Review: 2009 Chevy Malibu

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 — 11:38am PST
Comments 5

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.

Malibu Review

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).

Malibu Review

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.

Malibu Review

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.

Malibu Review

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.

Malibu Review

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.

Malibu Review

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.

Malibu Review

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.

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  1. Will says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t give you a hybrid to test after you just did the write-up for Toyota… and considering what I would imagine is your readership’s demographic.

  2. Mom604 says:

    My very first car my dad gave me was a Chevy (back in the 60’s) and I loved it!

  3. Airdrie says:

    My first car was a Malibu, too. My dad’s used four-door, with a bench seat in the front. It leaked.

  4. Some other questions you didn’t address:

    – How was the fit and finish of the car? Did it feel well put together or not? Do all the parts fit together well? Did it rattle or squeak?

    – Is it ergonomically designed? Could you get the seats, wheel, etc. where you wanted them? Did the controls work easily for you, and could you read all the displays easily under all conditions? Could you get in and out of the front and back seats conveniently? Was there enough legroom in front and back? Could you see well? Any large blind spots? Enough pockets and stowage compartments? How was the turning circle? Was it reasonable for parallel parking?

    – Did you calculate the fuel economy you got while using the car? Since you didn’t reset the onboard computer, did you check how much gas you put in it for the distance you traveled for an average of your own use?

    – How was the acceleration for passing or climbing hills? Enough power for what you needed?

    – Any individual things you particularly liked about this car? Any individual things that annoyed you?

    – If you were in a market for a car, would this be a model you’d consider? Why or why not?

  5. IcemanYVR says:

    I’ve never been a fan of American cars, the quality is never there, and the fact that GM has to advertise an overhead cam engine speaks how far behind they have been in the technology race.

    Not sure I would even consider buying a GM these days or a Chrysler as they are on the brink of banckruptcy and closing dealerships next year. Who would want to buy a car and find their dealer closed after only a few months. I also don’t agree with our tax dollars bailing
    them out, if they can’t build a decent car, or run their business suitably, they should be allowed to fail an fade away. I don’t see any of the Japanese or German companies asking for money, and many of their cars are more “American” made the big three.

    I’m pretty sure that 5 years down the road, the Camry reviewed earlier will be running along smoothly while the Mailbu will be found somewhere on Craigslist for a thousand bucks.

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