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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • obriendmobriendm Posts: 7
    This is my first post - although I read the site often, having had a 97 Bu before getting my current truck. I was just at our local auto show today and saw the new Bu and the Maxx. Overall much better than the previous generation - esp in fit/finish - but material choice still trails that of the Accord (IMO it's about on par with Camry). If GM wants to regain any midsize market, the interior designers need to buy an Accord (esp with leather). The HVAC controls glide (the Bu clunks), the leather could have come from the $50K 530i across the way (the ultralux is OK and different but you can tell it's nowhere near as nice), the glovebox even felt solid and sturdy when slammed, and where's the rear center armrest in the Bu? It's these little things that, if corrected, could move the Bu to the head of the class - styling and engines are equal IMO for 85% of the buying public.
  • could be tucked inside the back seat, like in the "Classic" Bu which I have
  • obriendmobriendm Posts: 7
    There definately was no rear center armrest in either the LT sedan or the LS Maxx - which I found surprising - like you said, the 97-03 Bu's had em (at least the LS that I had). Could it be that the seat wouldn't fold as flat? I'm not sure. Otherwise the back seat seemed very comfortable. I also noticed that someone at the auto show reversed (facing backwards) the front headrests so they would not be intrusive. Has anyone else tried this?
  • dispencer1dispencer1 Posts: 489
    obriendm -

    For years now the Camry and Accord have been better built, better finished, more reliable and fully equipped much more expensive than an Malibu. They are also much more popular than a Malibu regardless of year. The Malibu is cheaper, much less expensive to maintain according to the "book" if you take it to a dealer, and is relatively durable. If finish and luxury are important to a buyer there are plenty of program car certified Park Avenues and Cadillac Devilles a year old with 25-30k mileage and priced about the same as a loaded Camry or Malibu. I bought an '03 Deville for the price of an Impala LS and there is no comparison. I have a 2001 Malibu LS. I drive it all over the place and so far it has cost me about
    $600 in repairs over 63,000 miles. You'll pay practically that for a couple of Camry 15 and 30k mileage "checkups" at a Toyota dealer.
  • obriendmobriendm Posts: 7
    I totally agree with you on maintenance costs, and I am not questioning the reliability - my 97 Bu only had a faulty headlight switch and AC control replaced over 90K miles before being totaled in a front end collision (someone ran a red and hit me as I was making a left on an arrow). But why should I have to accept lower levels of material quality (as I said the fit on the 04's are on par) at the same price range? Many people would gladly pay more for better perceived quality (again reliability is really no longer a big issue anymore and the Bu's only cheaper with incentives). The Bu's interior isn't bad enough to disuade someone from buying it, but it's not going to win over people from Honda/Toyota either. And I don't want something as large as a Park Ave or Deville (and an Accord's interior is MUCH nicer than the Buick's IMO). Look, I'm a big fan of the American auto industry and what they do for this country in terms of jobs, taxes, charities, etc. I just want to see its products go head-to-head, not compete solely on price.
  • dispencer1dispencer1 Posts: 489
    I bought the Deville mainly so that my wife could drive people around and sell real estate and also for road trips. Actually I prefer the Malibu on trips of 200-400 miles. You don't have to sit on the floor to see under the sun visor and the car handles a lot better. Actually my repair cost was for a fuel pump I didn't need and a new ignition module. The car wouldn't consistantly read the key and an independent mechanic thought it was a fauly fuel pump. The dealer diagnosed the problem accurately and replaced the module. So much for the mechanic. I also replaced the rotors.
    I agree with you that there is no reason why -if we can put someone on the moon - we can't build a car with the same quality inherent in a Camry. The car magazines (especially CR which would recommend a soap box derby racer if it was made in Japan) love the Camry -"practically a Lexus", quiet, hushed, etc etc. You can buy a base Camry for about the same price as a Malibu with the same equipment. The downside is maintenance cost (cars are very reliable but checkups and routine service is costly) and lack of a dealer network in small towns. We have a Toyota dealer here in Clovis, NM but not Hyundai or Kia. I assume that GM has market researchers who determine what customers like but there must be a reason that Camrys far outsell Malibus. I agree on the quality issue. There is no reason why GM can't meet or beat any Japanese or Korean car.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Camry LE's $16,800.00
    Accord LX's $ 18,800.00
    All with Automatic, air pw/pl,AMFM-CD, etc.
    This is what the Malibu is fighting in some parts of the country. And the quality is better as stated on the above cars.
  • dispencer1dispencer1 Posts: 489
    The base Malibu with a 4 and automatic and a few options runs about 20k .I don't know what rebates are currently available. The Camry and Accord might hold their resale better but the downside of this for someone trying to sell one at the recommended Kelley price is that a new one doesn't cost much more. Hertz wants about 15k for last year's used ones with 25k and up mileage. Not much reason to purchase one used. Malibus however are around 11k.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    We have a 2002 LS. I don't notice it has a rear armrest...
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    GM is the most aggressive rebate/0% interest company around..yet the Malibu's aren't covered. I think this has to do with their long term strategy of weaning consumers from predictable, high rebates. Quite frankly I would have bought a new Malibu if the rebates were in line with the rebates on other GM products. But they weren't and aren't.

    Toyota Camry's have high perceived value, and most people still view dealer "specials" as come-ons, bait and switch, a hassle, etc (which they aren't!). Therefore salting the Sunday ads with low Camry LE prices doesn't "cheapen the brand" (you don't get the same low prices on other Camrys).

    It's too bad that GM's attempt to "hold the line" starts with the 'Bu.

    But anyway, next year there should be a more competitive 4 cylinder option...I am fond of 4's and one magazine reported slightly better "balance" with the 4 (less weight up front). On the other hand, I'd probably have to order a car to get it optioned the way I'd want it - just a 4, but with ABS....
  • Look in the middle of the back seat. The armrest is integrated into it right about the middle. Unless they didn't include it for 2002
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    We have always had a car seat in the middle of the back seat. I guess we never paid much attention. I'll check.
  • dispencer1dispencer1 Posts: 489
    I have a 2001 LS (cloth upholstery) and I can guarantee that there is no armrest. The split seats fold down. Perhaps they put one in the cars with leather. Speaking of back seats, the absolutely ugliest back seat of any car is found in the Buick LeSabre Custom - very plain. The Malibu seat is far better looking.
  • obriendmobriendm Posts: 7
    Maybe they did away with it with the 2000 (or was it 2001?) model changes. I know my 97 LS (cloth)had it and my brother's 98 LS (leather) had it. Seems odd that they would delete that, but, as I said, the two 2004's didn't have it either.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Checked, no arm rest. Not a big deal for us, just curious.
  • They deleted glovebox lock also after either '99 or '00
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    And all the deletions (esp on the Impala, which I own) are what is probably going to push me into the import camp this summer. PRNDL lit indicator on console, coin holder, seat pockets, glove box lock and light, etc.

    My theory is if they cut this stuff I CAN see, what did they do to lessen durability while saving costs on the hard parts I can't see--the engine, tranny, etc.?

    I hope Mr. Lutz is happy with his cost savings. They scared me away from the Maxx and probably into a Subaru Legacy GT (then again, GM owns 20 percent of Fuji Heavy)
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    Online petitions are taken about as seriously as dogs baying at the moon. (think about it, the average signer could be a 13 year old who doesn't even own a Toyota Camry, much less a GM product...or employees of competitors and their suppliers)

    A well written letter and, if needed, a legal action where you are represented by an attorney are far more effective...
  • dispencer1dispencer1 Posts: 489
    They are about as useful as class action suits. I remember the Audi one. I had a 1986 5000S -it was a total lemon and a 50,000 mile throwaway (that is when the warranty ended) although I never had a problem with unintended acceleration. The class action suit against Audi gave the participants a discount on another Audi! Since you couldn't give away an Audi the result was a joke. The only winners were the lawyers. Now the car magazines are praising Audi to the hilt just like they did when the '84 came out - far ahead of its competitors in its design. How soon we forget.
  • dispencer1dispencer1 Posts: 489
    By the way, GM seems to delete standard stuff on virtually every car each year. On Cadillac DeVille the electrochromatic left side mirror ended up in a package for 2003 and now the base radio does not have a cassette deck. They even charge $50 for a "trunk kit" -mat and truck net-. Ditto with the Malibu's radio. My 2001 LS has a cassette/CD radio. The new ones don't. The 2002 Impala LS had the most standard equipment - lots of stuff was taken away for 2003 and put in packages. It seems like the best equipped cars are one ones that come out a year after introduction.
  • By that time, they have worked out most bugs, but haven't deleted much stuff yet :-)
  • dispencer1dispencer1 Posts: 489
    That wasn't true with the Cadillac Deville and the Impala LS but one has to check the brochures when the new models come out to compare them. You can always buy a year old one if they have taken too much away on a new one.
  • free_bsdfree_bsd Posts: 9
    Good call on the "smarter" dealership. The differences between smarter and the wild dog were like night and day. Thanks for the tip!
  • and happy motoring :)
  • ugly but practical. But I still cannot understand why GM is so afraid of creating a pretty Chevrolet car (Corvette aside, though it did have a fat [non-permissible content removed] until 2005). Why is it so difficult to create several designs and have focus groups tell them which one they like the most? Quite a few people buy vehicles based on looks, all other things being equal. Wake up, Mr. Lutz!
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    I notice an increasing number of late model midsize sedans have a middle backseat that's so convexed and narrow that it's almost useless. These are supposed to be 5-passenger sedans. Plus it makes it more difficult to fit a car seat there, which is the safest place. Why why? Why do they have to make the seats like that?
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    I just came from the NHTSA site, where they now have the '04 Malibu (base sedan, not the Maxx)listed with a 4-star rating. I'm surprised it didn't do better...I thought a 5-star rating was GM's stated goal for this car. Or maybe I'm dreaming.
  • dispencer1dispencer1 Posts: 489
    By the way, you all might make a note of the fact that the 2004 Malibu Classic or "Chevrolet Classic"
    that is being sold to fleets and rental car companies is pretty much a base 2003 Malibu with power windows, door locks, CD radio, cruise, auto, AC ,base cloth interior and a 140hp 4 cyl engine. So much for picking up a bargain Malibu LS at the end of the year. I assume that rental car companies such as Hertz and Enterprise which sell their own cars will put these in the fleet instead of the new design 2004's. It will be interesting to see if this happens.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I used to love to buy new designs, because they often have great new features or added value, but there is also merit to buying a proven design with all the bugs out...perhaps the Malibu Classic will be such a car, coming off rental. The Malibu always got good marks from the car magazines and CR. One with the Ecotec 4 might not be so bad...for pure utility.
This discussion has been closed.