4year.

    Clearly Chevy is better than all of those brands since Chevy offers a better warranty…… by your logic.

  • avatar

    The Malibu LTZ in black with the ebony/brick two tone interior is a VERY handsome car.

  • avatar
    Thinx

    (probably too late for anyone to read this comment, but what the heck…)

    I recently rented a Malibu on a vacation to Maui – first impressions were literally “holy crap, this is a Chevy?”

    It was a decent enough drive to schlep family around the island. It drove well through the twisties on the way to Hana, very controlled, no floaty-ness. On the way back up, I was pushing hard to get back quickly, and pretty much was able to pass everything else on that twisty, one-lane road occasional despite light rain. The only guy who passed me was a local in a Subaru.

    The drive up the mountain to Haleakala was a little scarier – not as precise as you would need for a white-knuckle hill-climb through the fog. I sorely missed having a manual on the way _down_ – it was a pain to use the paddle-shifter to drop a gear on the downhill curves.

    The interior was good to look at. Materials were cheap, and some of the finish was iffy – panels didn’t line up perfectly in a couple of places, but I guess that is par for this range (my daily driver is a CL550, so make an allowance for that).

    Lots of room in front (I am 6 foot 1, and not thin); it was a little more cramped in the back seat. Big ass trunk, took all the luggage and then some.

    Visibility was a minus – thick a pillars, huge c pillars, tiny rear-view mirrors. Not a good combo.

    All told, I was pretty impressed with GM’s effort, but I think it is a bit late to save them now. If they do survive, this is the kind of car they will need to build – at a minimum.

  • avatar
    cygnus9th

    nudave :
    March 7th, 2009 at 5:21 am

    At least now I know which rental car to shoot for when I’m on official government travel.

    I’m willing to rent one using taxpayer dollars, but not buy one using my own.

    Hmm American Taxpayer dollars, official government travel, renting an American vehicle, but would rather buy euronese I bet….

    And we wonder why we are in the situation we are in… from a government employee nonetheless…

    GOOD JOB!

  • avatar
    highrpm

    Oldsmoboi,

    Maybe I haven’t been paying attention enough to the GM warranty deals. Are you telling me that all GM products now include a 5 year/100k bumper to bumper warranty as standard, at no additional cost, like Hyundai used to? A warranty that covers every single component on the car?

    I can tell you that the Chrysler Lifetime warranty is very specific about only covering a few components.

    Short sighted? Maybe. Or maybe I haven’t been looking too hard after one too many bad experiences with GM products and dealers.

  • avatar
    RyanB

    If I were in the midsize market, I would definitely give this car a serious look. The Malibu might just be one of the cars to save GM (assuming, of course, the company can hang in there long enough).

  • avatar
    8rings

    And brand it as an Oldsmobile, please.

    Ummm, didn’t you get the news…

  • avatar
    modemjunki

    I’ll confess I bought one of these LS (base) models about 1 year and 10k miles ago. Only one build quality issue with a squeak from the brake pedal, promptly taken care of by dealer service.

    It’s a smooth and quiet commuter scooter with 4 doors and a pleasant enough interior.

    Coming from a fun running SVT Focus, I can attest to the novocaine like ride. But it’s a long commute, the roads are crap, you all know the drill. I didn’t buy this for fun. I bought it to cushion my aging posterior on the Chicagoland roads.

    I even bought it in what I call “Appliance White”. It blands right in to the lemminglike bustle on the roadways.

    Strippo said:
    “As someone who drives a properly configured Miata,”

    Zero degrees toe all the way around with you in the drivers seat while the alignment is done? Hell yes. Someday I’ll do it again. :-)

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    Put a beefier steering wheel in this with a Honda-esque heft, give out the 6 speed tranny standard on the 4 pot (c’mon GM, seriously), and improve the quality of materials on the door panels and you will significantly improve what is an excellent vehicle for the money, and that is completely class-competitive.

    If GM really wanted conquest sales from Camcorders, give the people a Hyundai-esque 10 year/100k mile powertrain warranty, while you’re at it, Chevy.

  • avatar
    Accords

    ohsnaoback:

    Ummm… Even with a Honda-esque heft in the wheel…

    Ya still looking at DIRECT competition from its brother.. THE AURA.

    Beefer steering?
    6spd manual tranny…
    And improve the materials on the door panel?

    Thats all you got?!

    I hate to tell ua… I am A D R I V E R. (That means I dont spend my time at 60mph, with my left hand on the door, falling asleep to Barry Manilow). That involes putting the car through its paces, taking corners tightly at speed, it involves actually working the wheel, the front suspension and the CVTs. It also involves being agile and moving around the behmoths (Tahoe, Expedition, Burban, TB). My Accord isnt just a scooter. She is one screamin DEMON! I do 138.6 mi A DAY commute, and the ABSOLUTE last thing I want, is to be stuck in some vehicle where it just drones on.

    How bout ya lighten the weight by about 500-100lbs.
    Cancel EITHER the AURA or the Malibu (ya got each other to pick up the slack, not to mention the Impala) and really start giving it to the competition.

    And.. SS Malibu, is never happening. They destroyed that brand by giving it to every HACK out of GM. All the while stifing PONTIAC with SS competition.

    Face it.

    Malibu cant hack the midsized game, while being over shadowed by Impala AND its brother the AURA.

  • avatar
    autofixer

    Hello,
    I am amazed and confused that there are few of you out there, that have not been paying attention to the facts behind the scenes, that all of your comparisons of the new Malibu, as well as the last version Malibu Maxx, to Saabs are in fact cheap versions of the Saab 95 and the Saab 9000, as well as the fact that the Ecotech engine is a 1993 Saab designed Engine, for GM because they where unable to make one for themselves, or to cheap to design it for themselves and as well as most if not all of the designs for the Saturn company, Gm has been and will continue to ripoff Saab R&D for a few more years, as far as not paying Saab in there agreement in the contract between Saab AB and GM back in 1981 when Gm Bought up the controlling 51% interest in Saab Scaina, to a fair split of all Saab Sales, in 1997 Gm stopped paying Saab there fair share, Gm not only owes it life blood But all its future to the this Fact, to Saab AB, I am sure that now one will believe me, that is OK, but it will come out when Saab Sues GM for Breach of Contract and puts the Gm we all have come to Love to Hate in the Ground Forever!, YYYYYYYEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!
    Prove me wrong I have documents.

  • avatar
    Matzel

    Just let me get out my tinfoil hat and I will ask you to e-mail your documents, autofixer.


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