2008 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ V6 Test drive

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As I mentioned before, I think the 2.4 Liter Malibu is an excellent family car.
A very well equiped model is around $23 000. So I was curious to see if the $26 500 LTZ V6 was worth it.
The main difference inside is, besides the leather, in the details. The metallic trim and the wood have a darker color.
And I must say this really changes the whole atmosphere. It just looks better and more expensive.
I guess that is the point…

On the V6, the transmission is a 6 speed auto. It is very smooth and responsive. The 6 speed will be available next sring in the 2.4 Liter version of the LTZ.
And later will just replace the 4 speed in all other versions.

The engine is very quiet. But the 4 cylinder cars were far from noisy. So there isn’t such a big difference there.
But the V6 sounds, well.. Like a smooth V6. Maybe not as creamy as some of the Japanese competition. But not by much.
And whenever you hear anything, it sounds great.
The main difference is the power available as soon as you start moving. I didn’t thing the 2.4 Liter car was slow. Until I drove the V6. But that’s usually what happens.

What I noticed was the difference in the steering. It is a bit firmer in the center, but gets a bit touchy off center. I found it a bit less linear than the one used in 4 cylinder cars. I guess it “wants” to feel a bit sportier.
But it takes a bit more getting used to than the other one.

The car also felt heavier. (Because it is by about 200 pounds) But in a good way.
It gives the car a more poised and expensive feel.

With every options, the LTZ V6 retails for $28 000.
The Accord EX L V6 is $28 700
The Camry XLE V6 is $28 800

So the Malibu does not really have an adventage in price. Unless you wait a few months. Even though it just came out Carsdirect has about $600 off the prices.

But I still would pick the Chevrolet.
The interior is my favorite of the bunch. It is well made, interesting to look at with lots of personality. A very nice place to spend time.
The powertrain is great. And the whole car is more enjoyable to drive.
There seems to always be something I really don’t like about the competition.
The Camry is just too forgetable. The ride of the Altima is too firm. The steering of the new Accord is too touchy. (And the interior weird) etc…

The Malibu seems to do everything really well. A very nice package you actually remember driving.
And the V6 LTZ feels like an expensive car. Even more than its price.
If you must have the V6, you can always get a loaded LT V6 for $25 500.
(Without leather of the darker interior trim)

A good choice no matter what.

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