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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We had an 09 4 cyl Malibu delivered Thursday at work and I wanted to test drive the car and see how it ran with the 4. I gotta tell ya I was impressed how well it ran. I hadn't driven one before I bought mine, if I had, I mighta just bought the 4 and saved myself $1800 dollars. The 4 along with the 6 spd trans would be a gas saver. Just my 2 cents.
 

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All of our manager company cars are slowly being replaced (The '05-'06 Malibus.. obviously the Impalas aren't being replaced just yet due to the pending redesign).. even though I already have my personal Malibu, it's still exciting to see the truck pulling up to the parking lot!
 

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I'd very much agree with this, and even more so, as I've said before the lower weight and even the power output of the 4-cyl seem most at home in the front end of the Malibu/Aura. It's a great combo, particularly since the inception of the 6-spd and very peppy. To some, the V6 almost can feel like too much in this platform (not really, but close) and there's a few reasons as such to why there isn't a higher output, DI, etc. version at the moment and the EP-I cars. Both are great, and very different.

I'm less and less of a fan of our 4-spd 2.4L '08, as the shift pattern makes for rev city but still feels pretty slug-like with less than stellar mpg's, but it's still very well matched to the car and EXTREMELY smooth and quiet. Too bad the 6-spd, even if not perfect, wasn't there all along (having spoken with engineers, it was ready, but when the '08 Malibu was set to roll, they just weren't happy with the shift programming yet...therein a quick fix of a 4-spd). It fits well, either way, and my mother very much enjoys her car.

It was enough that when I was originally trying to decide on the replacement for my lemon G6, I really was torn between a 2LT V6 and a LTZ 4-cyl...eventually went with the V6 for the UltraLux and such, but would have been happy either way I think. Then, uh, went way off track and now have a 6.0L V8 car, but that's another story;)
 

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Can't say that I agree - when buying mine - I really wanted to go the 4cly 6sp route, but after a lenghty test drive both my wife and I agreed that the 4cly wouldn't cut it for us.

Now if they had a DI 4 cly with around 200+ hp and 200+ tq - and getting 35+ MPG - I definitely would have gone that way.

Is the 3.6 too much for this car - My 2 cents is no - they programmed the Trans to shift into 6th really early so you are using the torque in the motor which is why I didnt like the 4cly - it seemed to really lug the engine and I had to really 'get into it' to get the car to go on the highway.

As with all opinions - everyone has one and I am really glad I went with the 3.6
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As with all opinions - everyone has one and I am really glad I went with the 3.6
Oh, don't get me wrong, I love my V-6, I just didn't realize how good the 4 ran. And besides, I like the dual exhust tips:D. Can you get the dual tips on the 4??
 

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Oh, don't get me wrong, I love my V-6, I just didn't realize how good the 4 ran. And besides, I like the dual exhust tips:D. Can you get the dual tips on the 4??
Nope.

I'm happy with the 4-cyl for the most part. It's definitly really peppy around 3k for your average city driving. On the highway it's not that stellar. knew what I was getting myself into though, so I accept the lack of power. Do I kick myself in the ass? Sure, but with the way the fuel prices have been I'd much rather save a few extra bucks on gas.
 

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I dont mind the Ecotec at all. I just wish it wasnt as shifty in our hilly commute and made a little more power under 3k but it is a small 4cyl after all.

I wish we didnt have the LE5 but the LAF. The LAF is the new engine that is going into the next generation Theta SUVs. Its expected to be rated at 22/32 MPG in a SUV!!! Insane.
 

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I'm OK with the el-cheapo version of the Malibu I have (1FL), but pang for more power. Bear in mind that my other car is a 225hp I6, and it's slug compared to the '04 GTO I traded in. But, if it's free it's for me! Company cars rule. The phrase "Drive it like a rental" takes on a new long-term meaning now. ;)
 

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I have an 08 LT1 4 cylinder. Average about 25-27 MPG in mixed driving. Just over 14k since May 3/08 And so far No major complaints. Just the brake squeek.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
KenM what model is the 1FL? I don't see it in the Malibu linrup.
 

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The 1FL is a fleet car. The company I work for leases them from GE Fleet Services.

If you go to "gmfleet.com" you'll find them.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The 1FL is a fleet car.


So does the fl mean flex fuel? I just learned something. I work for a police dept and we have bought 5 Malibus but none are flex fuel. Didn't know they had them in the Malibus.
 

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The 1FL is a fleet car.


So does the fl mean flex fuel? I just learned something. I work for a police dept and we have bought 5 Malibus but none are flex fuel. Didn't know they had them in the Malibus.
I believe the 2010 models will be flex fuel.
 

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The 1FL is a fleet car.


So does the fl mean flex fuel? I just learned something. I work for a police dept and we have bought 5 Malibus but none are flex fuel. Didn't know they had them in the Malibus.

No, not Flex Fuel just a fleet car, meaning it's configured as mass-purchase fleet buys with specific equipment and very limited options available. On mine, I had only two options to choose from: power drivers seat and engine block heater.

A fleet buyer can also configure the cars to have or delete some standard features. While mine has the XM (which I like) and OnStar (which I have no use for), they could have deleted both of those. Rental cars are also "FL" class, but are often configured with more options so they will have more appeal to the resale market in a year. I'll have to keep mine until it has up to 100,000 miles, whereas a rental car is usually disposed of before they hit 30,000 miles. Given that I put over 2,200 miles on mine in the first two weeks, I don't think I'll have it for more than two years.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the info Ken. When I went on that website you showed I saw flex fuel and I thought thats what a 1FL was. Now I know. One more question, what does it say on the trunk? FL, LS or LT????

Frank
 

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Thanks for the info Ken. When I went on that website you showed I saw flex fuel and I thought thats what a 1FL was. Now I know. One more question, what does it say on the trunk? FL, LS or LT????

Frank
I believe the 1FL models aren't labeled with a trim. It just says Malibu.

Someone else could verify this.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I am going to check all the Malibus that I see now.........
 

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My 1Fl is clearly labeled as "LS".

The fleet cars can be found here: http://www.gmfleet.com

BTW, if I was configuring a Malibu of my own choice, it would be an LTZ with 6 cylinder/6 speed maual transmission (you can still buy a 5-series BMW with manual transmission!), and DELETE all the chrome trim (other than the grille surround) with BLACK trim, as in the BMW's that have "Shadowline trim" that comes standard with the Sport Package. Retain body-color mirrors and door handles, delete body side molding. I think it would be a great looking car. After all, "Chrome won't get you home". Later, add an aftermarket turbo for kicks. :D
 

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If I'm not mistaken, most Malibu fleet cars are of the LS trim level with some things deleted.
 

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Can't say that I agree - when buying mine - I really wanted to go the 4cly 6sp route, but after a lenghty test drive both my wife and I agreed that the 4cly wouldn't cut it for us.

Now if they had a DI 4 cly with around 200+ hp and 200+ tq - and getting 35+ MPG - I definitely would have gone that way.

Is the 3.6 too much for this car - My 2 cents is no - they programmed the Trans to shift into 6th really early so you are using the torque in the motor which is why I didnt like the 4cly - it seemed to really lug the engine and I had to really 'get into it' to get the car to go on the highway.

As with all opinions - everyone has one and I am really glad I went with the 3.6
I think the 4-cyl is great in this car/platform, as I said, but also it isn't for everyone if you've had more power before or are just used to more. Our '08 2.4L/4-spd Malibu always felt peppy enough and the buttery smoothness was impressive, but after last year I got my '08 G6 GT with the 3.5L/4-spd, I grew further and further from it. I took it for a few spins when the G6 was being repurchased to really decide if a 4-cyl Malibu would do it for me or not and it did feel like a slug from then on. Then came my 3.6L/6-spd Malibu and now my 6.0L/6-spd G8 GT...so, uh, now it's really different.

I still remember how much I did and could like the 4-cyl with a 6-spd in this car, however, so the recommendation stands. Unless you're used to a meatier V6 or a chirping into 2nd V8 as I am now, it'll feel very nice, but that's all what a test drive is for...and if not, 3.6L option it is.

As for "too much", the 3.6L generally is great also in this car but power vs. the platform, it's right at the limit of what it can handle without being a bear to keep in line. As is, there's some torque steer (well managed, but still some) and it's generally been accepted that any more juice through the front wheels of an EP-I car would not be a great thing. I must say, despite my transmission (or whatever it was...) issues with shuddering and such, I still really miss the sound and feel of the 3.6L. No match for my current V8, but it had a nice, silky song that could also scream, and always felt very refined.

I'll also say this. My mother went from an '04 Suburban with the 5.3L V8 to her current '08 Malibu 2.4L/4-spd and has never once complained, just is used to it. My father, on the other hand, thinks it's awful, has no power, holds gears too long (it does), and the gas mileage stinks for a 4-cyl...but it is buttery smooth and quiet. "It NEEDS a V6" is said so often it's like a broken record, by him. Now almost 1.5 years in, both sentiments continue, but as of late now she has gotten on the band wagon sort of, saying I should have told her to get a V6 instead (the 4-cyl was my choice for her), just "because". Her mileage would be worse, guaranteed from the one I had, but it would be a more powerful car that I think they'd like. Still, too much. Having driven all the combo's, the 2.4L/6-spd is better enough with more pep that they'd both like it more, although still not a roaster. Who knows, the grass is always greener.

Bottom line...drive both and depending on price, what you want, gas mileage, etc., get the one that feels right. Both do, in different ways.
 
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