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vonVeezelsnider

Thoughts/Opinions?

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So come January-February we're aiming to have added another car to the fleet, looking to spend no more than 23995$ (CDN), as a Used CPO Fleet or Demo vehicle with no more than 25000km (15k miles). Our choices have been narrowed down to three and I'm wondering if I could get some commentary/opinion from people who are more familiar with these choices and the powertrains (how the 2.4L Malibu performs in comparison to the 3.5L V6, how the 3.9 does for fuel economy relative to the 3.5. There are of course some pre-requisites: OnStar, XM Radio.

"The Known Quantity"

2009 Chevrolet Impala LT

3.5L VVT V6

12873690993.267256422.IM1.MAIN.565x421_A

12873690994.267256422.IM1.02.565x421_A.5

12873691007.267256422.IM1.15.565x421_A.5

Pros:

Known Quantity

Dual-Zone Climate

Biggest Trunk of Group

Cons:

Tight Back Seat

It's kinda dorky to have two of the same car in the driveway

"The Florida Option"

2009 Buick Lucerne CX

3.9L VVT V6

13197760451.268442245.IM1.MAIN.565x421_A

13197760452.268442245.IM1.02.565x421_A.5

13197760459.268442245.IM1.09.565x421_A.5

Pros:

Most Interior Space

Cadillac Chassis

Most Horsepower

Most Comfortable Seats

Cons:

More Expensive than Other Options

Least Fuel Economy of Group

"The Wild Card"

2009 Chevrolet Malibu LT

2.4L ECOTEC I4

12416968765.265266268.IM1.MAIN.565x421_A

12416968766.265266268.IM1.02.565x421_A.5

12416968772.265266268.IM1.08.565x421_A.5

Pros:

Best Fuel Economy

Most Rear-Seat Legroom

Split-Folding Seat Standard

Best Material Quality

Cons:

Least Power

Wimpy Trunk

"Fascia Spoke" Wheels

Same Price as Impala

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Considering you had a black Impala that was then sold, I don't know why you'd go buy another black Impala.

To me the choice is obvious: Malibu. Most modern of the group, I would argue the best of the group, and only has two cons: the power and the trunk. You can always get a different set of wheels. I dunno if the 6-speed is standard now but if not I would spot for that, and maybe an interior color that's not gray and depressing.

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Considering you had a black Impala that was then sold, I don't know why you'd go buy another black Impala.

To me the choice is obvious: Malibu. Most modern of the group, I would argue the best of the group, and only has two cons: the power and the trunk. You can always get a different set of wheels. I dunno if the 6-speed is standard now but if not I would spot for that, and maybe an interior color that's not gray and depressing.

Prolly should have said the pictures were merely representative...

If possible a 2LT Malibu would be better with it's Ultralux interior, proper wheels, and the possibility of the V6.

We likely would have just kept the black Impala and bought it off my grandmother but we didn't need four cars then so we let it go. This one would be primarily driven by my father, I'm getting the 07 Impala and my brother will be getting the 08 Cobalt.

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I vote Impala. Nothing altogether dorky about having two of them. It's "just right", according to your parameters, with the least amount of compromise among the three. Edited by ocnblu
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I would through in that there's nothing wrong with having two of the same car, however my vote is still for the Malibu, because if you guys need the extra trunk space it has folding seats plus there's always your other Impala.

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I have driven all 3. Even though the Buick is on a "Cadillac chassis", the Malibu is very solid and the fuel economy is going to be a nice added benefit. Just steer away from gray. The gray interior sucks.

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I have driven all 3. Even though the Buick is on a "Cadillac chassis", the Malibu is very solid and the fuel economy is going to be a nice added benefit. Just steer away from gray. The gray interior sucks.

Yeah hopefully we can find one in that nice Brown/Tan scheme or even just plain black.

How did you find the 2.4 in respect to the 3.5? and did the Malibu you drove have the 4- or 6- Speed?

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The Malibu had the 2.4 and i don't know what transmission it had. The car had enough power for me. I'm not a hot-rodder. I got on the freeway well, passed well, and the car was really quiet.

I have driven a Saturn Aura and an Impala with the 3.5 in it. Both had plenty of power. I don't remember either one having any sounds or noises that were unpleasant.

Although I do have to say the Buick logo on the steering wheel can give off a glare that can be very annoying.

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Consider me an outcast with a Hawaiian shirt and a palm tree in the yard...

But I like the Florida option best of all.

Chris

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Nice choices. My quick takes:

1) Nothing wrong with an Impala given what you know about them, or having more than one. Solid/basic bones, efficient/moves well with a 3.5L (the 3.9L seems to not ever get a good review in terms of economy), and still decent looking especially if trimmed properly like that pictured higher end LT. On the downside, still blah, very all over the place, the W-body isn't the most sophisticated and feels it when driving, and though large with a big trunk, the mushy, low, and cramped rear seat in such a big car is pathetic. That alone made me steer mom away from one pre-Malibu when she wanted an SS...not if people can't comfortably sit in the back seat, no thanks. Good deals to be had, as always, it's the big bargain car new or used and never a bad choice, just depends.

2) Really like these, the G-body is still a tank and has very nice ride/handling/refinement, the interior is big, seats comfortable but not mush, and the interior--having just been in another, my aunts--the best of the trio when it comes to materials and quality. Overall, the most luxury of the bunch and solid, but the question being the 3.9L and economy. People don't seem to like it as much in this car either as the 3.8L before, but mileage isn't terrible, I'd just want to drive one for a while and see myself how it performed vs. that, and in this platform/size of car. Big trunk with a big opening & big back seat, all good.

3) Great smaller car but that's very efficient when it comes to interior space vs. outside size. It naturally seems "tight" to some people until you really look at & sit in it, with the really nice and firm seats, the back seat that's at the right level & has a lot of legroom with the carved out front seatbacks, etc. and is furnished also solidly with nice materials--not Lucerne grade in finish or quality, ultimately, though--and very quiet. The 4-cyl and V6 available are both the epitome of silky and silent in this EP-I chassis and both pull it around well. Having one in the family, I wouldn't recommend a 4-cyl/4-spd car unless you really like it, because it revs the daylights out of the 2.4L while making it seem sluggish at the same time, and mileage isn't gangbusters. It's decent enough, and like I said, silent and smooth generally, but the 2.4L/6-spd combo is notably more spunky--at the time I was driving and considering a 3.5L car, I really liked how this one drove, clearly with less torque, but very peppy nonetheless--doesn't peg at high RPM's out of gears to use, and is smoother and gets notably better mileage because of it. It's the powertrain combo, and the only one, this car should have had all along as a base but it just wasn't ready. Then you have the 3.6L. It's a lovely engine as far as sound and power--just screams, quietly, when trounced on--and actually doesn't do badly on gas, but isn't a 3.5L either in that regard. This car is trimmer, tighter, has terrific ride/handling and solidity/quiet but is also just not as much car when it comes to size or weight, and has a wide range of models and trims. I'd recommend trying a 4-cyl/6-spd if it comes of more interest, before a 3.6L if you're power hungry.

Can't say which I'd ultimately choose, since each has their merits, but in order I'd say Malibu-Lucerne tied depending on if you want smaller or larger and then the Impala as a familiar wildcard. Hope any of this is useful, and post/ask more as you ponder further, especially for those of us who have also had one.

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Thanks, Derek.

What's your impression of the Electric steering in your Mom's Malibu relative to the electric steering in the previous gen Malibu Maxx that I'm used to (and don't like all that much).

I'd assume that the Malibu option would be predicate upon the presence of the 6-Speed, I heard they're kinda doggish without them. As for fit and finish I always thought (and still think) the W-Body LaCrosse was impressive with all the soft touch materials. Even though the design was archaic it was a real quality package. Easily the best quality GM car interior, followed by the Lucerne/DTS, and then the Malibu. We already considered some others that were eventually shot down...

2009 Pontiac G6 SE, 3.5L V6

-Puny Cobalt-size trunk

-Putrid interior

2009 Buick Allure CX, 3.8L V6

-Old, tough to navigate stereo without an AUX jack

2009 Pontiac G8, 3.6L V6

-My dad liked this one the best, but he's adamant about FWD.

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I can't fathom how you'd see the materials/finish in a Lacrosse as better than in a Lucerne, but regardless :AH-HA_wink: That at least adds another good choice, and 3.8L powered, but still with the "what happened to the back seat?" new W-body issue. Just looking at and touching door panels and center console alone, and then dash, big difference, at least always IMHO. That's one area where the Malibu doesn't always hit top marks, with things like the door panels vs. the dash and a few gaps that could be tighter, but it's still a nice piece especially when it comes to the dash.

Just quickly, the electric steering in new Malibu's is hugely improved, we've had no issues, and though it's lighter than the hydraulic system in V6 cars, still feels sharp and not sloppy. Used to my V6 G6, Malibu and now G8 GT, it's always an adjustment just moving it around the driveway because of the lightness, but it's nowhere near the sloppy robot feel of the previous system and not problematic. Some people comment that the V6 car's system feels artificially heavy, and fewer say the 4-cyl electric is a bit light--either way, both are pleasant.

And yes, if you did, stay away from a 4-cyl/4-spd car, it's just too much of a dog and hurts mileage enough, when compared to the 6-spd versions. While the 4-cyl/4-spd makes a 3.5L or 3.6L car feel like a scorcher, the 4-cyl/6-spd aside from pure torque, is a pleasant in between.

Edited by caddycruiser
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