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Chevrolet Malibu MPG-Real World Numbers

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  • gdubya2gdubya2 Posts: 32
    Just turned over 4,000 miles on my 2006 Malibu LS sedan with the 4 cylinder engine. Total average for 4,060 miles is 29.1 MPG, with a low of 24.4 MPG on one fill up (city driving) and a high of 37.1 MPG on another (highway driving). This average was figured using miles divided by actual fuel purchased - not the DIC computer. No problems what so ever with the car. Very satisfied! :)
  • jackd928jackd928 Posts: 3
    With cruise on, at 70 mph, and using AC,on Texas Interstates, I get 36 mpg on my 06 V6. Calculations made from onboard computer minus 1.5% error. Computer gives inflated numbers.
  • mdennishmdennish Posts: 16
    i am averageing 26.5 mpg in mixed driving and i get 30 mpg at 80mph with the a/c on full blast, i am very pleased with numbers.
  • gdubya2gdubya2 Posts: 32
    Just returned home from northern Michigan. Filled up just before getting on the freeway. Drove at 70 mph using the cruise control. Some slower speeds through construction areas. Kept the A/C off. Mostly level driving with some rolling hills. Filled up again near my home. 162.1 miles driven, 4.04 gallons to fill up = 40.12 MPG for the trip. This is a 2006 LS sedan with the 4 cyl. and 5,702 miles one the ododmeter. My average for the 5,700 miles is about 31.6 MPG combined city/highway driving. :)
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    gdubya2,

    Your number (40.12 mpg) is very heart-warming for a Malibu owner, but
    I am afraid it is an aberration and can't be taken as a serious data
    point. It is well above of what I remember other people have been
    reporting, including your own post #87.

    Consider this:

    | Just returned home from northern Michigan. Filled up just before
    | getting on the freeway. Mostly level driving with some rolling
    | hills.

    1. Since you didn't make a round trip, you can't be sure that your
    trip was not "net-downhill". It might have seemed "mostly level
    driving" to you, but in fact the difference in the start and finish
    altitudes might have helped you to get the high mileage you are
    reporting in this post.

    | Filled up again near my home. 162.1 miles driven, 4.04 gallons to
    | fill up = 40.12 MPG for the trip.

    2. Your fuel purchase might have been too small to expect an accurate
    MPG computation.

    At the first and second gas stations, the fuel valves might have
    shut off at slightly different levels of gas in your tank, either
    due to to a sensor operation, or to the "attendant" (e.g. you)
    holding the handle at slightly different angles.

    How much of an inaccuracy should we expect here? I'd say, 0.25
    gallons would not be too much.

    Let's do the math:

    162.1 / 4.04 => 40.12 (reported by you)
    162.1 / (4.04 + 0.25) => 37.78 (much more realistic -- and surely great).
    162.1/ (4.04 + 0.5) => 35.70 (even more realistic -- and still great).

    | This is a 2006 LS sedan with the 4 cyl. and 5,702 miles one the
    | ododmeter. My average for the 5,700 miles is about 31.6 MPG combined
    | city/highway driving.

    About 31.6 MPG I am not surprised :-)

    I love watching the economy display going to 42 MPG and higher on a
    short (say, 10-mile) trip, soon after a fill-up -- only I know this is
    not a real data :-)...

    I just returned from a five-day round-trip. Here is what I've got:

    * Distance: 2741 miles
    * Avg. speed: 59 mph
    * Fuel used: 75.47 gallons
    * Fuel economy computer reading: 38.6 mpg
    * Fuel economy real: 36.32 mpg

    I am not unhappy with 36.32 mpg for that trip -- not at all!

    Was going through the terrible (North-) Eastern rains, pouring over
    the roads from MA to VA this past week. Was climbing the great Smoky
    Mountains in NC and TN -- mostly in the left-most driving lane, both
    in the mountains and on the roads with the posted speed limit of 70
    mph :-)

    Never felt a lack of power, always was curious as to what my real MPG
    was going to be in the end (the economy display was mostly fluctuating
    between 37.3 and 38.6).

    36.32 -- a mile better than the advertised economy range.

    I am **very** happy with the car.

    2005 Malibu Base Sedan.
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 225
    I don't know if 40mpg is that unrealistic for the 4-banger Malibu. I hit just under 40mpg (39.7) with my 04 Malibu LS V6 going 75mph on Saturday on level highway with a slight wind. I get 38 fairly regularly, so 40 isn't too far off for a smaller engine.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    3.5l V-6 in my 04 Maxx on a good day will get 30-31...most days....26
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 869
    You won't even see the mileage of the sedan V6, the Maxx is lower geared for pulling power.
  • gdubya2gdubya2 Posts: 32
    First, let me say that I was not trying to boast about my fuel economy in my earlier post, I was just reporting on the results I obtained under the conditions stated. But here is some additional info in response to your post:

    1. I checked the elevations for both the start and end points of my trip. I actually climbed 246 ft. in elevation to reach my destination. If you have ever been to Michigan you know that with the exception of the Porcupine Mountains in the western end of the Upper Peninsula, we have very little terrain that could even be described as "hilly". The rolling areas I referred to were located along the Lake Michigan shoreline south of Ludington MI. Most of my trip was on relatively flat terrain.

    2. I agree with your point that the short length of this trip could compound any error in determining actual MPG. However, I did attempt to make fuel use as accurate as possible by "topping off" each time by slowing adding fuel until the tank would take no more. I may be off a little here but I don't believe by more than the quarter of a gallon you mention.

    3. As far as my 40 MPG being an aberration, I'm not so sure. Remember, this trip was made during dry, warm (upper 70's) conditions on a weekday with very little traffic to contend with. I was alone in the car and did not use the A/C. I did use cruise control set at 70 mph for most of the trip, except when slowing for construction areas with posted speeds of 60 mph or 45 mph. I filled up just before entering the highway and just after exiting it.
    In my previous post #87 I mentioned getting 37.09 MPG. This was done on the exact same route only going north instead of south and the car only had 3,797 miles on it at that time. The trip was in mid May with much colder temps.
    In your post you mention that you came within 3.68 MPG of getting 40 MPG yourself in a year older car on a much longer trip that entailed mountain driving and heavy rain. You didn't mention if you used your A/C during any of your trip. Were you making on conscious effort to stretch your fuel?
    Anyway, I put the info up for what it's worth. Maybe others out there can confirm that the Malibu 4 cylinder sedan will do 40 MPG under the right conditions?
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    Gdubya2,

    First, thank you for your detailed response -- it does clarify some
    things.

    ,--- You said
    |
    | First, let me say that I was not trying to boast about my fuel
    | economy in my earlier post, I was just reporting on the results I
    | obtained under the conditions stated. But here is some additional
    | info in response to your post:

    In post #93, I, of course, didn't mean to say that you were trying to
    boast. You definitely provided interesting and detailed information
    -- but the number seemed too good not to be scrutinized.

    | But here is some additional info in response to your post:

    | 1. I checked the elevations for both the start and end points of my
    | trip. I actually climbed 246 ft. Most of my trip was on relatively
    | flat terrain.

    You just eliminated one suspicion I had. Very impressive!

    | I agree with your point that the short length of this trip could
    | compound any error in determining actual MPG. However, I did attempt
    | to make fuel use as accurate as possible by "topping off" each time
    | by slowing adding fuel until the tank would take no more. I may be
    | off a little here but I don't believe by more than the quarter of a
    | gallon you mention.

    So, let's say that you MPG was not less than

    | 162.1 / (4.04 + 0.25) => 37.78 (much more realistic -- and surely great).

    -- which seems great to me, too.

    | 3. As far as my 40 MPG being an aberration, I'm not so
    | sure. Remember, this trip was made during dry, warm (upper 70's)
    | conditions on a weekday with very little traffic to contend with. I
    | was alone in the car and did not use the A/C. I did use cruise
    | control set at 70 mph for most of the trip, except when slowing for
    | construction areas with posted speeds of 60 mph or 45 mph. I filled
    | up just before entering the highway and just after exiting it.

    With this information in mind, 40 mpg doesn't seem like a stretch to
    me now -- it doesn't go against my own data.

    | In my previous post #87 I mentioned getting 37.09 MPG. This was done
    | on the exact same route only going north instead of south and the
    | car only had 3,797 miles on it at that time. The trip was in mid May
    | with much colder temps.

    Yeah, I have noticed the dramatic difference the temperature makes to
    the MPG. The data you have reported looks very coherent now.

    Mind you, I am a **huge** Malibu fan -- so huge that I have two of
    them -- almost complete twins (and I am the only one who drives them
    both for now). Your data makes me love the car(s) even more :-)

    | In your post you mention that you came within 3.68 MPG of getting 40
    | MPG yourself in a year older car

    First, the car that made that trip from MA to the South and West and
    then back is not quite a year old -- it was produced in November 2004
    but then spent a year on some dealers' lots. I purchased it in
    January 2006.

    I started the trip with 5458 miles on the odometer (counting from the
    gas station, right before the trip) -- and ended it with 8199 miles
    (again, counting it on the same gas station, visited shortly after the
    trip).

    Three days before the trip, I dumped the OEM oil and replaced it with
    Mobil-1 synthetic (I change oil and rotate tires myself).

    The trip was by far not under the optimal conditions. Consider this:
    my average speed for the trip was 59 mph. This is after going mostly
    over the roads with 65 and 70 mph posted speed limits (and not
    dragging feet there).

    That is:

    a. I did have some city driving during the trip (my points of
    interest were obviously off the highways.)

    b. I did go through some stop-and-go maneuvers on the major
    highways. In this regard, going from DE and MD to Washington DC
    was the hardest -- we had to creep for miles to cross bridges
    and toll plazas... A sad experience.

    Both "a" and "b" accrued much smaller miles compared to the rest --
    the normal highway driving, but obviously they took my number somewhat
    down. I want to say, by 0.5 mpg -- but I don't know, of course.

    | on a much longer trip that entailed mountain driving and heavy rain.

    These two were likely significant factors working against me.

    Roughly a third of the trip was under a scary blinding rain -- with
    the car's AC working periodically to defog the windows.

    Mountain driving was such that the car's MPG display (showing the
    cumulative data for the trip) went from 38.3 to 36.8 -- and this after
    making one third of the (long) trip. The mountains certainly didn't
    help...

    | You didn't mention if you used your A/C during any of your trip.

    Moderately -- perhaps running it over 1/3 of the miles, too.

    | Were you making on conscious effort to stretch your fuel?

    No -- my absolute priorities were getting to the four pre-set
    destination points on time.

    Also, I should mention that I had a passenger in the car, plus a
    meaningful load to stay mostly autonomous for five days -- food,
    water, clothing -- perhaps an equivalent of a slim second passenger.

    | Anyway, I put the info up for what it's worth.

    Me, too :-)

    | Maybe others out there can confirm that the Malibu 4 cylinder sedan
    | will do 40 MPG under the right conditions?

    Thinking about what your reported and my own data, I want to hope that
    under the right conditions 40 mpg is possible -- and I mean a long
    trip, taking at least 8 gallons of fuel -- without net-descending, of
    course.

    But I've never seen an evidence of such an experience -- that is,
    until reading your last post. Would be lovely to hear from somebody
    else that 40 mpg has been achieved -- on a long "level" trip.

    When I was going on my long trip, I was hoping to get 38-39 mpg in the
    end, based on my past experience.

    Got 36.32 mpg, as you know -- great in itself, and even better when
    taking the circumstances into account.

    BTW, my MPG experience is very consistent between my two Malibu's.
    The first one was bought in May 2005 and, as of last fill-up, has
    11562 miles on the odometer. On both cars, MPG falls during winter
    months, and during warm months (April-November?) the city MPG can be
    estimated as falling in the range of 24-26 mpg, while on a level
    highway, under good circumstances, I could hope to get around 36-38
    mpg -- in line with the results of my long trip.

    Hope to get 40 mpg, one day, though :-).

    All in all -- Malibu is a perfect car for me, and the MPG is just one
    of the things I love. Thank you Chevy and e2helper, if you read this!
  • gdubya2gdubya2 Posts: 32
    Read your post with interest. Only other thing I can add is that I keep my tires inflated to 32 psi cold. This might make a slight difference too.
    Coincidently, I just changed out the OEM oil today with Mobil One. Car has 6210 miles on the odometer and the DIC was showing 22% oil life left. Didn't want to push it any further on the original oil though.
    I will be making this trip to and from northern Michigan often as I have a summer place "up north" in Manistee. Will see if I can duplicate the 40 MPG again.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    ,-- You (gdubya2)
    |
    | Only other thing I can add is that I keep my tires inflated to 32
    | psi cold. This might make a slight difference too.

    I keep mine at 32 psi cold -- checked right before *that* trip, too
    :-)

    | Coincidently, I just changed out the OEM oil today with Mobil
    | One. Car has 6210 miles on the odometer and the DIC was showing 22%
    | oil life left.

    Which comes to the 7961 miles (6210 / .78) OCI, per your computer.

    I do this computation after every gas fill-up and (just checked it)
    normally have an estimate of full oil life to be somewhat lower than
    your number. It may fluctuate from 6500 to 8000+, but, I'd say, 7500
    is my idea of what the average result would be. Your reading, if
    consistent, probably indicates that you are driving gentler than I --
    and/or under better conditions.

    FYI, after my long trip (with the oil changed on the eve of it), the
    oil data was:

    * Run on this oil: 2785 m
    * Oil life left (as per DIC): 64%
    --> Estimated oil life (between the changes): 7736 miles.

    | I will be making this trip to and from northern Michigan often as I
    | have a summer place "up north" in Manistee. Will see if I can
    | duplicate the 40 MPG again.

    I will be rooting for you and expect the results eagerly. Good luck!
  • I got my 2001 malibu V6( basic type but almost full loaded) last year. I live in LA. These days I caculated the MPG and found that the combined is about 24 with 68% high way ( half of it has terrible traffic, Mph is only 20. another half mph is about 56-60) and 32% local.
    Almost AC on all the way.

    I must say based on the standard figures given by Chevy(20 local 29 high way), the result is reasonable. But I have seen so many of you have a terrific mpg which my result is only a mediocre. :blush:
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    Most of the results quoted are for the new Malibu, which were rated 24-35 MPG for the 4-cylinder engine and ??-32 MPG for the 6-cyl one. "Were" -- that is, before model year 2006 when Chevy adjusted them down (to max 32 MPG, if I remember correctly).

    This is just a very different car than the 2001 Malibu.
  • I think the torque peak of the new engine is higher RPM than the old one...what I could find suggests the LX9, older engine has 220 lb-ft at 3200 rpm, while new LZ4 has 220 lb-ft but at 4000 rpm.

    Is that true?
  • :) My 2005 Chevy Malibu, puchased Nov. 2004 is the new styled version with the 4 cylinder, and I have owned it since new and it now has 43,000 miles. Most delighted, I just finished a trip from Gulf Shores Alabama to Buffalo and back - I logged 2,600 miles. From Start to stop, including all the hills, traffic jams, city driving, I posted an over-all 33.7 MPG average. However I got 39.9 the last leg of my trip where I was doing 72MPG, and up and down hills for a point. I have seen my car get over 40 MPG before, but I am making this post because I know many people just can't beleive this car get's this mileage, but for me and the other owners, it's not fantasy, rather reality. Why this car isn't listed in the Top Fuel Economy Sedans is beyond me. I now have ZERO respect for Consumer Reports who hasn't given this car much praise, but I have owned Toyota's and Honda's and my 4 cylinder acts like a 6 cylinder, and divvies up some impressive numbers for it's owner.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I actually subscribed to the extensive buying guide on Consumer Reports, and they did praise the 4 cylinder Malibu (new version) for good handling, slightly better than the 6 cylinder (less weight in front). Admittedly they then opined that you might as well get the 6 since the gas mileage was so close. What they didn't point out is that the HIGHWAY mileage on the 4 cylinder is much better than the 6 - but if you mix in an average amount of city driving, the difference narrows.

    I have a Cobalt with the same 4 cylinder, but a stick shift, and get 35 mpg on my daily freeway commute and up to 37 mpg on road trips. I'd love to have a 4 cylinder Malibu for the extra space and the automatic!
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    My 04 Maxx LS with 31000 miles on the odometer still gets a combined 60/40% city highway figure of 26 MPG. A recent trip on the NY Thruway gave 32 MPG and my all time record (last summer) on I-90 and I-71 in Ohio -- temps in the 80s, AC on and cruise set at 65 mph -- was 34.5 MPG. Not bad at all, I'd say!
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    That's less than a mpg more than I'm averaging. No complaints what so ever on this car. I'm happier with the additional gas mileage the electric steering gives me than I am unhappy with the slight loss of road feel-- I got used to it within a couple of thousand miles.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    ,-- clarencehollow --
    |
    | I just finished a trip from Gulf Shores Alabama to Buffalo and back
    | - I logged 2,600 miles. From Start to stop ... I posted an over-all
    | 33.7 MPG average. However I got 39.9 the last leg of my trip where I
    | was doing 72MPG, and up and down hills for a point.

    But can you tell that you were not going net-down-hill on this last
    leg?

    | I have seen my car get over 40 MPG before, but I am making this post
    | because I know many people just can't beleive this car get's this
    | mileage, but for me and the other owners, it's not fantasy, rather
    | reality.

    I love my two Malibus (both base 2005 sedans) -- love them more with
    every day I drive them (well, one at a time :-) -- and am glad to hear
    other people's happy stories about the car, but I haven't seen the
    evidence that this car can make anywhere close to 40 mpg on a "closed
    loop" trip.

    See my posts starting from #93 and notice #99 by gdubya2 -- I am still
    waiting to see anybody to report a long (more than 8 gallons of fuel
    spent) round trip with the result exceeding 37 mpg.

    My own best result (as stated in #93) was 36.32 mpg on a 2741 miles
    round trip.

    | Why this car isn't listed in the Top Fuel Economy Sedans is beyond
    | me. I now have ZERO respect for Consumer Reports who hasn't given
    | this car much praise,

    How could CR have adequate knowledge about essentially every car on
    the market? It takes at least weeks of operating to get an idea of a
    new car's behavior and peculiarities. Where would CR get time and
    money to do this research?.. Their reports are a joke, often carried
    over from a year to a year.

    E.g., in the 2005 and 2006 (if memory serves) April editions, CR
    claimed that Malibu Maxx was more reliable than the sedan.

    Where did they get it? I've been watching the Malibu forums on
    Edmunds.com from the early 2005 and am under a firm impression that
    the number of problems with Maxx reported in these forums is by orders
    of magnitude higher than the ones for the *new* sedan.

    Was CR comparing the reliability of Maxx to the reliability of the
    *old* (Classic) Malibu, maybe?

    Beats me how people can still take CR seriously, when better sources
    (e.g. Edmunds.com) are available.

    | but I have owned Toyota's and Honda's and my 4 cylinder acts like a
    | 6 cylinder, and divvies up some impressive numbers for it's owner

    Can't compare Bu 4 to Bu 6, but I drove on a 6-cylinder 3.8L engine
    for 6 years prior to Malibu and don't have a bit of regret that both
    my Bu's are Ecotec 2.2L-driven. Nice torque, among other things!

    ,-- micweb --
    |
    | I have a Cobalt with the same 4 cylinder, but a stick shift, and get
    | 35 mpg on my daily freeway commute and up to 37 mpg on road trips.

    These numbers sound just right -- higher than Malibu's numbers I can
    trust, as they should be.
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