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2000-2011 Chevrolet Malibu

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Comments

  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    Great write up Sean, thanks very much for taking the time to do so. Couple your experience with the added features found on the Maxx, and you do indeed have one great car. If I was sedan shopping, I doubt I would go running to my GM dealer to buy the 'Bu over the Accord. However, the Maxx is unlike anything else on the market, and is well worth purchasing.
  • I had seriously considered a Camry. My last car was a Chevy Prizm (Corolla twin), and I liked the Toyota motor. The Camry is a great car with a price much better than the Accord. Honda also screws you on options. Don't get me wrong...very nice cars, but they should be for the initial cost of ownership.

    Anyway, I fell into a 9 month old 2004 GM program Malibu LS. The larger of the cupholder inserts was missing and both of the trunk cargo nets were gone. The car looked like it was only a few months old (as it was), and I drove it home for $11,000 plus my 1998 Prizm with nearly 200k miles. The Prizm MIGHT have been worth $1,000 (the passenger side door didn't open, the clutch was beginning to fade, and it was a base 5 speed).

    The LS sedan is AWESOME! Quiet, smooth, nimble (with the Goodyear Tripletreds at 35 psi), and frugal (averaging well over 37 mpg with the factory tires from 15,000 miles (at time of purchase) to 29,000 miles (a month ago). The tripletreds have cost me about 2 mpg so far, but I still feel this may improve to only half that amount once the outer rubber wears a bit. Besides, the Tripletreds run circles around the factory tires in every aspect except for fuel mileage.

    The sedan is not a BMW, but after driving Camrys extensively (and living with a Corolla twin for several years), I would choose the 'bu LS V6 over a Camry V6.

    For the price it was a steal. I will only know the true outcome if it lasts me 4 or 5 years (which will mean I will have had it for 160k - 200k miles).
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Drove two different 2006 Malibu 4 cylinder "base" or LS trim line models this weekend, on separate days at separate dealers.

    Fine acceleration, more than adequate for a single commuter and occasional family use (the 4 cylinder does lose a little acceleration with a big - I mean big - salesperson next to you instead of a skinny short salesperson).

    I am very impressed by how capable the 4 speed automatic is in this car. I had expected the transmission to struggle to match gears and give good acceleration with just a 4 cylinder motor, but it is fine - swift up to 80 mph, and smooth and quiet with low rpm cruising at that speed. After all the problems I have heard with 5 speed automatic transmissions and CVT's maybe it's not bad to stick with a proven design for a little while longer.

    The car is smooth riding and quiet (very quiet compared to a Focus, and quieter than our CR-V), but takes long sweeping cloverleaf exchanges a lot faster than I had expected. I won't call it sporting, but it isn't the same car as the wallow-y base Impala I drove a few seasons ago (I understand all Impala's have a firmer suspension this year) and has a lot better ride and handling than the CR-V. In fact, a 4 cylinder Malibu would be more than adequate for me for my 40 mile each way freeway commute, for 200 plus mile trips to Yosemite, and for the occasional family road trip.

    I like the fact that you can access all the gears in the automatic via pushbuttons on the shift handle, so you can choose a lower gear for descending mountain roads - which saves the brakes. Or choose an appropriate gear for curvy roads and eliminate gear range "hunt." (This isn't "tiptronic" but it IS more versatile than set-ups where you can only access some of your lower gears, like on our CR-V and former Neon.)

    The only negative was overly light steering on one of the cars; the other sample I drove had nicely weighted steering, you wouldn't know it was electic instead of conventional boosted. Could the electric steering be out of whack on the "skittish" car or needing a software update? Overinflated tires? Who knows.
  • The Malibu Engine 'Ecotec' is smooth because it is build by Honda.
    Of course GM will never admit it.
    It is also found in some Saturns including the Relay.
  • Autowrite, you are just plain wrong.

    The various versions of the 4 cyl Ecotec (2.0L, 2.0L supercharged, 2.2L, and 2.4L VVT) are GM engines, designed by GM, built by GM, and put in GM cars (including Opel and Saab).

    The Saturn Relay is a MINIVAN - try moving a minivan with a 4cyl engine! (By the way, it has the pushrod 3.5L V6).

    The Saturn Vue DOES use a Honda 3.5L V6 (same as the Pilot and Odessey) in the V6 versions, but it uses an Ecotec as the base engine.

    Get your facts straight before posting.
  • Just picked up a 2005 Malibu Classic. For those that don't know this is basically a 2003 Malibu manufactured as a fleet vehicle in 2005. It sports a 2.2 Ecotec engine which leaves a lot of room for upgrading.

    My problem lies in finding parts. I need a sway bar for the rear-end because the stock one just sucks. I also would like to do uppers on both front and rear strut towers. Anyone know where I can find these?

    As far as the motor goes, I know GM offers a factory supercharger which would be nice but my finances won't sport that currently. What I would like is a good intake, header, exhaust combination. Any suggestions?

    Are there any other performance enhacing mods I can do this car for little or no money?

    What about a basic weight reduction kit?

    Thanks for the help!!

    Cole
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    What you are proposing is totally un-economic, unless your goal is a "sleeper" stoplight racer. Some cars lend themselves well to aftermarket upgrades, like J-body cars, Neons, VW's, etc. simply because they developed a following of enthusiasts and thus there are cheap aftermarket parts available. For the Classic, there are no enthusiasts and no cheap aftermarket parts, esp. critical stuff like suspension upgrades. You can probably get a supercharger on the Ecotec, at least that part of the car is "enthusiast." But, what a cost, and it will be illegal.

    The CHEAPEST sleeper out there is the Pontiac GTO, once it's debadged it looks like some snoozer out of the 70's or 80's, but man is it fast.

    Save some coin, wait until you can pick up a legitimate hotrod.

    Unless you were just pulling our leg?

    :-)
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    I had a 98 Malibu. The best thing that happened with it were performance tires. The car changed its character: it was fun to drive with new tires, but it was boring with stock tires.

    The performance tires were Firestone Firehawk SH-30. Now they are out of production, but similar Bridgestone 009 are available.

    The Malibu had 3.1l V-6 engine, though.
  • If you don't mind my asking, what are you driving now?
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    2000 Buick Regal GS and 2004 Buick Regal GS. Great highway cars, and very good acceleration, but Malibu was more nimble.
  • Makes sense -- I have had my share of hotrods -- 89 S-10 with a 350 that I showed once or twice... it was more for tearing the pants off of people at stop lights. I upgraded to a 1967 Camaro that I showed a few times in New Mexico. I switched to a 1989 Camaro RS Convertible with a pretty stacked 305 in it. Fun Times.

    Now I'm about to start a family and needed an affordable family car. Based on what I can see about the motor it's got a TON of possibility.

    All I want is a bit more meat at the low-end -- looks like a 4-2-1 header, high flow cat and muffler will help with that and along with it a short-ram intake.

    With the stock motor the suspension is already sub-par at the line and even on the highway when I lay it to the floor. This is where I'm having the hardes time for parts. I will probably wind up having a buddy fab these up for me. All I want is a sway bar for the rear end and cross members for the strut towers front and rear.

    Turns out the rubber on this car is horribly rated and perhaps I'll notice a major difference after upgrading it. This may resolve much of my suspension issues although I still would like to sport it up a bit more.

    A shift kit and a torque convertor should be all the tranny will need.

    I will definately post my findings as it comes.

    Thanks for the feedback!!

    Cole
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    So you ARE serious!

    Please be sure to post then. I think the Malibu classic with the 4 is an interesting platform - actually more powerful than the original BMW 3 series, and probably better handling (if you put better tires on it).

    Eibach makes lowering springs for almost everything. You might start looking there.

    Keep us posted. I am probably getting a Malibu (new version) with a 4 cylinder. I won't touch the motor (if I wanted more power I'd get the new G6 with the 2.4 instead) but may fiddle with the suspension parts, if anything is available. The Classic would probably benefit from strut ties; I am not sure the new version would.
  • I am sorry I got my facts wrong.
    The information was given to me my a top importer of used vehicles coming in from the United States and they are importing used Cayenne, Scion, Hummer, Eclipse; among others.

    You can buy a used Scion from them but new ones are/were not available in Canada. Another note you might want to check out is the Toyota Echo Hatchback was only sold in Canada, not the United States as reported in Canadian car magazines and Canadian news sources. I am only talking about the Hatchback edition.

    The 1st American car I owned was a 1967 Plymouth Valiant; which I bough new. Before 1967 Canada imported the Dodge Dart and called it a Plymouth Valiant. My 1st car was a new Austin 850 (MINI); which caused me nothing but grief. My last vehicle was a 1992 Ford Taurus with the long-stroke engine. At 283m kms I had to trade it in as the power brakes' device broke. I try to keep my vehicles till they are not worth keeping up the expenses. I currently own a 2002 Honda Odyssey EX, which I bought new and have had no trouble with it. It currently has 136m KMS.

    I started to dig into the Ecotec engine history, after your comments, and found a history back to the 1910 era. There were Vauxhall mentioned in different years, as well; plus the German Opel.
  • Hey guys,

    This is probably the 300th auto theft problem post on here, well here is my version of it. My 2000 Chev malibu does not want to start at all, i talked to the mechanic and he said something about the ignition or the auto-theft system, just like the other posts have said. BUT, here is the weird part we called a tow-truck to get the car towed and he knew a secret combination to bypass it. He said he couldn't tell me how to do it and I was wondering if anyone knew on here?

    thanks,

    Franchise
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    This isn't "tiptronic" but it IS more versatile than set-ups where you can only access some of your lower gears, like on our CR-V and former Neon.

    *cough*2004 Malibu*cough*
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    ROFL! That is the funniest I have heard yet.

    Sorry. (Assumes a serious look)...You can find the procedure in your manual, but I can't remember what it is off-hand.
  • pjabpjab Posts: 2
    I have a 2005 Malibu and when the weather turned cold, a crackling noise is coming from the dash area. When I brought it to the dealer, they told me that they would not replace the dash because GM did not have a service bulletin on the problem. Has any one else had this problem? I can not beleive that I can not get this fixed by GM. This will be the last GM car I buy new - pete
  • Let me get this straight, you have 1 dash problem with your car and you will never buy a new GM again? Do you know there are people with Honda's that have TRANSMISSION problems, that gladly strip over the same rock twice.

    A minor problem like with the dash, can be had in any car. If you car has been trouble free i don't think you should jinx it by giving up over a dash problem.

    Meybe you could try to go to different dealers or talking with other people at that dealership. Let them know that if they want your business then they should find a way to help you.

    Do you really have to replace the entire dash because of one noise? Are there any positive aspects to your car, like say your fuel economy?
  • My dash creaks and rattles when it is cold. I have the '04 Sedan LS. I also have a Chevy truck that deos the same. And a '99 Oldsmobile. And I had a '98 Prizm and '87 Buick that also did.

    About 90% of the world's vehicles are driven by people who live in climates that never get below about 20 degrees F. Manufacturers design their products as best they can, but I believe it would be quite a feat to design a dash, which is fastened in numerous places, that either does NOT expand or contract at all in temperature extremes from 150 degrees F down to -30 degrees F, or allows for this movement without screwing up clearances with surrounding parts.

    You ask for too much. Maybe GM should refuse to sell you a vehicle until you move to a temperate climate.
  • "You ask for too much. Maybe GM should refuse to sell you a vehicle until you move to a temperate climate."

    I agree!
  • Hello,

    I lost the Key for 2004 Malibu. Just the Key, I went to local hardware store and the could not make one because they didn't have blanks with chips in them. The dealer wanted $70 for a key (not the remote, just to cut a key).

    Has anyone had any luck getting a key cut, if so, what did you pay?

    Thanks
  • wxman4wxman4 Posts: 53
    I ordered a blank from StreetKeys.com and then had it cut at the local hardware. I think $27 for the blank and $1.69 to have it cut.

    Good luck
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    I paid $38.16 at a local locksmith for replacement key on a Pontiac G6 which uses same basic type of key. I didn't shop around to see if I could get a better deal. It took a few trips because they had to special order it.

    I didn't go to dealer so not sure what they would have charged.
  • o2bjayo2bjay Posts: 1
    I own a 2005 malibu and have the same crackling noise from the dash. I have yet to take it to the dealer as it doesn't bother me enough yet. It seems to be the top of the plastic dash rubbing against the windshield.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    I've noticed the same thing from my Maxx in the last week or so. I had a 97 Cavalier that had these "itch and scratch" sounds when it hit about 50 degrees in April-- no other time, but it happened every year. Always thought letting the mechanics rip into the dash would probably loosen things more and bring added squeaks. I spent a month one time trying to quiet a squeak in my 01 Elantra only to discover that the passenger side visor wasn't clipped properly. Maybe this is something else stupid, but if I was a betting man I'd wager that it's the windshield cracking on the A pillar and dash.
  • Here is some information that may help some of you. The initial link is to a bulletin from GM Engineering as it applies to GM Fleet Trucks and Vans. Following that, there is a re-write of the same bulletin so that we can apply it to GM cars. I used this Modification on my 2002 Oldsmobile Alero as a Permanent Disablement of Passlock.I did not install a remote starter. It works great.
    http://www.gmupfitter.com/publicat/bull/bull26.pdf

    PASSLOCK I or II DISABLEMENT

    The following is a procedure to disable Passlock I or II Systems for vehicles in which remote start/stop system installations are required. This procedure is required because a remote start system will not function with the current Theft Deterrent System (Passlock) which is included on many 1996 and up GM vehicles.

    Please note that this modification is intended to be used only in conjunction with the installation of a remote start/stop system and does not provide a procedure to install a remote start/stop system.

    CAUSE
    If an attempt is made to start a vehicle by a means other than a key rotation in the ignition switch, the Body Control Module (BCM) will interpret this start as a vehicle theft and disable the fuel injectors.

    CORRECTION
    A minor wiring modification may be made to allow the vehicle to be started remotely. This modification includes adding a switch to allow the customer to select “ON” to allow remote starting or “OFF” for normal Passlock operation.

    CAUTION: When this modification is performed and the switch is set to the ON position, the theft deterrent feature will be disabled. When the theft
    deterrent is disabled the SECURITY/THEFT SYSTEM telltale will light up indicating that the theft deterrent system is NOT functioning.

    PASSLOCK MODIFICATION
    Refer to appropriate GM service manuals and/or SVMQP Electrical Guideline Manual for instruction on splicing and electrical connections.
    1. Select a suitable on-off switch (see note below) which will be used to disable/
    enable the Passlock System. Mount the switch in a location such that it is
    accessible to the driver and will not interfere with normal vehicle operation.
    NOTE: This is an extremely low current circuit (approx. 7mA), it is therefore very important that a high quality, low energy, fast acting switch be utilized
    for this application.
    2. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position.
    3. Locate the Main Ignition Switch Harness in the Column. GM's Passlock System wires exit the Ignition Switch Tumbler together and then join with the Main Ignition Switch Harness. (See http://www.bulldogsecurity.com/ or http://64.85.6.118/diagrams/diagrams.asp and select your Make, Model and Year for wire colors and clues on the quickest way to access these wires.)
    4. Locate the Yellow Passlock Data Wire which is included in a bundle of three tiny (20 GA) wires wrapped in friction tape.
    Cut this wire and splice a 0.5mm2 (20 GA) yellow wire to each end of the cut wire.
    Keep wire length to a minimum. Route modification wires clear of moving parts.
    Connect the yellow wires to the switch such that the contacts are OPEN when the switch is in the ON position.
    5. Turn modification switch to the OFF postion (contacts closed).
    6. Start vehicle to verify normal operation. If engine “cranks but will not start"
    recheck the switch position (contacts should be closed), wire connectors and
    modification wiring.

    SWITCH OPERATION

    To enable remote start:
    Start the engine with the ignition key (modification switch must be in the OFF
    position). Turn modification switch to the ON position (contacts open). The
    SECURITY/THEFT SYSTEM Telltale will light up indicating that the Passlock System is inoperative.
    Once the SECURITY/THEFT SYSTEM telltale has been on for at least 5 seconds the vehicle can be turned off and then remotely started.

    To disable remote start:
    The Passlock System can be reactivated by turning the modification switch OFF
    (contacts closed). Vehicle can either be running or off when this is done.

    Please note that the VCM/PCM will record Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) related to the security system when the modification switch is in the ON position (circuit open). This is due to the way that the VCM/PCM interprets this condition.

    NOTICE
    Any condition which removes battery power from the Vehicle Control Module/Powertrain Control Module (VCM/PCM) (e.g. dead battery, disconnected harness connectors, etc.) will prevent the vehicle from being restarted. If the engine exhibits a “cranks but will not start” symptom, place the modification switch in the OFF (contacts closed) position. This will reactivate the Passlock System and allow the vehicle to be started with the ignition key.

    Ray

    Proud Member of The Anti-Passlock Club :P
  • You can reset the Passlock by turning your key to Run for 10 mins. The security light will be blinking. At the end of 10 mins., the light should go steady. You should now be able to start your car.

    The secret combination is a bunch of bunk.

    You could also Disable the Passlock all together once you get your car restarted. See post #4664.

    Ray

    Proud Member of The Anti-Passlock Club :P
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    well first problem...seems the third brake light has stopped working on my 04 Maxx LT...looked in the owners manual..and doesnt seem to be tied to a fuse.....since its an LED light on a circuit board...wondering what would cause the failure..any ideas.....Im past warranty on mileage..so this will be on my dime....any TSBs out there on this issue?
  • I paid the same as wx man at a local dealership. BTW, are you in wx, ut wxman?
  • wxman4wxman4 Posts: 53
    Pilot by trade. Weatherman is my real name.

    On dealership prices. Do people have dealers that charge more than MSRP on parts? I am sure mine does. I went in to buy some mud flaps with a quote from the GM accessories site with MSRP listed. My dealer wanted 14% more. I am installing a tranny cooler and went in to get an OEM return line to use the fittings. Dealer price $28.82; MSRP from the GMpartsdirct $22; GMpartsdirect price $17. Pretty good mark-up. Good work if you can get it.

    Wxman
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    I would let them know that they are out-of-line and that you can get the same parts through GM for less.
  • Hi I am just wondering if you found out what your problem was. The reason I am asking is I don't have the book and on my dash the ! and P light is on and I don't know what it means. I am thinking the P might mean park brake but I put it on, shut it off and the light stays on. I don't know what the ! light is, does anyone know and I would appreciate any help. Thanks in advance. :cry:
  • Hi I don't have the book and on my dash the ! and P light are on and I don't know what it means. I am thinking the P might mean park brake but I put it on, shut it off and the light stays on. I don't know what the ! light is, does anyone know and I would appreciate any help. Thanks in advance.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Actually it is pretty easy to find an electronic copy of your manual on the web - but I am not sure if Edmunds likes us posting external URLs on the site (hint - mygmlink). Anyways what you you are describing is the Brake warning telltale for a Canadian vehicle. It will be turned of for either Park Brake applied or low brake fluid level. I would take a look underhood at your brake fluid reservoir as well.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    If you have a link where an electronic copy of the manual is available, that would be more than welcome - please post it.
  • Thank you for answering. The brake fluid is fine, I checked it and it is full. I have put the emergency brake on and off but the light still stays on. Thanks for the hint on the link, I tried what you said but that domain is for sale lol..........but I'll try a google search.

    Thanks Pat for giving permission.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Here is link. However I think you can register your vehicle with this GM site and you might have some additional available information

    https://www.mygmlink.com/pdf/go2content/manual/US/en/chevrolet/1998malibu.pdf
  • shadow5599shadow5599 Posts: 101
    I'm in the market for a car again. The 2003 Malibu I owned had a mishap and was written off. It was a frontal crash, the corner of a mini truck hit dead centre on the front bumper, and continued in a fair ways creating over $13,000 in damage. No humans were harmed in the ordeal. Any dollar values given in my post will be in Canadian$ so if you require conversion, today the exchange rate is 1 Canadian$ X 1.17= US dollar.

    I bought the above 2003 Malibu in Feb of 2004 for $13,000. 2 years later I was written a total loss cheque for $12,500 from the insurance company. I liked the car and it suited me, I wasnt ready to see it go. While I owned it, based on an off-hand comment by me about engine noise during a warranty checkup, GM paid to rebuild the motor which had the classic piston slap. I was very impressed with any service the GM dealer did and the car was running great at the time of it's death.

    I've tried a couple 2005 Malibus and like the V6 sedan. The Maxx has the most amazing interior but I couldnt live with the looks of the exterior. I've looked at more expensive new and 2005 cars such as Accord, Sonata. Those cars do feel better in many ways, have more warranty but cost far more money at about $23K to $30K. An under 30,000Km 2005 V6 Malibu LT would be around $15K. I'm having trouble deciding if the tradeoff for less money is a good way to go or bite the bullet for a few more years of payments and go for a year old Accord or new 2006 Sonata.

    So far I am ok with the Malibu test drives, it is an improvement over my 2003. I will probably have a 2005 overnight this week to check it out in more detail.
    Should I go Malibu again?
  • gator06gator06 Posts: 3
    I think you should go with the malibu:
    1st the price can not be beat, 2nd the V6 is great,

    I have 2005 Malibu, with 8500 miles, LS V6, for 16,000, it is more than I expected. I love it.
  • Thank you so much, the site is great.
  • e2helpere2helper Posts: 1,002
    Here is link to order guide
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    A national newspaper is looking to interview consumers who have recently sold or traded a Malibu, LaCrosse, Monte Carlo, Cobalt or Grand Prix and was disappointed about its low residual value and has decided against buying another GM car because of it. Please send an e-mail to [email protected] no later than Friday May 5, 2006 by 2:00 PM PST/5:00 EST containing your daytime contact information and the car you sold or traded and the car your purchased next.

    MODERATOR

    Need help navigating? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • kkipkkip Posts: 2
    A local dealer has an 04 LT Sedan with 13K miles on it. The carfax report shows that the car was first titles Nov-2003, and was leased. Apparently they had a 12K mileage cap because the car wasn't driven much in nearly 2-1/2 years.

    I am a little concerned about 1st production year bugs. So my question is; would those of you who have owned an 2004 buy another? Or should I be be looking at 05/06 models only? I know that there are lots of problems in the problems tread. But that is pretty much the case for every vehicle.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    I think I'd try to find one with a later build date. The teething problems seemed to have been fixed in April 04, so try and find one after that. The earlier ones (mine was built in December 03)have steering column problems and they probably aren't screwed together as tightly which would cause more rattles.
  • kkipkkip Posts: 2
    Thanks for the advice mr_bots. I saw some references to the steering column problems but didn't realize that it was limited to the early production. I don't suppose that there was a recall that may have corrected the problem?Also tightness and fewer rattles in later production is pretty interesting.

    So I guess I am pretty much looking for an 05 or newer. Sounds like a 05/06 with a few more miles would be more desirable than this 04? My second choice is an Impala. But, I am drawn to the Malibu because of the feature/value and awesome gas mileage. Are there any other cronic problem I should be concerned about?
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    It's not that you should stay away from the 04s, just look on the inside of the driver's door and see if it's built after April 04.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Per a site posted on the maxx thread, the '07 Malibus will have VVT for the V6 engines, both the 3.5 and 3.9 L OHV versions.
  • lcw1lcw1 Posts: 36
    Just what is a Malibu classic and how is it different from the LS, LT etc........?
    Thanks
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    When the new Malibu came out in 2004 they kept the old model around for another year, but named it Malibu Classic.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    VVT's for the Malibu is just what I wanted to hear!

    (Although I still like the 4, and wish they'd put the larger 2.4 Ecotec in the Malibu like they do in the G6. It's not the better economy of the 4 that interests me, it's the reported better handling due to the lighter weight of the 4.)
This discussion has been closed.