Chevrolet Malibu 2.4 L 6 speed drive and review… In Malibu.

Last Updated:

As you can see, the Malibu is one of the best looking family sedan on the market.
To me at least, it does look better than the Camry or Accord. I haven’t seen the new Mazda6 though…
It also look more upscale than its price.
Something the Camry used to do very well.

The interior is also very nice. Not as weird as the Accord, but with much more personality than the Camry.
The grey color of my test car is actually the worse one offered. I preffer the one I tested a few months ago that had a 2 tone cream/dark interior. And the thin wood trim actually looks better than the metalic plastic bits.
Plus, if you get the LTZ, the console plastics are of a darker shade. Which looks even better.

The car is very roomy. I have read on this site that some people complained about the car not being wide enough. I had no problem and the interior never felt too narrow..
It is just half an inch narrower than the Camry but the new Accord is about 2 1/2 inches wider.

How does it drive?
Well, I have to say this was one of the best riding cars I have driven in years. The ride is smoother than many cars costing much more. And it is one of the quietest as well.
It was really Lexus quiet at any speed. And we are talking about a 4 cylinder car here. I was really amazed by the ride luxury feel of the car.
Yet it handled very well. It feels very solid on any roads.
Except for that small steering wheel shutter once in a while. The one I mentioned before on the Aura and G6.
I just wonder if the V6 models have it too, using a diferent steering.
But I have to say, the steering wasn’t as nice as the one in the Saturn Aura.
The Aura’s as about perfect for me. With much more feel to it.
And didn’t require that many adjustments to stay straight.

The Malibu does steer nicely, don’t get me wrong. Just not as good as the aura.
I just wonder if the 2.4 L LTZ has a different calibration or not…

I averaged about 24mpg in my driving. The stuff I usually do during the week. Which means about 60 to 70% city.
Pretty much what I was getting with the Saturn Astra that only had a 4 speed auto and a smaller 1.8 Liter engine.

I think the Aura and Malibu are among the best family car you can drive in the US.
They fee like more expensive cars. And you really do not need a V6. The 4 is so quiet and smooth.
There is enough power for “mid sized 4 door sedan duty”. These aren’t BMW’s and don’t pretend to be.
The Malibu is a good looking, solid, roomy, smooth and quiet car that makes you feel you did a good thing buying one.

Pretty much the stuff that made the Camry so popular over the years.
If you check out various owner forums, mot are very happy with their purchase. They really like their cars the way Camry owners do.
I think it’s a good sign for the US auto industry.

I’m sure I missed a few things. So feel free to ask me anything about the car.

Conversation 20 comments

  1. Thanks for the review Vince!

    I noticed the ‘Euro’ style side repeater lights are MIA. Are those no longer an option, or are they only on the LTZ? The Chevy ads from just a few months ago were highlighting them as adding a touch of class.

  2. I’m just a little turned off by the yellow/gold Chevy symbol and how it doesn’t contrast well with the exterior paint. Also, I think the back lights looks kind of 2nd rate to me. Maybe the Mazda is the victor when it come to rear end light under $ 25.000.

    Nice Report by the way.
    Your friend, Woody

  3. I also have no idea why Chevy keeps the yellow/gold color in their logo. On ALL their cars…
    A “regular” silver finish would be much classier and would work better with most colors.

  4. what was your real world gas mileage with this car during your driving ?? i coulda swore that was the reason u wanted to drive it so badly to see if the 6 speed was gonna deliver better mileage..

  5. Do the airbags deploy well?

    I drove one as a rental last week and it was pretty good…excellent for a GM America product. The new Buick LaCrosse has the new platform which should be a couple inches wider.

  6. Hey Vince, how were the seats? My company has last generation Malibu’s and current Impala’s and the seats are terrible for comfort and kill my back.

    Also, are the HVAC control dials unreadable in daylight as they are in the Impala?

    FYI; I drive an Accord and would consider this car if it addresses these concerns and came with a manual transmission.

  7. GM has finally out Camryed the Camry. That is the most telling aspect of this car. It is a Chameleon on wheels. It blends in with other cars in its class, covered by blandness both exterior and interior-wise… exactly what this class of car is intended to do. The Mazda and Honda may be a little polarizing to some or many respectively, but at least they stand out some.

  8. -The seats were very comfortable for me.
    But I never drove hours at a time…
    -The display is still hard to read when hit by direct sun light. Although that doesn’t happen often.
    It was a pain in the Solstice .

    GM needs to address this problem. It’s in almost all their cars….

    -I do thin the Malibu is not nearly as blend as the Camry. The interior also has much more personality.
    They succeeded where Toyota has failed: give personality and a classy look to a boring car.
    The Camry now looks almost weird and kind of bloated…

  9. Great review, and it mirrors our sentiments exactly after 8 months and 8k miles with our ’08 2.4L 4-speed.

    The car gets people in the door with the looks and then continues to impress with how solid, smooth, refined, and decently entertaining it is. As many mags have stated, the 2.4L combo in the Aura-Malibu is quietest in class thanks to the engine itself and all the quieting of the cars, and now with the 6-speed, it has the best mpg ratings of any of them at 33 highway. The best ride/handling mix for an everyday sedan, too, in the class.

    We have both a G6 and a Malibu, both 2008’s, and it’s still shocking how much higher rung the Malibu feels in every way. The G6 is “solid, smooth, and quiet” but all to a lesser degree than the Malibu. I have come to prefer my heavier and tighter hydraulic steering over the Bu’s electric, but like both. Just a great car.

    A few notes…the side marker lights WERE deleted for 2009 as were the power pedals. No 100% idea why except for decontenting, but they haven’t been too missed. And the one big change for 2009 now is Bluetooth standard in 2LT and LTZ models that people have cried to GM about for years.

    So, great review and pictures, again from a very “real world” guy. Thanks! For those of us who own one, just adds to the good story for naysayers to see.

  10. The camry might be weird but it is still outselling the malibu by far.
    Why is that?
    And the camry is getting an older model, due for a facelift soon.

  11. I’m willing to give a domestic a try, if not for the fact that all the ones that my friends have literally fall apart after a couple years.

  12. Derek, thanks a lot for your thoughts on the car.
    From someone who actually drives one every day, how refreshing.

    The Camry does outsell the Malibu by far.
    The Camry is the most popular car in the country. It has been that way for years. It took Toyota many years to get to this level. Plus it has many generations of happy customers.
    Unlike the Malibu.
    So it will take a while for the Chevy to get there, if it ever does.
    But it’s possible.

    Do you remember when the Taurus was the best selling cars? Year after year…

  13. I was out car looking and saw the Malibu. I’ve noticed that the press happens to get the LTZ/upgraded models to write reviews for. Since I was looking at $20K or less, I went to see the base Malibu. The interior is definitely cheap looking in the base one. The kicker is the price – $19K for a 2009 LS (sticker was $21.6K). The same money can buy a Hyundai Sonata Limited with leather, sunroof, Infinity stereo, a 5-speed auto with better EPA ratings, and a better warranty. After looking at the Sonata, it’s very difficult to make the case that a comparable Malibu is worth $3-4K more.

  14. I’m not sure if Chevy should ever want the Malibu to ever be the “best seller” category. They had this title in the 70s and 80s with the Cutlass, and Ford had it with the Taurus through the mid 90s, then Toyota with the Camry. They signify a watered-down, distilled, vanilla product that is a default choice for automotive non-thinkers. Not the best product. With an eye on profitability, GM needs to focus on building the best product consistently and not worry about flooding every cul-de-sac and rental lot with Malibus.

  15. Maybe thats what the majority of people want. A reliable car which serves its purpose well and gets from A to B.
    Not everyone is a car nut like us.

  16. The car looks very nice, even for a European. Well, maybe this really shows the revival of GM? Lets hope so! Just waiting still that they build the new Cadillac BLS on that amazing Opel Insignia platform!

  17. Maybe thats what the majority of people want. A reliable car which serves its purpose well and gets from A to B.
    Not everyone is a car nut like us.

    You’re correct. ne1butu seldom offers more to these discussions than condescending drivel.

    The Malibu has finally become a competitor in the segment for which it was intended. It has many of the strengths that the Camry, Accord, Mazda6, etc. hold while making a name and face for itself. GM should be proud.

  18. I work for GM. It’s great seeing all these positive comments about the new Malibu. Since I work in the quality arena, I just wanted to add in a few comments regarding the Malibu’s quality. It was the highest ranked model in the Midsize Car segment in the 2008 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS). And, our assembly plant in Fairfax, KS, which builds the Malibu, ranked 3rd among North/South American vehicle assembly plants.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *