USA Today: Chevy Malibu Plagued by "Glitches"
Who'd a thunk that USA Today would plant an IED under the juggernaut that's the new Chevrolet Malibu? Reviewer James R. Healey sets 'em up. He praises the sedan's styling, hushitude, roomy interior (huh?), price, "mildly satisfying" driving dynamics and acceleration. Healey knocks 'em down. "Impressions were colored, however, by some glitches… The V-6 model was tainted by a light howl from under the hood, a vibration in the steering wheel at idle and low speed, and violent shifts by the automatic transmission in some low-gear situations… The hybrid delivered a scare. Its powertrain kept racing and trying to fling the car forward after hard acceleration followed by firm braking. It finally required a full-on panic stop — anti-lock brakes kicking in, car nose-diving — to overcome the wildly revving engine and obey a red light." Healey also slates Chevy's supposed Camry killer for its reluctant and clunky six-speed autobox and the 'Bu's limited visibility. Although the summation attempts to ameliorate the assault– "On paper, Malibu seems superior to the lionized Camry. In practice, judging by the test cars' foibles, maybe not quite"– the damage has been done.
Well its then just a matter of opinion. I found the tranny in the Malibu behaved no differently than the Camry. It suited me fine for what I want. (I'm not Evel Knevel, RIP.)
Well its then just a matter of opinion.
No, it's a matter of fact. And neither Michael nor I (nor Healey I'm sure) torture-tested the car.
"GM Europe aka Opel produces vastly better cars than GM NA and that if GM NA could only bring these wonder machines to America all would be well with GM again." The last few Opels brought to the states were a disaster. The Cadillac Catera was made in Germany and was only lightly made over from it's Opel sedan origins. The Saturn L was basically an Opel built in Delaware. Both were sales flops. You have to go all the way back to the Opel GT to find a moderately successful Opel-to-the-US effort, and it was clearly a niche vehicle, not a mainline product.
There are a lot of very positive reviews on the Malibu, and there are some lukewarm reviews. I just think that it's become clear that the Camry is no longer the benchmark in this category, yet there isn't a clear top dog. Auto mags just don't know what to make of that, and the fact that the Malibu can be mentioned in the same breath is confusing to them. Obviously all of the magazine publications don't talk to one another and develop a consensus on how to review a car, so there will often be differing opinions. And that's all these reviews are, "opinions." Some of Healey’s opinions seem to be very poorly supported, bordering on bitchy. Excessive “cut lines” for christsake? Has he seen the $15 clock-radio quality green plastic on the Camry’s dash, or the cluttered orgy of buttons on the Accord’s dash? Personally, I like the looks of the Malibu inside and out. And from the overwhelmingly positive reviews, the Malibu is now a player in this segment. I hope Chevy doesn't allow it to grow stale and that they make constant improvements each year based on all the information available to them on boards like these. Nav would be nice.