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Almost an excellent vehicle

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 8/9/2015 Chris S

I bought my 2011 Malibu LT2 back at the beginning of 2015 and have been using it for nearly 8 months. I opted for a V6 because it was such an excellent price that I figured "why not?". That engine has some pull to it (roughly 250hp) and sounds pretty smooth. The only problem is the advertised fuel efficiency numbers aren't quite right. In the city of Seattle, I get around 15-17mpg and on the freeway, if I am on cruise control between 60-65, I get sneak up to 29-31mpg (with a level road surface). Any incline will drop the hwy mileage to around 24-25mpg. Stop and starts with the V6 are what really murder your fuel efficiency here. The seats are almost fine, but my back will hurt after long drives because the seats force your shoulders in a bit and my upper back is forced back - almost like a mild squeeze. Smaller bodies probably won't notice this as much (I'm 6'2 and have a wider build that the average person), but it's an annoyance. The quality of the Malibu LT2 is inconsistent. I have some kind of leather/suede-fabric hybrid that makes cleaning a bit tougher than it should be. The dashboard and door panels are composed of a cheap plastic material that scratches easily. The instrumentation and radio/temp controls are fine. Nothing fancy but nothing to complain about. The 6-speaker system is adequate for most people. You can get reasonable volumes without distortion in the audio but the system is built to cap everything off in that department before you hit those higher volumes that would degrade your listening experience. I've heard a 2013 Malibu's 2LT/LTZ stereo which uses a Bose system (I think) and it's a step up (though still doesn't quite compete with some higher-grade car stereos out there). As for reliability: I've had my car in a couple times this year - once for a piston replacement (fortunately under warranty, but just barely) and the other for simple coil and spark plug replacements, which are actually easy to replace, I just hadn't learned how to do it yet (a YouTube video can literally save you $500 in parts and labor for replacing one or multiple coils that sit atop your engine). All in all the Malibu for this year is decent. It has a solid look to it and offers decent options, depending on what trim you end up with. The LT2 or LTZ vehicles are the best available so if you do buy one, try and look for those trims. But from what I've been hearing about the newer Malibus - you're better off buying used 2014 and beyond because the 4cyl is closer to the Nissan Altima fuel efficiency ratings and the quality of the cabin materials has drastically improved.UPDATE: I got rid of my Malibu because the V6 engine kept having issues. I had a fuel pump issue, cylinder head issues, and more within 6 months. Had it in the shop 3 times. Jiffy Lube eventually destroyed the engine when they didn't put the oil filter all the way onto my engine after an oil change. The car was okay, if a bit cheap with cabin materials, but I've since driven a 2014 Malibu and they did a MUCH better job all around with that vehicle. Don't buy the 2008-2012 models if you can because your value is so much better in the newer ones (and the fuel efficiency is great).

Average Rating : 4

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