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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu



  • aniazianiazi Posts: 39
    I am just wondering what grade of gas are you guys(Malibu owners) are using? Some says it hurt sometime if use highest grade as it has more octane but some argu you get more power. Although Chevy recommend 87. I am wondering what you guys have to say or think?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    The higher octane gas does not provide more power. It better resists knocking, and nothing more.

    But the higher grade, most probably, does not hurt either, just is more expensive. Extra $1000, probably somewhat more, for the life of the car.

    Just today explained it on the Regal board:

    Malibu (with 3.1L V-6) runs fine on the 87 gas. Somewhat noisy when driven up-hill, with cold engine, but GM say it is OK. See the owner manual.
  • piapia Posts: 3
    Had my 99LS for 15000 miles now and have a few comments for what its worth. First 1000 miles was
    sickening, with having to change the brakes and get 4 new tires. But since then I have had great reliability and comfort. The interior sqeaks more than it should and I had to put a rubber band around the plastic shoulder harness height adjustment knob that rattles into my ear while driving. Keeping 29/26 psi in the tires is important for the best ride, as well as coating the rubber door seals with armor-all about once a month. The front bumper is impossible to keep clean (ya-it's white) and the bug removal is a tough scrub. The engine is noisy at start and the acceleration is barely adequate, but I am getting about 29 mpg using regular unleaded. Bottom Line:
    The car is a great buy on the used market because the depreciation is HUGE the 1st 2 yrs.(ie only buy new at closeout time with rebates and use the GM credit card points if you got em). The brakes will be changed more often than the avg car. Buy some good tapes-cd's to overcome the rattles-squeaks.....
  • I just took my Malibu in for an oil change and to get the vent damper controls looked at. When I was booking in I mentioned that my rotors were statring to warp again but I was out of warranty. I asked for a printout of the history of my brake service expecting a battle.

    This afternoon when I called about the status of the vent issue they told me the vent control unit was defective - $253 installed BUT they also relaced my rotors free of charge. They used the same rotors that they have been using all along. I now have my fifth set including the ones when the car was new plus four times turning them, all in the span of 75,000km.

    Onward Oh...
  • ljhzljhz Posts: 1
    Recently took my 2000 Malibu in for warranty work
    1. Air vents directional not working properly. In eight months sinced I owned this car this problem has happened! The shop stated that the A/C control was shorting internally. They replaced the control assembly. This problem has been posted before by other Malibu owners.

    2. Bad Rotors. At 7,000 miles brakes started pulsating. Shop replaced rotors per technical bulletin. These rotor replacements are supposed to be an upgraded rotor. Only time will tell.Thsi story has been told before by many owners. Also, all the cars I have ever owned I have never had the rotors replaced before 150,000 miles. Poor design by Chevy.

    3. Car would stutter, not fire properly when driven the first 10-15 miles on the Interstate highway in the morning. Problem even worse during the rian.I took my car in four times to the largest Chevy dealer in Indianapolis. I was told " we felt the car do it, we don't know what it is but it is safe to drive." What a pathetic excuse by Chevy. Finally took my car to the dealership where we bought my Pontiac at. Specifically told them to check the spark plug wires. They had to spray water on the waters before they could consistently reproduce the problem. Two spark plug wires were arcing. Finally the problem has been fixed. People have posted similar complaints about there Malibu's here on Edmunds.

    After 8 months and way to many visits to the Chevy dealership I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND this car!
    Do yourself a favor if you are thinking of buying a Malibu-spend a few extra bucks and buy a Grand Prix.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    You recommend Grand Prix over Malibu. Though, it depends on trim, driving style, and price.

    The base trim, GP SE, indeed is not much more expensive than Malibu. Possibly, even less expensive sometimes - depending on incentives and options.

    Though, it have the same engine as Malibu. I believe, with the same spark plug wiring.

    Would the same problem developed as with your Malibu, all depends on the dealer service. Your Pontiac dealer was better than the Chevy one - but in other city the opposite can be true. To say nothing about the Pontaic-Chevrolet dealerships.

    The GP is much heavier than Malibu, though. I did not test-drive the GP SE, but my wife and I drove the sister car, a base Chevy Impala, with the 3.4l engine. It is a bit stronger than the 3.1l one in GP SE. About the same maximal power (hp), but substantially better torque through the full curve.

    We were disappointed. Our 98 Malibu (base, but with a 3.1l engine) had much better acceleration. Even while the 3.1l engine at this times was less powerful than now: it get additional 15-20hp in the summer of 1999.

    Without doubt, the GP GT, and especially GP GTP, are better cars than Malibu in most respects. They have much more powerful 3.8l engine (supercharged in GTP). I can recommend additionally the Buick Regal - the twin of GP with the same 3.8l engine. We own one, and like it very much. And the Impala LS owners like it very much.

    But these cars are more expensive than Malibu, and not by "few extra bucks". More like extra five to ten grands, depending on trim and options.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    The W-Body cars (Impala, Montecarlo, Grand Prix, Regal, Intrigue) are much better choices than the N-Body cars (Alero, Grand AM, Malibu). The current stable of W-Body models haven't had the recurring problems owners of N-body cars have been forced to cope with. The N-bodies are notorious for premature brake problems, less than stellar safety records, build quality issues, etc.

    The W-body cars boast better drivetrains, better safety records, better quality, better reliability,etc.

    No ofense intended to Malibu and other N car owners, but the N-bodies are not the best GM has to offer, period. I am eagerly awaiting for the upcoming Sigma platform to change the state of affairs with the entry level offferings of the General.
  • I don't understand what you talked about "W" and "N" body models. Definitely, the Malibu and Gran AM are not the same family.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Chevy Malibu, Pontiac Grand Am, and Olds Alero are sharing the basic underbody structure, so named "platform". They have a lot common in suspension, brakes, etc.

    Obviously, the upper body of Malibu is different.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Good assesment.

    The Malibu, Alero and Grand AM all share the same basic platform and engines, except the 3400 V-6 engine optional on the Grand AM and Alero models. The malibu only gets the 3100 V-6. These cars are code named P-90 bodies or the "N" bodies. The other member of the "N" family is the discontinued malibu clone sold as the Olds Cuttlass from 97-99. The Cuttlass was replaced in favor of the Alero. Same car, different body style.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    I was at the New Wngland Car show last night and I have a few things that I am not happy about. First, Chevy used the majority of their space to display trucks. All the sedans were behind a wall where it was easy to miss that they were there. They had one base as base can get Malibu there. I'm not sure if the LS is the same as the base but they made the glove box smaller and it no longer has a lock, the coin holders are no longer there ( the little storage space under the HVAC controls), the shifter knob only covers the top part ( my LS has a leather wrapped shifter and an additional extension that cover all but the last inch of the black shifter metal rod, makes it look luxurious),the door panels are now two pieces ( bottom half one color the upper part a lighter color). Is this the way all 2001 Malibus are? Is the LS the same way? If so I am glad I have the 99 and if the redesigned one goes the same route I'm buying my 99 off the lease and running it for years until it dies.
    The Cavalier was nice and the Impala was OK but it's sad to see that Chevy is focusing their attention on trucks while sedan buyers get the short stick. the Impala was nice but the controls are too far and to adjust the temp one has to lean forward to do so, so I still remain un impressed with the Impala. I love Chevy cars and I wish they would put as much effort into the sedans as tehy do in the trucks. Neddless to say I was very disapointed at this years show. Last year they had a top of the line Malibu that really made you admire the car, this year they just didn't care enough :-(.
  • After going to the Auto Show, I was impressed with the Malibu. So I went to my local Chevy dealer and got to test drive an LS model. It handled much better than I expected. It shifted gears without me even noticing and had plenty of pickup. However, I have two concerns:
    1) The wipers seemed short. They didn't seem to swipe high enough. Does anyone else feel this way?
    2) I didn't notice a Day/Night switch on the rear-view mirror. Does it have one? I meant to look but forgot.

    Thanks in advance for any input.

  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    The HVAC controls on my Impala are very easy to get to. Not sure about having to strech to get to them. They are very comfortable to operate with no fuss and minimal distractions. I have the bucket seats and center console so perhaps this makes access easier to them than in the bench model.

    Saw the other day a Navy blue 2001 Malibu. Looks very nice. However, I am still unimpressed by the poor side crash scores on that car. What's up with that?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I have a base 98 Malibu. Do not know about 2001 LS, but:

    1. My Malibu have different-size wipers. 22 inches driver-side, and 19 inches passenger size. The driver-side wiper is the same as with larger GM cars: Buick Regal, Olds Intrigue, etc. Big enough, never have problems.

    I have impression, that the passenger-side wiper also is better than adequate. By the way, Regal is 3 inches wider, than Malibu - and the total size of wipers are 3 inches larger too.

    Any case, the size of passenger wipers is not a safety item.

    2. The rear-view mirror of my Malibu have a manual Day/Night switch.

    Do not know, if the automatic electrochromic mirrors are available as option in the 2001 LS. If yes, I would suggest to buy it. I have such a mirror with other car, and was impressed. With all the SUV and blue-headlight cars on the roads, often driven with high beams, this is a really useful feature, not a luxury.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    It should have the day night switch. You probably have the one with the reading lamps and that one definetly has the switch.
    I just didn't like teh interior of the Impala, nothing to harp on. I just hated the exposed screw heads and the dash was simply boring and difficult to reach. My car's HVAC controls are slightly closer to the driver than the rest of the dash so I don't have to move forward ( not even a bit) to operate them. On the Impala they were flush with the dash board and it was just not ergonomic at all. I belive that Chevy ( and again I am a Chevy fan and I don't like imports) could have taken a lesson from the Taurus ( and maybe teh Accord). When I sat in the Taurus all I could think to myself was,"damn this feels very luxurious", whereas in the Impala I was just unimpressed and I felt like I was in a cheaper car. So anyways just a small peave that I'm sure Chwevy will correct for the freshening of the Impala, so I'm glad I bought my Malibu when I did, just can't wait to see the next one :-).
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    The Impala's dashboard doesn't have any exposed screws...are you sure you were looking at the right car? The only place where you see such screws is inside the handles of the door panels. they don't even bother me, I don't see them often. Been in both Taurus and Accord (My sister has a '99). Taurus looks nice but cramped up front and plastics are nothing impressive some trim pieces could be prank open with one hand. THe Accord, luxurious? The last generation of this car looks cheap! Plastics and the way some trim pieces are assembled look very budget grade. Luxury look? A pre-1998 Accord interior boasts better plastics and fit (Been there done that).

    In all honesty I think the Malibu looks more luxurious than the new Accord (Fake wood, something missing in the Accord). The Impala is a damn good comfortable and ergonomical car. After having owned nothing but Hondas and Acuras (The "Kings" of ergonomics) I think GM did a heck of a job with the Impala. Remember that the Taurus is an Import wanna be car, the Impala is meant to compete with traditional full size American cars, not the Accord and Camry like the Taurus. If you sat inside an Impala with gray trim, yes it looks very stark. Try it with the light neutral or beige color and see the difference leaning to a more warm and luxurious look.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    No man I didn't mean the Accord looks luxurious, by all means no. I noticed how bland and boring these cars are. i meant the Taurus was luxurious looking.
    I also didn't mean the dash had exposed screws, I meant the door panels but I guess I wasn't clear enough, sorry. Overall i like the Impala and I feel it's a better car than the Accord or the Taurus, I just wished Chevy would apply it's full devotion to this car. We all know GM can do a lot better and they can become the world standard again but they seem not to care about that anymore :-(.
    I agree the Impala is meat to compete in the large car segment but if they give it that little extra touch, invest a few more cents in covering the screws and smoothings things out a bit the Impala could become a best seller. They are doing a good job with the Malibu but I can't wait to see the next generation of GM cars, if they play their cards right they can re capture the market share they lost. The Impala and teh Malibu should have the attention the trucks are getting from Chevy and then you will see how things change. But yea, it's a good car :-)
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Is the only GM W-body car that needs (Has none) no incentives or special rebates to be sold. The car has consistently rank on the top ten car sales since the beginning of the year.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    Which is why they should pay attention to it and refine the interior a bit. Never should anyone be conform with being in the "top ten list", the goal should always be to be the best of the top ten. That is the disease that is plagued Chevy for so long. Why improve if we already sell so much? It's just not enough. I believe GM needs to be less comform with what they have and tehy should aim at being the best. Believe me small touches such as covering those exposed screw heads and tilting the HVAC controls towards the driver make a HUGE difference. I'm not one to not consider a car because of that but unfortunaltely most Americans do. So while they do not need incentives to sell, they can still do better by paying attention to small details. Screw heads...who cares...but sadly I di hear a lot of people commenting on those things at the show. the cure should be take the 3 bread and butter sedans ( Impala, Malibu, Cavalier) and devote attention to perfecting the small details in each. Spend the money on the sedans now that the SUVs are on the roll and things will start to improve. I know they will do it eventually but being comform with what they have is simply not enough. They should have car people like you and me working at the top, not people who only look at the dollar sign and forget the rest. i still believe though that both the Malibu and teh Impala are better choices than the blandness of teh Camry and Accord so atleast I'm happy there but we can still improve :-)
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    GM sold 149,120 Impala(s) this year, Jan-Oct., vs. 185,968 Malibu(s). This is hard facts, see

    Concerning comparisions: let first agree on what is compared. Apples to apples, or apples to oranges.

    Other equal, Impala is a better car than Malibu, period. Much larger interior and trunk, higher safety, and more powerful engine provides better acceleration. It is also more expensive. Very natural.

    Though, the key words here are "other equal". With the price ranges overlapping, there is some confusion in comparing. When shopping for a new car in about 18k-19k range, people would compare a somewhat loaded Malibu LS with a very base Impala. This is what Malibu99 probably did.

    The later car is still larger and have better crash rating, but that is all. Barely adequate powertrain, with acceleration worse than for Malibu. Mushy brakes. Soft suspension. And cheap interior.

    With the base engine (or rather the base gear ratio - the 3.4l engine itself is not so weak, and have excellent torque curve), the base suspension, and without ABS, Impala is hardly even safe enough. It still have better crash rating, but, I believe, is not as good as Malibu in avoiding the crash. Especially when used in city, or in hilly terrains, or in rainy / snow climate.

    By the way, with different trim compositions for the two models, even the bare-bone base Malibu have the same engine, ABS, instruments, air condition, etc, as LS. Personally, I would prefer the base Malibu to the base Impala without ABS.


    It is generally a bad idea to buy the bare-bone Malibu - the one with manual side mirrors, and without rear defroster. At least in North-East.

    Dealers often have one bare-bone car, and are advertising its low price in local newspapers. Something like $14,995. People drive to the dealer lot to see the car, and, after test-drive, are buying another one, with better options, for about $1,500 extra.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    How do i post a picture? I have the pics of my car and I wanted to post em but I dodn't know how :-(
  • Okay, I need to know if I should buy a 2001 malibu or not.(LS) I live in toronto,canada and the dealer has alot of them on the lot. I figure that to its past history( rotors, service, etc) I have been driving a Honda civic, which I fine lacks power. will I be happy buy a domestic? and Malibu at that.. I test drove the 2001 and like it! can anyone share their thoughts
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Did you also test drive the new Impala?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    This is your decision.

    Though, because you asked the owner opinion: I like my 98 Malibu.

    According to 2000 Consumer Research handbook, it looks as most problems with Malibu brake rotors were already solved in 98. I received recently the last handbook, for 2001, but misplaced it somewhere. Though, do not remember it saying anything bad.

    And, according to the last Kiplinger magazine, Malibu is the "best buy" car in its price range.

    Teo suggests you test-drive Impala. I tested both base one and Impala LS. Like the later very much. It is the best car in the next price range, according to the same source. I also would suggest testing it, if you have extra U$ 3-4 thousand to spend.

    On the other hand, imho, the base Impala is only a so-so car. I like Malibu much better.

    Though, probably I would look for a base Impala with 3.8l engine - the same as in Impala LS. Or Buick Regal LS, or Grand Prix GT with the same engine.

    Very good deals are available now for the leftover 2000 GP and Regal. Like 5 year 0% credit with only U$1000 down. At least in USA, do not know about Canada. The deals are not available, though, for Impala.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    I would have to agree with yurakm in every aspect. I love my car and I wouldn't trade her for anything less. For 2001 there are a ton of improvements to the cars ride and braking system. Make sure you get the LS though becaue the base one ( same one that was at teh New Engl;and Auto Show) is just boring. A nice LS with the leather package and the sunroof still runs a lot cheaper than the Impala and it's very comfortable. I wouldn't worry about the rotors for these models, they changed those also. Test drive the Impala as well but to get anything that you would like you would need to spend the extra $3000 or so and if you can do it go ahead. Good Luck!
  • aniazianiazi Posts: 39
    I bought 2001 LS couple of months ago. I love the car. I have more than 1500 miles. I was comparing it with accord. I was having so much in Malibu LS compare to Accord for less. Accord V6 is expensive and LX needs more power. Plus people also gets problem with accord too. I talk to chevy people too about rotors and they told me 2001 has new redesign rotors, suspension and tires. Plus lots of other good feature. Buy LS if buying malibu. I read about the coin holder in 2001 and day/night switch on the rear view mirror above. Yes it has coin holder and switch for day/night mirror plus map lights on the mirror too.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    The 2001 malibu has the same exact radio unit as the Impala.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    They must have had the stripped down model at the show this past weekend. Perhaps the removed the coin holders. I notice that most of the cars had no knobs left. Kids steal them or break them off so I guess the Malibu at the show was not a good representation of teh car but atleast we know it's a great little car! :-)
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    When the all new "Sigma" Malibu debuts in '03 or '04, it would be great if GM drops the 3400 V-6 as standard fare in the car. What do you think?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Rented GrandAm with 3.4 v-6, when my Malibu was in body shop. The 3.4 is much better engine.

    Currently the 3.1 have almost the same maximum power, but the torque curve of 3.4 is much better. Almost flat in the full everyday rpm range, 1800 to 4500 or so.

    This translates in much faster acceleration. It is especially impressive on highways, up-hill. Malibu is crying for this engine.
This discussion has been closed.