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Chevrolet Malibu vs. Toyota Camry vs. Honda Accord



  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Pearl Harbor has nothing to do with this forum, which is about the Camry, Malibu, and Accord, their pros, cons, and attributes.
  • wayne52wayne52 Posts: 26
    Couldn't agree more. The "underlying tone" of this thread could probably best be described as follows:
    For many years, GM has had a reputation for building "subpar vehicles". Can the newly designed malibu compete on a level with japanese auto manufactures known for quality and reliability?
    Can they / do they now produce a vehicle that can compete with the best the japanese have to offer in this class? I drove one malibu. It has a fine interior. In no way up to accord standards, but nothing like the typical cheap hard plastics that characterized GM for many years. I drove the 4 cylinder and found it to be disappointing, but have not driven the 6 cylinder. I believe the japanese have left a door open for GM. Camry has some fit and finish problems and issues with their transmissions. Honda has (6 cylinder) issues with their Variable Cylinder Management and back brakes. The long term reliability and resale of the japanese make their offerings quite appealing. I think GM has a very hard job ahead of them in convincing the public that they are beyond the "crap" they've produced for years and can now produce a vehicle in this class that will be reliable over the long run and hold its value when it comes time to sell or trade it. I've driven all three and as an accord owner I would rank them in the following order: camry, accord, malibu. I would strongly consider the two japanese vehicles, but it is my belief the malibu is not quite up to the level of the camry and accord at this time.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    To sum up your post (I think), GM = making great strides, Honyota = marking time at best. I agree completely. I don't personally feel that the Accord got any better with the current generation over the previous one. The problem for GM there is/was that the Malibu was easily a couple of generations behind quality-wise, so even though it improved drastically from 2007 to 2008 and Honda did not, Honda still holds the edge simply because of how far ahead they had stayed over the years, and really didn't trail-off (each gen had a couple of issues, but never had that "falling apart" feeling that the last G6 I drove had). Now, Chevy's overcoming that, and I'm glad. Competition is great for customers. I drive a 2006 Accord, but feel confident if my car was totaled tomorrow, it wouldn't be replaced with a 2009 Accord.

    There's a blue-oval and a slanted H making some big strides too that I'm not sure Honda or Toyota see coming as well...
  • bvdj84bvdj84 Posts: 1,724
    Nice post. Other company's are catching up.

    I see myself getting an EX-L V6 Accord, or a VW product.
  • anon3anon3 Posts: 147
    Here's a perspective from a long-time BMW driver (I'm now driving my 14th BMW and have owned every model that they've produced since the early 1990s.)

    I purchased a 2009 Malibu LT2 V-6 in May as a commuter car. I am extremely impressed with the vehicle and I genuinely enjoy driving it. After incentives, the Malibu sold for just over $21k plus tax and tags. I comparison shopped the Accord and Passat. For the price of a base model, stripped down 176 hp 4-cyl accord, this Malibu has:
    - Very smooth and quick V-6 and 6-spd automatic
    - 18" wheels
    - 2 yrs free Satellite radio
    - 2 yrs free OnStar
    - Bluetooth connection and an outstanding stereo
    - 100,000 mile power train warranty
    - 2 years free maintenance along with a list of other features and benefits.

    The Malibu is very quiet, comfortable, has optimal suspension tuning, and handles very well. It's also built on the European Opel designed Epsilon platform designed to appeal to drivers in europe and be competitive in North America.

    The Accord is NOT competitive in this price range (ignoring the fact that the accord is a full-size vehicle and the Malibu is mid-size.) The 4 cylinder's passing power is laughable. The engine is noisy. Honda's brakes vibrate during hard stopping as a rule. I would have to pay 8 grand more to get satellite, V-6, sport wheels, and 6 speed transmission in an Accord. The Passat also is much more expensive and doesn't come close to being as quick, smooth, quiet, or feature packed as the Malibu.

    Too many people are willing to let marketing tell them what to think because they're too lazy to do their homework. The perception is that Honda and Toyota can't make a dud and GM can't make a winner. So no one believes it when Honda and Toyota produce an over-priced, mediocre vehicle. And people who don't do their homework don't believe GM can produce a reliable, competitive, feature packed vehicle.

    The other thing that most people ignore is the fact that GM has a legitimate halo brand in Cadillac (BMW's M division has the same "halo" effect for the BMW brand.) GM invested heavily in technology and engineering that allows the CTS to outperform a BMW M5 and Jaguar XFR for $30,000 less. Cadillac technology, suspension performance tuning, engine designs, and vehicle engineering are trickling down into its other brands. (That's how OnStar ended up in a Chevy, for example.)

    Since I stroked a check and paid cash for that Malibu, I'm glad I did my homework instead of letting market perception do my thinking for me. Otherwise, I would have paid several thousand dollars too much for an Accord that just is not a better vehicle.

    An endorsement like this from hard-core BMW enthusiast (extensive track time, road rallies, visits to factories on 2 continents, etc) should count for something.
  • butch100butch100 Posts: 28
    I've driven he Accord 4 cyl and found it "boring" as well, let's face it a 4 banger w/auto is not gonna generate "excitement" no matter who makes it. that's why they offer a V6 as well, get it?. And I doubt the honda 4 will "blow the doors" off a GM 4, they are within 5 HP of one another and the Malibu is a lighter car. Lemme guess, Honda HP is less "moody" and more "exciting" than GM HP??.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Tell me you are still satisfied with your Malibu after 5 years and 65k miles, then maybe I'll believe the Malibu is really different from it's ancestors. When a Malibu hits the 5 year mark, it will feel, sound, and act older than a 10 year old Accord, from my experience, and the resale value will be so low you may as well just give it away. That's the short quality life-span of a GM car.
  • bvdj84bvdj84 Posts: 1,724
    I never said the 4cyl in the Accord was completely exciting, but it certainly has more power or it seems like it does more so than the 4cyl found in the Malibu, G6, Aura.

    I came from an 06 Accord, it seemed like it had more power than the car I have now!. Differences in horsepower are minimal. So, it might be the better transmission, more torque.. I am not sure. But, I know my Accord didn't sound rough or questionable either when passing. Or have a horrible transmission. I had to watch my speed more in the Accord. Oops! I am doing 80! I haven't had that issue in my car now.

    I would still rather have an Accord or Passat way before a Malibu, but that is just me though. I am not taking that kind of risk, and I wouldn't even be driving a GM.. long story. Not something I would pick.

    That doesn't make it wrong for anyone else though. So drive what you like and want. Why is it when I tell people my GM car has already had problems, such as a new catylic converter...etc. they are not surprised. They tell me, Get out! Now!
  • anon3anon3 Posts: 147
    Resale value after five years? It's funny how the picture changes if you actually check your facts, do a little math, and apply some financial analysis. You are the perfect example of my previous statement about how too many car buyers let market perception do their thinking for them instead of doing their homework to make an informed decision.

    For example, I checked the values on 5 year old Malibu, Passat, and Accord models with 60,000 miles that would have sold for the same prices new. The Passat and Accord trade in values are about $2,000 higher than the Malibu (the old crappy Malibu model).

    If your criterion for selecting a car is future value, then you'd better get a new calculator and take Accounting 101. It is NOT a good investment to pay several thousand dollars more today for a comparably equipped vehicle in order to gain $2k additional value five years in the future. That $2k future value is worth about $1,600 today when discounted at the rate of inflation. So if the Malibu is priced at least $1,601 less than the Accord, it's the better value (under equal assumptions.)

    The single most significant variable in how a vehicle will "feel, sound, act" in 5 years is maintenance, driving style, and care of the vehicle. Those depend entirely on the owner. It's more likely that a vehicle will be well maintained in the long term when repairs are free under the Malibu's 100,000 mile warranty compared to the 36,000 mile warranty on the Accord.

    So financial analysis tips further away from the Accord when the vehicle costs thousands less at purchase and you factor in the reduced costs associated with the Malibu's free maintenance for two years, 100k warranty, trade-in value guarantees, and an entire package of extended services. This is called Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), which ultimately measures the cost of one vehicle against another.

    Also, Elroy5, you don't have a the slightest clue how the current Malibu will "feel, sound, act" in five or ten years. No one does. It's a completely new vehicle. The belief that GM's investments in vehicle engineering can't produce improvements and that only Japanese companies can follow quality engineering practices is just stupid. You're basically saying that American companies are inherently inferior and can only decline. I challenge you to support that claim.

    Directly to the right of this posting are owner surveys that rate the 2009 Malibu higher than the Accord. So, apparently, the Malibu is less expensive and better rated according to people who own them.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,319
    > Elroy5, you don't have a the slightest clue how the current Malibu will "feel, sound, act"

    Exactly right. Nice post. And right on about real cost of ownership. Why do so many Honda owners end up with an extended warranty if the cars don't need it?

    I won't even talk about the attitude of the nearest Toyota dealership and their salesmen. I recall years ago stopping at the Acura dealership in scuff clothes and being treated like I was a car buyer (I did mention that my neighbor owned three), a total contrast to the Toyota Attitude.

    The fantasy evaluations of futures on cars are a result of people's past biases. That's understandable. But to imply that the Malibu won't be as good as a this or a that auto in 5 years is impossible to determine. With all the troubles with VCM and Honda's transmissions of the past and current, making that kind of prediction is clearly a personal opinion.

    In the previous Malibu line, the cars were not directly competing against most Accords for buyers. I felt that Chev had done, with the cost problems of UAW and legacy cots, was to build a car in between the Civic and Accord--same for Corolla/Camry. The comparisons can go on and on, but they are meaningless.

    I possibly will buy another car in a few months and will drive used versions of the previous Malibu and the current new Malibu, along with other cars. I could follow the lead of others and base my opinion of Accords on the last ones I test drove in 2003, brutal suspension and noisy ride that would please only a high school/college student, road wander, popping when twisted in driveway to dealer, and other negatives, but I'll be open minded and drive an Accord. I'll also look at the LaCrosse, a midsizer.

    One thing that has to change is judging cars based on the past a whole decade or two ago. GM is a new company, although not rid of high cost UAW labor due to political powers in DC, maybe they'll be able to use part time labor as do other companies..

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I am sure the H & P costs the people at least $2K more to start too plus I also bet if there is problems out of warranty it will be a whole lot cheaper to fix the Malibu than the others.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Every time a new Malibu model comes out, GM claims "this one is truely competitive with the Accord/Camry". That has not been the case. So we are supposed to believe them this time? If we can't use past quality, to determine future quality, what are we left with? A test drive? My father's Malibu was great for a couple of years, but aged quickly. My 10 year old Accord with 3 times the mileage, had less moans, groans, and squeaks than my father's 5 year old Malibu, with no more maintenance required, and much less repairs needed. I just don't buy into the idea that GM has suddenly found the fountain of youth for their cars.
  • anon3anon3 Posts: 147
    "One thing that has to change is judging cars based on the past a whole decade or two ago."

    Good post. I totally agree with everything that you wrote.

    If you talk to GMC and Chevy dealers, they will tell you that one of the most frustrating problems that they face is legacy market perception about GM cars being inherently less reliable and a poor value. Like you said, too many people cling to market perceptions from the 80s and 90's, even when Consumer Reports, J.D. Powers, and a host of rating services give many GM vehicles very high marks and recommendations. It's tragic how people fixate on a GM mechanical problem and punish GM, but ignore numerous problems in Hondas... like the transmission problems that you mentioned. It isn't rational.

    What does it say about the quality and intelligence of a person who goes through life relying on decades old information and not learning anything new? Intelligent people grow and improve. So do companies.

    The engineering science of building cars has become so automated, repeatable, and studied that the quality difference between a top rated car and an average rated car is measured by .8 defects per vehicle vs 1.4 defects per vehicle. Either way, you're likely to have 1 problem. The difference is not significant.

    I completely understand why someone would buy an Accord, especially given that the Accord is roomier and has excellent ride quality, comfort etc. I like the Accord also and could easily drive it.

    But I decided to research vehicles and buy the one that was the best value. It was an easy decision when the Malibu cost thousands less, is faster, has better braking, is quieter, has a better warranty, and has more luxury options (like satellite radio, bluetooth, OnStar navigation) for the price.

    Even if the Malibu's Total Cost of Ownership ends up being higher over five years, I will have five years of driving pleasure from a car that is quieter, smoother, faster, and has lots of luxury features that make endless Washington DC traffic jams (second worst in the entire nation) more bearable.

    I've been generally dismissive of American cars for a long time. But, if GM makes a quality vehicle, I will reward them by buying their vehicles and I won't make my decision based on something that happened in 1994.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,319
    >most frustrating problems that they face is legacy market perception about GM cars

    It's always odd that Toyota's sludge and engine/transmission hesitations along with Honda's VCM and transmission failures along with road noise don't get played up like the past GM's problems that some found.

    Cars need to be judged on what they offer in the current and forth-coming models.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I wonder what all the Honda people think of the media lambasting the new Insight. I sounds like it was made by Yugo. Makes me wonder what the rest of the HOndas are made of. :lemon:
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    >most frustrating problems that they face is legacy market perception about GM cars

    I feel sorry for the Chevy salesman, but who created this "perception"? The "perception" I think is based on facts (cars that simply didn't measure up to the competition). Market perception has nothing to do with my opinion. The reality of owning and driving Accords and Malibus myself, has created my "perception" of them. As far as Consumer Reports and JD Powers in concerned, they had the 2001 Malibu as a "Recommended" car. I would not recommend that car to anyone. It seems "average" reliability, poor quality, and cheap materials, is good enough for CR. Not good enough for me.
  • bvdj84bvdj84 Posts: 1,724
    Nice thing about honda now, is that I can still lease a loaded Accord. A good clean lease deal can be had. Lease turn in is so simple too. I have traded my Accord with minimal negative equity. Which cannot be had on a GM car now. Even in the most perfect condition. I cannot go lease a new Malibu for that cheap or at all. GM didn't just all of a sudden become pretty, you cannot always judge a book by its cover either. The only reason they are creating this new look or perception is because they are bankrupt and don't have a choice. Bankruptcy alone for me is reason enough to stay away at this point. GM has only recently improved in quality, it will take time to prove they have what it takes to be on par with the others. I would say they are getting there now.

    So, considering the new Malibu is night and day different in terms of build and quality compared to the previous model would be too quick to say. It could go both ways. I am not sure. Time will only tell. It is a very sharp looking car with a great offering for the money. I can see why people like them.

    I am certainly not going to bash anyone for driving one either. I will most definitely be impressed by the car if you drive by. I like a lot of cars, but which ones I would drive is my opinion. Heck, I think this Saturn Aura that drives locally here is one sharp looking car. Would I ever get one? No. That is just me. :shades:

    So, I guess at this point it could go both ways. Perhaps GM will prove to do some great things! But, ask yourself this.....would GM be trying to change or doing the improvements now if they weren't forced to do so? Will they uphold these goals when no one is looking?
  • butch100butch100 Posts: 28
    How does a cat. converter go bad at 15K?, if it clogged up then there is an engine management issue that caused way to much unburned fuel into the exhaust system. Don't know how you got stuck with rentals to replace a window switch, those can be replaced in about 5 min. My Malibu is now 4.5 yrs. old and it's soul is just fine!, no major repairs and I'm still running on the original brake pads. Now I'll admit it's value is less than a 4.5 year old Accord, but that is irrelevant to me as I have no plans to trade it until 10 yrs. old and I paid 21K for a car with V6, leather, sunroof, XM, ABS, alloys, P. seats, homelink, remote start w/auto digital climate control, ect. Try getting an Accord loaded like that and your closer to 30K.
  • bvdj84bvdj84 Posts: 1,724
    Well, it did, I am truly believe the converter was bad to begin with. It ran weird, I took it in, they called me up and stated that the converter was bad. They replaced it. Its on my invoice too. I didn't have rentals for the windows, but the other times when trying to diagnose the performance issues.

    The engine is still not running right. The transmission is a bit off. The gas mileage has improved since the new converter. Perhaps a bit more power, but still acts weird. Its intermittently happening. GM stated they'll back their warranty, well, I will use it. I think I have ran up about $1,500 or so in warranty bills. Over silly stuff. Never had that with my Accord or my other 2 VW leases. I do not have time to play games. I work to hard and pay too much to be messed around with.
    But, no car is perfect. But, this is my first GM car too.

    With great deals out, you really don't have to pay $30k for a Honda. I lease, so soon I will have a new car. I will look closely at the new Accord, Acura TSX, VW, or even a new camry.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I'm betting too that you paid at least 2K more for the Accord than you would have the Malibu.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Sure, but I think the Accord is worth more. When you sell one, you find out most people looking for a used car agree. Just pointing out that you can recoup some (not all) of the higher purchase price, when you sell it. People think a 10 year old car is not worth much, but I got $5,000 for my 12 year old Accord, with 140k miles on it. It would be difficult to get $3000 for a Malibu that old with that many miles on it. Check the prices of 10 year old used Accords and Malibus, and you will still see a substantial difference in the average asking price.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Just checking the Kelly Blue Book value on 10 year old cars (99 models), on MSN Autos. The price range for a 99 Malibu was between $3000 and $3800, and the price range for a 99 Accord was from $5700 to $7500. It's actually more than I thought it would be.
  • bvdj84bvdj84 Posts: 1,724
    You know, its all good. I see many homes in our town that have just GM cars. Some are brand new. Right now actually, if you want a GM car, you should be able to get a great deal. While making that a great choice. However, if you are like me and change cars often. Then, getting a GM car would not be the best idea. You will lose more money on a GM trade than some of the others. Even Honda probably isn't trading as high now. You cannot lease a GM car, so that for me would keep me from getting one. I lease a GM car now(before they stopped leasing), probably most cheap lease out on this company. So I have thought about transferring the lease to someone else. Swapalease?

    Now, if you are going to keep it for many years, than its a decent move. But, GM still needs to convince us that is will hold up to time. You certainly don't see many GM cars around that are year 91 or so that start up each and everyday in the winter like our honda.

    Just because I won't drive another GM car and desperately want out, doesn't make it a bad choice for someone else. I am very much pampered with my car now, its just the engine that leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth. :cry: Never again, Sorry GM!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,319
    >You certainly don't see many GM cars around that are year 91 or so that start up each and everyday in the winter like our honda.

    There is a plethora of GM cars from the 80s that are driven daily around here. In fact more and more are showing up all the time.

    >the winter like our honda.

    I can't agree with the honda comment. Our friend's 95 Civic often wouldn't start. I'd go over and mess around and finally get it started for her. It wasn't even winter!!! in Ohio. She finally got rid of it and it was rusting out in front of the rear wheels already. At least she didn't have to put one of those tin can mufflers on it like Hondas seem to have around here.

    I believe this thread should stick to comparing the current cars rather than trying to continue to put down GM from the past. I could list off many warts on certain foreign car's image from the past and the present... do we want to go there? I don't think so.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Here in Mich. with the snow and salt you don't see many Honda's or Toyota of those years though you still see many American cars plugging around without much rust.
  • butch100butch100 Posts: 28
    I see PLENTY of 10 year GM's that run fine EVERYDAY! and run just ad well as any honda, please, stop posting until your [non-permissible content removed]-buzz wears off, your starting to sound lke a moron at this point..
  • berriberri Posts: 7,743
    Here in Mich. with the snow and salt you don't see many Honda's or Toyota of those years though you still see many American cars plugging around without much rust.

    You mean like all those Mopar minivans rusting fenders and wheel wells or GM cars with blotched paint running around? I'm amazed how well most cars look these days after 5 or 6 years, but I think all brands have their good and bad models and model years. Can't say that one brand really rusts more than another. For example, I've seen a lot of old Corolla's running around up north with good bodies on them.
  • bvdj84bvdj84 Posts: 1,724
    I never made any of my posts personal. If you read the above posts, it is a nice debate. That's all. I'm not sure where that came from.

    Yes, we should get back on track.. Lol.

    Can you get a gm car in a manual anymore? Such as the malibu, don't Camry and accord have a option. Wasn't there a new engine soon to be used?
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    "......Can you get a gm car in a manual anymore? Such as the malibu, don't Camry and accord have a option. Wasn't there a new engine soon to be used?"

    Yes you can. I believe the Aveo, Cobalt, CTS and obviously the sports cars.

    Question is, how many Malibu buyers would want it, and is it worth it for them to make it available.
  • bvdj84bvdj84 Posts: 1,724
    Wouldn't it make it more cost effective to produce a few manual optioned cars?
    Not by much, but could help. But, yes, how many would opt for it. It beginning to be more rare to have a manual.

    I know my mother had an 04 Jetta (manual) and now she has an 08 Jetta(auto)
    Should would have wanted the manual, but its more hard to come by.

    The auto's are getting more advanced, such as paddleshifters, DSG, but its really not a true manual. But, very close in some cars.

    However I used the manual shift mode on the GM rental I had, and it was not exciting at all. 6spd shifting. I was surprisingly disappointed that it didn't work as well as I thought. So, probably in that case it would not compare to a true manual. Or maybe I wasn't using it right.

    The camry perhaps may have more of a chance of getting a manual out of the 3 cars.
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