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Chevrolet Malibu MPG-Real World Numbers



  • If a company talked quality, I'd expect key and incumbant features across all models to show the same quality.
    That is, they are meant to move something with greater ease. Different models may be for different sized loads or have different colors and features.
    But you certainly could not claim quality if you made a cheap tinny, rust through in 6 months, flex like a piece of paper, always going flat tires model as well as a real quality one.

    It seems GM may have some hold-over mentality they need to shed. Like when big engines were only allowed in big cars like a Cadillac prior to the muscle car advent.
    Or that they have neglected quality with smaller models for most of their years. Which eventually spilled into larger models.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    still amazed at the decrease in mileage the new malibus are seeing..seems it has declined since the 06-07 04 Maxx LT here..with auto and 6 cyl...I regularly get 25 avg in the city driving...and 30-32 MPG highway doing 70 MPH.....increased my tire size from the OEM 16 inch rims to a wider 17 inch rim for a better ride....lost a bit on gas mileage but not enough to be concerned with..probably increased weight with rims and well as the wider profile on the tire......

    have over 154K on the car..and still going strong
  • I've not experienced the problems you mention. But, my car came with the Goodyear Eagle LS2 tires in a 225/50R18. In fact, one of the things that has impressed me about this car is the level of grip and handling for a mid-level, middle-of-the-road sedan. It won't challenge the 'Vette, for sure. But it beats out a lot of cars I have driven.
  • Is there some way to; add a vehicle profile in this forum?
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    Over the last month, with comparable driving patterns, the MPG numbers were:


    A surprise for me in the bottom RHS corner.
  • john178john178 Posts: 48
    I have owned my 2010 Malibu 2LT 4 CYL for only 1 week. I compared/contrasted the Accord and Camry with this Malibu- the Malibu won hands down. On a trip just today on the interstate (200 miles), my MPG, going between 70-75 MPH ( and using Cruise Control), varied between 32-37. The interior quality and design on this car is outstanding. The safety features are second to none. This is the first 4 CYL. car I have owned in years- remarkable power for a 4 CYL- GM finally did this car right by making available the 6 speed automatic transmission. This car has to be one of GM's best kept secrets.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I will be going to Jacksonville tomorrow, so I will see what a run on I-95 produces. This highway often has a flow of 80MPH and will likely kill mileage at that speed.
    I have a fair idea of what might be causing low end MPG. It seems that this engine is relatively inefficient under acceleration. The figures I'm seeing on the DIC with normal traffic acceleration or going over a high bridge are much lower than numbers shown on the 4.0 V8 Aurora and my experience with Town Cars. Both of the latter would upshift much quicker. Both are much heavier cars too.
    There was an old rule of thumb that an engine was at its peak efficiency at the maximum torque RPM. I will have to find what that is for this engine and see if I can spot a correlation. I'm beginning to suspect that GM shortcut the process of working toward highest MPG by simply slapping a 6 speed behind an engine and the two are not well matched because of such an approach.
  • 07maxx07maxx Posts: 7
    Don't know why you would say that. I have 77K on my '06 which turned 3yr this last month. Never abused. Just driven 25K/yr. I average 29+ mpg with the 3.5L V6, with a 75/25 hiway/city mix. On extended trips I'll get 33mpg at 75-80mph. I'm very pleased and run Mobil 1, with a change every 10K miles. Struts are shot, so putting in a set of Monroe Sensa-Tracs, front and rear.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    Struts are shot, so putting in a set of Monroe Sensa-Tracs, front and rear

    Want to ask you about the struts, since our cars are similar.

    I got a 2006 Maxx this summer, in addition to my two 2005 Base Sedans.
    Maxx is nice but in some respects I like the sedans more. One
    conspicuous difference is the cars' sensitivity to the road
    imperfections. Both my sedans flow over them, on the highway or local

    Maxx reacts to the imperfections in a manner that makes both driver
    and passenger feel less comfortable -- "doesn't float over", that's
    how I'd put it. If I didn't have four years' experience with the
    sedans, I would not probably notice Maxx's way -- the ride is
    pleasant, in general. But the comparison makes me wonder about the
    cause and I did a bit of research on struts and shocks; from what I've
    read it is too early for me to change them: my Maxx is now at about
    57K miles, and the shocks and struts are usually good till 80K --
    which is right at about where your car is.

    So, how do you know that the "struts are shot"? Why did you decide to
    go with Monroe Sensa-Tracs? What do you expect to pay? (From what
    I've read, it's about $1200 -- is this right?)

    Anything anyone can tell me about the suspension, shocks and struts,
    will be appreciated.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Made trip to Jacksonville Zoo and put on about 300 miles, 240 of them being I-95. The DIC shows 29.5MPG. Likely it would have been higher for just I-95, but I am now suspicious that the DIC is off when showing instantaneous MPG. It was frequently in the mid/lower 20's when running 80MPH.
    Also, I was reminded there is a shift point at 50MPH. Prior to this vehicle, all 4 speed (with overdrive) and TCC lock would do the final change at 40MPH. Some would lock TCC before going into overdrive, others did the lock as the final change, so I'm not sure if the bump I feel at 50MPH is last gear or TCC lock.
    If anyone know the shift pattern of the AT6, please respond. It can be helpful in getting best mileage. But on the down side, it is programmed to force downshift and not free wheel till stopping. One of the things that I'm sure helped with the Aurora. The tire combination with aerodynamics, it seemed to roll forever, so with paying attention to lights and traffic I could get as high as 19MPG local driving. If I got caught in stop and go, bumper to bumper mileage would drop to 16 or 17MPG.
    Also there is the possibility that these Firestone FR710 dragged mileage down a bit. In part because the temperature dropped a lot overnight and the DIC was indicating 27# in the morning when we left. I thought it would warm up a lot during the day, but did not and DIC was indicating 30 to 31# after getting on highway. This could be why I was also unhappy with the handling, but the ride was quite smooth for a car of this size.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    So, you put on 300 miles and could have calculated your real MPG for this trip quite accurately by fueling the car at the end and doing a simple computation. Instead. you rely on the known liar the DIC. From my own experience, and having read all the users' stories, your MPG for this trip was about 28 MPG. (29.5 - 1.5).

    And how would you know that I am wrong?

    Measure the mileage and fuel, then divide, at each fillup, you'll likely see the difference.

    Of course, believing the DIC's reading is a pleasanter thing :-)
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Mine is an '09 I4 AT6. And to date I find calculating the old way yields slighty better MPG, except my last fill which was about 1MPG less for 9.2 gallons. I can't explain except to wonder if the pump was off and certainly not the only time I've wondered about this place. Putting over 18 gallon in a tank that is 17.2 would seem pretty difficult even if I sucked the last bit as I rolled to the pump. I was pretty tired by time I got back so I did not fill, but will today and post back.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    I also have an '09 I4 AT6 and I have experienced the same thing, as I believe I noted in a previous post. In my case, it does not matter which station I fill up at - and I have used several different brands and locations. So I don't think it's the pump, unless there's a conspiracy out there. I'm at a loss to explain why the DIC shows poorer fuel mileage than the calculator. If it were an occasional thing, I would just chalk it off to not getting it filled up to the exact same level from fill-up to fill-up. But it is consistent. Also, as previously noted, I have never gotten better than 29 mpg and I have seen as low as 17 mpg. Basically, I get about 4 to 5 mpg less than the EPA rating reflected on the Monroney. So I have been rather disappointed in the fuel mileage.
    My other gripe (also posted previously) is the way the transmission hunts and takes so long to down-shift. I almost got hit two days ago because I started to make a lane change, but the transmission wouldn't downshift quickly enough. I had to dodge back into my own lane and wait a bit longer. Even then, I slapped the shifter into "M" and made a manual down-shift before beginning the lane change. Even manually, it takes way too long to complete the down-shift. Our old VW Beetle with the 90 hp turbo-diesel was better at "point and squirt" driving than the Malibu.
    But I'm getting a bit off-subject here. Suffice it to say that, while there is much to recommend the car, on the whole, the fuel mileage and transmission have me looking forward to my next trade.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    (All off topic below)

    Basically, I get about 4 to 5 mpg less than the EPA rating... So I
    have been rather disappointed in the fuel mileage... My other gripe
    ... is the way the transmission hunts and takes so long to
    down-shift. I almost got hit two days ago because I started to make a
    lane change, but the transmission wouldn't downshift quickly

    When such things happen, do you care about the quality of internal
    materials or how your car looks? (I don't think so :-))

    This is one of the reasons that brought GM down, in my opinion.

    Instead of polishing to perfection at least one practical model, they
    went for what they thought was "pretty" with the new Malibu.

    Most 2004-2008 Malibu's owners have been happy with their car, no
    matter what others say about its looks. Many Impala owners have been
    happy with theirs -- but in both cases, up to a point. Doesn't
    appear that Impala is a reliable and comfortable vehicle (I'd be
    scared to buy one), and the 2004-2008 Malibus might have been made a
    bit better without dramatic changes, preserving their excellent MPG,
    and making the already not-so-bad reliability even better.

    "The car of the year", Malibu 2008, comes, impresses with the quality
    of materials and ride... And then what happens?


    Suffice it to say that, while there is much to recommend the car,
    on the whole, the fuel mileage and transmission have me looking
    forward to my next trade.

    Silly GM! (I am not saying this happily -- it's just that I am
    grieving the lack of my own desire to buy a new GM car...)
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    It does have its good points. That said, you have to start from the ground up to design a really good car, and that includes tires. To me, tires are likely the most important part of a vehicle. They control a lot of the quietness, the handling, and traction. It does not matter how good your brakes are if the tires don't do their job. I've owned a couple of vehicles that came with Euro tread designs and though I was unhappy with tread life I did not choose wisely when replacing them and went with American type treads. I always lost quality in one of the areas, usually traction and resistance to hydroplane. On one vehicle, a Regal, I replaced the original GoodYears with Michilen Weatherwise which was very similar to a Euro tread. They improved the ride tremendously and the wet/dry traction as well. I can not speak for snow country but it almost seems they are trying to sell more cars by disposing of them via bad tires.
    Yes I'm old and tire technology has made some really good changes since the days of bias belts and fiberglass, but what tire they promote on a race track has nothing to do with everyday driving.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    I don't disagree with your basic premise. However, the visual appearance gets people into the showroom. I would never have considered the old model because it did not offer the style and features I wanted. If Chevrolet had not remodeled the Malibu so extensively, I probably would have gone with the Altima - or a small CUV, such as the Rogue or Forrester. So, while the things you mention are very important, style and features are part of the overall consideration. By the way, I was complimented twice on the looks of the Malibu yesterday.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    On one vehicle, a Regal, I replaced the original GoodYears with
    Michilen Weatherwise which was very similar to a Euro tread. They
    improved the ride tremendously and the wet/dry traction as well

    This is very interesting; I am honestly at a loss about the tires'
    impact on the whole experience. Yes, I realize that a tire should not
    be worn out -- as a matter of fact, I rotate tires on my three Malibus
    myself and carefully inspect them every time I do this (done just once
    on my latest, 2006 Maxx).

    At this time, I have three kind of tires on these cars:

    1. (2005 Base Sedan) Sumitomo HTR T4 Ultra Premium Touring
    2. (2005 Base Sedan) The oiginal Goodyear Eagle
    3. (2006 Maxx) Front: Cooper; Rear: Continental

    Switching between the cars often, I wouldn't be able to tell which
    tires are better or worse -- from any perspective. I know which tires
    are where, but only by my brain, not by my back or ear. Car #1 has been
    driven in pretty bad conditions, rains and snow, and I have nothing
    but praise to say for it.

    But I would be interested in trying something else, when time comes.
    Do you have a recommendation, what to try -- all season tire?
    Michellin Weatherwise? Something else?
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    I don't disagree with your basic premise. However, the visual
    appearance gets people into the showroom.

    Impala: looks great. Sit in it, when you have a chance (I bet you
    will not like it for a moment after any Malibu). Read the owners'
    forums here at Edmunds (I bet you will not regret not having Impala to
    care for).

    So, the new Impala was, in a sense, a GM killer. Not a killer model,
    a killer. The car that had to be almost like a tank, bulletproof --
    the new hope for GM some five years ago, is such that even I, a GM
    die-hard by today's metrics, won't buy it. But I much enjoy its looks
    when I see one.

    I would never have considered the old model because it did not
    offer the style and features I wanted.

    What specific must-have features did it miss, in your opinion?

    Say, an MP3 port. GM could have added it to the old model at
    next-to-zero cost. This is something I meant when I was saying, "make
    the current model flawless."

    When you say "would never have considered the old model", you know, of
    course, better, but realistically, you don't know -- it would depend
    on the presentation given to the car at the time you were looking to
    buy a new one.

    You probably won't have time and/or desire to read owners' reviews for
    that generation of Malibu here and at Carpoint /, but I
    did read them again this summer before buying my third Malibu -- and:
    Wow!... And this is the car GM decided to drop?...

    When on the road, pay attention to how the 2004-2008 Malibus look: not
    to their boxy shape (the appreciation comes with time), but at the
    condition of these cars. Watching many such cars in driveways, on
    local roads and highways, I can't help but notice in what great shape
    most of them are. Some of that is, perhaps, due to the cars' internal
    properties, but plenty, I want to think, is due to the care they
    receive from their owners. They all look like loved ones...

    Hey, I didn't like the shape of 2005 Malibu until I got my first one.
    Now you should see me dotting over them :-)

    By the way, I was complimented twice on the looks of the Malibu

    I do enjoy seeing the new Malibu, and I liked its ride when I briefly
    tried. But I equally enjoy seeing the old (2004-2008) Malibu. These
    two seem to be cars for different buyers: the older is more
    utilitarian, the new one for those who want "the other look". Should
    the 2004+ model be available and legendary reliable, it would sell all
    right, I think, even today. They should have worked on making it that
    reliable!... They should have been replacing the flawed steering
    columns free of charge for 100K miles, no questions asked. Etc. It
    would be cheaper than what they ended up with. (They -- GM.)

    I'd readily compliment you on the looks of your Malibu, though. Truly
    hoping you'll be enjoying it, and if in a couple of years I'll see
    owners giving it the review similar to what my generation has now,
    I'll buy one, I swear :-)
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    It was either Tire Rack or Tires Plus that used to have a forum that could be searched by vehicle and learn of others experience. At the time I was looking for new tires on the Aurora, 235-60R. The oem was a GoodYear Eagle and possibly a few exceptions having Michelins. No one was very happy with the GoodYear, especially after they tried a different tire. Traction was felt not good enough on wet, noisy, and a harsh ride. Michelin was a popular repacement, not sure which model anymore, and thought to be much better concerning noise and ride. After going through all of the experiences, I narrowed it down to Pirelli or Khumo. The Pirelli was quite a bit cheaper than Eagle or Michelin, but the Khumo was over a $100 less per tire and had nothing but praise. I went with the Khumo and have to say I agreed with them. I had two other vehicles at the time and researched what was relative to them. Likely a Sable and maybe the Regal. One of the two vehicles had the same opinions of using the Khumo, but on the other the experience was totally negative. So it seems you have to match the tire to the vehicle.

    I have heard some good things about Sumitomo and Continental and the Eagles on some vehicles, but to me the Eagles seem to have a stiff sidewall and without the proper suspension the ride could be harsh. Also passing that harshness to the suspension could beat it to death.

    I will store your info in my mind, but not sure what changes might have been done to '08 and up regarding suspension. Since GM likes to use old parts, even from other models, it is likely they made no change.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I did not have a real close look at Impala, but they did have at least one upscale to them. The Malibu usescheap plastic for door liners. The other day, I pulled the latch and pushed on the door next to it. Snap! It cracked at the seam and won't pop back out. At least the Impala uses a plastic with built in padding, much softer to touch and likely better at sound deadening.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. To me, the last generation Malibu was rather plain, to put it gently. The local Chevy dealer sponsors our Corvette club, plus I have 3 Chevies (Corvette, Malibu, Avalanche) that I take to the dealer for service. So I had plenty of opportunities to view the old one.
    As for features, I'll admit that I never took a close look at the feature set on the old Malibu. But I do like the mp3 port. That is not a deal killer, however. What I do require are heated leather seats with an adjustable lumbar support. The leather is just a preference. And, I'll admit I'm spoiled, but those heated seats are awfully nice on a cold midwestern morning. (BTW - I'll stipulate that the '07 Malibu was available with those - although I don't think it offered a power passenger seat.) The adjustable lumbar, though, is a necessity, as I have a bad lower back. If I do not have proper support, even the 2.5 hours from here to DesMoines can be painful.
    The other feature I don't recall seeing on the old model is dual zone climate control. Again, I've become spoiled, but it does allow my wife to control the temperature on her side - especially on trips where the sun comes beaming in on one side and not the other - so that we are both comfortable.
    The old model also came with only a 4 speed automatic. I know I've ragged on the 6AT in the current model, but most cars in its class have had a 5AT for a while. And, given their history, there is no excuse for GM failing to produce a transmission that is equal to or better than their competitors.
    All that said, I'm not trying to denigrate your car. You obviously like it very much and it evidently fits your wants and needs. And it probably fits my needs - just not my wants.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    I'm not sure about Tires Plus, but I know Tire Rack has the features you're referring to. I find it helpful in researching tires.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    I meant both pre- and post-2005 Impalas. Like the looks of both, find the seats very uncomfortable, have read pretty scare owners' complaints here at

    As for the plastic, I am all for improving it, so that it doesn't break, at least. But honestly, haven't had any such problems with my cars. The inside feels much better than the upscale Bonnevile 1999 and not worse than the 2002 VW Jetta, both of which I had. My wife is *very* noise-sensitive; I asked her today, "Are our cars noisy?". "No", she said. That's the definitive judgment for me :-) Oh, and we have made several 2000-mile trips in one of the cars. Heavily loaded, often in 100F heat -- comfortably and with the up to 38.2 MPG over the trip (calculated by the fuel used). Beat this :-)
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    2004-2008 Malibus:

    Leather -- available. Heated -- I think so, but I am too lazy to check. Lumbar support? Even my Base Sedans have it -- and it is *perfect*. The seats (cloth) are terrific (I am speaking with the experience of several 2200-miles trips.)

    I live in cold MA -- the remote start takes care of cold mornings, frozen windows etc.

    No dual zone climate control.

    I love the transmission in my sedans (still getting used to Maxx's ways, though -- a different dynamics.)

    Thank you for the informative exchange! I am looking at the new Malibu with a more interested eye for the second day now -- hope you'll be able to recommend this car in about two years -- my wants may change, too :-)
  • john178john178 Posts: 48

    If you are considering the 2010 Malibu, let me offer several thoughts. I downsized from a Cadillac DTS to a 2010 2LT Malibu. I actually had no problems with my Caddy that had 60,000 miles on it when traded in, but wanted something with better gas mileage ( even though my Caddy got 26.6 MPG on the highway which I thought was great). I'm not going to try to compare the Malibu with my Caddy but I've got to say that I have nearly every option in the Malibu that I did in the Caddy., and cost me $20,000 less! Plus I have bluetooth and a sunroof in the new Malibu, options I didn't have in the DTS. Obviously the ride is not as smooth but it still is a wonderful riding car ( Malibu). I now wish I would have purchased an LTZ instead of 2 LT to get the leather seats and automatic climate control, which I get tired of adjusting the climate control knob- something I haven't been used to doing for some time! The 4 Cyl. 6 speed automatic gives me all the power I need, so I would stay with the 4 Cyl- and I as I said in a previous message getting 32-37 MPG on the highway. You won't go wrong with purchasing a new Malibu.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    Thank you -- this is very helpful!
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    I did not realize that even the base Malibu had an adjustable lumbar support. Live and learn. I will say that the manual adjustment on the Malibu does not offer the range of adjustment offered by the power adjustment on my other 2 vehicles. Quite frankly, I could use a little more support than is offered by the Malibu. Still, some is better than none. Thanks.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I have to agree on the LTZ comment, but does that have seat memory? I miss hitting that button as I pull into a parking spot or prepare to drive off and I used the second button for nighttime settings of mirrors. Without that feature it is a damned nuisance trying to hit the exact spot I had previously chosen.
    I don't see any difference between 09 and 10 that would give you the extraordinary MPG compared to others with the same setup.
    Which tires came on yours?
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Posting back about last fill. Slightly more than 240 miles I-95. Total mileage is 355.7. Average speed is 58MPH and DIC shows 28.8MPG. Actual fuel is 12.185 gallons and that works out to 29.2MPG. I just remembered it was quite cool that day and most of the way home I had turned AC compressor off but I also had seat heat on most of the time.
    But now also wonder how much the lighting draws if it is on unncessarily since I run it in auto all the time.
  • john178john178 Posts: 48
    17 " Firestone tires are on my 2010 Malibu 2LT. I calculated this 32-37 MPG based on both what the trip odometer was reading, along with the math of last fillup, miles driven etc. This was calculated with the cruise control on for an extended time (1-2 hours) set at 72 MPH. As far as the memory seat positions, my 2 LT does not have this; not sure about the LTZ. I also wish the trip odometer had the number of gallons used. But- other than this- for a car in this price range, the standard features & options make this a well kept secret by Chevy.
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