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It has been about 6 months since I traded my 2017 LT for a 2018 Premier. It has about 37,000 miles on it now. When I first got it I drained the oil and put in Mobil1 and just did the second oil change. I had the transmission fluid drained a couple weeks ago. Tossed in a new engine air filter. I did get some tint but never bought a tune. I'll tune once beyond the powertrain warranty. Here are my thoughts:

The good: Overall pretty happy. The 2.0 takes off quite a bit faster than my old 1.5. It doesn't seem to struggle or work as hard getting up to speed. The transmission seems to flirt with gears a bit but is smoother than the 6 speed. I love the seats and it is nice having the built-in nav and bose setup. I look forward to having the heated steering wheel in the winter. Car still drives smooth no vibrations or odd noises at all.

The neutral: I wish they had paired a better exhaust with it. It doesn't sound much different than the 1.5. It has that grainy higher pitched sound. By sound I wouldn't even tell the difference. The adaptive cruise is annoying. It drops your speed way too early so you never catch the car you are about to pass. I see I am coming up to a car, glance left, put on blinker then see I am already lowering speed so have to do it manually. Have to adapt to getting over a lot earlier. I checked tire prices and looks like they are about 225-250 each. I wish it had hood struts not the sad little prop rod.

The bad: After a month I found water in the trunk. It was the upper brake light. I thought they fixed that? Last month the passenger side DRL failed. Both warranty. The mpg is not so good in the city. I am only averaging about 24 now with a bit more city than highway.
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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So 2.0T feels a bit faster than 1.5T? I thought the difference would be marginal.
Some easy math might help here. The 2.0T is 25% larger than the 1.5T, so it should have about 25% more power. However, it actually has about 50% more power! The thing that makes it feel even more powerful is that it's in the same car and it is not 50% heavier, so all of that extra power goes into the column of added power and none of it goes into the column to overcome any added weight.

None of the Gen7 models offered a turbocharged engine. I first test drove the 2.4L model and thought it was amazing for "just a 4-banger". When I drove the 3.6L V6, I was sold. It's not just 50% larger, but the rated HP goes from 169 for the 2.4L to 252 for the 3.6L, which is 50% more power as well. It comes off the line and gets down the road at a noticeably faster rate, and yet the 2.4L is no slouch by any means!

More or less evenly, the 1.5T compares to the 2.4L, and the 2.0T to the 3.6L, however, the 2.0T moves a car that is several hundred pounds lighter, so the power-to-weight ratio is even more favorable than my 3.6L. On top of that, it gets much better mileage than my 3.6L as well, so what's not to like?

That's okay. I still prefer an NA engine for it's simplicity and fewer parts, but that's a whole 'nother conversation.
 

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2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T
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After a month I found water in the trunk. It was the upper brake light. I thought they fixed that? Last month the passenger side DRL failed. Both warranty.
The junk nuts/fasteners were a 2016-2017 problem but the light can leak for other reasons. It can crack and the gaskets can fail. Things you would chalk up to common defect rates. The LED DRL we don't see much of here on the forum. My passenger side went out around 60k and was replaced under service contract. There are GM cars all over my area in West Michigan with one DRL out but don't read much about it here. I'm glad warranty took care of it.
 

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I replaced the factory nuts with nylon lock nuts to properly sexure the 3rd brake light. They crack when the nuts are overtorqued.

Also I purchased hood struts. Very easy install.
 
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