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Discussion Starter #1
I've got the 09 LS. I'm not one that really fussy about the ride of a car and overall it rides nice. Nice feel, well composed over hard bumps and a quiet ride but quiet only on smooth roads. I feel and hear every little bump. It seems as though the body is constantly in motion. Every little bump upsets it or jars it. I've read through these forums and not heard anyone describe the ride as I have but instead use words like smooth or plush when describing the ride. Tire pressures are reading 29 on the DIC and verified with a digital pressure gauge. My last car was the 2004 malibu (I hated that car with a passion from 1000 miles on) and the overall ride of the 04 is no comparison to the 09 but the ride was noticeably softer and less busy/jittery. Did I get a defective one. Probably another lemon like my last car.
 

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I just bought an 09 LTZ with the 3.6 and it compares similary to the LT I rented with the 2.4. This is really a subjective thing but I find the Malibu the most well balanced compromise of comfort and road handling car that I've driven. I'm coming from a choppy riding Mazda Speed3 so this is a big increase in smoothness and quietness. I feel it's pretty well composed on rough road surfaces too.
 

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I traded up from a 2004 Mazda 3, and I have to say, the suspension was really hard, and every bump was like a hammer on my back, it was never like that before, and must have worn out prematurely. The Malibu is a big improvement, but I would have expected a bit softer for a bigger car, perhaps just needs some time to soften up? The potholes are brutal this year and once it warms up, and roads should be a bit better.
 

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On the converse, take a ride in our '08 2LT and the plushness without being squishy soft is stunning. It's just a great ride. Not soft and mushy, but absorbant, smooth, and silent in a way that--for instance--was very, very impressive to me after a month with a last gen Malibu rental that I thought was great, but felt noisy and clunky in comparison.

It's not a soft car, but generally plush and quiet with the correct tire pressures, etc.

That said...having had an '08 and an '09 and been in discussions about this elsewhere, there is at least a difference in quiet between the years, with some insulation changed or deleted and some--reported at least--glass revisions in regards to the windshield. I had heard about it before, and my '09 2LT V6 was definitely smooth and quiet but not as much so as our '08. So, if you have an '09, the noise at least can make a difference--small, but noticeable, at least vs. an '08. Suspension, etc. wise nothing has changed, except for the 17" tires for '09.
 

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What do you mean by 'jittery'-the actual sensation or the sound of it? In terms of sound my 2LT can be a little busy, but the ride is what beach said above - composed but absorbent.
It may sound a bit noisy. On the other hand, my car before this one (an Accord) had an extremely hard suspension and on the same roads what is sound in Bu was body vibration in Accord and a lot of it. I can plow though the same bad roads faster in Bu and still stay comfortable, so perhaps this sound I hear is there because the suspension works hard on those bad roads of ours....

I used to drive an 05 as well, but I can't quite remember the sound. The handling was squishy soft and boat like. No cornering in that car :) I do remember, though, a short ride in a prev gen Bu taxi last summer downtown Ottawa...The road was bad and the suspension was loud as well....

I feel bumps too, but not a lot. I don't think it's bad, it's informative and probably can't be otherwise without becoming a floaty sofa the 05 was..Overall good mix of handling and comfort and if a bit of noise is the price for that, than I don't think I mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK. Thanks for your replys. Its like this. On a smooth road the car is very quiet - make that impressively quiet - easily as quiet as my mothers 2005 Deville. It will glide over gaps in the pavement (cracks) without feeling it or making a sound. Hit something like a manhole/sewer cover - even ones that look flush with the road and its very noticeable - a little jolt and a thump. Its not overly objectionable. I dont know, maybe its because the overall feel, quietness and integrity of the car suggest to the mind that you should not notice it but yet it ends up feeling a little harsh. The car seems very well made. I only have 350 miles on it now. If its stays just like it is now after 5000 or so miles I'll be happy. Of course the amount of driving I do it will take me a year to get to 5000.
 

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I think most of the problem you describe is due to the lower profile tires on the larger 17" wheels.

The car has a firm ride but not hard. But when it encounters a bump, it does have a jarring feel.

What you describe is exactly how my 2LT behaves.
 

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I noticed that a similar tendency when I moved from my 05 to the 09 LT2. Thinking that the 18" tires have something to do with this, as my 05 had 15".
 

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Yeah... the 2LT has 18" wheels doesn't it? Mine does anyway. That makes it even worse. You have less cushion because there is less air in the tires.
 

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I would describe the ride on my 2009 LS as "firm." On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being a 1979 Cadillac DeVille and a 10 being a Porsche 911 Turbo with sport suspension, I'd put the Malibu at about a 6. It's on the firm side, but still quite plush.

As far as "hearing" the bumps - part of it could be the car is so quiet that you are more aware of any noise. In a car with more wind noise, it might not bother you. A slight thud sound over a bump is perfectly normal as the suspension and chassis absorb whatever impact the tire does not absorb.

Recall the Malibu won Car and Driver "10 best" in 2008, and one of the reasons was the somewhat sporty ride. GM purposefully gave a firm ride to the car to make it handle better and be more competitive with cars like the Altima and Accord.
 

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holepuncher, i feel the same way - it might feel a little jittery at times, however, it is lightyears better than the stratus i traded in. that car was awful. you felt and heard every bump. the only thing i wish the malibu could do is to corner like my stratus did. the malibu has too much body roll for my liking, but you cant have everything.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have not driven the car much thus far but today I took it on some roads that are, lets say not too well taken care of. I aimed at every bump (not the potholes though). OK. I'm impressed now :). Over hard bumps the thumps do not get much louder than the soft bumps nor does the body motion increase much. Especially impressive is hitting a series of bumps one after the other. The car does not quiver, sidestep, shake or make booming noises. Feels like it stays in contact with the road.

Speedster is probably right. The quietness makes the thumps more noticeable. Next I need to take it on some twisting, winding side road, at just a couple of MPH over the speed limit :D. Might be fun. Still a lot of sand and salt on the roads here though.
 

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Good to hear that you're now more satisfied with the ride.

Making a car quieter not only makes the ride seem harsher, but can make any small rattles much more evident.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Good to hear that you're now more satisfied with the ride.

Making a car quieter not only makes the ride seem harsher, but can make any small rattles much more evident.
Over all I am happy with it. I still feel that it is somewhat jittery over insignificant bumps but it does handle large bumps with grace. One thing that I have NOT heard is a single rattle or creak at all from anywhere. I hope it stays that way. My wife says the car is so quiet it makes you sleepy. I had the opportunity yesterday to drive a 2007 Cadillac CTS. The Malibu is all over it as far as quietness and isolation not to mention that the dash of the CTS is plain and almost cheap looking.
 

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You won't find many fans of the interior in the first-gen CTS. The current car's interior is MUCH nicer. And IMHO the upcoming 2010 LaCrosse might have the best interior yet in a GM car, and certainly the best yet in a Buick.

Clearly, expectations and evaluations of ride quality will vary. What you're used to will make a big difference. I have a Mazda Protege5 that has a fairly harsh ride. Then I test drove a Lotus Elise. After driving the Lotus, the Mazda felt like a Lincoln Navigator.

In general, if you care much more about ride quality than appearance or handling, you want the smallest wheels offered.
 

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So far I have been happy with my LT2 with 18" rims. My biggest problem with the ride is the swaying/body roll that occurs at highway speed. Is there anything you can do about that? Swaybars etc? I previously had an 04 Maxima SE and that was altogether different. Or is it just that much softer suspension than my Maxima. The Bu definitely has a quieter smoother ride though. I don't like the clunking somewhere in the front suspension when you hit bumps, seems to be a GM feature, noticed it on my sisters Pontiac G6 too.
 
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