By on July 29, 2014

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Exterior photography by Rachel Gibbs

What did the American people get for the fifty billion dollars they spent and the eleven billion they lost on the General Motors bailout? Well, they got stability, they got the retention of perhaps a million jobs, they avoided what might have been a last straw in what a posterity unblinded by the contemporaneous media’s Obama-as-messiah drumbeat will recognize as the greatest depression since the Great one, and they got the C7 Corvette.

All good things, if you ask me.

But they also got garbage like this.

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I thought the original Malibu was pretty okay. Its replacement, I felt, was worse, but I held out the possibility that a round of 2014-model-year changes might improve the situation somewhat. It has to be said that General Motors did a good job of getting its tame mouthpieces to spread the word about the “new” Eco drivetrain being just as efficient as the old-for-2013 edition despite the fact that it loses eAssist in favor of a simple stop-start system. For that reason I thought that perhaps the 2014 Malibu wouldn’t be a disaster.

Well, here’s the good news up front, for what it’s worth: I couldn’t get the 2013 Malibu LTZ four-cylinder to exceed 27mpg average. The 2015 Malibu Eco LS that I drove from Columbus to Evansville, IN and back did this:

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over this distance:

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That’s approximately what I saw in a 2014 Accord EX-L CVT. It’s not a surprise that General Motors, a company which has focused on the raw numbers when measuring competitiveness to a sometimes embarrassing extent, (cf.: the ads for the Pontiac 6000 where they compared it with the BMW 533i) has managed to come within striking distance of Honda’s four-cylinder fuel economy. It’s also not a surprise that the experience of operating the Malibu powertrain is, subjectively speaking, monstrously unpleasant in contrast to the Accord setup.

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On the move, the Malibu is spectacularly gutless, digging deep into the transmission with a herk and a jerk for the mildest grades. The Accord four is a rocketship compared to this. I’m not going to say it’s dangerously slow because it isn’t. However, we’ve come to take a certain amount of, shall we say, adjustability via the throttle in a modern car. As in: “If this merge is dicey I can jam the throttle and just get in front of this truck.” In the Malibu, you won’t have that adjustability. You’d better plan ahead. Not like you would in a 240D, but like you would in a three-liter Taurus from 1995. If your current car is an old four-cylinder Malibu, you’re unlikely to have any complaints. If it’s a four-cylinder Camry of recent vintage, you’re going to be unpleasantly surprised.

Everyone else will be unpleasantly surprised by the unbelievably cack-handed stop-start. Whatever nonsense you thought about stop-start when you first heard about in reference to the Insight or Prius or AMG E63 wagon or whatever — it isn’t reliable, it takes a bit of time to start, it’s noisy, it sounds like you’re wearing the car out — is actually true in the case of the Malibu Eco.

Most of the time, coming to a halt in the ‘Bu will cause the engine to fall dead and the tach needle to fall to “auto stop”. So far so good and other than a discernible drop in the efficacy of the A/C there’s not much about which you could complain. Release the brakes and the engine immediately spins up and delivers power, and off you go.

No, wait.

That’s how it works in other cars.

In the Malibu it goes WHIRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEAAARRRRRRRRGH and the engine reluctantly coughs into life like a freakin’ 1982 Citation Iron Duke and the car briefly shudders with the violence of it and THEN the car moves forward. It’s easily the least confidence-inspiring powertrain I’ve experienced in a post-Millennium automobile. In what should be perfect weather for this sort of system — eighty degrees and sunny — I had genuine concerns that the Malibu just wouldn’t come back to life at a given stop. Performing left turns across traffic and whatnot were made frightening, so I developed the “Malibu Pokey”:

You put your right foot in
You take your right foot out
It makes the stop-start start up
and run the engine
That’s what it’s all about!

As satisfying as the Malibu Pokey was while driving around downtown Louisville, I resigned myself to the fact that I couldn’t do it very often because it wouldn’t let the Chevrolet post its best possible fuel economy. Left turns became exciting again.

The removal of the eAssist from the Malibu Eco was supposed to give us the trunk back, but if that’s the case I’d hate to see what it was like before. This has to be the smallest trunk in a mid-sized car by some amount; it’s significantly less useful than the cargo area in my Accord Coupe and the Altima I drove immediately after this Malibu shamed it in that regard. A normal-sized guitar hard case fits very awkwardly in this Malibu, to the point that I gave up and started putting everything in the back seat. I was willing to accept the old Malibu’s restricted storage room because I dug the minimalist aesthetic of the whole car, but this thing is to its predecessor like a ’77 Colonnade Monte Carlo is to a ’68 Chevelle, styling-wise. GM Design pulled out all the Malaise stops on this indifferently flame-surfaced disaster and the result is an odd combination of a Silverado, a Camaro, and a Pinewood Derby car. It literally couldn’t have any more front end on it, likely because GM wanted it to share “design DNA” with the trucks, and therefore it tapers to the back like one of those nightmare lantern-jaw fish of the unfathomable deep.

Things don’t improve once you get inside, particularly at night, where the trademark “GM Aqua LCD” color is extended to some, ahem, mood lighting. The General’s managed to do something unprecedented in human history: they’ve managed to make a color feel cheap. After well over two decades of indifferently-backlit aqua-esque instrument panels in cars that committed sins from subterranean resale value all the way to attempted-murder-via-ignition-switch-was-the-case-that-they-gave-me, the use of this color should require a “trigger warning” on the door jamb.

The seats are uncomfortable, the steering’s dead, the brakes are touchy, and everything you touch in this LS variant has the mark of cost-cutting Cain all over it.

In other words, this heavily-revised Malibu is significantly less pleasant to operate than an old Cruze. I cannot imagine than anybody would test-drive this and Ye Olde Daewoo Laecetti back-to-back and pick this. I cannot imagine that anybody would test-drive this and an Altima, Camry, or Accord back-to-back and pick this. I have no idea why anybody would buy this car. As tested, it’s $23,165. For that money you can get any number of decent cars, including a Cruze 2LT. If you can wait a few months, you can get the revised Cruze, even. Or you could take advantage of whatever incentives can be had now and you can buy a Cruze LTZ. There is no way in which a Cruze LTZ is not preferable to this Malibu.

That’s disappointing as hell because the Cruze is a Daewoo, excuse me, GM Korea, and the Malibu is a product of the home team and it’s a half-decade newer. We should be able to do better. We can do better. Go try out a C7 Corvette. It’s brilliant in ways I can’t describe without sounding like Dan Neil desperately firing the third spasm of the day into his battered thesaurus. Go check out a Cadillac ATS. The interior’s cramped and sucky but they’ve completely cracked the handling code. Take a look at a current Tahoe; it’s the finest, fastest, most spacious station wagon in history.

It isn’t that GM can’t make good product. It’s that sometimes they don’t try. So in the case of the Malibu, you shouldn’t bother.
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220 Comments on “Review: 2015 Chevrolet Malibu Eco LS...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    Jack,
    It’s a good review. But you really can’t let go of the fact that GM leverages its global footprint of engineering talent and developed the Cruze in Korea. Which is exacerbated by your calling the Malibu a product of the “home team” when everything I’ve read refers to its German roots. What gives?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I was born in the United States — specifically, Brooklyn.

      I believe in the greatness of this country, past, present, and future.

      I find the fact that in seventy years the Arsenal of Democracy has become a remote-assembly point for our overseas masters to be despicable.

      At least Honda lets Americans design the Accord (with, it must be said, mixed results).

      At what point in our history did the greatest country in the world become incapable of designing a cheap car? Are we Brazil? What’s next, CKD from Korea?

      • 0 avatar
        kjb911

        The worst thing is that in my 2 LTZ trim with the 2.0 Turbo, the Malibu is downright enjoyable to drive. I wish the steering was more direct but overall a hell of a lot better place to be than the LS. Honestly its worth losing out on MPG (My mostly city commute reports between 19 – 22 depending on how many red light launches I do and 30 highway) I am forever worrying about curbs and potholes because of the 19’s but my god is it unlike the other Bu’s…a 3LT can be had for about 500 more than the typical 2LT after rebates

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          A guy at work has the same model but in black. He says it scoots but can’t get the tune for a$300.00 past Fort Knox.

        • 0 avatar
          zaxxon25

          Wow, I’m not the only reader who owns one! We should start 2LZ support group. Hi, my name is Keith and I bought a ’14 Malibu. But it doesn’t have the stop-start … no really it’s an enjoyable daily driver … MyLink actually works quite well …

      • 0 avatar

        I beg to differ. Brazil has designed and built small cheap cars forever, cars which sell well in other countries when they get there. They also ride and handle well in comparison. Just take a look at a VW Gol or Fiat Palio and compare it to a Hyundai HB20. Vastly superior. Then, take a locally developed pick up like the Strada and compare it to small world pickups. Then get back to me. That of course does not mean we always get it right. A Chevy Montana suffices as evidence.

        Take a knock at another country please.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Hey, I put 91,2000 miles on a Gol! Enjoyed it thoroughly.

        • 0 avatar
          jdoee100

          “Brazil has designed and built small cheap cars forever, cars which sell well in other countries when they get there. They also ride and handle well in comparison. Just take a look at a VW Gol or Fiat Palio and compare it to a Hyundai HB20.” All three vehicles were designed for Brazilian market and built in Brazil. I find it funny that somehow you find the VW and Fiat as “Brazilian” cars, and Hyundai as foreign.

          • 0 avatar

            The Hyundai was developed largely in Korea, with Brazilian input, but it’s a home company job. Note that I also didn’t include things like a Renault Logan, Peugeot 208. These were adapted to our conditions, but largely developed elsewhere. In stark contrast to a Palio or Gol. Yes, they use platforms developed elsewhere, but were heavily twitched, developed, messed with here. Thus, I call them Brazilians as they were developed here, by the local branches of Fiat and VW. That’s the difference I see.

      • 0 avatar
        challenger2012

        At what point in our history did the greatest country in the world become incapable of designing a cheap car? Are we Brazil? What’s next, CKD from Korea?

        When you have quick buck artists instead of competent business men making the business decisions, you get the above. The fast and easy money based upon fast and lose business practices also produced the Wall Street Crash and accompanying bailout requiring hundreds of billions of tax payer dollars. Long term planning, quality and reliability have no meaning to the students of business schools of today, and it shows. You should watch the episode of Frontline : “To catch a Trader” and see who Wall Street really works, but only for the insiders. Another online episode by Jesse Ventura : “Wall Street” will show you even more that Frontline did not cover.

        • 0 avatar
          wolfinator

          This. A 1000x this.

          I don’t work in “real” engineering, but I work in tech. “Make it fast and cheap, who cares about quality” the mantra from above.

          It’s not that the schmucks on the ground don’t know how to do better, or don’t WANT to do better. When management refuses to give you any resources or even basic freedom to do better, you get crap.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        It started in the 1960s when we started telling people they were entitled to other people’s money simply by virtue of being born American. Hard work is for suckers. I’ve been to factories in China. People work their a$$es off and they don’t complain. We’ve become a nation of entitled, self-absorbed whiners. I shudder at the prospect of trying to manage a factory with the scum we have here as employees. Couple that with an over-supply of lawyers and, in the long run, we’re doomed as a nation if we don’t change course.

        • 0 avatar
          challenger2012

          Mr Master Baiter. You must be a Right Wing Tea Bagger, age 50 plus, who looks at people who are different than him as inferior. The work is for suckers philosophy is more a management style. The average CEO today makes more than 400 times what the average Joe does, but in the 50’s and 60’s when you pine for the good old days, the ratio was 40 to 1. Also, talk about people being entitled to others money, just look at the crooks on Wall Street. Remember when 401K’s were being pushed years ago, at 9-12% rates of returns. How much has your 401K increased in 20 years? Yet the percentage taken to manage increases over time, but with nothing to show for it.

          • 0 avatar
            Master Baiter

            If I sound superior, it’s only because based on intelligence, income, and accomplishment, I am superior to most people. It’s simply a fact; I’m sorry if it offends you.

            No one forced you to take out a 401K. You could have put your savings in vintage Ferraris 20 years ago. Having said that, I’m not a fan of how the short-term thinking on Wall Street makes companies do stupid things.

            As for CEO pay, if all the CEOs in Fortune 1000 worked for free, it would have no measurable impact on anything, other than satisfying the envy you feel for those who earn more than you.

          • 0 avatar

            +10

          • 0 avatar

            “If I sound superior, it’s only because based on intelligence, income, and accomplishment, I am superior to most people. It’s simply a fact; I’m sorry if it offends you.”

            You sound more like an asshole, IMHO.

          • 0 avatar

            “If I sound superior, it’s only because based on intelligence, income, and accomplishment, I am superior to most people. It’s simply a fact; I’m sorry if it offends you.”

            You sound more like a jackwagon, if you catch my drift.

          • 0 avatar
            alsorl

            master beater, is pure entertainment for all. Long live the beater.

          • 0 avatar

            challenger, with all the acceptance and love in your comment you must be one of those educated, tolerant, loving liberals we keep hearing about. You know….the kind that’s tolerant and loving….so long as ‘everybody’ completely agrees with everything you believe in. But if they disagree with you in the slightest, they’re a ‘right wing teabagger extremist’. I fail to see the tolerance your views preach when you resort to name-calling right out of the gate.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @MasterBaiter:
          “I’ve been to factories in China. People work their a$$es off and they don’t complain.”

          Could be the gulags. Shall we build some here?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “We’ve become a nation of entitled, self-absorbed whiners.”

          Oh, the irony. Was that deliberate parody, or is your mirror broken?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “At what point in our history did the greatest country in the world become incapable of designing a cheap car?”

        The point at which the Japanese began to do it better, and the Americans refused to adapt.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        “At what point in our history did the greatest country in the world become incapable of designing a cheap car?”

        Good American cheap cars? There was the Model T. I’m drawing a blank after that one. Maybe the Rambler?

        It seems like the post-WWII history of the American auto industry keeps coming back to the fact that the Big 3 can’t design a cheap car to save their lives. This led to them ceding more and more market share to (usually foreign) companies who could.

        • 0 avatar
          TheyBeRollin

          +1

          Can you imagine a $22.3k car in the first year selling brand new for $3k 9-10 years later? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Model_T#Price

          Every good cheap/small “American” car since then has been a “world” car or at least depended heavily on “foreign” components. We can’t seem to design anything good that isn’t huge.

        • 0 avatar
          Matt Foley

          Good cheap American cars that come to mind include the ’60 Falcon (and resultant Mustang), ’72 and earlier Nova/Chevy II, ’70-’76 Dart/Duster, the base trim of any pre-’91 full-size Chevy sedan, the Omni/Horizon (with 2.2 – the 1.7 sucked), and the Saturn S-series. All these cars were inexpensive to buy, rarely broke down, and were cheap and easy to fix on the rare occasions that they did break down.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            The Omni/Horizon was designed by Simca.

          • 0 avatar
            TheyBeRollin

            None of these are small, though I suppose some were relatively cheap in the context of their era.

          • 0 avatar
            Drewlssix

            The falcon was a small car in America. It could have been a limo for a head of state in other parts of the world. America dose not build small cars because Americans don’t want small cars. Shockingly good small cars come from places with narrow roads and size/displacement tax structures.

          • 0 avatar
            Nicholas Weaver

            Agree strongly on the Saturn S series, especially vintage 1995 (after the first round of interior and engine updates). That was an excellent, inexpensive small car.

            Our 95 was rock solid, with only one non-wear-item failure (alternator) in 200k miles. Heck, when we finally got rid of it, it was still on the original clutch!

            It was every bit as rock solid (if not moreso) than a comparable Civic of that vintage. The problem is Honda kept revising the Civic, while Saturn instead replaced things with the horrendously bad Ion…

          • 0 avatar
            Willyam

            Yessir, the Saturn anomaly. Unfortunately for me, I kept buying cars that I wanted but were like bad girlfriends, and could have saved thousands with a boring SL sedan. I really thought at the time it was just a plastic-bodied Sunbird (edit-ok, a MORE plastic-bodied-Sunbird), but boy was I wrong. I have a friend still driving one to this day. More than 200k miles and horrified at letting it finally go. Almost no body damage, no breakdowns, impossible fuel mileage. Yea, it’s a Soviet-style NVH experience to ride in, but it WILL get you there at 35+ mpg. It’s been paid off longer than any of my kids have been alive. As to why they usually can’t build small cars, I remember Click and Clack once saying of GM-engineering: “Wow, that’s a great flywheel Toyota has there. How can we make one out of cardboard?”

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Jack,
        I am American too, and I’d like to see the US as a land of prosperity and opportunity. But we have to recognize that GM is in a global market, not just for cars, but also for talent.

        The plain truth is that there are a lot of great engineers in China, India and Korea, and GM is smart to leverage these global talent pools. The alternative is to deny yourself the best, lowest cost talent, which in the long term results in worse quality vehicles, declining sales and eventual bankruptcy.

        GM should know this lesson better than any firm.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Waingrow

        Jack, if Brooklyn can come back from where it was in the 1970s, then I guess the country as a whole is not without hope. But there are just too many signs and portents to believe that it will be any time soon.

      • 0 avatar

        I think you’re looking at it the wrong way. Why let the Americans design a separate compact sedan when they could leverage the excellent one that their Korean division had already been selling with great success? On a broader scale, why duplicate compact-car development here when the Korean division specializes in it?

      • 0 avatar
        bachewy

        Has the US ever been capable of designing a GOOD, cheap car?

    • 0 avatar

      VoGo, is this car really Opel? I have my doubts. Anyways, recent Opels have been very lackluster and the ones we got in Brazil anyway, never really gave them a second look. Along comes the Daewoo cars and suddenly I’m interested (in a way I was not interested in them before the GM tie up). So something is strange. I don’t know if it’s like Jack said, that they sometimes just don’t care, but this car does seem to encapsulate all the wrong in GM cars when GM makes bad cars: big on the outside, small inside, smaller trunks than competition, half-baked extraneous systems (the start-stop), dead steering, numb suspension.

    • 0 avatar
      b787

      Cruze was engineered by GM Korea, but Delta II platform on which it is based is indeed German. The problem is, automotive platform is a vague term: there is certainly a fair amount of part sharing, but nobody has yet explained to me to what extent. For example, despite being substancially different vehicles, Lexus RX and Scion tC share a Toyota MC platform.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Here’s hoping Volt 2.0 at least gets a purpose-built range extender that can do 50mpg, and that the platform gets out of the hatchback ghetto and rolled out into midsized sedans and CUVs. Amortize those R&D and tooling expenses across a wider fleet, I’d pay good money for a TraVolt..

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Volts can go 50-60 miles before using any gas. How far do you need to go?

        http://www.plugincars.com/chevy-volt-owners-exceed-40-miles-electric-only-range-some-pass-60-123383.html

      • 0 avatar

        My money is on the Leaf. If they can get the next one to, say, 120 guaranteed miles on a charge, it’s going to make big waves.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          They’ll only be able to guarantee that South of I-80. North of that, battery range will be compromised by Winter.

          But… it may still be enough for some people. I’d consider a vehicle like the Volt a better choice for the climate but I probably see as many Leafs here (MN) as Volts.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Can GM Home team do better in this price class? All your examples of the GM home team are far and away more money, maybe GM does not really care about this segment. I think the Impala is a great looking car but this not so much, to be fair I rented a Bimmer 3 series and the stop go feature was enough to make sure I would never buy that car. Plenty of Malibus on the rental lots and I always pick something else. Seems like I am making the right choice.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Reviews of BMW’s stop-start have echoed the roughness. I pounded the Buick Encore for over five hours on Pennsylvania’s hilly and curvy turnpike doing 85-95 mph whenever I could and computed 28-29 mpg…with AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicholas Weaver

      Actual transaction price, a Cruze is more than competitive with the Civic and Corolla.

      As for the Corvette, try to find any other sports car that matches its performance for less than $80K.

  • avatar
    210delray

    On the bright side, it still has a temperature gauge. Many (most?) cars are reverting back to idiot lights.

    You threw me when you said “original” Malibu: Where you talking about the 1964, ’97, or ’04? None of the above as it turned out!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The temp “gauge” on any modern car IS an idiot light. It will show normal from just barely warm to just barely not boiling over. Some cars allow you to re-program the computer to show actual temperature on the gauge, but not very many. In the case of any vehicle with an electronic active thermostat (i.e. every modern BMW), knowing the actual temperature won’t tell you much anyway.

      I’ve had one of these Malibus as a rental, and despite Jack’s usual p&m’ing, I would take one over a Camry any day.

      • 0 avatar

        I love having a scan gauge. Even though my Civic (and my Accord before that) has a real temp gauge. The scan gauge has warned me, in both cars, of thermostat malfunction before anything was visible from the temp gauge.

      • 0 avatar

        Wrangler has an actual temperature gauge even in 2014. I’m sure some other cars still do too.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Krhodes, you should share that BCM reflashing kung fu compa.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Judging from the experience we had in a rental 2014.5 Camry SE 2.5 I would agree. The 2014/2015 Malibu in any trim level is superior in many ways.

      • 0 avatar
        MK

        Damn I’m COMPLETELY in agreement with you on this one! I don’t know what jack was smokin but about 2 months ago I got a ’13 or ’14 Malibu (it looked like this one but I’m not up on GM cars enough to know the difference). It was an LTZ trim level and I was completely blown away by what a great car it was, good power, the interior was nice, seats comfortable ride and good power. The my link stereo thing was easy to use and sounded great and I quite liked the aqua ambient lighting.

        I’d pick one over a fusion or Camry any day of the week.

        In fact it was much better than the 2014 impala ls (4-banger) than I rented two weeks later. Now THAT car completely underwhelmed me… And it didn’t even have the ambient lighting to make up for its other shittiness.

        I don’t know what would be different on this model that jb reviewed but I came away pretty pleased with it (and I usually detest GM crap).

  • avatar
    JREwing

    What’s infuriating is that, at the height of pre-bankruptcy GM hell, they put out a Malibu that was absolutely competitive (particularly once the 2.4/6-speed combo was released).

    It’s not like GM doesn’t know how to build good cars, or even good Chevrolet cars. But they f***ed up this generation of Malibu in really dumb ways, like a microscopic back seat, or the aforementioned cabin cheapening.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      GM had to shorten this generation of Malibu to make room for the Malibu L (AKA new Impala). Despite the idea that there is a “new” GM, GM is in many respects up to its old ways. One example is the handling of the recalls. Another example is the arrogant notion that GMs only compete with other GMs, and GM can sandbag the Malibu to make room for the new Impala, like there aren’t any other alternatives out there.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I get why they did what you’re talking about, and it’s not a bad idea. Toyota did it for a long time with the Camry / Avalon. What GM got wrong was the execution – on the Malibu, at least. The Impala is a VERY nice piece, though.

        But the previous-gen Malibu was clearly a much better car.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          This is just a case of GM resorting to its old ways and making the smaller car crappy so that (in GM’s dreams) customers will buy the larger car. Unfortunately for GM in reality people can just go and buy, for example, a Fusion.

          Just look at the numbers to see how much GM handicapped the new Malibu. The new Malibu is sitting on a 107.8 inch wheelbase (the old Malibu had a 112.3 inch wheelbase) so that it is differentiated enough from the new Impala, on a 111.7 inch wheelbase (shorter than the old Malibu).

          At the same time Ford puts the Fusion on a 112.2 inch wheelbase, even longer than the new (and old) Impala, and almost as long as the Taurus (Ford is smart enough to know it can’t put out a crappy midsize sedan to help the fullsize sedan).

          http://autos.msn.com/research/compare/exterior.aspx?c=0&i=0&ph1=t0&ph2=t0&tb=0&dt=0&v=t119229&v=t118267&v=t117653&v=t117741

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Impale doubles Avalon sales. Does the Carmry double Malibu sales?

      • 0 avatar
        Drewlssix

        Well the last gen Malibu was sized to replace the impala but that badge was selling to well to cut it. Think of the new impala as the real new Malibu and the Malibu as something to slot in between the impalabu and cruze.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      If you think the Malibu has a cheap interior go poke around in any trim level Camry. The headliner sound like it is as thick as a dime and very hollow and cheap sounding. The center dash vents come off in your hand with but a slight pull. The door panels are wafer thin and tinny. The fake silver was already wearing off in several spots and the floor console shift indicator already had a wear spot. And unless you purchase the most expensive XLE or SE Sport trim levels you get squat for features. Even the basic Malibu LS comes with a power seat height adjuster and lighted visor mirrors, something which even the mid level Camry SE didn’t have!

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        It’s true, the lower level Camry interior sucks. While I haven’t compared it to a recent Malibu, I did with an Accord, Fusion and 200 recently and it’s sad what Toyota passes onto their customers on the inside of that car. I thought injection molded hard plastics with fake stitching was a unanimous faux-pas a long time ago. Apparently it’s OK if your reputation for quality can overshadow that bit of nastiness.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    Year or so ago, for no particular reason I found myself at a Chev dealer asking if they had a used 2011 CTS for under $20K.

    The salesman directed me to a 2012 Malibu as it was ‘in my price range’. I sat in it, looked at the cheesy blue gauges and the broken radio volume knob, and smelled the prior owner’s cigarette smoke masked by dealer perfume. $18K plus tax.

    I didn’t have the heart to tell him that even if it were $4,000, I wouldn’t even consider it.

    • 0 avatar
      sketch447

      Scott_314, you strolled into a dealership last year, expecting to land a 2-year old CTS for under $20k ??? What were you smoking beforehand? Do you understand how ridiculous your request was?

      • 0 avatar
        Scott_314

        I think I meant 2010. And in summer 2013 a 2010 could be almost four years old. Anyway the story was about the Malibu.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @sketch447

        Cadillac dealers pretend they have all that and a bag of chips for CPO, but they’re not even close. A $20K offer is not all that off from reality so Scott_314 was not hitting the bong too hard.

        MY11 Cadillac CTS (Sigma) “Luxury” trim, RWD.

        07/02/14 MILWAUKE Lease $20,400 22,731 Avg CREAM 6G A Yes
        07/23/14 NJ Lease $19,800 25,841 Avg RED 6G A Yes
        07/10/14 CINCINNA Lease $19,000 27,434 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
        07/16/14 NASHVILL Regular $20,200 27,437 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
        07/22/14 ORLANDO Regular $20,000 28,229 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
        07/07/14 ORLANDO Lease $20,400 29,086 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
        07/25/14 PA Lease $18,600 29,754 Avg GREY 6G P Yes

        MY12 Cadillac CTS (Sigma) “Luxury” trim, RWD.

        7/18/14 PA Regular $22,200 16,979 Avg BLUE 6G P Yes
        07/17/14 TX HOBBY Regular $21,900 25,947 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
        07/16/14 DALLAS Regular $20,700 27,944 Avg GREY 6G Yes
        07/10/14 TX HOBBY Regular $22,400 30,599 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
        07/01/14 PHOENIX Regular $19,200 46,020 Avg NONE NON N Yes
        07/24/14 FRDKBURG Lease $16,000 52,515 Below WHITE 6G A Yes
        07/02/14 CEN FLA Lease $13,700 60,270 Below WHITE 6G A No

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Ouch, sounds like trouble!

    That start/stop $hit sounds like it would be annoying regardless of wherever it resides, I guess it’s just amplified that much more in a turd like this.

    Hard to imagine that Chevrolet would go so backwards on the most important passenger car segment. Even Chrysler finally realized it with the complete redo of the old and horrid 200.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, have never tested a truly non-obstructive start-stop system. Whenever I drive those, I just shut it off.

    • 0 avatar
      Drewlssix

      Unless you consider the impala to be the actual successor to the previous Malibu. That still leaves the current Malibu a not so great filler model and the impala a bit large and expensive for the class.

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        Well my understanding is that the Malibu is a “D” segment car competing with the Fusion, 200, Camry, Accord, Altima, etc. while the Impala would be a “E” segment competing with the Taurus, Charger/300, Maxima and Avalon.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          The problem for E segment cars is that D segment cars have grown so large in a effort to be “best in class” that they’re now comparable in size to E segement cars. This is bad for the E seg cars that cost more. So whether they’re classified in the same segment, they do compete with each other to some degree.

  • avatar
    dmchyla

    The Malibu confused me but this review provided some clarity. I had a 2014 Malibu rental a few months ago when my 2012 Cruze Eco had to stay overnight at the dealer. I couldn’t figure out why everything, from the seats to driving dynamics, was worse than my Cruze. I couldn’t wait to get my car back.

  • avatar
    ldl20

    “Well, here’s the good news up front, for what it’s worth: I couldn’t get the 2013 Malibu LTZ four-cylinder to exceed 27mpg average. The 2015 Malibu Eco LS that I drove from Columbus to Evansville, IN and back did this:”

    30.7 mpg over 758 miles. Jack, make what you will of trip computers and the numbers they report, but here’s what I did from Williamsburg, Va to Bergen County (northern NJ) in my 2014 Accord EX-L: 36.9 mpg over 402 miles. This was with the AC on the whole time, and while I’m not sure of my average speed, besides some stop-and-go in DC and in southern NJ, I was barely under 75 mph.

    And, on the way down to Myrtle Beach, I still averaged over 35 mpg, over 600 miles, with more of a lead foot.

    GM needs to do better, as I’m not sure this Malibu’s numbers approach the Accord’s.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I averaged 35 mpg in a 2014 Chrysler 300c V6/8spd on a 380 mile trip from Calgary to Kelowna. That doesn’t mean that car is necessarily more fuel efficient than the Malibu Jack tested.

      • 0 avatar
        ldl20

        I would agree, especially with the number of variables that can differ when figuring out mileage numbers. However, I think most would agree that the Accord will get consistently better figures over this Malibu. Not all of my highway tanks may be this high, but I wasn’t even trying to eek out the best mpgs I could get.

        In fact, I just wanted to get the hell to SC as fast as possible, and as safe as possible (considering my 12 and 8 year-olds in the back.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Driving toward the coast, down tows sea level your gas mileage will always be better than the return trip.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        For a significant part of the trip, you have to ascend through these little hills called the Rocky Mountains. Anyway, I drove siginificantly faster and more aggressively on the way back (little traffic at 4:30AM PST) and still averaged 31 mpg, no tuning required.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I averaged 38 mpg fwith cruise set at 70 mph from Ohio to Philadelphia 25-35F temperatures. Thirty six on the return trip at the same speeds in a Verano 2.0T.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        And I average 35mpg in a 2.4l 5AT Accord going 84mph between Boise and Salt Lake, 320 miles each way. 37mpg in the same car between Boise and Portland, 410 miles going 68mph. I never go much more than 5mph over the speed limit. Not bad really for a large sedan.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    My friend had a 67 Malibu 327, which was one of the most beautiful cars of it’s day and could arguably be called aspirational to folks in the 1960s. I owned a 78 Malibu coupe, which, I think, carried on the tradition. I bought a 2004 Malibu Maxx, and I knew it was all over for this nameplate.

  • avatar
    Slave2anMG

    I’ve had these cars as rentals a couple of times in Florida and in Tennessee. Gutless is pretty accurate. It cruises well enough at 75-80 mph and a little beyond beyond that. I found the seats decent. The dash a bit 1990s blue/green. Pretty inoffensive car plain vanilla to my mind…but…the auto-stop is beyond annoying. It’s infuriating. And concur it’s dangerous. The fact that there’s no way to disable it would keep me from ever buying this car. Ever. I did learn a work around – come to a stop and give the brake pedal a double pump…act like the brakes need bleeding. Car restarts, and stays running. Which is a thoroughly jack leg work around but it did in fact work and I can tolerate it on a rental.

  • avatar

    Jack, now I am embarrassed to say that I drive this car. To be fair the Malibu was conceived during the depths of GM bankruptcy. Though that is no excuse to build the new car on a shorter wheelbase. GM wanted to save money by selling the same car worldwide and it has backfired on them. They will fix it and make it right. Every car/truck developed post bankruptcy has been impressive. The Impala, CTS, C7, Colo/Conyon, and full size trucks are amazing.

    The Malibu was never going to set sales charts on fire. A class leading Malibu would only sell marginally better that a mediocre one. Brand value matters a lot. Even if the Ridgeline was class leading and the Colorado turns out to be the worst truck ever made, the Colo will still outsell it 8 to 1. A class leading Sequoia would still get outsold by the Tahoe 10 to 1. There isn’t a lot for Chevy to gain in the mid-size segment and it makes sense for them to allocate valuable resources elsewhere.

    The Malibu is not special in anyway and there is zero reason for anyone to pick it over the competition. If it were not for my GM bias I would have bought an Accord or the 6. I did however find the Malibu quietest in its class plus the front seats are relatively taller for a midsize sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “The Malibu was never going to set sales charts on fire. A class leading Malibu would only sell marginally better that a mediocre one.”

      But GM must build good cars to get that brand value. Otherwise, they’re just going to be price-chopping and chasing lower and lower FICO scores. That’s not a winning plan.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeGuy

      Jack,

      This is exactly who buys the car:

      “The Malibu is not special in anyway and there is zero reason for anyone to pick it over the competition. If it were not for my GM bias I would have bought an Accord or the 6. I did however find the Malibu quietest in its class plus the front seats are relatively taller for a midsize sedan.”

      When you can justify $25,000+ on inferior product because of “bias.” Incredible. I used to sell GMs, I have driven the 2013 Malibu, sat in the 2014. This is a mediocre car at best. Good job Chevy marketing team!

      If you gotta stay “American”: The Fusion blows it away in interior quality. I mean, it is pathetic really how much better the Fusion is in every single regard.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        There are plenty of people who buy Camrys – which I have driven and found to be singularly unappealing – based on Toyota “bias” too, even though Toyota’s quality has clearly slipped.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          FreedMike: “There are plenty of people who buy Camrys … based on Toyota “bias” too,”

          Most of those people have a basis for comparison; they previously owned something else. Everybody has had to migrate to Toyotas because in the ’70’s their sales were pretty negligible.

          FreedMike: “even though Toyota’s quality has clearly slipped.”

          If and when I notice any evidence of this, I’ll act accordingly.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @KixStart:

            All that may be true, but then again, not all GM buyers have had bad experiences either. I own a 2003 Buick LeSabre that’s been outstanding (and no, I’m not a GM loyalist).

            And, yes, I see Toyota quality slipping – I drove a base Camry recently and it was a turd – looked cheap, felt cheap, dull as hell to drive. It felt like junk to me. I’ve never been a particular fan of the way Toyotas drive, but I always respected their quality. Not anymore.

            But there are hordes of people who would buy that crappy current Camry, simply based on the rep of the mid-’90s Camrys, which were brilliantly engineered cars that deserved all the praise they got. The current model doesn’t. I think the same can be said of the Corolla.

            And, yes, I’m sure Malibus are selling on financing, but Camrys are too – the only difference is cash on the hood from GM versus leases from Toyota. I don’t think anyone in his right mind would pay cash for either of these cars new after driving an Accord, or a Fusion (or even a Sonata, for that matter).

            So we have Toyota living off past glory with worse product, and GM trying to live down past failures with better product. Compare a 2004 Camry and Malibu with their current iterations, and you’ll see the Camry is clearly worse, but the Malibu is clearly improved.

            The point: I don’t think Toyota will be living off the rep of the current Camry models for very long.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            FreedMike: Compare a 2004 Camry and Malibu with their current iterations, and you’ll see the Camry is clearly worse, but the Malibu is clearly improved.

            My mother-in-law has a 2004 Malibu, and virtually anything would be an improvement over that car, including a 1995 Camry or Accord.

            Saying that the 2014 Malibu is an improvement over its 2004 counterpart is not saying all that that much.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            FreedMike: “All that may be true, but then again, not all GM buyers have had bad experiences either. I own a 2003 Buick LeSabre that’s been outstanding (and no, I’m not a GM loyalist).”

            I know a couple GM owners who have also had great experiences. Or so they think. Their cars have been far more troublesome than I could stand – and no longer must stand – but they think they’re living the life.

            If they’re happy, who am I to screw it up for them?

            FreedMike: “And, yes, I’m sure Malibus are selling on financing, but Camrys are too – the only difference is cash on the hood from GM versus leases from Toyota.”

            Then I’d expect a higher percentage of lease deals on Toyotas. Is that the case?

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        I agree with SomeGuy. There are millions of Americans who will buy GM product because it’s GM.

        Back in the late 90s, the owners of the San Diego Chargers were trying to strong-arm the city into a guaranteed sellout deal at Qualcomm stadium. It didn’t happen because enough people understood that a guaranteed sellout equated to guaranteed income and the smart businessman would then cut costs everywhere else (i.e. – talent on the field) in order to maximize profits.

        GM has captive customers that will buy their garbage product, so the smart business move is to build a cheap car and sell it at segment-correlated prices to maximize profits. Kudos to GM and the suckers, errr “customers” get exactly what they deserve. Caveat emptor.

        GM will start building competitive cars in all segments when they have to. As long as people keep buying the trash they’re putting out, why would they do anything differently?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          319583076, people who buy GM products deserve exactly what they get!

          I drove mostly GM during my younger years, Olds and Chevy, and got exactly what I deserved.

          By 2008 I switched to Toyota and never looked back.

        • 0 avatar

          “There are millions of Americans who will buy GM product because it’s GM. ”

          I guess it wont make a difference if I told you Toyota and Honda are the top two brands that people buy every single time like blind sheep. Go outside and take a look. You will notice that certain demographics will never buy anything other than a Japanese car, sometimes Korean or German but never American. It seems like 60% of car sales in Nova are Japanese, 20% Korean, 15% European and 5% American. This reflects the population demographics of the region. I don’t go out and tell everyone what they should be buying or how stupid they are for buying overrated overpriced junk.. What people do with their own money is nobody’s business. I am out..Peace!

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            alluster: “I guess it wont make a difference if I told you Toyota and Honda are the top two brands that people buy every single time like blind sheep.”

            Toyota and Honda have failed to follow GM in driving people away and you seem to think it’s some sort of character flaw that people give them repeat business.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            The Toyota bubble popped during their recalls. That has little effect on GM.

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/kbrauer/2014/07/01/why-massive-safety-recall-hurt-toyota-more-than-gm/

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            alluster, car have a mix of advantages and disadvantages against their peers. The Camry is pretty dull, but it has great interior space both in terms of volume and usable rectangular shape. People, stuff, and rear facing child seats fit. For people who like past Honda Accords, the present one feels like an Accord, but gets better fuel economy. One problem with the Chevrolet Malibu is it’s hard to point to any positive feature that’s been consistent across the last 4 generations other than GM rebates. The previous generation Malibu was competitive while the current one comes in last place in a crowded field of good choices.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @GeorgeB – You sum it up well. The Camry is the comfy recliner you come home to from work. The Mazda and Ford are dueling for sex appeal and driving satisfaction. The Sonata and Optima offer bang for the buck with serious style and an acceptable driving experience. The Passat offers efficiency, huge massive cabin and trunk, and elegant understated looks. The Altima is the thriftiness champ. I haven’t driven the Accord (all the others are based on my driving impressions from rental), but it sounds like a leader in space, efficiency, and refinement with acceptable driving dynamics. After putting 350 miles on a Malibu, I can’t figure out why someone would buy it over the competition, much less its Chevy sibling, the Cruze. It’s frustrating because GM can design and build good cars. It’s like they just got lazy with this one.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @319583076

          I don’t think ANY carmaker really has the same base of “captive customers” anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            FreedMike,

            I’d like to believe you, believe me. But the evidence (including the first post in this thread) says otherwise.

            And, I agree that other brands have captive audiences, too. Some people like to buy things for reasons other than objective quality, value, and so on. I’m not out to stop them, but I think it’s a poor decision-making strategy.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            I believe that Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota and Honda score very well when it comes to repeat customers.

            From what I’ve seen, plenty of people will buy only Chevy trucks, full-size SUVs, Corvettes and Camaros, and don’t even bother to look at competitive products.

            The Malibu, unfortunately, does not appear to enjoy the same level of loyalty, for a variety of reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            TheyBeRollin

            I don’t know how GM maintains their repeat customer base. It’s just mind-boggling. My family has owned a handful and every time we get burned. Ford has always done well by me, though. Totally different dealer and parts counter experiences, too.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @319583076

            Could be my particular approach to car buying – I’ve been all over the map brand wise. I’ve owned a Buick, a Honda, a VW, two Fords, a Volvo and a Mazda.

            I have zero brand loyalty.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            @FreedMike

            Agree. I’ve owned Audi, Isuzu, Nissan, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Toyota, and Jeep vehicles. Brand has very little to do with my auto purchasing.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          I wonder if those millions buying GM are mostly relatives of the million jobs saved, as referenced by Jack.

          My family is full of Fords, because there are two retirees in the family. Those family pricing plans can be pretty convincing (and are a major issue in my future Mustang/Challenger or Focus ST/GTI decision planning).

      • 0 avatar

        @someguy: Maybe you can tell me what car to get so I can learn what sophisticated people are buying. I paid $20,500 for mine or $1500 less than a comparable Accord. No CVT drama and no turbos that break. One of the safest and quietest vehicle in its class. It is heavier because it is quieter and the doors close with a soft thud. The Accord felt like the windows were always down and the doors closed with a bang like they belong on a 2000 Accent. The Fusion may be nice on the inside but I couldn’t get past the ugly exterior that looks like a catfish toad hybrid. Too bad I always liked the 2012 Fusion.

        Maybe if I buy that yellow sports car, it will somehow elevate me and everyone will think highly of me? or is true that people will think I am compensating for other shortcomings? You probably know the answer since you seem to know what car people should be buying.

        I value a quieter solid car with clean styling. I have no need to impress strangers.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          I don’t think anyone is taking issue with you liking your car. They take issue with you buying it due to “GM bias”. But now you’re trying to justify it because of the purchase price, build quality, and driving characteristics.

          “If it were not for my GM bias I would have bought an Accord or the 6.” – Those are your words. What I’m inferring from that statement (and I guess others are thinking the same), is that you deliberately saddled yourself with a car you knew to be inferior based on your bias. That’s a problem for a lot of people, because we all knew someone who bought junk cars in the 70’s and 80’s because they were loyal customers to a company that didn’t give damn about them.

          I do hope you enjoy your car, but it sucks that you didn’t pick something you like more if it was within reach.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        I recently took a fusion se through turns I doubt my mn12 tbird could handle. And my tibird is on 245 summer tires. Shocker how far fwd has progressed since I last drove it.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        I found the Fusion cramped in the front. Also after seeing my co-workers Fusion’s build quality, I’ll pass. Even he’s disappointed after having the overhead map lights fall down.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Pretty much my exact impression of the car. Within an hour of driving a 2014 LTZ rental, my thought was, “we bailed them out to get this?” I thought it was lazy…purely simply lazy. It’s like GM didn’t pay one lick of attention to the competition when they did this car and attempt to finish it so it would be competitive.

  • avatar

    JACK BARUTH

    I sense protectionism in you. We need to team up and retake America…

    Anywayz:

    My cousin just bought a 2014 Malibu. (White with nothing in it but seats and a steering wheel)

    While I do recognize everyone’s complaints with the backseat – after haven driven the 2013 Eco model, I must say that I was actually quite impressed by the 2013 Malibu – including its Start/Stop technology. (Yes I know they redesigned it for 2014).

    The Malibu felt like a “luxury car” to me. Like a last-gen Cadillac with fancier interior lighting.

    If I had to choose between the Malibu and the Chrysler 200c, I’d take the Malibu simply because it’s more spacious and I fit more comfortably.

    Hyundai’s Sonata 15′ is going to kill this car in sales. It’s so big, it’s just ridiculous.

    I insist that a lot of the disappointments with this car could have simply been solved with “an appropriately sized Naturally Aspirated V6″.

    My cousin’s 2010 Malibu was an awesome car. How GM decided to build a car like that without a Navigation display – however – is more proof to me that SOME OF THEM NEED TO BE FIRED and replaced by me.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “I sense protectionism in you. We need to team up and retake America…”

      I sense only offense and frustration. I doubt that Baruth would agree to tariffs or other market distortions to protect GM from its own incompetence.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      BTS, not every car is improved just by adding a bigger engine. A crappy car with a bigger engine is still a crappy car, just a little faster and thirstier.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Some of us don’t want big. I would take a Cruze over a Malibu every time because it is a more useful size for me. Anyone complaining about rear seat accommodations can arrange their own transportation.

      I actually like the KIA Optima for a cheap car, but it feels like an aircraft carrier to drive to me. So huge!

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    One of my customers used this as a rental while we were fixing a gasket leak from the car she had bought recently. She thought it was broken because it kept stalling in traffic – the “auto start” feature. You can turn it off at least.

    I found the interior ugly and cheap looking in the same way as the Camaro and, from a different manufacturer, the Fiesta. Deeply inset instrument clusters wig me out.

    Cars like this, though, are a steal used or ex-rental, especially compared to an Accord or Camry. And generally are cheap to run and fix in the long term. Sure, the initial impression is kind of negative, but what about three years from now? That seems to be where a lot of GM sedans shine.

    • 0 avatar
      burnbomber

      You’re absolutely right–they’re a steal when you search for used. I’m on my second now and it was a steal–a free giveaway (needed LIM gasket job). Used GM sedans are some of the most inexpensive used rides available anywhere in the States. Really cheap to buy (compared to Accords and the like), cheap parts (gazillions of them in the pull-a-parts), and pretty durable for the long run (excepting a few notable failures, like 3.4l lower intake manifold gasket failures).

      I’ve found old GM cars pretty easy to keep going. Not much breaks. My old VW and old Camry were much more trouble.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Jack – You need to join National Car Rental’s Emerald Club, and move up to Executive Platinum. “Choose any car!” What cheap employer is making you rent from Alamo, or Dollar, or whatever crap-ass rental joint that you use?

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    The 2015 Malibu.

    Bringing heel-toe to automatics.

    A GM exclusive!

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    This car was on my shopping list a year ago.
    A big car for small car money? This must be too good to be true?
    The answer was a obviously a big YES.
    You could get a Malibu D for the same price as a Civic D.

    The Honda i got has a start and stop system that is problem free.
    Japanese cars (especially Honda Toyota and Lexus)are in a different league qualitywise.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Haven’t read anything yet. Not the story or the B&B commentary.

    My guess given this is LS rental car trim – scathing review.

    Now to read and either reply with, “yup,” or eat crow.

  • avatar
    omer333

    If there was ever a car I truly hated, it was the last iteration of the Malibu. I got one as a rental when my Crosstour was in the body shop. It brought back the nightmares I had of the horrible crap of General Motors in the 80s.

    I wanted to figure out a way to set the car on fire, I hated it so.

    This thing makes me apathetic and glad I’ve sworn off General Motors for good.

    And it makes me sad in a way, because I grew up loving Chevelles, and I really like Buick’s Verano and Regal.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, I guess the “requesting a test car from GM” ship has sailed permanently…

    I’m puzzled by this car too. I haven’t driven it, but it seems to get scathing reviews. The previous-gen Malibu was a darn nice car. Why did they screw it up?

    Would an incrementally larger Malibu really steal that many Impala sales?

    • 0 avatar
      xflowgolf

      “The previous-gen Malibu was a darn nice car. Why did they screw it up?”

      That’s my biggest head shaker on this too. The ’09ish, especially in LTZ trim, was a great looking car. It got solid reviews, it was class competitive, etc.

      They actually went backwards in almost every aspect of this car.

      Decidedly uglier, cheaper looking, and apparently worse to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        My Mother’s fiance has a 2012 Malibu LTZ. It rides nice and has so-so interior but the handling js not there. The 32 mpg at Christmas time trip was a surprise.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The “word” in the press (so take it for what that is worth) is that GM went smaller because that was the overall direction of things.

      They were partially correct (lets go back to when the Cruze launched and everyone in the B&B screamed it was over priced, a rewarmed Cobalt, etc. etc. etc.). What we’ve learned is consumers are willing to pay for a more “premium” compact offering (I say premium very loosely). The Cruze continues to get praise for the interior, although it has become dated.

      They got it totally wrong with the Malibu, going smaller, and giving a Mazda3 grade backseat wrapped in a midsize body.

      Ford on the other hand got it very right with the new fusion.

      For the next Malibu to be successful, I think they have to throw everything out in the trash top to bottom in the current iteration.

      Why so many problems? Well lets look at the history of GM – not caring, and not speaking up, every step of the way.

      As Jack said – they can “do” it. The Tahoe/Suburban is amazing, the Silverado/Sierra are WTF. The C7 addressed basically all the shortcomings of the C6 and is a performance bargain. The Camaro is a cave on wheels (admittedly better with the drop top). The Regal just got the top dog pick by Consumer Reports over BMW and Mercedes (yes it scored lower, but Consumer Reports put it on top – go scream at them and don’t shoot the messenger) and you can’t exactly say they are in the tank for GM. The LaCrosse is a ball of meh. The Sonic is priced well, fun to drive, and gets good reviews, especially in LT and LTZ trim. The SS should have never been a Chevrolet, and shouldn’t be soldiering on with the LS3 under the hood.

      There are some great things in the GM line up – and there are some real steaming piles of crap.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The Malibu is supposed to be a world car.

        Every other automaker but for GM has figured out that midsized sedans and world cars don’t mix. Americans want a bigger back seat, while the rest of the world regards the US midsize as being too large.

        Ford learned this the hard way with the Contour. GM couldn’t even learn from the mistakes of its rival down the street.

        If GM wanted a world car that might actually work as a world car, then they should have made a long wheelbase version for the US and China, and a smaller one for everyone else. Trying to get everyone to buy the same one was an obvious and predictable mistake.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          They seemed to understand that with the 2008-2012 Malibu which was well regarded and sold well. It seems they lost the plot with the latest one somehow.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            IIRC correctly, the 08-12 ‘bu received “grumbles” for a smaller backseat then the competition.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          What is the Ford Mondeo/Fusion, Alex?

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “IIRC correctly, the 08-12 ‘bu received “grumbles” for a smaller backseat then the competition.”

            It was narrow for three across, but the actual back seat wasn’t too bad back-to-front.

            One gets the impression that Malibu was sacrificed to make room the Impala, what with GM having seen the Fusion stealing Taurus sales because both are about the same size.

            The flaw in that logic is that the Taurus isn’t selling not because of the Fusion, but because it’s a cave-on-wheels and no one buys big non-premium sedans. And now GM has two cars (the Malibu and Impala) that don’t sell well, where before they had only one.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    This car will sell to those who are brand loyalists. I wouldn’t expect much conquest sales, as anyone who has sat in or driven an Accord/Fusion would be nuts to consider this car just on interior alone.

  • avatar
    blppt

    “You’d better plan ahead. Not like you would in a 240D, but like you would in a three-liter Taurus from 1995.”

    Heh, compared to the pathetic, gutless 1986-1992 (i think?) 4 cylinder/3 speed auto Taurus, the 3.0 Vulcan seemed like a 302 Mustang, no matter what year Taurus/Sable you had it in. My aunt had one that she bought from my Grandfather, and not only was it dangerously slow, but it was also horrendously unreliable.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No Taurus came with a 3sp AT, if it was an AT it had 4sp. However the 4cyl was only paired with a 5sp MT.

      • 0 avatar
        blppt

        The 86-91 model did have a 3 speed auto—ONLY for the 4 cylinder. The V-6, despite being far better suited for the wider ratios of a 3 speed auto, ironically got the 4 speed(OD) tranny.

        Actually, finding a 4 cyl 5MT Taurus is quite rare–there werent many of them made.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I had a 4-cylinder AT Ford Taurus rental car in 1987 from Enterprise.

        It stunk of cat urine on the inside and got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere on I-495 outside of Lawrence, Massachusetts. A previous renter decided that they needed the jack and spare tire more than I did. It was the final indignity. I thumbed down a ride, locked the keys in the car, and got a friend to come pick me up.

        Called Enterprise in the morning and gave them the mile marker where they could pick up the car. They turned the $96 tow bill into collections. I never paid purely on principal.

        But yes, you could get a 4-banger Taurus with an automatic – it was dreadful (even without the cat urine smell)

  • avatar
    KixStart

    This is GM’s third (maybe fourth) run at a weak hybrid setup. They should have given up and spent the development money on something that would help the car sell.

    In extremely heavy stop-and-stutter-go traffic, this system *might* save a noticeable amount of fuel, compared to a Camry or an Accord. But the MSRPs on the base Camry and Accord are probably noticeably less than the $23.2K that GM will never see for a copy of this vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      Hybrids don’t seem to be GM’s forte. The first Malibu Hybrid achieved a few miles per gallon higher than the four-cylinder, and the Silverado and Tahoe Hybrids were overpriced and hard to come by. But, 20 MPG y’all! I think the Vue Hybrid actually brought along decent fuel economy, and it was one of only a few hybrid SUVs available at the time.

      The carmakers five, six years ago did weird things. Remember the Durango Two-Mode Hybrid?

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        The first Malibu hybrid achieved a negligible improvement in economy and it was just about the same price as a Camry hybrid… which offered a serious improvement in fuel economy. In fact, if I recall correctly, the $25K Malibu hybrid got about the same EPA rating as the $21K basic Camry LE. You’d think somebody at GM would notice that this was a complete non-starter.

        And now this… the cost has come down somewhat but it’s still a decade behind Toyota. They’re building a car that says, “Look at us! We still can’t build a competitive hybrid!” They’d be far better off not inviting the comparison and, better yet, putting the energy into building a decent car.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This car wasn’t a hybrid. I don’t think Chevy even builds a hybrid Malibu anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        I think of idle-stop as the weakest form of hybrid. However, if you prefer…

        Look at us! We couldn’t build a competitive hybrid and we can’t even get idle-stop right!

  • avatar
    mjz

    What a truly dreadful car.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    If you want to be patriotic, buy the Fusion. If you want a great car for the money, buy the Accord or Fusion (even the 2.5).

    • 0 avatar
      blppt

      The Fusions of the current gen really are beautiful cars to look at—at least in the higher trims. Makes my CC look downright plain when I park next to one.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    You can’t look at MSRP to compare prices. You can probably get $5K off sticker on this POS if you really wanted one. An Accord, you’re lucky to wring a couple of percent out of the dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      Agree that you can’t look at MSRP to compare prices, but discounts on the Accord are plenitful….10-15% off. There are 2 forums that back up these discounts (Edmunds and DriveAccord). Even taking into consideration huge discounts on the Malibu, it is not very competitive price wise with just about everything in the midsize class because GM has a habit of inflated sticker prices with incentives from the get go.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I get 20% off of MSRP on GOOD vehicles.

      If this review rings true to life, I wouldn’t purchase any car with this interior quality or driving dynamics at an “on fire sale.”

  • avatar
    mars3941

    I had a 2007 Saturn Aura with the 3.6 engine and all the bells and whistles and really liked the car that I think was on the same Opal platform as the Malibu back then, also available with the 3.6 engine. It apparent the Malibu has gone downhill from the 2007 models in more ways than one.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I had an Aura rental back in 2007. It was a single option (can’t remember the option, but I built it online) stripper model. I was very impressed. I remember I squeezed out about 38 MPG out of the GM 3.5L under the hood.

  • avatar

    Jesus. Why are they still using that gauge font? Yeah, and the blue LED’s. I thought I was the only one that hated that shit.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    I’ve noticed that many car reviewers try to impress their readers by taking an American car, trashing it incessantly, then draping themselves theatrically in American flags while proclaiming, “We can do better, fellow Americans!!” These reviewers are vigorously anti-protectionist and they all drive foreign brands.

    Here are the facts: economic protectionism is a good thing. Nothing is made in America anymore. We’re all a bunch of burger flippers and paper pushers. No one can find a decent-paying factory job anymore, and any manual labor jobs that remain are snapped up by illegals.

    Free traders like Reagan decimated our economy, and every president since then followed that senile fool right over the edge. America CAN’T do better because it’s not a level playing field and it hasn’t been for 35 years.

    Foreign cars should be hit with massive tariffs, unless they are assembled here. You want a foreign car with “high-quality plastics”? (whatever that means). No prob. Pay an extra $500 for the privilege.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      There was a time when the large number of people who worked in factories dreamed of a future where their kids and grandkids wouldn’t have to do that kind of work. Now that future is here. Things have progressed so humans wouldn’t have to do so much sh1tty work. People have to move on to more relevant work now.

      Protectionism sucks, no one wants to pay more for things just to give a slob a job. Get over it.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Nothing is made in American anymore? You might do some research. We are still one of the top two countries for manufacturing in the world.

      What has been declining in this country is MANUFACTURING EMPLOYMENT. That is because companies are figuring out ways to maintain or increase production with fewer employees, thanks to automation and improved production processes.

      Ronald Reagan had nothing to do with this ongoing process. He did negotiate “voluntary” import restrictions for Japanese cars in the early 1980s. These temporary restrictions only ended up raising the prices of both Japanese and domestic cars. Otherwise, he correctly refused to use tariffs or other measures to “protect” us from this process.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The US has a large manufacturing base, but low per capita manufacturing output. As have other western countries, this has become a service economy.

        I am no fan of Reagan, but that would have happened anyway. Once the third world decided to stop hating their former colonial masters and started wanting to do business with them instead, the shift was inevitable. The globalization of capital that was facilitated by technology improvements was the icing on the cake.

        And Reagan used the voluntary import quotas in order to motivate the Japanese to start setting up plants here. I have to give him credit for that; getting Honda to set up shop here and others to follow was good for the US.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          Word from a Japanese girl I’m banging who works for a Japanese owned supplier that supplies textiles to Honda and Mazda: Mazda and Honda (Fit) are having a disaster of a time setting up their manufacturing foot print in Mexico. Also, the TLX pioneering the new ‘non-prototype’ build launch isn’t going so well (program delays). All future Honda product will follow suit. Mexico is going to turn out to be an interesting play for the German and Japanese OEM’s.

          I should keep dating her just so I can supply TTAC some dirt.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Geeber and PCH are correct. What’s surprising is that manufacturing employment even in China is declining. Not what the protectionist crowd wants to hear.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            In China unionization, demand for better work conditions and local authorities refusal to get into what they see as “civil” issues when it is worker versus management is driving up costs. Toss in shipping and insurance, and the race to the bottom we’re engaged in here, and it is cheaper to build in North America (US and Mexico specifically) for some finished good items – so it’s coming back.

            Any true American of the DEY TERK ERRR JOBS set should love factories in Mexico – less illegal aliens.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      I want to pile on here, too. Lamenting the “good old days” of American factory jobs is a lazy, fallacious argument. The reasons are legion and ubiquitous, so I won’t bother to reproduce them here.

      You’re wrong, the world has moved on, adapt or perish.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You can blame Reagan all you want, but the fact is that this shift was coming for a LONG time. PCH and Geeber are both exactly correct.

      And we DO have a manufacturing base here – it’s mainly for expensive, durable goods and capital-intensive things like aircraft and military hardware. On that basis, we build the best stuff in the world, no question.

      But the idea that everyone could make $40,000 a year sewing pants together at a textile mill in Deliverance, Mississippi was bound to die a nasty death.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        …But the idea that everyone could make $40,000 a year sewing pants together at a textile mill in Deliverance, Mississippi was bound to die a nasty death…

        This.

        We live in a world now where 6 billion people have access to a cell phone. Consider that. Six billion of seven billion people have at least “access” to a cell phone. In many parts of the world, they are smartphones (the US lags behind on smartphone adoption, and advanced cellular networks). Basically, if you know where your next three meals are coming from, and you know you have a bed to sleep on, you have access to all the world’s knowledge.

        Given the playing field has leveled, and work can be done almost anywhere, at anytime, by almost anyone – the idea that you could get a high paying “middle class” blue collar job is largely over. It will only get harder.

        Did Reagan’s policies help or hurt? In this department it wouldn’t matter what Reagan did – but history is starting to tarnish the Teflon coating of Reagan. Not everything he did has worked out, and trickle down, doesn’t, well it just doesn’t trickle down.

        Did NAFTA hurt? It certainly accelerated the demise of these jobs, but resulted in cheaper goods – for those that stayed employed.

        Protectionism isn’t the answer. Our days of being number one without question are long over. Our influence is starting to fade, and in just a few short years the United States won’t even have the largest GDP in the world – that will belong to China. The largest consumer of new automobiles, steel, concrete, and a growing list of other natural resources.

        The world is in flux and change as old systems break down. That is evident in the growing unrest in eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Thai military coup (OK, that happens about once a decade), growing unrest between China and Vietnam (ship rammings, fly bys, territory disputes), and China’s own problem with Muslim extremism. Never mind a growing mindset of domestic terrorism in the United States (Sovereign Citizen) and growing xenophobia.

        It’s very complex, and it is overly simplistic to blame Democrats, or Republicans, or a single administration, or a single trade agreement.

        Do you want America to be great again? Simple. First, lets stop lying to ourselves. We aren’t number one anymore (well beyond the capacity to kick anyone’s butt in the world). We aren’t even number two. Heck, hard to even argue we’re number ten, maybe even hard to argue we’re in the top twenty anymore. As soon as we admit that to ourselves, we can start the discussion on how do we climb the ladder again.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      sketch,

      I drive a Honda made 30 miles from my house. Admittedly, by taking a Japanese stick-shift instead of the 6AT made at HTM 65 miles from my house, I undermined that a bit.

      I wear American-made clothing almost exclusively, have American-made appliances in my house, and inquire about the sourcing of every single thing I buy all the way down to paperclips.

      I work very hard to ensure that as much of my business as possible stays in this country.

      As far as my Porsches, they were, um, detailed in the United States of America. :)

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Hey, it’s not like at the end of your life you get an Ameriticket that says how much American stuff you bought, and doles out your final reward accordingly.

    • 0 avatar
      NN

      @ sketch447 Foreign manufactured vehicles already have a 2.5% tariff. For a $30k car, that’s $750 we’re paying for the “privilege” of quality plastic. More than you suggest!

      Protectionism = paying too much money for awful quality products.

      Also, for all of those dreaming for a world-beating American car, look no further than Tesla. We can do it, and indeed we do. Put your money where your mouth is, and support them when they build something within reason for you.

      GM has a schizophrenic history of making a few good cars and lots of trash. It has been that way for, what, 40 years now? It hasn’t changed and probably never will. I would buy a Corvette, or a Tahoe. I would also buy a Volt, and I did buy a 2010 Malibu LTZ that I like very much, thank you. It was conceived when Bob Lutz made it a point to make a fine midsized sedan. When GM tries, they do well. They clearly didn’t try very hard here, and this car would never win my money.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The Chevrolet Malibu, it exists for the salesman to try to sell you a nicely trimmed Cruze or up-sell you to an Impala.

    Chevy runs deep.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      …into the ground.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ PrincipalDan…Hey!..I had an rental 09 Malibu for a week,and went home and bought an Impala. A few years later. I needed a car I could live with, for the long term, maybe forever. I took a demo 14 Malibu from the dealer, to my house and back. {5 miles round trip} I didn’t like what they did with the tail lights, and the back seat. I could see myself, dumping it after a few years. IMHO the 09 was a nicer car.

      I took the 14 Impala for a ride. By the time I got back to my house, I was sold.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I like the anglerfish analogy. Clever. True. Still think it is at least a half-way decent looking car despite its heavy chin. I havent driven the newest Bu, but somehow I have a diffucult time believing its quite as bad as the article suggests. But, i just dont care enough to go find out for myself.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The new Altima I rented for a week got better mileage than this “Eco” model, it’s no denying US engines still lag behind the foreign competition.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Phrases like “the greatest country in the world” are typically employed once that status is long gone. It’s mot usefuly viewed as stage 4 in The Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief.

    There’s a reason so much of our popular culture reveres the 1950’s and 1960’s but until we embrace reality and recognize that this era is long gone, we still have work to do before reaching stage 5.

    For those who are busy laying blame, you’re still working through stage 2.

    This is not uniquely a US experience and arriving at a point where balanced perspecive is possible doesn’t come easily.

    Having said that, the current Malibu is a product of American Exceptionalism … I should clarify that my brief experience suggest it’s Exceptionaly poor.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Nothing like a bad review to bring out the “GM buyers are morons” comments from the most arrogant of our B&B. Pretty hard to take any of them seriously on any topic after reading something like that.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      What a ridiculous opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        actually 319583076, to call someone a moron because of their car purchase is pretty arrogant and ridiculous. I is very difficult to respect someone’s opinion when they resort to the name calling and generalization like that. The one calling the names is the true idiot in the situation.

  • avatar
    calmaro

    Outstandingly great writing: ‘Malibu pokey’ and ‘nightmare lantern-jaw fish from the unfathomable deep…’

  • avatar
    tedward

    It’s messed up that yesterday’s 3200lb, last year of production, wagon with a 90’s tech five cylinder bests this ecomodel in mixed driving.

    I get thirty plus driving faster than normal with a giant roof pod in mine and I don’t consider that impressive. What the actual f___ is the dysfunction here?

  • avatar
    tedward

    Also, aren’t all mid size sedans getting thirty plus highway with the base engine nowadays?

    Your description of the stop start was hilarious, and exactly describes what I felt in the Honda crz with auto transmission. Done wrong this apparently ruins a car.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Somewhere, Robert Farago is smiling. And so am I.

    Your review was much more entertaining than the car seems to have been.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    It’s too bad that GM built a car like this and boasts its quality and engineering on adverts. The American consumer is being treated like damn idiots by this car. Chinese cars that I’ve been in are remarkably better than this Malibu. Like I’ve always said, it may be time for GM to focus on producing the all American trucks, although many recalled over 7 times this year, and let the sedans be designed and produced by GM global. If GM keeps up this dynamic, they’ll be begging for more money from us tax payers. Sad situation getting worse…

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    My 04 Malibu was reliable enough, in fact I never had deal-breaker reliability problems with GM cars (owned 3). But, that Malibu was so poorly contructed out of such poorly and cheaply made materials, it drove me out of it and into a Lexus. That’s right, a freaking Lexus!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Methinks you had Lexus on the brain at some point prior to the experience. Never met a soul who went from used Chevy to new Lex.

      • 0 avatar
        Lightspeed

        Full disclosure, i bought a 10-yr-old Lexus, and my big bro has an SC430. So yes, was exposed to Lexus, And while it may seem an apples/oranges comparison, consider I paid less for the Lexus, with the same miles on it as the used Malibu had (117K km) but got 10X the car.

  • avatar
    turboprius

    One of my friends has a 2000. She thinks it’s ugly compared to her sister’s Chrysler 200, but I personally like the look of it, especially in the LS trim.

  • avatar

    Okay. I’m pretty confused. My understanding is that the “Eco” was its own trim (with 1SA and 2SA sub-trims), and that, moreover, the Eco was discontinued after 2013, when GM engineers discovered that the 2.5-liter with stop-start was just as efficient as said Eco. I don’t think this qualifies. It’s just a base LS.

    This is a prime example of “The Wobble” if I’ve ever seen one. The Malibu, which isn’t a bad car, has become the new schoolyard target. I think you’re being unfair to the car. I rented one and didn’t find it gutless. The 2.5-liter was plenty fine for most types of driving, including passing on the highway. Sure it doesn’t excel at any one thing and isn’t tailored to the spirited type of driving you might do, but I think it’s a great commuter and highway cruiser for most people. It’s not dreadful. The Cavalier was dreadful. The Malibu from two generations ago was dreadful. This is not. And if GM had not sacrificed one of the things that made the previous one so popular—rear seat space—this would probably sell very well.

    (P.S.) It’s also strange that your example has the color screen in the IP, but doesn’t have MyLink. I rented a 1LT not long ago, and it had the monolithic aqua screen in the IP rather than the color one, but had MyLink. Maybe they made the color screen standard for 2014 or 2015.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      The goals of this website are to inform AND entertain, hence the hyperbole. See the revealing post by “SCE to AUX” above.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Kyree is correct. There hasn’t been an Eco Malibu since 2013. At first read I didn’t even catch that in the copy. I guess my proofreading days are over.

      When I first saw this post, I thought to myself: This won’t be good. And I was right. I didn’t expect Jack to love this car, but I should have been ready for the outcome. I wonder what the result would have been if it had been a base level Honda?

      FWIW, I drove one of the 13 Eco Malibus back in the summer of 2012 for a couple of weeks, it was a perfectly normal car. Something your parents or regular, non-enthusiast motorists might buy. I’m a little over 6 foot tall and I fit in the back seat, no problem. Folks tend to forget that the Uglibu generation (2004-2007)came in two wheelbases, 107″ for the sedan and 112″ for the Maxx. Going to the smaller wheelbase is a debatable item, but the precedent is there.

      I’d like to think if I decided to buy one of these cars, I could do better than the LS version. I think if a higher trim level were tested, the results might be different. Or not.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        The 2013 Eco Malibu was a mild hybrid.

        After that, all Malibus with stop-start can carry “Eco” badging.

        The mild hybrid is gone.

        Believe me, it took me a while to figure out why I had a low-mileage stop-start car with a 2015 VIN and Eco badges on it.

        • 0 avatar
          turboprius

          I knew they still made the “Eco” models, as I saw a 2014 Malibu with an Indiana plate on the interstate that had an “Eco” badge.

          I never knew they made the “Eco” in LS configuration, though. I thought it was LT and above. Oh well, interesting car. The 2008 Malibu LTZ I remember seeing on Motorweek ages ago seemed a lot nicer.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      First off, was your Malibu rental a 2.5 with stop-start as well? If it isn’t then you’re basically comparing apples and oranges especially with GM powertrains, since when they’re good, they’re great, but when they’re bad, good Lord. I had a Sonic 1.4 turbo and it was a pretty good car, but the 1.8 was horrid.

      And I’m not sure what “the wobble” is, but while both you and Baruth are entitled to your individual opinions, nothing you posted contradicts Baruth’s review. Most cars are fine commuters and highway cruisers nowadays and even a Dodge Dart would feel pretty nice to someone coming out of just about any common car from 1995. But the entire point of the review seems to be that GM tried a sloppy stop-start that doesn’t even manage to let the ‘Bu get higher mileage than an Accord, the design progressed backward instead of forward (the 2008 Malibu was a valiant effort) and worst of all, that GM is going back to their most mendacious and disgusting habits of phoning it in with substandard cars that don’t measure up to the competition, which is all the more infuriating after GM taking the bailout (discussed ad nauseum) and the fact that nobody denies that GM can build a great car, or even in some cases, the best car in the world for some individual segments, but there are times they willfully don’t choose to.

      If I offered you a free 2015 Malibu, Accord or Fusion, would you take the Malibu over the other two?

  • avatar
    pb35

    I last owned a Malibu in 1987. It was a 1980 model with the 3.8 (the crappy 229). It was green, all green. Green paint, green vinyl, green dash. I remember you couldn’t turn the blower motor off and the back windows didn’t open. It was like a torture chamber when August rolled around. Did I mention it was beyond a stripper model with zero options?

    It did last a while until it developed a nasty lifter tick or something. I still vaguely recall not being able to kill it, however. I don’t remember what happened to it, I think I gave it away. I never rushed out to buy another, and worked hard to be successful enough to never have to own another one.

  • avatar
    Illan

    Good to hear that im not the only one who thinks that my 2010 Malibu LTZ interior looks better than the current gen. i personally though they “cheapened” the malibu because the interior (at least on my LTZ) way to0 similar to the Buicks.

  • avatar
    RV1458

    I recently drove a rental Malibu from Indianapolis to Evansville and had the the exact same impression. I even told my wife that I don’t see why anyone, outside of a rental fleet manager would buy this. For similar money there are sooo many significantly better options.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Driven and owned just about everything and I can tell you with pretty good certainty, if you want a good vehicle that drives well, has nice features and lasts forever with virtually little to no problems, buy a Honda, end of story, buy a Honda. They work.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      My only Honda was a lemon. But my experience aside, I agree with you.

      However, I’d also vouch for Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, or Toyota from personal experience. But not VW, or anything else European.

      What I can’t understand is why people still buy Chevys, except for the Cruze.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    There’s no way this car is that bad. I detect more than a bit of eagerness to designate a new mid-size punching-bag now that the 200 is a nice car and the Avenger is gone. The Malibu is one I’m going to have to try for myself.

  • avatar
    uihidden

    I had a 2014 LT2 from Hertz last week to drive 750 miles around central CA. After 28,000 rental miles, the interior was actually in decent shape – but it was certainly not up to the standard of a Fusion.

    I did average 27.5 as reported by the computer in mostly 75-80 mph highway use. Jack’s right about the transmission/engine – any slight grade or pass would require a nasty 6-4 downshift to even get the car interested in moving.

    The biggest downside was the MyChevyLink that was constantly at war with my 5S. I had to call and ask my salesman twice to pull over so I could “reboot” the car as all music/phone had frozen. The bluetooth would never work right.

    For the amount that I rent (almost every week), I would pick a Fusion or Camry every time over this rental-special.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Best post and thread I’ve read in ages. An hour or more of pure delightful pleasure, just to read the predictable responses, patriotic chest thumping, aggrieved howls from people who actually bought one of these things, and to realize that NormSV650 thinks that driving from Calgary to Kelowna is downhill!

    Ah yes, an hour of pure merriment.

    In a foreign land, Canada, where this Malibu meets all-comers, Chevrolet managed to sell 327 Malibus last month, handily edging out the Legacy, Mazda6 and Buick Regal. This is 3% of the US sales rate, rather than the usual 10%. Apparently, not even car rental companies can be bothered to buy them and I’ve never seen one on the street. It’s a true foreign exotic.

    Which, judging by this superlative review, is about right when a person with a functioning brain actually goes out to purchase a new car, and, horror of horrors, DARES to compare.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I rented a 2014 Malibu LT for about 20 days. Jack is right…this car belongs somewhere in the 20th century. Is it horrible? I didn’t think so. Was it good? No, it was not. Nothing I would like to own though. The start/stop in mine kicked in very rarely. I had to have the AC off for it to kick in, which it rarely happens in Florida. It was very crude when it restarted. My average consumption was 27 mpg as well which I didn’t think it was that great. The car didn’t have much guts but that’s probably because the 6 speed ( I think) AT. In town it wasn’t a big deal, but trying to merge on the hwy, I had to floor it often.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Disclaimer: I’m the owner of a 2013 Malibu that I actually like.

    I can understand that a crappy stop/start implementation could sour the entire driving experience, and that GM “phoned this one in” to pick up a couple of MPG – that said…

    This review sounds like more of a rant, and the number of comment-taters echoing Jack’s sentiments seems like their venting vitriol over past bad GM experiences, the bankruptcy, bailout, etc., and heaping all this haterade on the poor Malibu.

    The 2LT I bought (admittedly, at a $2,500 discount) is a nice serviceable car for a single guy, or empty-nest couple that like more space in the front than care about the taxicab rear seats of the competition.
    It handles well up to 7/10ths, rides nice, is quiet, and has decent acceleration when you need it (but you have to put your foot into it).
    IMHO, the Altima and Honda seemed a bit to tinny, the Fusion made you buy an undersized turbo motor to get some upscale options, and the Mazda 6’s interior seemed way too small for a car its size.
    The MPG could definitely be better, but it’s OK on highway cruises.
    The interior quality is good, and I like the blue “mood lighting”, though some may see it as unnecessary “bling” to hide shortcomings.
    It’s not a “great” car, but I have no problem calling it a “nice” car.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I will find out in a couple weeks if our Pentastar will do that well on our trip through Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Right now we are getting 25 mixed (calculated by hand, not the car’s computer) and I am pretty confident we can get 30 mostly highway, especially if I stay out of the throttle.

  • avatar
    bk_moto

    With regard to start/stop, I’m sure we’re going to start seeing a lot more of this in the USA in the next few years. I was prepared to hate the entire concept (I remember VW tried it years ago without much success) until this past week when I drove a Mercedes B180 CDI in the UK that was fitted with start/stop.

    I was actually pleasantly surprised to find the system pretty unobtrusive except for that disconcerting moment when you come to a stop and the engine shuts off. The Mercedes system starts the engine up quite quickly as soon as you begin to move your foot off the brake so there’s not really any perceptible lag or hesitation. Also, despite being a 2.0L diesel four, the engine started up mostly unobtrusively without any real amount of vibration.

    The only time when I begin to think that this can’t be good for the car is when in stop-and-go or dense city traffic, where the starter is operating quite a lot. I would presume that the starters used for these cars are beefed up versions designed for this sort of abuse, but still…

    So it’s nice to see that these systems can work well if properly implemented. It seems however that GM is on a mission to ruin the reputation of start/stop in the USA as they did with diesels in the 1980s through poor implementation.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    If any of you guys who are so quick to run your mouth (or type your undeveloped thoughts) so quickly bothered to remain open minded you’d know that other reviewers have given the Malibu with the stop/start feature a pretty good review, even going as far as saying that it is less obtrusive and noticeable than the stop start in the BMW’s and Mercedes models they have experienced.

    I respect Jack’s reviews, but lets be honest, there is a little bit of bias in every one of them.


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