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So, I'm in the process of buying my 3rd 'bu. It'll be Gen 7, and want to know what you all think is the best year to buy for a Gen 7. I've done some good research and feel that it is a 2010, but want to know what you all think.
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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2011 unless you like the paddle shifters on the steering wheel - I don't.

2008 & 2009 - possible 3-5-R wave plate issues

2010:
. . . paddle shifters still on wheel but mirror switch moved to window switch panel
. . . new "safer" head restraints that are freakin' thick! (see below) I replaced mine with some from a 2009

2011 paddle shifters deleted, 1 button on shifter


Left: 2011 front, Center: 2009 front, Right: 2008-2012 rear
 

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None of the Gen 7 Malibus offered engines with direct fuel injection, but it definitely has more advantages than disadvantages. You just have to use top engine cleaner every couple years.
 

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i hope its that EASY? Audi has extended coverage on certain models for carbon issues, their early use of DI bit them but allows others to learn what REALLY happens in the long run. they can test all they want but REAL WORLD driving is different. Newer DI engines are hopefully! getting it better, but once your warranty is gone you are S.O.L. just like lifetime fluids etc, actually meaning until manufacturers coverage is gone. GM's 100,000 sounds great but few put that mileage on a car in ONLY 5 years. i take car of my vehicles and girlfriends 13 malibu BETTER than required! its a good car so far, 7,888 miles and feel its a better bang per $$ than most cars of this size. the 2.5 DI is peppy especially when compared to her 2008 subaru legacy a real dog with LOOO 20's MPG!!
 

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Top engine cleaner takes care of the carbon build up in GM's original DI 3.6L LLT engine, I can only assume the newer engines are similar or better in terms of maintenance. The problem is that the direct injection system bypasses the carbon build up that port injection blows out under hard acceleration. Top engine cleaner takes care of those areas, problem solved.

Buddy of mine got a used STS V6 that wasn't running too well, he used seafoam and by the end of the treatment, it was driving factory fresh getting close to 30 mpg highway. Couldn't be happier with his car.
 

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Hello folks. First post here.

I'm also currently in the market for a Gen 7 Malibu, and have test drove several but I am leaning towards a '10. I'm seeing alot of issues online for folks who have the 4cyl with 6 speed trans. Seems to be an inordinately high number of trans issues, compared to virtually none for the 4cyl 4 speed trans combo. This probably doesn't matter if you're getting a 6 cylinder, but something to keep in mind.
 

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4 cyl + ONLY 4 gears = doggy performance + poor MPG!! import manufacturers new years ago smaller weaker engines needed more gears, todays small engines are better than ever for sure!!! small DI engines make good power and more torque at lower rpm but will need top tier gas and prolly frequent application of top engine cleaner to control carbon issues which could get $$$$ unless you do it yourself!!
 

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Hello folks. First post here.

I'm also currently in the market for a Gen 7 Malibu, and have test drove several but I am leaning towards a '10. I'm seeing alot of issues online for folks who have the 4cyl with 6 speed trans. Seems to be an inordinately high number of trans issues, compared to virtually none for the 4cyl 4 speed trans combo. This probably doesn't matter if you're getting a 6 cylinder, but something to keep in mind.
As Driven Daily already stated, the 4-cylinder/6-speed problem was a weak 3-5-R wave plate in 08-09 models. There is no need to shop around for a 4-speed automatic on a 2010 or later model year. You'd be sacrificing driveability and fuel economy for no reason.
 

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As Driven Daily already stated, the 4-cylinder/6-speed problem was a weak 3-5-R wave plate in 08-09 models. There is no need to shop around for a 4-speed automatic on a 2010 or later model year. You'd be sacrificing driveability and fuel economy for no reason.
Our '09 I4A4 got better mileage than the '10 I4A6. The only difference other than the transmission is the '09 was federal emissions and the '10 is California emissions. Driving habits and route have not changed.
 

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girlfriend always wanted a subaru, i advise and help but its her $$$, talked her out of a new in 08 forester but she got a legacy, a basic model with sunroof included for a good price but the 2.5 L with 4 spd auto killed it, poor acceleration and engine knock that required premium fuel in the summer, dealer had NO answers, my guess is an overly aggressive tune for the wide spaced gears with a weak engine, this was mentioned in the manual though one year and it was gone she got her 2nd vw a jetta this time with a 2.5 L + 6 spd auto, good performance + mpg at 70 some thousand miles she traded for her 13 LS Malibu, 8200 miles so far so good. i will prolly do an top engine cleaner this summer at her next oil change hoping to keep ahead of carbon issues as she drives conservatively with many short runs especially in the winter, shes very pleased so far with MPG's being a touch better than her 30 average on the VW, she got 37 on a long summer trip mostly interstate
 

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Our '09 I4A4 got better mileage than the '10 I4A6. The only difference other than the transmission is the '09 was federal emissions and the '10 is California emissions. Driving habits and route have not changed.
I've driven several GM 4-speed autos and I wasn't particularly fond of any of them. Couple that with half a second loss in acceleration to highway speeds according to instrumented test drives, and I would not recommend a 4-speed model to anyone with the 6-speed on the table.

Efficiency gains between 4- and 6-speed transmissions will affect people differently. The engine isn't any more efficient, the gearing is. Either your driving style will take advantage of that or it wont. I personally feel that 6-speeds is the magic number, performance cars have been using 6-speed manuals for over a decade while technological limitations restricted automatics to less.

I'm not a big supporter of adding gears in general though, I think the push for 8-speeds and more is pure lunacy. When the fuel economy difference is negligible between 4- and 6-speeds, adding two more beyond that is just idiotic. It's all marketing fodder at the expense of mechanical complexity and higher car prices.
 

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i am a shifty guy 3 pedals only apply NO SLUSHBOXES!!!!! for those that buy slushers xtra gears can help when you have a high power-torque engine give better MPG. look at the vette, their powerful V8 with manuals had 5 + 6 overdrive, 50% in 6th giving great mpg, an 8 speed slusher prolly even better. as for slushers, they shift for you so it matters not, smaller underpowered engines are aided with more gears giving better acceleration + a little more MPG. my colorado has 5, TT has 6. i prefer 5 spd manuals as enough for ME. when upgrading a turbo'd engine torque already abundant is increased even more, manufacturers boost low for safety + mpg, VW is very conservative on boost, 7lb stock on my 01 jetta 150 hp add 7lb more with proper fueling + timing, cold intake + bigger exhaust about 275HP. thats how easy GM has varying power in their 2.0T engines, its the beauty of forced induction, no penalty off boost either. a costlier setup though.
 
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