Test Drive Notes Library
- One of the nicest four-door sedans Chevy has created in a long time.
- Very nice looking car. It has an almost fastback-like rear end. It stands out next to the Accord and Camry.
- Handles well and rides smoothly. The Malibu has found a nice balance between ride and handling, making it an easy car to drive every day. The steering is tight, there's minimal body lean, yet the suspension soaks up city bumps pretty well. It’s a very comfortable car to drive in town or to cruise in on the highway.
- The optional turbo charged two-liter, four-cylinder engine has plenty of power--250 hp, as a matter of fact.
- That two-liter engine, in combination with the eight-speed automatic transmission makes the Malibu pretty efficient. It’s rated at 22 city, 33 highway, with an average of 26 MPG. We got about 25 in mixed driving. Not bad for a pretty large car. Transmission operates smoothly under most conditions (see below).
- Roomy inside (including the back seat and trunk), with a nicely done interior. Lots of soft-touch materials in the right places, and a clean, airy, comfortable feel. If you’re used to cheap-feeling Chevy rental cars, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
- Ergonomically thoughtful — with a good balance of easy-to-see and easy-to-read hard controls on the console, and less commonly used controls in touch screen form. When you do use the touchscreen, it’s pretty intuitive, with a very useful “home” button well-located for easy reach. Apple Play is available.
- Love the volume controls placed on the back side of the steering wheel, right where your fingers are already resting anyway.
- Available with all the good, up to date safety features, including pre-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring. Unlike some other cars, you can order these options (called Driver Confidence packages) on mid level trim models, not only the highest end version.
- Our loaded Malibu, with all of that safety equipment, leather seats, the 9 speaker Bose system, the upgraded engine and more stickered for a shade over $34,000. Not bad.
Test Drive Notes Library
- When you’re crawling along in traffic, the new eight-speed automatic transmission shifts hard between first and second gear. It’s not something you notice much when accelerating normally away from a stop light. But when you’re stuck in traffic, it gets pretty annoying. Hopefully that’s something Chevrolet can fix with software.
- As nice a car as this is (and it is pretty darned nice), Chevrolet has long lagged behind Toyota and Honda in reliability. That has to be factored into a purchase decision, and only time will tell if Chevy has stepped up its game.
- Visibility out back is poor. The price you pay for the styling. You’ll be making good use of the (fortunately) standard back up camera.
- OK, we admit it, this is a truly picayune complaint. But the directional signal blinker sounds like it came off of a ’73 Vega. Given all the thought and effort that obviously went into making this car feel like a high-quality ride, maybe the next generation can upgrade the blinker to a less "plasticky" noise.
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