By on March 26, 2015

2015 Chevrolet Malibu Butte RedThe Malibu was pretty good. It looked good. It drove nicely enough. It sold in decent numbers.

But that was between 2008 and 2012.


• U.S. Market Price As Tested: $33,380

• Horsepower: 196 @ 6300 rpm

• Torque: 191 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 23.5 mpg


The 2013 Malibu wasn’t so great. It didn’t look good. It didn’t drive so nicely. It wasn’t very pleasant inside. It didn’t sell so well.

But with the speed of a cat lover furiously favouriting tweets of bathing felines, GM refreshed the Malibu for the 2014 model year. Verdict: the refresh was inadequate.

GM deserves credit, and I’m not even kidding, for understanding that the 2013 Malibu wasn’t good enough, and even more brownie points for realizing that the updated 2014/2015 Malibu is unsatisfactory, too. GM will therefore introduce a new Malibu for model year 2016, fast-forwarding to the next generation with all due haste in a market that sees Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys linger for at least five years.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu rearI’ll be honest, I didn’t think the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ loaned to me for a week from GM Canada was a bad car, not at all. I don’t say that because, as some would suggest, “There’s no such thing as a bad car in 2015,” but rather because a CAD $35,810 midsize sedan is likely a half-decent place to spend time in 2015. This is not a Mitsubishi Mirage. Nor is it a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu.

But there are big issues. Combined, the issues led me to believe that most intermediate cars in 2015 are better than the Malibu in most ways.

The 2016 Malibu must not suffer the same fate.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu LTZIn order to make the current Malibu more fuel-efficient – the base 2012 Malibu was rated at 22/33 mpg, this car is 25/36 – a stop-start system was put in place to stop all the idle guzzling. That’s fine, or it would be, but the stop-start system in the Malibu is the worst I’ve encountered. Stop-start systems are supposed to reignite the engine mellifluously, even surreptitiously. In the 2015 Malibu, in order to pull away from an intersection when the light turns green, the car cranks up as though it’s the first time on a winter’s morning in Winnipeg. This needs to be fixed for MY2016.

The 196-horsepower 2.5L-four-cylinder isn’t a great powerplant aside from its diseased stop-start system. Coarse above 4000 rpm, also known as 2300 rpm shy of the 2.5L’s power peak, the 2.5L causes the Malibu to feel slower than it actually is because you won’t want to rev it and it doesn’t want to rev.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ interiorOh, but of course you can upgrade the powerplant to GM’s 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder (63 extra horsepower and a hefty 295 lb-ft of torque), and at this price point, why haven’t you? Forego some of the LTZ’s features in favour of an LT with the proper engine and the Malibu erases one of its key faults.

A different engine won’t dramatically alter the ride and handling, and that’s not the end of the world. The Malibu doesn’t ride poorly, but there is some stiffness that lacks a commensurate return in handling agility and precision. Honda’s Accord and the Mazda 6 also transmit impacts into the cabin, but they pay dividends on a back road. When pushed, the Malibu fees larger to drive than it really is. Nevertheless, in mundane driving, the light steering and surprisingly responsive and progressive brakes cause no offense.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu rear seatOffense may well be taken by people behind the driver, however, not just inside the Malibu but in the vehicle abaft. Subjectively speaking, the front end of the Malibu is handsome, but the rear is cartoonish and heavy-handed, thus causing the driver of the car behind you to avert his eyes. As for rearward occupants, scalloped front seats introduced for 2014 offered little noticeable improvement for rear seat passengers. A massive centre hump severely restricts three-across comfort. There may be no Malibu demerit more egregious than its compact car-like rear cabin.

Up front, the interior is laid out effectively, but we had some annoying moments with Chevrolet’s MyLink, an experience that didn’t occur during the prior week with a Buick LaCrosse. Turning the knob to cycle through satellite radio stations periodically accomplished nothing, but then a glance back at the screen a moment or two later revealed an intense scrolling, presumably caused by what I perceived to be my unsuccessful attempt at scanning through the list of channels. Overall, the system continues to be sufficiently intuitive but was persistently laggy in this car.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu interior storageIt all adds up to an undesirable machine, a transportation device that is unlikely to cause undue harm but struggles to do its job as effectively as its rivals. Still, I’d argue that a devoted GM buyer doesn’t need to look outside the Chevy showroom. A Cruze, particularly a loaded one that’ll still cost thousands less than this Malibu test specimen, does a faithful impersonation of a big car in dynamic terms. The Cruze’s interior is only 5% smaller. And if big car space is truly required, a V6-engined Impala is only slightly more costly than this specific Malibu. Forget the Malibu LTZ’s features: space is luxury.

Or you could just wait. As we’ve come to learn, there’s always a new Malibu around the corner.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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87 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    It’s amazing how they dropped the ball on this. I was really surprised to hear the back seat was no bueno

    On the flip side the Impala is freaking huge. I feel like they could split the difference and do well, but GM has always had an unhealthy appetite for max nameplates. I’m excited to see what they do with the 2016 model.

    • 0 avatar
      kjb911

      Actually the 2.0T does drive differently. The steering was programmed to act like the Regal GS making for a more substantial feeling in a corner. I was cackling like a madman last night hitting the back-roads that lead to the reservoir near my house. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot I hate about my bu and I am always debating on getting rid of it but then I drive it like I stole it and can’t help but admire the damn thing. Its like an abusive spouse…you know you should give it up but you still go back.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Worst rental car I’ve had out of 20+ rentals was a 2014 Malibu with the 4cyl. Man that thing was just subpar – I’ll RUN to a last generation Chrysler 200 over a new Malibu.

      And typical of GM, the new 2016 one will probably only be marginally better, and still lag behind the competition.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    People wonder why GM’s passenger car market share is stagnant. Behold Exhibit A. It’s almost like they Want to push people into CUVs, SUVs and pick ups.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    At least in pictures the interior looks nice. Not so sterile as in other comparable sedans. Camry,Accord, and Altima. Nice pictures on the lake with the snow.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Reviews for the Taurus, Lacrosse, and Malibu. Is it “Sedans with terrible interior space utilization” week at TTAC?

    And, to channel my inner Deadweight, this lame engine is also offered on the $35K ATS. So yahoo for GM.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Another Tim Cain Special Edition 25% More MSRP Than You Would Believe.

    What kind of imbecile would pay even 20k for this when an Accord LX can be had with more power, far better reliability & better fit & finish for around 22k?

    Fuggin’ GM.

    Send in the clowns – GM Deathwatch II begins at inception of next deep macroeconomic cyclical downturn.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Not too many, I guess. It always lags behind its better competitors in sales numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen a privately owned model of this generation of Malibu. All of them RENTALS.

        The only thing I can think of is that Chevy half-bakes them so they can up-sell the Impala, but all of the new gen Impalas I’ve ever seen have been RENTALS as well.

        For a company as large and resourceful as GM, they have no reason not to completely dominate this segment. The bones are there. The Ecotec and 6/8 speed is a solid powertrain.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          A coworker bought a leftover 2014 Eco LT a few months ago, it had all sorts of cash on the hood and he got a GM family discount due to his father working on the line his whole life in Anderson. Rode in it once, not a ‘bad’ car, it does a good job of isolating the driver, better than all other midsizers perhaps, but that is the only area it really excels in. I was surprised by how compact the passenger space was, and not just in legroom. Headroom is tight as well on models with a sunroof, which is how my coworker’s car was configured. I felt like there was more space in my other coworker’s 2014 Sentra, not joking.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            In the photos above, the interior looks very sloppily assembled. That would turn me off very quickly at a dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      AmcEthan

      how is the Accord more reliable, or even better for that matter? GM is in a bad place right now but i would take the malibu or the impala (but given the choice of a four door i would first look at chargers) over the accord. when i borrowed my sisters new accord last month it was probably the most depressing new car i have ever driven, and it wasn’t terrible, just felt under powered and rode awful, with a generic new car interior look.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        “how is the Accord more reliable…”

        Dude, your delusions outweigh my cynicism by a multiplier of 100 to 1.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Not sure how an Accord can feel under powered in relation to one of these 2.5 Malibus… in fact the Accord is probably one of the fastest NA 4cyl midsizers out there, both in manual and automatic form. Interior wise I’d say Hondas still have some of the best ergonomics in the business. You say ‘generic,’ I say comfortable, easy to use, airy, and roomy.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Oh, well…then let us hope the 2016 is a decent car.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Hope: GM’s strategy since the 1970s; even after being bankrupted, then bailed out by taxpayers – it’s still GM’s strategy.

      One of the all-time worst managed corporations in the history of corporations; such utter incompetence that the English Language lacks the proper nouns to adequately describe thusly.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        SNAFU is adequate.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        But I still hope it turns out well…even if by accident and the brass forget to hound the designers and techs.

        Personally, I thin the issue is ALL major corporations begin to mirror Big Gov. Middle managers and upper managers all begin to think more of themselves than of the job.
        Not sure how to solve this. It used to be the marketplace took care of itself from within. If you performed poorly, you lost your job.
        Not so sure this has been a reality since the sixties, perhaps earlier.
        Companies start out small and focused…then get big and the main philosophy is somehow forgotten or watered down and the founder’s ideas and dreams fade off into individualism.
        Let’s hope there is an accident here.

        Damn! Your picture is just awesome! Tropic Thunder…Robert Downey JR best role…a white guy playing a black guy playing a soldier!!!!

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          Most big automakers are producing cars that are better than ever; GM is just not one of those corporations.

          GM failed in part because it behaved like a government that felt entitled to revenue without having to compete for it. If GM had gone through a normal bankruptcy new management, procedures, and processes would have be put in place by whoever took over the reorganized company. Instead all the players remained the same, they just got a clean financial slate.

          Same people, same way of doing business, same as it ever was.

      • 0 avatar
        CaseyLE82

        Try spanish

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I remember when I first saw the interior of the 2013 Malibu. I thought it was a puzzling piss-poor mess, especially the bunked centre console. Shortly afterward I recall an auto journalist referred to the interior as a strange steampunk mash up, which is a perfect description.
    I still don’t understand how GM went from having a capable competitive model against the then Ford Fusion and blew it with this. Did they not know Ford was going to hit hard with their 2013? I will say that I actually thought the rushed front end redo was pretty successful, but only because the original front was so lousy looking.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      Honestly, thoroughly refreshing and updating the 2008-2012 model would have been better than this. It should have been facelifted, interior upgraded, lengthened, trunk opening expanded, given a new powertrain and sent on its merry way.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      This is the bankruptcy Malibu. Kinda hard to feel motivated when your company is circling the drain and might start bouncing paychecks in a few weeks.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Naw, man. No bouncy paychecks. The US taxpayers stand ready for another round of bailouts, handouts and nationalization. Fear not.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          That was far from certain in the Fall of 2008.

          GM’s most recent releases have been trending better. Perhaps the reassurance of Uncle Sugar’s backstop has a salutary impact on morale?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            No doubt! It would have a profoundly positive effect on ME if I knew that the good faith and credit of these United States were behind me so I could never fail.

  • avatar
    nine11c2

    I don’t understand your criticism. IN fact, I think the latest model Malibu’s have better materials, particularly on the door and dash, than the models before them. The two tone interiou is nice, but there are still some very cheap materials and stiching throughout.

    The car though, IMHO is as good to drive as any Camry and Nissan and I prefer it. I think you’re criticizing to make a theme for the article. I think the new Malibu is as good as any mid-sized sedan was 5 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      > as good to drive as any Camry and Nissan

      You need to try the V6 Camry or Altima. For the kind of money that they are wanting for that 2.5 4 LTZ, you can get a pretty nice V6 Camry or a really really nice V6 Altima that will be a much more enjoyable ride, and probably have much better TCO as well.

    • 0 avatar

      If you compare any car to Altima – it is sign of failure. ALtima is an Ultimate rental machine.

      • 0 avatar
        MoDo

        Agree’d – the 4 banger Altima is only marginally better than the 4cyl ‘Bu. I will no longer accept Toyota Corollas either – slow, boring and plain.

        • 0 avatar
          sunridge place

          Dude. You should probably switch to National if you’re such a demanding person at the rental desk. Choose your own with National. Been with them for years. No need to be a prick at the counter.

          Are you traveling on your own dime or is your company funding it?

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            Nothing wrong with an Altima rental. Good size trunk and interior space, decent ride, good millage, decent acceleration.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            They are selling brand new 2014 rental-grade Altima sedans in my area for $18K plus tt&l. It has Power everything, Cruise, AC, 4-cyl and steel wheels.

            Hard to beat price for something that size.

          • 0 avatar

            It also has a keyless entry. My last two rental cars were loaded Altima’s. The only thing was missing were navigation and leather seats. But very crude and annoying.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I-L-O, I didn’t know that. Thanks.

            Crude and Annoying are Altima’s first and middle names.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Doesn’t matter if the materials are good if the space is wrong. The Malibu interior space just wasn’t configured right for American customers and their stuff. I think the team that designed the Cruze showed better understanding of the market than the team that designed the Malibu.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      ” I think the new Malibu is as good as any mid-sized sedan was 5 years ago.”

      Saying the NEW Malibu is as good as a five year old Camry or Nissan is not a compliment. Unless GM’s new slogan is “Now we are only 5 years behind our competitors!”

  • avatar
    Timothy

    Interesting that the Rental Review on Curbside Classic in the exact same car is so very different.

    http://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/new-cars/rental-car-review-2015-chevrolet-malibu-this-is-the-worst-gm-can-do-now/

    As with most things in life, I’m sure the truth lies about half way between these two viewpoints.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Thank you for posting that.

      Given my harsh words of condemnation for GM in general, reading that CC review that reached a very different conclusion/verdixt about this MY Malibu has given me much to contemplate – and I’m not being sarcastic.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        On 3rd thought, on a hunch, I just read another CC review of a 2014 Cadillac XTS, and wow…what full on BS and glowing review of a vehicle that absolutely doesn’t warrant such.

        Has CC been turned into a GM proxy site, per chance?

        Some of the reviewer’s claims about the XTS were nothing short of comedic. I know this because I’ve driven one for a far longer distance than he did for purposes of his review.

        http://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/new-cars/future-curbside-classic-2014-cadillac-xts-how-to-say-fleetwood-in-the-21st-century/

        • 0 avatar
          tuffjuff

          Deadweight,

          We’re you a Ford or GM fanboy? I forget; I’m inclined to think it was Ford you had previously fanboy’d out about, but BTS’ “herp derp buy a Dodge” stuff seems to have completely drown that out of my memory.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            You obviously don’t have a remote clue as to what you are speaking of if that’s what you believe.

            I criticize all vehicles, from all manufacturers, where & when warranted, whether Acura, Ford, Nissan, GM, Toyota, etc.

          • 0 avatar

            @tuffjuff “We’re you a Ford or GM fanboy”

            Definition of the “fanboy” from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fanboy:

            “Someone who’s opinion on the subject, like consumer product, contradicts yours in a fundamental way.”

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          CC viewers tend to be people who love old domestic cars so it is not surprising one of their contributors would like the new Malibu. Any website whose audience enjoys reading profiles of 1980’s GM products is probably going to be disposed to look favorably on a new GM product.

          I say that as a fan of CC. Great site that does what is does very well.

  • avatar

    The 2013 Malibu Eco I tested was a pretty car. My cousin bought a 2014 recently.

    If only GM had the ballz to build a V6 with FWD and optional AWD in both the Malibu and Impala like Chrysler has with the 200 and 300.

    OH WELL…

    DEATHWATCH anybody?

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    I hate getting the Malibu as an “upgrade” at Hertz. I go straight to the office to swap. It’s funny when the staff asks if I’m “Malibued out?”… Must be a very common swap.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Space is luxury; given this maxim the fail around the industry is appalling.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Guess the struggle is to get luxury AND space. You can keep getting larger, like cars seem to be, but then getting MPG and solid build and room is easier said and demanded than done.
    A make I refer to is Subaru. Awesome room. Great vision. Just all around cheep sounding cars and thin, plastic interiors.
    You want thick doors that sound solid when shutting? You want thick, comfortable seats and tick soft dashes…this all takes up room.
    Real solid comfort must come at a cost…and I think interior space is effected.

  • avatar

    I agree with you. Honestly, even now, on the eve of a redesign, the Malibu isn’t *bad*; it’s just uncompetitive.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The reason this car is the way it is (small, cramped, a little gutless) was to make room for the Impala. The last 04-08 and 08-12 Malibus were better cars than their larger brother (good planning there, GM) and it skewered the bigger car’s sales, landing it into fleet-only territory.

    The new Impala is a lot better than the old W-Body, so this ought not to have been an issue, but GM overcompensated with this car and made it just a little bit worse.

    The problem, though, is that no one buys large sedans in quantity: Honda doesn’t even sell a (Honda-badged car) larger than the Accord, and the Avalon and Maxima are afterthoughts. The Malibu should be Camry-sized and Camry-competitive, but what GM did was stick with a market segmentation strategy that stopped being effective in 1980.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “The reason this car is the way it is (small, cramped, a little gutless) was to make room for the Impala.”

      GM went against the grain by attempting to turn its US-market midsize family car into a world car.

      Years ago, Toyota and Honda began to make US-oriented midsizers that were not world cars, which allowed them to dominate the market following the end of the OPEC crunch. Just as long as they continue to do that, no other automaker can afford to do otherwise. Ford made this mistake with the Contour; the GM accountants must have ignored history and won this battle.

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    I remember reading about the “success” of American sedans back in 2010 and how competitive they are to the Camry/Accord and I just chuckle. Their success was because their sedan was compared against their predecessors from late 90s and early 2000s, so the 2008 – 2010 Malibu looked great. Throw in Toyota and HOnda supply bottleneck (tidal wave and Fukishima nuclear, plus Thailand flood) and it looked great for GM. Well now we’re back to reality and that is Toyota, HOnda and Nissan live for the family cars and GM live for trucks and SUV; that’s their respective forte. With limited capital, they have to focus their R&D and resources on their respective strength. It will be a long time before GM and Chrysler be competitive in the family car segment. Likewise, I have a hard time seeing Toyota/Honda/Nissan dominating the medium and heavy truck and SUV segments.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I haven’t experienced a class leading Nissan mid or large car offering since the 1990 Maxima.

      The Altima’s I have driven have always felt like sloppy seconds, a couple of notches above some sloppy Mitsubishi.

      I’ve not gotten the Nissan love in a long, long time.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I was in PHX for three weeks and drove in 6 different midsized sedan rental cars from National. The rankings are as follows:

        1) Fusion
        2) Mazda6
        3) Camry
        4) Malibu
        5) Altima
        6) Sonata

        I have very few good things to say about the Sonata. It also has the lowest front ground clearance of all these vehicles and cannot be parked over a parking block in the Phoenix area. Three groups of people had Sonatas, and all of them ripped the chin spolier off in a parking lot.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    I see about as many Malibus’ of this iteration as I do Camry/Altima/Accord/Sonata/Fusion/Optimas. Somebody’s buyin’ ’em…

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Where do you live? http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2015/01/usa-midsize-car-sales-figures-december-2014-year-end.html

      • 0 avatar
        r129

        I see a good number of the current Malibus, but not as many as the last version, and not as many in high trim levels. They are pretty much all either LS or 1LT models, and you can buy them for the same price as a Cruze.

        Disclaimer: I live in Buffalo, where the W-body Impala is probably THE most popular car on the road, you see people driving the Cadillac ATS everywhere, and Oldsmobile easily outsold Toyota until 2001.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Once again, this is my favorite website if I want to feel like an idiot for buying a 2013 Malibu, and actually liking it.

    But I’ll admit, that if I had a family, the back seat is definitely too tight. Grocery bags fit just fine. The front 8-way power seat goes back so far that there’s actually no room behind me at all – but my 35″ inseam legs have plenty of room in front. The interior is also wide, and open, so I don’t feel cramped (like I did sitting in the Fusion, or the previous-gen Chrysler 200).

    The 2.5 Ecotec feels rock solid, has a timing chain, and gets a 3400 lb car to 60 in 8 seconds; yes, slightly coarse above 5,000 RPM, but you don’t need to beat it that hard to stay with traffic.

    The 6-speed auto is geared for FE, yet the throttle is easy to “tweak” a lower gear if needed (though sometimes it will downshift 2 gears if you’re not precise).

    The car handles slightly “heavy”, but I often take 4-lane sweepers at a speed that not only allows me to pass other cars, but has me holding down items on the seats to keep them from sliding off. The 18-inch wheel/tire combo still offers a nice ride, with no “crashing” on potholes, though (as is my habit) I steer around the really big ones – since I’m not renting the car and do care about ruining the nice easy-to-clean 10-spokes.

    The Pioneer stereo upgrade sounds really good with the MP3’s from the little USB stick I have hidden in the console (I’m too cheap to pay for Sirius, which doesn’t offer as good sound quality, IMHO). The backup camera is great for getting into my small garage. Separate buttons and knobs (not touch-screen) for the dual-zone automatic climate control, and big volume/tuning knobs for the stereo, too.

    The Remote Start works nice – allows me to have the oil flowing so I can just hop in and drive – the garage door button allows me to not hang the Sears one from the visor (I keep it in the mini “glovebox” to the left of the steering wheel if needed).

    The trunk opening is a little narrow, but (with the rear seats folded down using the convenient interior release latches) I can carry longer items (like an electric lawn mower with the handle folded), and has enough room for 5 bags of mulch. The 2LT also included a space-saver spare and jack in the well below the floor.

    I got the beige/brown interior with the vinyl/”woven cloth” seats – I imagine if I drove naked, that upholstery would be quite uncomfortable, but I was looking for durability, and after 2 years, no sign of wear. The 8-way power seat has adjustable lumbar support, and I can adjust it to give a bit of thigh support so my legs aren’t fully resting on the door card or console). The mainly light-colored interior is actually “mood-enhancing”, and the earth-tone colors are such an improvement over the black or “sea-of-gray” stuff that’s out there. The chrome strips on the dash (that wrap into the doors) that subtly reflect hidden blue LED lighting at night are the coolest thing since the “floating” speedometers of the 1950’s – a nice touch. The Driver Information Display (full color), provides a lot of info; may fave being tire pressures at all 4 wheels – you don’t have to manually check your tires in cold weather. The just-thick-enough, leather-wrapped steering wheel looks nice, and has just the right amount of friction; the wheel controls work well.

    The lightweight aluminum hood has a single (all it needs) lift strut – no looking for the prop-rod hole. Engine compartment is tidy, the battery even has a plastic cover to keep splash away.

    The sticker was about $26k; with a $2k rebate and Internet price, I paid $23.8k (less title, taxes, etc,).

    The only complaint I have is that Chevy released high-trim models to rental fleets, so the depreciation on my Malibu is not good – if you’re a “buy and trade” type, an Accord would be a better choice.

    I would take this car over a “tin can” Altima any day (CVT), and over an Accord, which was noisy enough to require a cancellation scheme in the stereo system (or it did in 2013).

    The Chrysler 200 was too cramped (as well as the Sonata, with weak seat springs, though it looked cool – and had the “pulling steering” issue)

    I look forward to the 2016 model; if Chevy addresses the main deficiencies to increase its desirability as a “family sedan”, I think it will be right up there with the leaders.

    /owner review

    • 0 avatar
      TCowner

      The Sonata was cramped? We had a 2011 Sonata for three years, they are friggin huge on the inside.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        Sorry – I really wanted to buy a Sonata (back in 2009), but with the power seat all the way back, and the seat cushion tilted all the way up, my knee bone (fibula) was rubbing on the high center console. The Malibu has 1.5″ more legroom, and avoids this (for me).

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Always good to hear an actual owner review, good or bad. I drove a 2013 Eco Malibu back when they were new, as an “appliance” car, I thought it was absolutely fine. I’ve wanted to get my mitts on a nice LTZ or LZ3 turbo version to see what that would drive like.

      Even in my heavily GM oriented town, I don’t see a huge number of 13-15 Malibus, I probably see as many new Impalas as I do Malibus. A co-worker has one, it replaced a 10 year old Volvo and he seems very happy with it.

      I’d spring for one, but the Aztek is getting old and we do like living with a SUV in the household. We’ll probably end up with an Equinox or Terrain in the driveway next time…

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I can’t recall the last time I saw such heavy incentives on GM vehicles, whether cash on the hood or subsidized leases, including Chevy/GMC.

        I am seeing true (not misleading) lease quote ads for 36 month leases on “well equipped” (so mid tier) Enclaves for $169/month with $681 due at signing.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        This gen Malibu isn’t for everyone (especially with a half-baked stop-start system – which mine doesn’t have), but considering the limitations of the platform, I’d say the engineers did pretty well with what they had. Perhaps a “clean sheet” design will be a winner.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Inherited a 2008 Malibu 2LT V-6 from my mother when she passed. A pretty decent car overall – good power, handling and ride, and better-than-expected fuel economy. The killer for me was the really poor visibility. We got rid of it after about a year.

    Had a 2015 Malibu as a rental last week. It was a disaster in pretty much every way. SLOW, sloppy handling, cramped, uncomfortable. The only 2 upsides I could find were a HUGE trunk and a pretty quiet highway ride. It’s a crime what GM did to the Malibu when it swapped platforms to the current smaller one – the loss in wheelbase killed the packaging.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      It gets worse, the platform was simply a rework of then current one. GM intentionally used the SWB version for the Malibu.

      “Current and announced vehicles built on Epsilon II:

      2008–present Opel Insignia, Buick Regal (saloon, hatchback, estate) (SWB)
      2010–present Buick LaCrosse/Alpheon (LWB)
      2010-2012 Saab 9-5 (LWB)
      2012–present Roewe 950 (LWB)[2]
      2012–present Chevrolet Malibu, Holden Malibu (SWB)
      2012–present Cadillac XTS (LWB)
      2013–present Chevrolet Impala (LWB)”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_Epsilon_platform#Epsilon_II

      • 0 avatar
        ZCD2.7T

        I didn’t realize that the current Impala was built on a LWB Epsilon platform. Had one of those as a rental a while back and was seriously impressed. Very well turned-out vehicle, even to this jaded Euro-favoring enthusiast.
        So the Malibu’s problem apparently isn’t necessarily the platform, rather it’s the tuning and details.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Why do the manufacturer’s always ‘lend’ the highly spec’ed models? Who in their right mind would even contemplate $35k for this type of vehicle?

    Why can’t GM build a car without a ‘hump’ in the rear floor? Asian manufacturers mastered this decades ago. GM is trying to sell what is basically a 4 seat car, at a size and price point higher than 5 seat cars from their Asian competitors.

    Another instance of GM either shooting themselves in the foot or manufacturing a vehicle that provides zero reasons for purchasing it, instead of the competition.

    That’s too bad. We had a 2001 Malibu (5th generation built from ’97 to ’03 and then for a while later as the ‘Classic’) that while rather utilitarian, was totally reliable, had good visibility and a hard wearing interior. It used the Epsilon platform and came with a 3.1 litre 6cyl for a price below the 4 cylinders offered by the competition. Unfortunately it was only manufactured with an auto transmission. A manual might have actually made it fun to drive. The styling on that version of Malibu did not seem like much then but has aged very well. And there are still a ton of them on the road. The only apparent issue is that a significant number display large rust patterns directly below the gas filler cap.

    Can anyone explain why this happened so uniformly in this version of the Malibu.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “Why do the manufacturer’s always ‘lend’ the highly spec’ed models?”

      So the reviewers can evaluate all the fancy stuff on the options/packages list.

      “The Malibu’s sunroof would be a delight, if our tester had one. The 9″ touchscreen display is said to be marvelous by people who have seen it. The upscale LTZ trim offers leather seating with supportive bolsters and 4-way adjustable lumbar, according to the brochure we picked up at the dealer.”

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Not that it matters much, but that version of the Malibu was an L-body. The Epsilon was used on the next generation, the one I lovingly refer to as the Uglibu.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @geo You are of course correct. The Epsilon was used on the next generation. A very homely car but one that I also quite liked. Very good visibility, reliable if you got the 4 cylinder.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “reignite the engine mellifluously, even surreptitiously”

    “I can make up words too! You are a festizio.”
    -Peter Griffin

  • avatar
    zaxxon25

    Another actual happy purchaser and owner of a 2014 Malibu LTZ here, though I opted for the 2.0T which makes a big difference in comparison to the 2.5 I drove. I am no GM loyalist, my other car is a Volvo C30 and I’ve owned Chrysler, Nissan, Subaru and Honda products in the past. I drove the Camry, Mazda6, Sonata, Altima and Charger in comparison (the 200 wasn’t out yet, otherwise that would have been on my list too).

    My bottom line is while this may not be the car for you, it’s the car for me. Biggest pluses:

    =Interior comfort, quality and noise level is by far the best and quietest in the class
    =Engine and transmission were the best blend of being both responsive and enjoyable
    =MyLink actually *works* and is very intuitive as compared to other systems I tried
    =Suspension is placid and competent in the city (where I do most of my driving) though it won’t win any exit ramp rallies.
    =Price for the features was extremely competitive when GM incentives and dealership willingness to bargain is factored in

    It’s not perfect, I think some of the interior design elements don’t work well together (the fake wood especially). The backseat is rarely in use so I don’t consider it much of a concern. The voice command feature works, but is about as accurate as my hard-of-hearing grandma. Visibility is not the best but the blind spot system is incredibly accurate at picking up actual concerns.

    If my garage was bigger and could accommodate it I would have seriously considered stepping up to the Impala LT and dropping a few features to hit the same price. But given my requirements the Malibu was an excellent choice.

    People here are obviously polarized about GM products and many make sport of eviscerating anything with a blue square on it. I get that, but much like a happy Camry or Altima owner on this site there’s an enthusiast who can find love in the driver’s seat of a Malibu.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Since this is the only GM thread today, I must show you all something ghastly.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/new-york/2016-buick-enclave-tuscan-edition-rolls-into-new-york/ar-AAa36Dv

    Fifty bucks, ten years from now these are on ebay as the “Enclave Tucson Edition! 1-Owner.”

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Doesn’t bother me too much. The brown highlights tone down the usual garish chrome that GM slathers on the standard models. Probably looks weird on the black and white ones, though.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        White and bronze, yeah definitely odd. This will go over like the Mercury VOGA packages. And be rare later! Tuscan/Tucson/etc are not good names for cars, as they are too easily confused by silly Americans. Furthermore, the Enclave has absolutely nothing to do with Italy.

        I’m having visions of Cadillac LaSalle Editions and Talisman DTS’s.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          At least it’s not a Star Wars tie-in.

          “The Sand People frighten easily, but they will return in special edition Buick Enclaves, and in greater numbers.”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The Enclave will come in a special TUSCAN raiders edition.

            http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Tusken_Raider

    • 0 avatar
      r129

      Someone was just complaining to me yesterday about the “Hyundai Tuscan” that they had as a rental.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    The 3LT Malibu with the 2.0T is the Malibu to get. But the price is very, very close to an Impala LT 3.6. If you have the space, don’t mind the gap, don’t care about what other people say and don’t have to drive in tight areas…

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    My impression after renting this car was that GM just got lazy. They paid no attention to the strides the competition made and turned out one seriously mediocre car with nothing to recommend it over the competition.

  • avatar
    Illan

    i have a 2010 chevy malibu LTZ. I have always though the reason the 2013 was shortened, “de-glitz and the interiors were changed was (at least my LTZ) this was nice buick with a bowtie badge, and thus it was cannibalizing sales to its sister brand

    yes my Malibu 2010 has a horrendous rear visibility

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