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Chevrolet Malibu MPG-Real World Numbers



  • I'm new at this and not sure how to contact Chrstina with the information requested. I did find out at the dealer that the car is designed not to go into
    first gear with it is downshifting in manual mode, so stated in owners manual.
    The dealer could find no problems with the car, ie error codes. Said the mileage should improve as it gets more miles on it. On the drive home 95%
    highway it got 26.7mpg.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    edited November 2011
    As to your first point, it should not shift into first manually until you're almost stopped. Then it should. Mine does. That's just a safety measure to keep you from ruining your drivetrain.
    As far as mileage is concerned, don't hold your breath. I heard that same story. I've never gotten the advertised mileage (22/33) - or even close. The only time I saw 30 mpg on the highway was after the car had 60K miles and I had a tailwind with solid Interstate driving. Other than that, 28 mpg has been my absolute best. In mixed suburban/freeway driving, I get 20 to 22 mpg. If I stayed in town all the time, it would be down in the teens.
    This is the first GM car I've owned, that I can recall, where I did not get the mileage advertised on the Monroney sticker. I get the same mileage on my Corvette as I get with the Malibu (if I don't hot rod it too much). It's got a 5.7L V8 and a 6M.
    I don't know what my next car is going to be, but it certainly won't be a Malibu. And, if my wife holds firm on wanting a 4 door, it probably won't be a Chevy - unless they come up with something to compete with the 300, Taurus or Genesis real soon. Too bad, because I've got 3 bow ties right now and I have a good relationship with my dealer.
    [P.S. Christina posted her contact info earlier in this thread. You just have to go back a few pages.]
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,516
    >I'm new at this and not sure how to contact Chrstina with the information requested.

    To find the email address, everyone's name at the beginning of their posts is a linked text. If you CLICK on their name, a page will come up with some information. One of those info pieces is an email address--if the person chose to add it. The GM people have added theirs.

    You must click on the name. If you just roll over it with the mouse a flyout window will appear with a small amount of information.

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

  • I’m sorry for any confusion, oldtimerim. To contact us, please click on our username and use the email address provided there.

    Looking forward to working with you,
    GM Customer Service
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    "The dealer... [said] the mileage should improve as it gets more miles on it"

    Of course, what else would he say to get rid of you easier?

    I am more than happy with my 2005 and 2006 Malibus, including the MPG for my Base Sedans (Maxx MPG is not great, but I love the car anyway.)

    Telling everybody who wants to listen: MPG does not improve with more miles on the car. (Maybe after 100K -- did they tell you to wait that long? :) )
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    "I don't know what my next car is going to be, but it certainly won't be a Malibu... It probably won't be a Chevy"

    Thank you phil53.

    I've been seriously thinking about buying a Malibu of this generation before it gets shortened for 2013.

    But with stories like this... and look at the posts at the Equinox forums on the I4 and V6 engine (shared with the Malibu) problems -- scary...

    I think I'll stick with my Opel/Malibus of the sixth generation, thank you.

    GM reps (Christina, Sarah):

    I realize you have limited if any meaningful roles here (haven't seen a single case where your "offer of help" would help any car owner, but perhaps it did happen, somewhere, sometime). I'll still say this: if not for the over 3000 GM Card points I have, I would not buy another GM car (have had four so far). Not because I don't like mine (I love them) but because I've had my share of troubles with a 1999 Pontiac and don't want to live through that again (while the car was great when not in need of a repair.)

    The possibility that, by some reviews, the current GM cars are not less reliable than Hondas or Toyotas doesn't mean a thing to me: you don't have the Japanese firms' reputation. You are starting from ground zero where you have put yourself more than once. Can't read owners' messages on Cadillac, Impala, Equinox and Malibu boards without shuddering. If the GM leadership still does not get it that for this company, pretty much every customer/owner loss is a much harder blow than for believed-to-be-reliable brands... well, what do I say? I say, "Goodbye GM", as others will do.

    Read somewhere that there are no more American car manufacturers' dealerships in some areas of CA. Not surprised. That's your future, GM, for the whole country, with the reliability and attitude you keep showing.

    Have a good day.
  • Two potential problems with listening to people who say that don't get the advertised highway MPG on any car is that they may not know how to drive efficiently and/or they cannot do the math. While some might actually have a vehicle malfunction, I suspect that there are many who just don't know the basics.

    To me, highway driving means "no city driving." I don't expect to get the advertised MPG unless on a limited access highway, do not exceed 60 mph, do not drop out of 6th gear very often, do not have a headwind, am not overloaded with people/cargo, is not frigid weather and am not traversing very hilly terrain.

    I have a 2008 Saturn Aura with a 3.6 and 6 spd. It is rated as 26 HWY, I can easily get 28 to 30 most of the time and once got 36.5 with a 10 mph tailwind on the turnpike through Ohio (flat). On many occasions where I have been driving at 60 mph, I have been passed by a 4 cly Malibu (one tail pipe) that went flying by me at 75 or more. I even remarked to my wife "I bet he isn't getting 32 mpg."

    Before I bought the Aura with the 3.6, I drove a new 2.4 and liked it, but my wife insisted on the 3.6 because she wanted dual exhausts (hence the comment every time a 4 cyl passes me). I took the 2.4 on a 5 mile highway loop and got 34 mpg driving 55 mph, then zero'd the computer in city traffic and drove uphill 1.5 miles and got 22 mpg in traffic.

    Yes, I know that I did not gas up to verify the computer. But If you like the car and are skeptical, take the car on a test drive under both city and highway conditions, and see the MPG prior to a decision.

    It is more creditible to see posts where someone writes that they checked their computer average and found it overstated MPG by 2% for example, and that they then drove X miles on level interstate in both directions at a steady 55 mph and got 25 MPG before correcting by 2%. You can also correct for the affect on the odometer due to tire circumference as well.

    But, you rarely see posts like that, and it leaves you wondering about the accuracy of the poster's statements. If they do not drive efficiently or can't do the math, their posts are worthless to those who read these forumns. And it is hard to tell who has reported accurately unless they lay sufficient groundwork in their post.
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    This is all very true, on posters' accuracy and attention to the detail. Some posts don't even describe the car well. Reporting MPG per DIC is plain ridiculous. Etc.

    But on this I don't agree: " have been passed by a 4 cly Malibu (one tail pipe) that went flying by me at 75 or more. I even remarked to my wife "I bet he isn't getting 32 mpg."

    You can find several posts I made on this forum a few years ago where I documented the MPG of my 4-cyl 2005 Bus. I was reporting getting up to 36 MPG, the car loaded, with A/C mostly on -- on several round-trips MA to TN, a 2200 miles loop. By the fuel purchased, everything measured meticulously.

    So: those 36 MPG were at the speeds over 75 MPH (as you can imagine).

    I have never observed the dramatic effect of exceeding 55 MPG. The MPG loss mostly happens at braking, accelerating and climbing. At a steady speed, 55 or 75 MPH, doesn't make a big difference with a well shaped modern sedan. Well, I'll admit the possibility of getting 37 MPG instead of 36 MPG, traveling over 1000 miles at 55 MPH instead of 75 MPH. Go use that if you want... not me, on the roads with the posted speed of 75 MPH: I was quite content with 36@75+ :)
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    I have to disagree. My Malibu started out getting 25.4 on first few tanks. Then 26, then 27, then 28, then 29, and now breaking 30 at 9500 miles. It was a steady progression as the first 9500 miles have been put on the car. It now gets 33 mpg even on a slight uphill on a windless day with nobody else near me on the interstate, whether I'm doing 60, 65, or 70 mph. This is according to the DIC which has matched tanks of gas mpg within .1 mpg when I compare.

    I don't expect much further improvement as 30 combined is way over the Malibu combined rating of 26. My '84 Camaro peaked at 60,000 miles and my '01 Silverado mpg is still improving at 28,900 miles and 10 years old.

    My top off today showed 28.2 and includes 50% interstate and 50% city. The split would be 60/40 if I hadn't gone out to lunch each day. halfway home from the gas station the DIC showed a remaining range of 505 miles.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    edited November 2011
    Boy, Malexbu, I sure didn't mean to push you towards Honda or Toyota. I'd definitely buy another GM car over a Honda or Toyota. I find those cars a bit too boring and I do think their reputation for reliability is over-blown. The reliability of my GM vehicles has been pretty good. I've just been a bit disappointed with the fuel mileage and the operation of that specific engine and transmission combination. But I've not had problem with the reliability.
    Plus, I really like the idea of 'buying American', as cliche as that may be. Yes, I know that Honda and Toyota make cars in the US, BUT - they take money out of the economy more than they put in. All their profits go back to Japan; they build in areas where they get tax abatements so they're not putting any money directly back in our economy and they pay less than the US manufacturers, so they drive down the wages of car builders everywhere and lower the standard of living. Just my humble opinion.
    Furthermore, your assertion that GM does not have the reputation of Honda or Toyota shows that you are fairly young and are looking only at recent history. I would remind you that Chevrolet has been around twice as long as either of those brands and that Chevrolet was the top selling and most admired brand in the US for 52 years. I remember well when "Made in Japan" meant it was junk. Chevrolet is a cultural icon. You don't hear songs about Hondas or Toyotas. ("See the USA in your Chevrolet"; "Drove my Chevy to the levy"; ".. in the backseat of my '60 Chevy"; etc, etc.) I think GM is making a major come-back and deserves to be considered side-by-side with their Japanese competitors.
    I'll get off my soap-box now....
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    On your first tanks' MPG improvement: any chance that the weather was getting warmer? When did you buy your car, and what Malibu is it? (Perhaps you've posted it before, but it's probably easier for you to repeat than for me to search over the old posts...) Also, any chance you've been changing your way of driving, adjusting to the car as you drove it more?

    And I have to add that I wouldn't claim that the MPG doesn't improve over the break-in period, which is 600 miles for Malibu. It may or may not, but I am not saying anything about it. But I wouldn't expect that a Malibu with 3K miles will be getting a consistently better MPG when it is at 6 or 20K, all things being equal, which includes the weather and driving conditions and patterns.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    edited November 2011
    I do know 'how to drive efficiently'. I choose not to. That would drive me nuts. I'd rather walk. Quite frankly, if you drive 60 on the freeway/interstate around here, you're a road hazard and you'll get run over. At those speeds, you should stick to the side roads. But maybe that's a midwestern thing.
    I should not have to practice 'hypermiling' or drive like an old lady to get the posted mileage. I drive the way I drive and I get the advertised mileage on my Corvette and my Avalanche. I got it on all 3 of my Yukons and my Chevy pickup. I think I got it on my Cutlass and my Bonneville (I don't remember for sure).
    All that said, I do agree that highway mileage means no mix of city or suburban - strictly on the highway.
  • All good points; I don't "hypermill" either and I do drive faster than 60, especially when traffic dictates. The thing that I do most consistently is to keep my tires inflated close to 35 psi, stay under 70 mph and anticipate slowing or stopping thereby conserving energy. My point is that one should understand that bad driving techniques reduce MPG through no fault of the car. If they don't get the concept and then post that they are unhappy with their mileage, then they are wasting everyone's time and influencing people negatively.

    On the other hand, if someone does everything correctly and still gets substandard fuel economy, then they have credibility and deserve to be heard from. Hopefully, they will lay it out in their post so that readers can determine whether or not their claims have merit.

    I will leave you with this link to how the HWY mpg test is conducted:

    It is a 12.75 minute test done on a dynamometer between 68 and 86 degrees. According to the test graph, the vehicle starts out at 0, accelerates to 50, slows to 30 once and accelerates to 60 and ends at 0. There are some small fluctuations, but never exceeds 60 mph, and the average speed is 48.3 mph. There are other graphs that are worth looking at, including future tests like cold weather, air conditioning and high speed (80 mph).

    This chart gives detailed test comparisons:

    Hope this aids the discussion.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    6 spd 4 cyl bought last day of Feb 2010. MPG went up from 25s to 27s by late that year. Then this past summer it went up to 30 by end of summer and 9000 miles on it. So yes, it improved in warmer weather each summer but the second summer was almost a 10% increase from the first summer. It's been 33-37 temps most mornings lately and it is still hitting 30 on the trip to work. Cold weather increases drag but feeds engine more oxygen, possibly balancing out. The drive takes 22 minutes so it is warmed up for most of the trip. Wind can be a big factor.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,516
    >Cold weather increases drag but feeds engine more oxygen, possibly balancing out.

    I've thought about this often. The cold air has slightly higher density but then summer time brings higher humidity in the air. In the "old days" the higher humidity was thought to help the mixture burn better--sort of like the impression that a car ran better when it was raining due to the higher humidity with the carbureted engines.

    Summer time brings more alcohol in the gasoline at some stations and EPA required forumulations on fuel in some regions, which are thought to give less mileage. Now the gasoline probably has 10% ethanol whenever they can get by with it that high due to the government paybacks to big business companies farming the corn and making ethanol from the corn.

    The biggest factor I think, is the transmission on the automatic cars I have. I can start out when the trans is garage cool and it takes about 5-8 minutes before the mileage reading gets to higher values. I believe it's the transmission oil giving more drag. I put Dexron VI in my car where it was supposedly compatible with the original Dexron IIIe. The VI is essentially a synthetic and has a thinner viscosity in my judgement at cooler temps, just like synthetic engine oil is more consistent in its viscosity. I think it made a small difference in those cold starts.

    The difference in Dex VI affected the shift quality beyond the ability of my transmission to adapt by its computer control of shifts. So I drained and refilled with the original quality fluid.

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

  • I Bought the 2011 6spd 4cyl in June of 2011. Was getting 28/30+ HWY,.......

    Since September on it is 33.8 upto 35 HWY driving with sun roof open,
    & int cold air circulation on, 60 to 70 mph.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    not much summer humidity around central IN. Too far from the great lakes, the gulf, and the Atlantic. I spent the first 3/4 of my life within a few miles of the Atlantic so I'm familiar with sea level summer humidity. There has not been much change in pure hwy mileage since new, but the actual mpgs are what has been improving.
  • I have a 2011 Malibu LT, 4 cylinder 6 speed. The car is great except for gas mileage, which is horrible; 14.25 city, which is about all I drive. I got 29 when on a trip out of town. (I really liked my 2008 Malibu w/ 6 cyl and 4 speed. It got low to mid 20s in the city, and depending on how fast I drove on the highway, 35 mpg.)

    I've had the car 8 months, 4,200 miles. I took it to the dealership. First they said to manually calculate the mpg and bring gas receipts.

    They checked for codes, campaigns. Couldn't find anything. Didn't charge me anything, luckily.

    Any ideas, GM customer service rep?

  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    Good luck with getting a "GM CS rep"'s help! :)

    14.25 is more accuracy than the DIC shows, so I assume you are calculating your MPG based on the fuel purchased, and since you are comparing with the 2008's numbers, which look just right, I believe that the horrible 14.25 is for real... Tough to bear, even with the city traffic lights :(

    You might have done it already but I would try to do what I could do on my own:

    1. Add a bottle of Techtron or a similar fuel additive to the tank, when fueling.
    2. Open the air filter box, and clean everything I could reach with a vacuum cleaner.

    Hard to predict the results but easy to do, so why not?..
  • DIC says 14.5 mpg. Tires are 32 psi. I use Chevron gas w/ Techron already. I checked the air cleaner just now and it was fine.

    I haven't read all the posts yet, but I saw a mention of reflashing the transmission. Any thoughts on that?

    Still waiting to hear from GM customer service.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    the reflash apparently clears some shifting issues..but apparently helps MPGs as well.....I would suggest getting it done if the dealership can and will
  • malexbumalexbu Posts: 169
    It's time to make the first report on my new Malibu, after the first four fillups: with mostly "city" driving (25 MPH), in the warm winter weather, the MPG consistently stays in the range 21.5 to 22 MPG. A bit better than my Maxx, a bit worse than the 2005 Base Sedan. A very accurate DIC MPG information -- for the first time, I don't have to subtract 1.5 MPG from the reading. A good car, which I like. The six-speed transmission excels on the highway, but I can't fully master it at the very low speed: press the gas pedal a bit too much and the car jerks ahead. Tightish in, compared to the previous generation, a comparatively tiny trunk. Feels very firm, perfect on the highway. Can't tell which of my three Bu's I like driving more. The four cylinders in the 2012 feel much like the six in the 2006 Maxx. The driver's seat is not as comfortable as the old ones (at least, this is how I feel now.) To repeat: I like this car.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    I finally decided that, if I was going to get V6 mileage, I might as well have the power of a V6. So I bought a CTS with a 3.6L DI V6. Lots more giddy-up and more fun to drive. More creature comforts too. Fuel mileage is not quite as good as the Malibu, but I think it was a worthwhile trade-off. So I probably will not need to belong to this forum any more.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    congrats...I had an 04 Maxx LT v-6 and an 09 em both..finally gave the Maxx to my stepson with 200K on it......CTS is currently sitting at 39K......
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    The increase in the mileage in my Malibu is unexpected. It got 25.4 the first few months I had it. At 9000 miles on it, it broke past 30 mpg overall. This spring, with 14000 miles on it, it is well into the 30's. The last two 40+ mile round trips to downtown Indy and back, it is averaging 35.5 mpg. The average was actually 30.0 from my house to the interstate on-ramp, a distance of 4.5 miles or 25% of each trip. My combined 35.5 leaves the EPA's combined of 26 as a number I might get if I never left my neighborhood. They do rate them as brand new and not broken in. I would now expect 37 on a trip out of state. My suprise is that after 3 months of owning it, I thought I'd never see 30 on my work commute.

    The '10 Malibu mpg numbers I now see are exactly twice what my '01 4X4 ext cab gets. The truck has exactly twice the displacement (4.8) and gets 15 on the way to the interstate and 18 on a 1200 mile trip. It has twice as many miles on it as the Malibu has. If I was getting 14.5 mpg from my Malibu, I'd be checking the rpms, taking it on a 40 mile hwy only stint with before and after top offs to verify.

    The Malibu runs 1900 rpms at 70 mph.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    I had over 50K on my 09 LTZ 4cyl 6A and I never saw 30. My wife did once on steady cruising interstate driving the speed limit with a tail wind. The best I ever saw was 28. Driving to and from work, the majority of which was freeway driving, and around town, I generally got 20 - 22 mpg. There were times when I got down into the teens.
    The CTS4 with the 3.6L V6 6A is still not broken in and does nearly that good in around town/freeway driving. We're still not quite there on interstate. But I don't care. It's so much nicer and has the pep I really missed with the Malibu.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    some V6's are not very different from 4's on mpgs.
    Your Malibu sounds like it got the same mileage as my '96 SC 3800 Riviera. It gave me slightly over 30 on trips and averaged 28 mpg on a 94 mile round trip daily commute. The 3800 gets 20-22 city.
    The worst tank ever in my '10 Malibu was 25.4 mpg on the first tank.
  • main1462main1462 Posts: 1
    I just bought a 2012 Malibu LS. On the highway, it does very well. Today, going 70 mph, it averaged 36.1 miles per gallon on a 30-mile trip. (Temperature was 65 with no wind.) However, around town, we get 20-22. Yes, it is rated to get 22 in town, but with my previous cars, I was always able to beat the EPA city estimates by 20-30%. So far, I haven't been able to do that with the Malibu. I like the highway MPG so far. Unfortunately, 90% of our driving is around town.
  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    Driving style accounts for up to 30% of mileage.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    Agreed. But the Malibu was the first GM product I've owned where I couldn't get close to the advertised mileage. On all the trucks I've owned and on my Corvette, I routinely got the mileage advertised on the Monroney - even with my somewhat aggressive driving style.
    My Cadillac CTS4 with the 3.6L V6 and 6A has only 1200 miles on the odometer and, with the exception of a road trip by my wife, it's getting about what I expected. I should be there once it breaks in.
    Now, granted, the Malibu is no CTS, but I wonder if I wouldn't have done about as well with the V6 or with a different GM product.
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