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Chevrolet Malibu MPG-Real World Numbers



  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I admit that for a Malibu it does have a few toys, but that is old thinking, especially by GM. At least in the Ford lineup, in the previous body style of Town Car, you could get nearly every feature of the Town Car as an add to a Marquis. One you definitely could not get, AFAIK, was the extra insulation for quiet ride.
    To get seat memory it seems I'd have to move to a Buick or Cadillac.

    I now see why you got over 30MPG (72MPH). The last few times I've hit the road, interstate, most places you would get run over doing less than 80MPH. There is one stretch of I-95 midway between Savannah and JAX that they enforce speed more carefully. Even with four lanes each way it often can not handle capacity and is accident prone so most set cruise at 79MPH.
  • After 17 months and 25,000 miles, I still love the Malibu more than any previous care I've owned (BMW 5 series, VW Passat, Mazda 3). It is not pretentious or expensive. It is very comfortable, roomy, even fun!

    With the 4 cyl, 6-speed, I have gotten 30 MPG every tankful since the day I drove it off the lot. Every time. If you can believe the trip computer, it says that my around-town driving yields around 24 MPG, and my interstate driving yields from 33 MPG (doing 70 mph) to 43 MPG doing 55.

    Great car. My first American car and I don't regret it at all.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    I find that interesting. I'd love to know your secret. Right now, the DIC on my car is reading 20.9 and that includes a fair amount of interstate (freeway) driving.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    are you resetting you DIC after each fill up?
  • I am about to purchase a 2010 1LT but not 100% sure about the sunroof. First, does it open into the car or does it go up outside of the car? Second, is it worth having? Any problems with it. My previous Jetta had a sunroof and I liked it but often left it closed because of wind noise but I like the extra light. Don't like sunroof that tilt and open up instead of in.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    It tilts up and slides back. It is not exactly quiet, but it's a lot less noisy than the one in our 2000 Beetle. I almost never used the one in the Beetle because of the noise. On nice days, I occasionally use the one in the Malibu. I do like the extra light and visibility it affords.
  • I just went outside to check this out myself- the sunroof goes outside, not inside the car. The sunroof was an $850 optio, and I have not experienced any wind noise. I actually purchased two new Malibus (family cars) because I liked the 1LT (without sunroof) so well I originally purchased (2010); the second was a 2LT with the sunroof (2010). For the money I paid for this car, I couldn't be happier. However, if I had to do it all over- I would forego the sunroof for the LTZ package- to get the automatic climate control and leather seats. There is not a lot of price difference between the 2LT and LTZ. My next car will be either another Malibu or the new Buick LaCrosse. Believe it or not there are many similarities between the two- even though a loaded LaCrosse is about $10,000 more than a loaded LTZ.
  • Don't know about the seat memory for the LTZ, but on my 2LT, I have 17" Firestone tires.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ....after the experience with (an admittedly older) a Saturn I had, I wouldn't buy another GM sunroof with the glass going outside. All hinges and the other metal ended up rusting, and after a while it leaked. That was really the Achilles' heel of that car. Don't know if GM has changed to using better seals or non-corrosive metals at this point, though.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I just memory seat option (I've never seen it on any of its normal competitors either; this is generally Acura/Lexus/BMW/Cadillac/Mercedes territory), but the LTZ now has 8-way power driver's and 6-way power passenger's seat standard (last year, the power pass seat wasn't available).
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Which engine and tranny?
    If it is the I4, you might have a problem, unless you are driving really hard on city streets or really fast on interstate. You should get really good mileage if driving below 70MPH. But above that I'm not impressed. I stretched it out to 90 for a short time and the DIC was showing only slightly better than what you got. The V8 Aurora I had would get upper 20's at 70. 25-26 MPG at 80 and 23 MPG at 90, better than the Malibu at that speed and it still had plenty of acceleration at that speed.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    I have the I4, 6A. I generally drive 75 on rural interstate (5 over), 65-75 on urban/suburban interstate (5 to 10 over). Around town, I usually drive at the speed limit to 5 over. Admittedly, I have a bit of a heavy foot. Most of my driving is a combination of suburban streets and freeway driving. I don't do a lot of urban stop and go driving.
    Interestingly, I've generally gotten the EPA mileage on the Monroney with my other GM products (a Chevy pickup, 2 Yukons, a Yukon XL, an Avalanche, an Olds Cutlass and a Corvette). That's why I was rather surprised that I'm so far off with the Malibu. On my current tank, I'm below 20 mpg.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I would say that you have a serious problem.
    Since I don't know how the DIC calculates mileage, does the fill and calculate with miles show a difference?
    Assuming no, does the service engine light come on during the boot up? If it does, that does not mean no computer problem and also does not mean there is, but it is just not setting a code for the problem.
    Eliminate external leaks from the tank to the engine. Sniff for gasoline also. You could have a leak near the top of tank and cruising you are sucking gas from tank. You might try a series of half fills to find out if mileage varies. Topping off the last one to get total gallons.
    Ruling out external leaks, the fuel pressure regulator, used for some years now, is noted for leaking diaphrams allowing fuel to be pulled through manifold. This however should show up as a rich mix which the computer should then try to lean. and often sets a code for being outside parameters or other codes. Often the leaking diaphram is proved by removing vacuum line from it and checking for wetness (gasoline).
    Beyond that, you will likely need a thorough diagnostic, unless you have equipment that can read the data from computer and you can interpret it.
    With the degree of richness you imply by poor mileage it is likely the catalytic converter is damaged or will have a shortened life.
    Good Luck.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    my 04 Maxx LT sunroof operates as you describe....and I have had no problems with noise, leaks, or rust will be 6 years Feb 10 with 156K miles on it as of now....and still going strong...
  • gonogogonogo Posts: 879
    pao you need to put that Maxx in the Smithsonian, best one they ever made.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    The calculator generally shows a little less than 1 mpg better than the DIC. So I am actually getting better mileage than the DIC indicates, but not significantly so. I have had the car into the dealership and they say everything checks out OK. But I think they've only been looking at the computer, the timing and that sort of thing. I doubt they have gone to the extent that you outline. I am not seeing any codes, by the way. Thanks for those tips, though. It gives me something else to look at.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    It is quite concievable that a sunroof could slightly impact MPG and maybe safety.
    Cutting that hole in the roof will certainly weaken the roof, unless extra reinforcement is added. Sort of like the difference between a convertible and sedan. To make up for the loss of the bracing created by a steel roof, extra steel is added to stiffen the unibody.
    Also, glass weighs more than steel. In the 60's Mustangs the Fastback weighed about 65# more because of that extra glass. Many preferred it though because the Mustang was quite light on the rear otherwise, but gas was also 5 gallon for $1.
  • Almost 40,000 miles so far. Light-footed driving. Here are my averages (not trip computer readout, but rather actual results):
    55-60 mph: 39 mpg
    65-70 mph: 33 mpg
    75-80 mph: 29 mpg
    city: 22 mpg
    I never thought I'd own an American sedan. Japanese and German cars before. This is my favorite car to date.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    The difference between 33@65 and 39@60 is pretty stunning: how did you measure that? Like, you drove 500 miles without leaving a given speed range?
  • I have a 100-mile-each-way commute, nearly flat the whole way. Never much traffic.
    One week, set the cruise at 60. The next, set it at 65.
    I took all the data over 40,000 miles, and those are my results.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    This info sounds quite right for speed differences according to what I see on DIC instantaneous MPG.
    But, since 6K it does not seem quite as peppy.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    Thanks, very impressive. I'll try to drive slower and see if that makes so much difference. But my commute is short and I don't have such a good test bed.

    And you don't think that the temperature differences are a contributor to your results?
  • nickz71nickz71 Posts: 1
    So we had a chance to take our 2009 Malibu LTZ 2.4L 6spd automatic to Florida and back from the S. Wisconsin border area. We traveled with 685lbs of passenger and luggage, going mostly between 72 - 78 mph ( occasionally stints of 80 in Georgia ), under varying weather and wind conditions. I had the tires at 34psi front/33psi rear cold 42 degrees when we left, warming up to 36psi frt/35psi rear through Illinois. As we drove the tires got up to 37-38psi frt/ 37-38psi rear and I left them at that pressure
    for the duration of our 10 day trip.
    I usually fueled up when down to 1/4 tank, but topped off 7-8 gallons twice for the 10 stops for fuel. The grand total for 2,942 miles was 80.68 gallons or 36.465mpg. This included the drive up and down the Tennessee mountains, two 30-45 minute traffic stop and go situations through construction and the infamous Chattanooga after work drive. We also made two round trips from Anna Maria, to Sarasota in city excursions, and few more grocery runs and shopping trips into Bradenton. So this was the AVERAGE for the entire trip.
    I CALCULATE each tank full and obtained a high of 39.1mpg on one leg of the trip. Our car had 14,604 when we left and 17,546 at the gas station in town when we arrived and filled up for our last tankful. We understandably got the lowest mpg when we had some head winds, but only had some limited low/tail winds on our return through Illinois. I also tried to alternate tier 2 name brand premium with regular fill ups. I also filled up at least twice with the cheapest truck stop gas we found along the way when we needed to refill. So I have no conclusive evidence of one gas performing better than another. I try and use tier 2 fuels as much as possible since they are usually the same price in our area as no names, but supposedly contain fuel system and combustion chamber detergents. Who really knows?
    So we are well pleased and find our Malibu LTZ gets better than listed mpg. Around town we get 20 -26 mpg ( lower for winter-stop and go, etc) and 28 - 34 mpg combined when including occasional interstate 40 to 70 mile runs for my wife's shopping trips. :) We're happy , and comparing this to our 2005 Malibu Maxx LT with the 3.5L it is somewhat better, but for a V6 that Malibu Maxx got within 2mpg of the above figures. We owned the Maxx for 4.5 years and wished they still made them. The 3.5L 200hp V6 was a great engine and GM seemed to have had the push rod design really refined for performance and mileage.
    Well, hope this wasn't "too much information". :-)
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    great review...but have to agree..still wish they made the 04 LT is still running strong with almost 163K on it...I still get 24 in the city and 30-31 on the highway at 70MPH......will let it run till the wheels fall off it that is for sure....
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    2009 Malibu LTZ 2.4L 6spd automatic... 685lbs of passenger and
    luggage, going mostly between 72 - 78 mph... under varying weather
    and wind conditions.

    ... 36.465mpg. This included the drive up and down the Tennessee
    mountains ... the AVERAGE for the entire trip....

    ... a high of 39.1mpg on one leg of the trip...

    Great results and a great review!

    For comparison, quoting here my post # 243 (Base Sedan 2005, 1100
    miles for each leg of the trips, and the likely comparable driving
    conditions and mode):

    | +-------+-------+------+
    | |__When_|__Where|__MPG_|
    | --------+-------+------+
    | |_08/05_|_MA-TN_|_36.6_|
    | |_______|_TN-MA_|_36.8_|
    | +-------+-------+------+
    | |_08/08_|_MA-TN_|_36.6_|
    | |_______|_TN-MA_|_37.4_|
    | +-------+-------+------+
    | |_09/05_|_MA-TN_|_38.2_|
    | |_______|_TN-MA_|_37.8_|
    | +-------+-------+------+
    | The bottom line: 38.2 MPG, the highest so far; 37.8 MPG with the car
    | fully loaded, going over mountains easily.

    Looks like we are comparable :-)

    So I have no conclusive evidence of one gas performing better than
    another. I try and use tier 2 fuels as much as possible since they are
    usually the same price in our area as no names, but supposedly contain
    fuel system and combustion chamber detergents. Who really knows?

    Watching my MPG very carefully, I've never been able to detect its
    dependence on the gas brand (while I prefer Shell due to its

    We owned the Maxx for 4.5 years and wished they still made
    them. The 3.5L 200hp V6 was a great engine and GM seemed to have had
    the push rod design really refined for performance and mileage.

    Having now owned Maxx 2006 LT for about seven months and 2,000 miles,
    I agree. What an enjoyeable and practical car, and so well made
    (knock on the wood)!..

    Well, hope this wasn't "too much information".

    That was just terrific -- thanks!
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    Hope your Maxx's wheels hold on for another 100K miles -- the day it
    goes, will be a sad one on these forums... Take good care of your now
    legendary Maxx! :-)
  • john178john178 Posts: 48
    Sounds like you did your homework on your MPG averages. As stated in an earlier post, I traded my 2006 Cadillac DTS in on a 2010 Malibu 2LT, and calculated up to 37 MPG on the highway, with cruise control set at 72 MPH. The three options I now wish I would have are the automatic climate control, leather seats, and odometer reading showing how many gallons of fuel used between fillups- all of which the LTZ has- I believe. Is this last option included in the LTZ? Chevy (GM) hit a homerun on this Malibu.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I guess I have the high mileage maxx on the forum now....I know there are a few others over 100K now.....but most are beginning the trade in now......hoping for another two years with it and 200K.....needs tires and brakes another set gone....this will only be the third brake Im getting about 50-60K between pads now.....and this will be my third set of tires....this last set only lasted me 32K (BFGs)....the michelins before made it over back to them i go
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    Interesting about the tires -- I've long wondered about the brand differences. These BFGs and the old Michelins -- were they rated for wear comparably? 32 and 65 Ks is way too much difference...

    And for the brake pads: do you use the OEM Delcos or some other brand?
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