About a month ago, when I was chatting with on Twitter about cars, a contact from GM Canada, with whom I had previously corresponded, fired me a note and offered me a Malibu for review. John and I don’t own a car but it’s one of those purchases that’s constantly in the back of our minds so we’re certainly not opposed to seeing what options are out there.
We had the 2009 Chevy Malibu 2LT for one week and did a bit of city driving as well as a quick trip on the freeway to visit Duane out in Chilliwack. The size of the car was perfect – it wasn’t too big and since my last car was a sedan I enjoy having enough room for passengers plus camping or snowboarding gear.
The radio stations were already preset and that worked out for the best since we explored XM radio quite a bit (and are now completely addicted). A great feature was having the auxilary audio outlet right on the front of the console (not hidden in the centre console or behind/around anything else).
Having controls on the steering wheel was handy although the audio buttons were on the right, which was odd for me since I’m a lefty. I kept touching the controls on the right, which were for the cruise control instead. You can also sync the vehicle with your mobile phone and use a handsfree option, with controls on the wheel as well.
I made the mistake of not clearing the info on the vehicle when I first started out so all of the “average” readings I was taking were probably from the entire life of the vehicle (about 7,000kms so far) and not simply my run with it. As such, I didn’t see it register any lower than 11.7L/100km (average) but it should be getting about 5.9L/100km on the highway.
John really loved the passenger-side seat controls, and we were both amazed at the amount of space in the car and trunk (for a car that doesn’t look huge). You could probably fit half a dozen suitcases in there no problem without even folding down the back seats. We fit two sleeping bags, jackets, groceries, and 4 other bags in there with ease.
I know if I would have showed this to my sister she’d be looking for all the right “mom-friendly” features such as seat hookups. The back appeared to be big enough for multiple car seats although the floor had that hump in front of the middle seat.
The visibility from within the vehicle was fantastic, the seats were comfy, and the moonroof was a great touch as the sunny days started arriving in Vancouver. It looked sharp and had all the mechanical bits in order such as front wheel drive, anti-lock brakes, 6-speed automatic transmission, 169 hp 2.4L ECOTEC 4-cylinder dual overhead cam engine, and the MSRP for the model I had was $26,995. They also make a hybrid Malibu, which would absolutely sweeten the whole deal for us.
It’s a tough time for the auto industry right now, and while John (whose first car was a Malibu) and I will probably end up purchasing bikes before we take the plunge into vehicle ownership it’s been a great experience. I also have to add that I picked up the Malibu from Bob at Carter GM in Burnaby who was very nice and super helpful.
You can follow @GMCanada on Twitter for updates and company news including big things brewing in the near future with regards to Equinox Fuel Cell technology.