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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I haven't posted here in a while because we have been trying to get some time to get out and look at some vehicles. We are looking at replacing my wife's Audi A4 with a bigger vehicle. I have read a lot about the Malibu and had the chance to talk with some owners of the 08+ Bu.

Well yesterday we managed to get some time to go out and look at a few cars. The car is going to be for my wife and she hates dealing with dealers. We looked at a VW Passat and she didn't like it, we looked at a Camry and only spent maybe 5 minutes at that dealer before she walked away. Went to the Chevy dealer and looked at a LT1 Malibu on the showroom and a LT2 Impala. She really liked the Malibu over the Impala. So we spoke with a salesman and they asked several questions to help decide what we wanted to take on a test drive. One of her concerns is that she loves the Quattro (AWD) System in her Audi. So the test drive on Saturday was to get her behind the wheel of this car so she could see if she liked the FWD vs AWD that she has now. It was snowing out so the roads were sloppy and snow covered. We would keep the A4 but it is just too small for us with 2 kids. I can't fit in the Audi with the two car seats in the back as I am 6'4". After talking with the salesman we decided to take a LT2 on a test drive. The one we drove had the V6 with 6 speed and steering wheel shifters. She liked the car a lot and didn't have an issue with it being FWD rather than AWD. She even said she doesn't want to look anymore and she wants that 09 Malibu. I am going to insist that we drive a 4 cylinder and a 6 cylinder back to back to get an idea what she would want.

So on to my questions:

1. Are there any maintenance differences between the engines? Are they both timing belt or does the V6 have a timing chain?

2. What are the benefits to the 6speed over the 4? She doesn't care about the steering wheel shifting. She has it now on the A4 and never uses it.

We are kind of up in the air on if we will get the V6 or 4 cylinder. I know the V6 will be more peppy but it is more expensive and gets worse mileage. It isn't like I am going to put a hitch on the Malibu. I have an Avalanche that I drive and that is was we use to pull trailers. I think the 4 cylinder is something like $1000-2000 cheaper and gets something like 3-4 MPG better. If there isn't much difference in maintenance I think it will come down to the test drives.
 

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Hi Sinnister,

This is just my opinion on it but we own both a 2009 LTZ 4cylinder and mine which is an LTZ V6...

Granted my V6 gets driven more but I actually get about the same if not better gas mileage than the 4cyl. I feel The V6 is able to pull the weight of the car better with less strain. Both are very peppy in there own right and there able to do the job but I'm really glad I got the V6.

As for the paddle shifters I dont use mine either :D
 

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The 6-speed, particularly, makes the 4-cylinder much peppier and it better gets the power to the road, hence shaving a second or so off 0-60 times, etc. We have an '08 2LT 4-cyl/4-speed that I've always been pleased with, but the first time I tried a new 4-cyl/6-speed car it felt notably spunkier and smoother, and didn't have to hold onto revs so long. If anything, that's the downfall of our 4-spd 4-cyl, with the 4 gears and the way it is programmed, it ends up revving the life out of the engine all the time which is good for power but hurts mileage. Hence, why the 6-speed 4-cyl got a +3mpg rating on the highway in comparison.

It's not really just a "paddle shifters" thing, as those are useful, but otherwise the 6-speeds work quite well with both engines. After the 4-cyl, I bought a V6 G6 for myself, and then that was replaced by a V6 Malibu but I seriously was back and forth on this versus a new 4-cyl/6-speed car. I drove several of each and couldn't decide, but in the end errored on the side of having excess power and liking the firmer hydraulic steering of the V6 model. One of those things were once I stepped up and was used to it, it was hard to go back to a 4-cyl even as great as it was.

Unless you're a leadfoot and doing high speed running a lot, the 4-cyl/6-speed is great and works great in this platform--takes some weight off the nose as well. But, similarly, the V6 is a screamer and though in normal driving it's tuned to rev lightly and just move, drop the pedal and it'll roast the tires and roar off quite impressively. As for gas mileage, the 4-cyl does better, depending on your driving, but in the right situation the V6 does pretty well--mostly if you do a lot of steady cruising.

The V6, sometimes, can almost be too much for a typical--not me or some here, but typical--driver, wherein the 4-cyl is perfect. From the sound of it, I think a 4-cyl/6-speed that's very peppy & gets the best mileage of all combos is the ticket.

Driving the combos back to back, like you plan, is the right way to do it;)
 

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I think it all comes down to the driving dynamics, that V6 is a very nice engine to drive, very effortless. Even if you wanted to tow the capacity is not that great anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replys so far.

They are kind of in line with what I was thinking. We need to drive one of each back to back. Also that the 6 speed is going to be smoother.

Anyone know about the timing belt vs timing chain? I suspect that both engines are timing belt so it is likely a non-issue. So what is the interval for replacement of the timing belt? Most likely no one is at that kind of mileage but it is something to consider. In the Audi world the factory says 100K miles everyone does it at 60-80K if you like your engine. I know of too many people that blew a timing belt and toasted an engine to risk it beyond that.

We have been looking around dealers in the area and they all seem to have V6 engines when we get into the LT2 or LTZ package. So we may not have a choice. Still looking though.
 

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Like someone else said, the V6 and I4 really doesn't have any major differences when it comes to mpg... if you get the I4 you really may only end up saving 1-3mpg.. all depends on how you drive it.. I drive my V6 pretty aggressively and I'd like to say I get pretty good milage.. It's usually around 19-25mpg.

Both trims (2LT and LTZ) are excellent choices.. you'll be happy with either.

Just don't ruin the experience by insisting on an I4 engine.
 

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Driven both before picking the V6 LTZ :D to me the V6 is perfect for this car, the I4 seemed a tad anemic ;)

 

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Discussion Starter #8
I just went through the Chevrolet website and built a 2LT Malibu and I guess it isn't an option to get the 4 speed even if I wanted it. Based on the web site all the 2LT packages get the 6 speed no matter if it is a 4 or V6.

I should cover how this vehicle is going to be used. It is a vehicle for my wife. I probably will not drive it much if ever. When she uses it that driving will be 99.9% heavy traffic. While we live in the country our community is pretty unique in that it is a rural community that is surrounded by the suburbs of St. Paul. My wife works in Minneapolis so it is something like a 26-28 mile commute each way the bulk of which is stop and go. Typically if we are going somewhere as a family it is going to be in my truck. By the time you take the two of us, the two kids and if the dog goes with things are getting a little tight even in a full size crew cab truck.

When looking at her commute I think she will want something snappy. There are times in the commute that you have to punch it to make it to an opening. That is where I think the V6 would be nice. When we did the test drive and had the V6 out on the road she was taking it easy. She didn't push it to hard because the roads were slick so it wouldn't have been a good day to try and get a feeling on if we should look at a V6 or the 4. That was more a test to see how the FWD felt and how the stabilitrack works. As I explained to the salesman there was no way we were going to buy that day. We were there to try the car on poor roads. Any vehicle will drive great on clean clear roads. Heck when we started this we were pretty close to buying an 05-06 Tahoe/Yukon. Our second child was born this past July and she was out on maternity leave for a while. Well any day that I can I commute on my motorcycle. That left my Avalanche sitting in the pole barn pretty much all summer. She kept taking it when she needed to run around. Ove time she became comfortable in driving it and wanted a Tahoe/Yukon. That all ended one day when I told her to drive it to work in the snow to try it on crappy roads. She got home and said "Forget the Tahoe/Yukon." It scared the crap out of her. Keep in mind I have the Z71 package so it has a Eaton G80 Locker for a rear diff. The backend stepped out a few times on her and she didn't like it. I'm used to it and on snowy roads I steer as much with the accelerator as I do the steering wheel. Oh well at least she discovered that before we bought one.
 

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They are both timing chain, they do not require any replacement.
I wouldn't say the do not require any replacement. When it comes to a timing chain, they stretch over time and can eventually either skip a tooth on one gear or eventually break. There are recommended mileage intervals for replacing a timing chain but most don't really mess with it till it's broken. Main thing is maintenance, as long as you perform the regular maintenance on the engine you should get the longest life out of a timing chain.
 

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I wouldn't say the do not require any replacement. When it comes to a timing chain, they stretch over time and can eventually either skip a tooth on one gear or eventually break. There are recommended mileage intervals for replacing a timing chain but most don't really mess with it till it's broken. Main thing is maintenance, as long as you perform the regular maintenance on the engine you should get the longest life out of a timing chain.
Like anything made by man a timing chain can fail. They also will wear out if driven a considerable number of miles. They do not have a maintenance interval on them like timing belts do. Usually they are replaced if you are doing some other major repair work on the engine and the timing chain has to be removed to do the work. There have been many cars that have gone well over hundred thousand miles on the original timing chain.

Bill
 

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I ahte to say this but in stop and go traffic, the 6-speed doesnt shine. In my experience with the 4cyl-6speed, the throttle tip in is jerky and the torque converter constantly is on and off giving a jerky ride.

However, with that 6 speed you get the manual mode. In traffic, I can manually shift into 3rd gear and drive smoothly at low speed. The reason is the tranny inmanual mode is always "hooked up" to the throttle and has instant power rather than in automatic mode where the revs are alway dropping to nearly nothing then rising when you hit the gas.

So there's good and bad with the 6speed. I have nearly 10k on this car (1LT) and in traffic the manual mode is your smoothest ride over the herky-jerky automatic.
 

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Sennister, one piece of advice if I may. Don't drive them back to back unless you're ok with spending the additional $1750. I did that this morning, and had to find a way to come up with an additional $2300 down to keep our payments in line, as the only V6 in the color and trim we wanted in the state of Florida had a sunroof, and the 6 was so much nicer than the four. While the 4 had some pep to it, the 6 felt much safer as far as getting up to speed to pass or merge on the highway. We have traffic lights galore down here, so I'm not getting it for flying around town, but it could if I want it to. The 4 has a whine to it when you jump on the pedal, while the 6 has a throaty roar to it. This car is for my wife who's stepping down from a Suburban 2500 2LT, so we obviously sacrificed a lot of size and bells and whistles, but cost is a huge factor right now. Stepping down from an 8 to a 4 didn't feel right, as she had that in the Suburban, and I've got a Duramax in my truck, so it wasn't to be. You may feel that from your truck too, but seeing as you had the Audi, it might not be as bad. At the rates they're offering right now, the 6 would probably be about $34 a month, so it is not cost effective without more down, and you lose about 5 miles per gallon by GM's figures. Mine will be here for me on Friday, and if you haven't bought one yet, I'd be happy to give you any info on instant gratification, but it all comes down to budget and feel. If you do drive them back to back, drive the 4 first, as you won't notice the increase in power as much as you will notice the loss in power.
 
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