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Old 06-27-2012, 09:16 AM   #61
tstone
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Default Re: Opinions on the Malibu

I know I’m a bit late to the party but I thought I’d chime in here with my opinions FWIW. I came out of an ’03 Intrepid that served me well over 231,000 miles and needed a replacement. I was hoping to find another lightweight, full size car but they don’t make them like that anymore. So it was off to the midsize segment.

First of all I’m not a brand-name fanboi… and Korean cars are completely out of the question (for now at least). So I test drove an Avenger, 200, Camry, Altima, Fusion, Impala and Malibu, all ’11 or ’12 models. Anyway the worst one was the Avenger/200, though the interior was pretty nice the driving position was uncomfortable and the car just didn’t carry its weight well. Almost as bad was the Impala, but it did have a great engine. The Camry was completely boring in every way and uncomfortable, and the Altima’s weird CVT and ‘femme’ styling were deal-breakers.

So that left the Fusion and Malibu, both of which were pretty good but I gave the edge to the Malibu. Both had comfortable driving positions, equal options and an equal amount of room overall, but the Malibu was quieter and had better ride/handling feel, probably because it has the longest wheelbase of all the cars I tested. It was also a little cheaper, a little cheaper inside than the Fusion but it fit the profile I needed... so I began my search for the color and options (to have and to avoid).

I was looking for a 1 yr old car with low miles. Instead I found dozens and dozens of white or gold ’11 fleet LS’s with 30k-ish miles. Eventually I found a dark blue ’11 1LT with 9,400 miles… a repo that was likely sitting for several months because it felt like it had to go through a 2nd break-in. It was clean except the original owner obviously hotboxed in it with cigarettes (and “incense” ). I’ve had it about a month now and after one professional shampooing, removing some interior parts & hand-scrubbing, some Ozium, Zep, 409 and Lysol… the odor is about 90% gone and a slight new car smell is starting to fade in. If it were any older, I’d pass on a smoky car but being 1 yr old it was new enough to clean up.

So after about 1 month now- so far so good, no troubles at all! I’ve put 3,000 miles on it already and can say this is a well-balanced, comfortable and solid commuter and highway car. The seats are firm but comfortable for long trips. Gas mileage with the 4 cylinder has been about 26 mpg overall. I like the stereo features with XM, Aux, USB, BT and it works perfect with my Sony phone, but the rear speakers kinda stink. The electric steering feels strange at first but I got used to it pretty fast. The engine is smooth and quiet for a 4 cyl, gives adequate acceleration. The transmission shifts fine, but seems a little slow to downshift from 6-4 or 2-1 when you want to punch it, but I got used to it. I don’t have any serious complaints about this car but I don’t have anything to rave about either. Sensible transportation appliance.

Unless you have something against Chevy or GM, I don’t think you can go wrong with the Malibu. My suggestion is to pick one up with a few miles to save money from depreciation. Get a dark blue or red one to keep from looking like every other car on the road, too. I usually keep my cars about 8-9 years and wear them out, clean it up and sell on the street, repeat. Hopefully this one will go the distance relatively trouble-free.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:20 PM   #62
MrRichRod
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Default Re: Opinions on the Malibu

tstone I read your review on my phone and logged in to CMF just to tell you that's the most thorough, well written review of car shopping I've ever read! By far useful to those who are shopping the midsize market right now!

Have you considered a profession in reviewing vehicles for a living? Say Car & Driver?

Oh, and BGM (black) isn't very common either, at least in my observations over the past 3 years.
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Old 07-28-2012, 08:43 PM   #63
xjken99
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Default Re: Opinions on the Malibu

Good luck on your new car quest, I have an '11 LS 4 cylinder with the 6 speed auto. the first 17 months have been totally trouble free. I for one feel the 4 cylinder has a good amount of grunt for my needs but, the six speed seems to shift at some weird times but, it also has been trouble free. I like the styling of the exterior and the interior and it has plenty of room for us. The fit and finish is the best on any new car I have ever purchased and the paint is excellent as well. If I have encountered any problem it would be the spare tire cover in the trunk. After carrying two 24 pack of water the cover collapsed into the spare tire well. Other than that the car has been near perfect up to this point.
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:48 AM   #64
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Default Re: Opinions on the Malibu

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Originally Posted by xjken99 View Post
After carrying two 24 pack of water the cover collapsed into the spare tire well.


That might be a good heads-up for some of the rest of us.
What did you do about that ??

Seems like some simple re-inforcement to the underside might be in order......if there is room.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:58 PM   #65
xjken99
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Default Re: Opinions on the Malibu

The cover did not break, what I think the problem is that the plastic piece that runs along the bottom of the trunk opening does not have a wide enough lip on it. If you put any weight on it it pushes the fiberboard cover past the lip. When I need to carry anything heavy now I just throw an old sheet on the back seat and put it there. The good thing is I don't carry anything real heavy very often.
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Old 07-29-2012, 02:35 PM   #66
MalibuKen
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Default Re: Opinions on the Malibu

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The cover did not break,
No permanent bendage either ??
Guess I'm gonna have to go look and use my imagination a bit.
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:59 PM   #67
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Default Re: Opinions on the Malibu

Sounds like my old 97 Cougar. I sat too much stuff in it and made the cover over the spare tire cave in. It is permanently bowed now. Not too worried about it since it's just my drive to work car but I was thinking I could always just get a piece of plywood and cover it with the trunk carpeting and use that instead. Would be much stronger than the cardboard looking stuff they used stock anyways.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:55 PM   #68
xjken99
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Default Re: Opinions on the Malibu

No permanent damage.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:12 PM   #69
JSHous
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Default Re: Opinions on the Malibu

I too am going to get a Malibu this spring...I think March or April. I've done some research and I think I'll go with the LS or maybe 1LT. I like the leather wrapped wheel and that faux wood accent stripe along the dashboard is a nice touch. I'll go for a 2012. Using AutoTrader there are loads for sale here in Tampa. I'll use it primarily for a 12 mi RT commute to work. I've heard nothing but good things about the 2012 Malibu. This would be my first GM car. My dad was a big Merc/Lincoln guy and I've always had Fords.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:45 PM   #70
DrivenDaily
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Default Re: Opinions on the Malibu

If you want Blue Tooth to speak on the phone while driving check the current option lists to see if you are getting it in the car you intend to buy. If it doesn't come with it, GM says it's pretty much impossible to add it after the car is built.

But the aftermarket is full of head units that include it and stand-alone BT systems.

I had it in my '09 and loved it the first time and ever since. Got it in the '11, too. If it hadn't come with it I would have found a way to add it soon after purchase, just like tint!
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