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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu

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  • Ten days ago, I bought a new, untitled '05 Malibu LS sedan. Like yours, it had package 1SB, was built in the fall of '04 (October), and had 400+ miles on the odometer (446) when I test drove it. According to the window sticker, it was originally delivered to the dealer I bought it from. Like you, I found it using gmbuypower.com. However, mine is White, not Sport Red.

    Initially, I was concerned about why this car had been on the dealer's lot for almost a year. However, after driving it for over a week and putting almost 600 miles on it (now at 1012), I've decided not to worry about it because the car is performing fine. Likewise, if yours is performing well, I wouldn't worry about why it went unsold for a year---just enjoy it.

    By the way, after a 145 mile round trip to see a football game this weekend plus four days of commuting and errand running, my Malibu averaged 28 MPG. This is great, especially considering the fact that my old car would've averaged about 23 MPG for the same type of driving. At today's gas prices, the savings from getting five extra miles per gallon ain't pocket change!

    What kind of mileage are you getting from yours so far?
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 225
    Just took the longest trip to date in my 04 Malibu LS, it was about 600 miles, 590.6 to be exact. Filled up when I left town, once coming back, and then again when I got back to check mileage. Going up, which included around Albuquerque, and back to a town about 20 miles this direction, 346.9 miles according to the trip computer, averaging 57mph, got 34.3mpg. Coming back, averaging 66mph for 243.7 miles, I got 37.7! I figured this by dividing miles by gallons (not the trip computer). Almost 38 in a V6 with cruise set at 75 the whole way (when not driving through one of the 5 towns between of course)
  • deminindeminin Posts: 214
    We traded our '03 LS in for a new '06 Impala LTZ a few days ago. I am hoping the the Impala is as good as the Malibu was. We had one minor repair in almost 3 years...bad power window switch...and the gas pedal recall. The only real complaint I had with the Malibu was comfort on longer trips. It was about as good a town car as anyone could hope to have. Here's hoping that all you Malibu owners have as good an ownership experience as we had.
  • Great mileage! Thanks for posting the report. I can't wait to see what kind of mileage mine gets on a long trip.
  • I had an opportunity to sit in and examine an '06 Impala SS in the showroom while waiting on the F&I guy when I bought my Malibu a few weeks ago. I was impressed with the materials quality in the interior, the dashboard layout, the feel of the switches, and the fit/finish of both the interior and the exterior. Bob Lutz' influence at GM is definitely paying off!

    The '06 Impala looks to me like it'll be a great car. Enjoy it!
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    The Malibu has a decent interior. That said I'd like to see more of what I see in the Impala go into the Malibu, it needs more accents to give it a more upscale feeling interior.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Hey deminin, I remember you from a few years back when you first got your Malibu. I enjoyed your periodic update. Man how time flies. We bought our Malibu LS shortly before you and like you we had a wonderful ownership experience untill my wife was rear ended by a dump truck (at low speed fortunately). We were real sad to depart from our faithful Malibu. It was going to be my commute car. Now I'm stuck with a 91 Geo. Anyway, good luck with your Impala.
  • I've put about 900 miles on mine so far, and the first measured tank fillup was just under 30 MPG. My commute is about 85 miles roundtrip, mostly 2-lane highway with cruise control set at about 61 MPH. So far on the latest fillup, the DIC is showing about 31 MPG. I'm curious about how the onboard computer calculates MPG. Does anyone know the gory details about what sensors measure fuel consumption?

    BTW, since my average speed is considerably less than 150 MPH, I'm glad my LS did NOT have that silly spoiler! But a car with full air bags, enough V6 horses to light the tires, plus great gas mileage if you drive without lighting the tires, plus a pretty decent basic audio system, plus a backseat comfortable enough to take a nap at lunchtime, makes me a happy camper. :)
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 869
    Very simple with a computer, the computer measures injector pulse width. IPW is how long the computer keeps the injector open and how many time per mile. The computer is set to know high much fuel is used for each IPW. Checking my milage by dividing gallons into miles traveled I have come to the conclusion it's very accurate. :)
  • 30 MPG is great mileage! A lot better than your Silverado, eh?

    I don't know how the DIC calculates mileage, but I'd like to find out. It seems to be pretty accurate so far.

    My commute is about 40 miles round trip, with a mix of 2-lane highway, interstate highway, and city streets. Speed varies depending on the traffic, so gas mileage varies also. It'll be interesting to see what my next fillup yields since there won't be a 145 mile highway trip this time. According to the DIC, I'm averaging 27.1 MPG so far on this fillup.

    I agree...the level of equipment you get on this car for the money is outstanding. Mine doesn't have the spoiler, either, which is fine with me. I've never understood why car manufacturers think that 4-door sedans need spoilers. :confuse:

    So far, I'm very pleased with this car's ride, handling, performance, and fuel economy. I'd encourage anyone shopping the Camry and Accord to take a serious look at the Malibu. It just might surprise them.
  • Thanks for the explanation, gonogo. As an old technogeek computer guy that still remembers engines that you could tune by ear, I'm always interested in how computers have been applied to cars. Do you happen to know any online references with more detailed explanations for IPW and other acronyms?
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 869
    Sorry no, I used to have the GM online service manual twice, but GM catches up with me and blocks me out. I have got a lot of information on the 04 Malibu and 99 Sonoma which I own. When I was on the online manual I downloaded for hours knowing I would lose it some day. Google will usually come up with something. :)
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    You could always buy one ;)

    But it isn't going to describe the details of how the fuel economy display is calculated. That would only be found in the specifications for the electronic module's software
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 869
    Buy, you mean buy, LOL, already downloaded 2 on my computer.I have found out in my short time online if you look long enough and hard enough you can find most anything. The thing is most of the information I have I will never use, but it's nice to have just in case, just takes a little HD space. :)
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    on the 2006 Malibu w/4 cylinder has changed from 2005.

    2005 was 24/35
    2006 now 24/32

    Is there a new final drive ratio, transmission change or engine modification?

    Or did EPA change their test?
  • ronbo10ronbo10 Posts: 45
    Been a while since I've posted...busy with allot of stuff, including a newborn (it's been 4 months and I've still got 5 cigars in my mouth!). I've been wondering the same thing. The EPA has just put out their new 2006 Fuel Economy Guide (found at www.fueleconomy.gov), and here's how I understand the EPA process works: The manufacturer submits their estimates of what the EPA will find were the EPA to verify using their own tests. Reading the EPA's FAQ's, it turns out that the EPA verifies the manufacturers' submitted numbers (e.g.24/32) in only 10% of the cases, i.e. they test only 10% of all cars for which they publish results. I didn't know that. So with that in mind, I would suggest that GM has decided to take the hit marketing-wise by estimating the Malibu 4 cylinder down to 24/32 from the prior year's higher number. Perhaps GM doesn't want the Malibu 4 Cylinder to outperform the smaller Cobalt, which has the same power train (LS/LT models, anyway). I recall when the Cobalt was introduced that GM made a decision to accept lower mileage on the Cobalt due to the higher performance but "dragier" tires they fitted to the car. I doubt that the tires account for a 2 mpg difference, and I think a lot of folks were surprised that the Cobalt didn't do better with its EPA mileage rating. I'd venture to say that the 05 Malibu 4 Cylinder EPA numbers were valid, and one could expect similar results with the '06. Real world I've seen a few owners report close to 40 mpg highway with their 4 cylinder Malibu’s.

    Of note, found in the description of testing in the 2006 Fuel Economy Guide, is that the EPA takes their lab results (they apparently use dynamometers vice actual road tests) and then apply a 15% reduction factor "to better reflect real world driving conditions for the average motorist" (their words). I don't know if this was the case with their 2005 Fuel Economy Guide, but I do recall last year the complaints from drivers claiming that the EPA published numbers were overly optimistic.

    On the other hand, I would hazard a guess that the numbers that manufacturers submit might themselves be slightly conservative- the PR nightmare of manufacturers' submitted numbers not being repeatable in EPA tests is probably not something they wish to have to contemplate. For example, the Chevrolet Impala 3.9 is rated at 19/27, though I've already seen one owner write he's gotten 27.6 with a mix of 25/75 city/highway, this on a motor that's still being broken in. Hardly a scientific survey, I know. Still, I'll bet the real world numbers of the Impala 3.9 might turn out to be a bit better than the 19/27 published number would suggest.

    Finally, I see some revisions in the other direction for '06. For example, Buick's Lacrosse (3800) had an EPA rating of 20/29 for 2005, but for 2006 they show 20/30. Has the car changed year over year? Probably not. But 30 mpg is a psychologically important number that is nice to be able to show on the window sticker. Perhaps there is a certain amount of politicking that goes on between manufacturer and the EPA, though they'd both probably bristle at the suggestion.

    Sorry for the long post!
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    You explained the EPA testing and manufacturer fuel economy estimates quite clearly. A lot of these details I never heard before.

    I looked closely at the specs of the 2006 and 2005 Malibus and could find no changes. It makes sense Chev would not want the Malibu to be more economical than the Cobalt.

    The EPA estimates for hybrid vehicles have been shown by CU to be completely invalid - as much as 40% too high.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    You said:

    on the 2006 Malibu w/4 cylinder has changed from 2005.

    2005 was 24/35
    2006 now 24/32

    Is there a new final drive ratio, transmission change or engine modification?

    Or did EPA change their test?


    Chevy cleaned up the appalling emissions on the '05 Malibu and the "highway" mileage took a slight hit as a result. I have long been considering a Malibu 4-banger but did not like the "minimum legal standard" emissions on the engine in that car - it got a "3" out of 10 rating on the EPA pollution score. The version of this year is up to a "6" so it is much cleaner, and matches the pollution from the Cobalt and Pontiac G6 versions of this engine.

    BTW, the Pontiac G6 gets the 2.4 version, which loses 1 mpg on the city rating but picks up 2 mpg on the highway end of things - despite being bigger. I supect they use a lower final overall gear ratio to drop the rpm a bit, the 2.4 has more torque. Although I would prefer a Chevy, I will look at the Pontiac to see what it's like - it's a bargain at $18k, and may - may - have sportier handling since it is from the Pontiac line.

    Overall mileage on the 4 banger still beats the base 6 cylinder, and handling should still be better - Consumer Reports liked the handling on the 4 cylinder version slightly better than on the 6 cylinder version. In the near future GM will probably phase in the variable valve timing version of the 6, which might further narrow the mileage gap.

    BTW, I find Consumer Reports a better guide to actual mileage. Since their driving is heavily biased towards city cycles, it is overall much lower than the EPA scores, but their 150 mile trip and pure highway cycle readings are more in line with what I see on my freeway commute.

    Finally, the 2.4 used in the Pontiac G6 runs on regular, vs. the premium recommended for this version of the engine in the HHR and Cobalt SS (non-supercharged edition). It would be interesting if the HP and torque figures given for the G6 version are based on using regular, the HHR based on using premium, and otherwise there are no differences - in otherwords, change your gas and you'll change your performance.
  • ronbo10ronbo10 Posts: 45
    Very interesting- I hadn't even considered that the state of tune of the 2005 Malibu was significantly dirtier than the 2006. It's unfortunate that cleaner exhaust can be less efficient- sort of contrary to intuition: You might think that cleaner exhaust would mean that more energy is being generated by the combustion, with fewer pollutants as a result. Wishful thinking, I guess.

    With respect to the 2.4 liter's better mileage, I wonder if the the variable nature of it's cam timing allows it to run more efficiently at cruise (and for that matter, is the cam phasing sophisticated enough that it takes into account more variables than simply RPM- e.g. it's ideal phasing at cruise, 2500 rpm might be different than 2500 rpm under acceleration).

    I hope you're right about the Malibu getting the V6 with VVT in the near future. It sounds like a superior engine, good as the current Malibu's V6 is. Interestingly, the Malibu's V6 has almost nothing in common with the new generation VVT V-6's (think I read it shared only valve guides!).

    I wonder if much advantage is gained (with respect to variable valve timing design) with having separate camshafts for intake and exhaust, as is the case with DOHC engines. With OHV engines having a common camshaft for both intake and exhaust, by design they must vary together rather than independently. I've seen several journalists describe the VVT system in the new generation GM OHV V-6's as "rudimentary". Not sure why they should describe it in these terms. Also of note is that Ford's Duratec 2.3 liter 4 cylinder, as well as their Duratec 3.0 V-6 have only variable intake valve timing. Perhaps little is to be gained by varying the exhaust valve timing. Or perhaps it is only a question of cost, and/or cost/benefit ratio.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Whether to vary intake only, or both intake and exhaust valves is a topic I don't know a lot about...but I have heard that most of the benefit of variable valve timing is being able to vary the intake valves, and the next major benefit is being able to vary the shift continuously instead of in "bumps" as in the original Honda system. Finally there is the issue of varying valve overlap, which you wouldn't get with a system that shifts intake and exhaust valves at the same time by the same amount.

    I think you have to look at the results. The 2.4 with vvt on the HHR is rated at the same mpg as the 2.2 on the HHR without vvt; the 2.4 on the G6 vs the 2.2 on the 'bu; the extras horsepower with similar mileage on the Mazda3's vs. the Focus. This stuff seems to work, if you can get past the extra cost of the engine design (which is why the Focus, an "ordinary" economy car, doesn't get it, but the "premium" Mazda3 does).
This discussion has been closed.