Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chevrolet Malibu test drive.




  The previous generation Malibu was one of my favorite mid sized sedan.
So I was really looking forward to driving this new version.
Which finally happened this week. The model I got was the 2LZ Turbo.
(The turbo replaces the V6 in the new Malibu.)

Although I still think the previous one looked much better, the current Malibu is still a good-looking sedan.
 It might not be as striking as the Kia Optima or Fords new Fusion, but in my opinion, it looks better than the current Camry or Accord. And these cars are still best sellers.


 I must say, the 19 Inch wheels on my test car (which oddly enough come as part of the $1350 “Electronic & entertainment” package…) are the best looking wheels I have seen in years.






The new Malibu has a great interior. 
With very nice shapes and interesting design elements all around. The soft plastics are of highest quality everywhere you look and touch.

The back seat is more comfortable than it looks. As it looks really flat. But not as roomy as in the previous version.
Which is really weird, and not an improvement.



This soft texture covering the dashboard and top of the doors in one of the most interesting I have seen in a while. With the stitching, it looks a feels great.



 The only details I really didn’t’ like in the interior were the amount of plasti-chrome trim.
There is just too much of it and it looks cheap. What is wrong with a more satin/brushed aluminum finish?

And that horrific looking fake wood. Which is the worst of its kind I’ve seen in years.

It’s time to retire crap like this. They already use very nice black and grey trim around the console. There is no need for the fake wood.




As usual, the 2.0 Liter Turbo is super smooth and quiet. Something VW could learn from as their 2.0 Turbo still sounds like a diesel.

Mileage is rated at 21City/30Hwy.
I got 32Hwy but I can tell you it is impossible to get 21 in the city no matter how slow you drive.
The best I got was 17. Which is just a fraction less than what I got a few months ago with the Buick Regal (Which was a manual)
So it doesn’t seem like such an advantage over a regular V6 actually.

It is quick and responsive all the time. Just like in the Regal, it is a pleasure to drive.

The steering is also great. And not too light. Which is getting rare in a world of feather light steerings.

The suspension, even with the large 19-inch wheels, is firm, of course, but always very comfortable. Something Nissan could learn from…

The whole car reminds me of a smaller Buck Lacrosse. Which, of course, is natural, since they both share a similar platform. Even the doors sound the same when you close them. Both have this European driving feel that puts them above most Japanese sedan.

My test car started at $29 700, but was loaded up to $34 600. With everything you can think of.
Which seems pretty expensive. Until you compare it to the loaded Camry or Accord for $34 200. So it is in the ballpark. Except the Chevy still has a smaller backseat.

I really enjoyed driving the new Malibu and would no hesitate recommending it to anyone looking for a family car.
For most people, the standard 2.5 Liter will be enough power, and cheaper. 

But I would also recommend waiting for the 2014 Model. Coming out really, really soon. It will have a new front end (that still won’t make it as good looking as the previous one), and it rumored to get a roomier back seat.
And maybe the chrome and plastiwood will be replaced too….


PS: I have been told that the stalling problem I had with the car was due to bad or wrong gas. As they filled it up right before it was delivered to me.

I will follow up on that and keep you posted.

9 comments:

Dav said...

Amazing who they went from the very handsome last generation model to this oddly-proportion mess of a design, and as for your constant claim that ANY amount of interior dressing e.g. bright/wood work (real or not) as being " just too much of it and it looks cheap", you really just need to get over it as almost every vehicle offers these things as options that can easily be omitted... Though there are obviously many buyers who like such things.

Dav said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Late model toyota camry with a late model BMW trunk hood.

Anonymous said...

Don't think of it as "fake wood" because it really is not what they are trying to do. They are just trying to add contrast so it looks more adult.

Does the turbo have a sport suspension or do all Malibus drive good?

Anonymous said...

Wow I'm schocked with this review. U think this looks better than the new honda accord? Have u ever seen an accord in person or drive It? U r very bias. I'm a ford person and I think the accord is hands down the nicest looking sedan. Another thing, u are the only reporter that has claimed this is a good driving car. I travel a lot for my job and I have driven this car many times as a rental and it is a shameful to drive. This car should only be allowed to be sold to rental companies and not to rhe public. Worst review u ever wrote. Stop having so much hate for the Japanese cars.

Anonymous said...

I like the Malibu too, inside and out. I haven't driven this latest rendition yet, but plan to soon.

Not quite sure how they'll make the back seat in the 2014 bigger since the body construct is likely not going to change - seat mods maybe? Still seems like differences would be minimal.

Not that that would stop me from purchasing it...

Les said...

So this thing gets the same EPA mileage as a 12 year old (GM era) Saab, except that the Saab has a bigger trunk?

Shame on you GM. There's a reason why your sedans aren't selling: you have learned nothing, and you forgot what you used to know. The Accord gets 5 mpg more, city and highway, in a bigger package, at a better price. So does every other midsize.

Mobis21 said...

Anonymous stated that they thought the Honda Accord, "was the nicest looking sedan" compared to the Malibu. Maybe not.

After all, Isn't that so subjective of you because after personally having seen the Accord up close, I agree it is well designed and styled in a generic inoffensive way but I would not refer to it as the "nicest" looking sedan because as anyone who knows anything about cars know, Audi makes "the nicest looking sedan", not your vaunted Accord.

Anonymous said...

This car is a major disappointment. Strange exterior design with a coarse base engine and awful gas mileage compared to the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Mazda 6. It's no wonder sales are lousy for this car.