Sign in to follow this  
Drew Dowdell

Interactive Review - 2010 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ

23 posts in this topic

This Just In:

2010 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ V6

post-51-12772562020417.jpg

Just arrived today for an Interactive Review, a Malibu LTZ loaded to the gills. This Diamond White Tri-coat with two tone cocoa/cashmere leather interior, the king of the Malibu car line, even came with DVD players in the headrests.

First Impressions:

  • The steering wheel, though typical of many GM cars, looks huge in this application
  • Very composed ride
  • A couple of switchgear missteps that could be easily corrected
  • Stunning looking interior at first glance, some extra cut lines, but not offensive
  • A couple of interior trim mismatches

So, what say ye? What do you want to know about this top run Malibu?

post-51-12772556155062.jpg

post-51-12772556197868.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

questions

seat comfort

mpg

power and transmission kickdown

trunk space

rear leg room

bluetooth and usb operation

highway ride

highway noise

ingress and egress

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How does the V6 sound under full throttle acceleration? How's the visibility, and, by extension (with seemingly thick pillars and thus, small door openings), ingress/egress? Is the trunk opening large enough to take full advantage of the usable space?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I recall about tossing around a v6 Aura one time was that it had nuts, handling was good but steering feel and handling maybe were not in the top of class but acceptable, mainly at least in the Aura it seemed like impact harshness from bumps was noticeable and also the structure of the car itself felt like it could have used some beefing up or was a wee bit flexy. Of course, that may not be exclusive to GM in this class of car. It also felt like you could feel a bit too much through the floor and seat that NVH and isolation needed just a little work.

The Malibu might be tuned differently and better. An I4 Malibu i drove a few months ago was quiet at partial throttle and low rpm, with the 4 it just seemed like it could have used more gusto. Plus, a less expensive 4 I hold to a lesser standard than what these days is 'exotic', a top of the line v6 model.

More briefly, any suspension, NVH, chassis tuning observations?

Edited by regfootball

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In general:-

Pluses

  • Nice looking car -- especially from the front and sides.
  • Impressively tight body panel gaps
  • Very good handling and composure along with very good ride quality
  • Impressively low road noise during cruise
  • Smooth engines (both the 2.4 and 3.6)
  • Much better interior than the lack luster previous generation Malibu.

Minuses

  • Head room is about an inch tighter than Camry or Accord. This is especially bad in the back seat.
  • Seat height doesn't adjust to a low enough height to mitigate the headroom deficiency (and I am only 5' 10").
  • Leather is of so-so quality -- relatively hard and slippery with vinyl looking grains even though it's not vinyl.
  • Steering wheel is butt ugly and low quality -- the car urgently needs a retrofit with the 4-spoke wheel from the Equinox or Cruze.
  • Interior still half a step behind Toyota, Honda or... Jeez... Hyundai in terms of perceived quality or tactile feel.
  • No GPS navigation option (On-star doesn't count)
  • Comparatively inferior stereo compared to the competition.

Verdict

This car urgently needs a face lift to stay in the running until the next generation bows. For the interior, I'll revise the seats so they drop closer to the floor boards, improve the interior materials, replace the steering wheel. Outside, I'll re-touch the rear and leave the rest -- they are good enough. Under the hood, I think it is about time that GM switches both engines to the Direct Injection versions. Acoustically, I'll put the double pane windows on the back door windows as well, instead of just the front. Plus I think the 2.4 can use a Helm Holtz in the intake to damp out a low frequency moan in the 1200~1600 rpm band (the V6 is fine).

Edited by dwightlooi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How well does the OnStar navigation work?

What issues are there with the switch gear?

How is the long distance comfort?

I've used Turn-by-Turn in almost every other GM test vehicle I've gotten. The verdict for me is that it works equally as well as any NAV system in getting you to your destination and is a lot less distracting. I don't like large NAV screens on vehicles especially at night where I find that the glow causes a glare for me. Turn-By-Turn can re-route you if you've gone off route and talking to an Onstar rep adds a human element who has the power off Google to find what you are looking for that simply can't be had in a normal NAV system while you are driving. You can litterally have this kind of conversation:

Onstar: Where would you like to go today?

Me: There is an Italian restaurant near Ross Park Mall, I can't remember the name but I know it starts with D and there is a cheese in the name. It's about a mile from the mall.

Onstar: Ok, I can look for that for you......

.....

OnStar: Do you mean Don Parmesan's?

Me: Yeah! That's it! Can you route me?

Onstar: I'm downloading the directions to you car now sir.

Me: Thank you. Can you get me reservations for 2 for 7pm?

Onstar: Please hold......

.....

Onstar: Your reservation for 2 at 7pm is confirmed.

Try doing that with your NAV while you're driving.

My issue with the switchgear is solely with the turn signal and wiper control. They were ripped directly from an Alero. They don't seem to match the plastic or font of anything else in the car. They feel ok. They just look out of place.

Long distance comfort, I'll have to get back to you on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If possible, I would like to see:

1) 0-60 video

2) Video or photos of interior illumination at night

3) Video of general around town driving

I'd like to know average highway fuel economy. How does the 3.6L feel here? How loud is it? How quiet is the interior in general? Any rattles?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Outward visibility

Ingress/egress (particularly for the rear)

Interior room (shoulder room, head room)

Headlight performance

Interior quality (leather, door panels, wood/metal trim, headliner/pillars)

Build quality (sheetmetal thickness, door slam sound?)

Thanks! I've only rented and test driven '08 4-banger LT models... wonder if they've made any improvements since then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It bothers me that this car is almost $33,000.00

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just because of the badge?

Partially. I mean, it's a midsize Chevy. Granted I like it a lot, it has its flaws. And at $33,000, well, why wouldn't someone get a better car? There are a lot of things out there that are nicer for around the same price. So what I'm saying is, if Chevy wants to charge that much, they really have to bring a little more to the plate. Yes, yes, I know it has the rear seat entertainment.

But we're talking $33,000 for a midsize that doesn't even offer Nav. And I only bring that up as a fault because there are people who would make that more serious than it really is. And yes, I'm aware that you like OnStar better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, drop the rear seat entertainment and the stupid "protection packet" ($350 for rubber floormats? Really?) and it's just a smidge over 30k. A Ford Fusion Sport (the larger V6) and SYNC MSRPs for $32k. An Altima 3.5 with NAV MSRPs for $31.8k, ditto the Accord.

Now, no one pays MSRP even for an Accord, but basically if you equip the cars identically with the exception of NAV, the Malibu's price seems about in line with the competition. NAV units tend to be a $1,500 to $1,900 option. I'll admit some curiosity about Chevy not even offering it because it's such a huge profit center.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, drop the rear seat entertainment and the stupid "protection packet" ($350 for rubber floormats? Really?) and it's just a smidge over 30k. A Ford Fusion Sport (the larger V6) and SYNC MSRPs for $32k. An Altima 3.5 with NAV MSRPs for $31.8k, ditto the Accord.

Now, no one pays MSRP even for an Accord, but basically if you equip the cars identically with the exception of NAV, the Malibu's price seems about in line with the competition. NAV units tend to be a $1,500 to $1,900 option. I'll admit some curiosity about Chevy not even offering it because it's such a huge profit center.

Yes, but understand this is not badge snobbery.. the Accord and Camry have bigger followings... but I guess my question is, at that price/trim, how do Malibu sales compare to the competition? I would imagine them significantly lower.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mainly at least in the Aura it seemed like impact harshness from bumps was noticeable and also the structure of the car itself felt like it could have used some beefing up or was a wee bit flexy. Of course, that may not be exclusive to GM in this class of car. It also felt like you could feel a bit too much through the floor and seat that NVH and isolation needed just a little work.

^This would be my #1 complaint about our Malibu Maxx. The chassis is just not good for ruts or NVH. Seems to crash really loudly and harshly over bumps (obviously more harsh than an Impala but surprisingly the Cobalt also handles ruts with more aplomb). Same with engine vibration- it can be felt thru the floor esp at mid-higher RPMs and speeds in excess of 70kph.

I'd like to know if this is the case for this generation of Malibu as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Comparatively inferior stereo compared to the competition.

I'm curious--what about the stereo makes it inferior? Is it sound quality? Simply the display? The fact that it doesn't have a USB input?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious--what about the stereo makes it inferior? Is it sound quality? Simply the display? The fact that it doesn't have a USB input?

They added the MyLink package with USB stereo for the 2010 Model Year. As for the display, I have the same AM/FM/XM setup in my Impala and it's actually very intuitive for a non-NAV head unit- more than I can say for the units from Honda.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious--what about the stereo makes it inferior? Is it sound quality? Simply the display? The fact that it doesn't have a USB input?

Just doesn't sound very good. Definitely in a different class than the Passat's. But also worse than the Premium Stereo in the Accord or Camry.

Not very full, lacks punch, a little muddied, vocals that do not stand out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious--what about the stereo makes it inferior? Is it sound quality? Simply the display? The fact that it doesn't have a USB input?

It does have a USB input.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never said the Malibu held a big value advantage. I said that it's price was in line with most of the competition option for option.

Turbo Sonata will probably be the value leader in the segment, but it's not going to be 25k loaded. The turbo version is going to likely add $1700 to $2000, but they could make it a no cost option and it still won't get me to overlook it's appearance. Put that engine in the Optima and we'll talk.

The Malibu isn't getting pushed out at all. I'll admit that it's one of the older in the segment but it's holding it's own fairly well and it still manages to be one of the most visually attractive vehicles in this class. I will admit to being smitten with it's lines. There are still plenty of people out there in this vehicle segment who don't care about NAV or having the absolutely most powerful engine on the block. The Malibu moves along plenty of gusto so that any power deficiency compared to a 275hp vehicle is purely academic.

For the record, Malibu sales were up 54% in May 2010 and are up 36% for the year.

The Malibu LT2 gets heated seats, aluminum wheels, bluetooth, power seats, steering wheel controls, remote start, XM Radio ($346 option on the Legacy) and auto dimming mirror ($212 option on the Legacy) for $25k. After incentives it's down to $22.3. Sure you get AWD on the Legacy.... so it has a sales advantage north of the Mason Dixon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this