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regfootball

2013 Chevy Malibu TURBO 3LT and 2.5 1LT (UPDATED)

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Will start with this one now and fill in / edit more later.

Tested 2013 Chevy Malibu 1LT

Had a chance to put a few miles on a new Malibu yesterday. I probably did not get a chance to make note of all I wanted to. But in any case, it was a good drive. I really wanted to just test an LS, but the 1LT was what was available.

I enjoyed the car a lot. I think there is just enough room left for improvement and it is improved quite a bit over the 2008-2012...which now seems not as appealing in pretty much in every real way. 13 is not quite as nice as the Regal, still (engine perhaps not withstanding).

------

HIGHS
-new engine revs nicely and vibrations are damped.
-plenty of power for everyday driving
-really low rpm at interstate speeds
-greatly improved dash and door panel materials
-car is well suited for long distance driving or daily commuting
-interior is improved and laid out better with more features
-fantastic view and stance looking out the windshield (panoramic)
-styling
-trunk space (no trunk issues!, it's huge)
-good steering wheel size
-feels like the cliche'd 'four door coupe'
-'good' steering and handling. about what the class expects
-reduced wheelbase feels good. Car feels a little more right sized in the drive.
-Car really feels very little like the 08-12, which is crazy since it shares a lot of the architecture. Good job, feels a lot less cheap. Car is improved in nearly every way.

LOWS
-new engine could use more torque down low-mid, engine sound is a little shrill, slight hints of coarseness
-tranny sometimes hunts or takes a bit to downshift
-side mirrors larger than expected, but still smaller than you'd want
-gunslit / mailslot view out the rear window
-limited and questionable color selections, inside and out
-No USB or even AUX in on the LS.
-dash design, where those strakes or whatever they are, really should be toned down or gotten rid of and made more simple....it's cheesy and busy
-seats a little bit hard in the back and never quite got em adjusted right.
-armrest could slide forward more and have more padding
-a little more NVH may be nice
-steering feel, while 'good', could be improved a lot I think with quicker steering and more feel
-center console bumps your leg.
-ride / suspension also could use a little refinement. it's probably stiff enough, it just feels a little unsophisticated
-some folks may think the car is a bunker. (I actually did not mind it). A moonroof would lighten up the inside quite a bit.
(edit)- no leather wrap on the 1LT steering wheel. i don't think it had remote start either. cloth heated seats would be nice too.
(edit)- plood is terrible, has no business being in this car.


FATAL FLAW
-back seat legroom..really lacks and it would not keep ME from buying the car. But it IS tight, tighter than it should be. Look under the hood and you see the almost empty foot of space under the hood between the motor and front structure of the car and you can quickly see how the inefficient packaging took away the rear legroom. Darn near inexcusable. It's time for a new platform. A v6 WILL fit easily under this hood.

I'll add more later. I'd say it's a B, ok maybe more of a B+. Some refinement issues, and other bits and pieces plus bad rear leg room ban it from getting an A.

Edited by regfootball

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Why does that Malibu have plastic wood in the car? Moreover, is Epsilon II (wrong platform?) really that bad, or is the car just under-refined?

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No, not under-refined at all, to most. I think it is more appropriate to describe it as, the car is nicely refined now, and largely improved over the last gen...but there are just a couple noticeable areas that call attention to themselves as opportunity to improve, and remain competitive. Especially with all the newly redone competitive models out right now.

I think the engine sound / noise, tranny, steering and suspension all could use some tweaks to bring it up another level with relative inexpensive ease. I think some interior issues could be addressed that would be minor. I would lose the straked dash, and get rid of plood.

One big flaw that can't be fixed. There is like a foot between the engine and front bumper area of the car, wasted space....and there is several inches lacking in rear seat room.

Edited by regfootball

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my bad, looking at a Monroney yesterday on an LS. Apparently the LS does have an AUX in jack somewhere.....although I could not find where it may be. Still seems there is no USB port or bluetooth audio streaming on the LS.

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Had a chance to drive another one ten days back or so......pretty consistent with the first drive. Like the car a lot. Seat fabric could be nicer. Car seemed smoother and quieter this time around. The car is getting panned in the press and I think that is a bit harsh. Sure there is a lot of competition in the segment, but the notion that the Malibu might be a bad car is absurd.

I saw a new Fusion for the first time today and I did not get inside it, but for example regarding interiors, it does not look like the Fusion's interior is of better quality or anything.

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my bad, looking at a Monroney yesterday on an LS. Apparently the LS does have an AUX in jack somewhere.....although I could not find where it may be. Still seems there is no USB port or bluetooth audio streaming on the LS.

If I remember when I had the Eco, it was in the center console.

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Re the legroom thing, pretty much expected since the last Malibu was on the LWB version of its platform and this one is on the SWB version. Wonder f it wouldn't have been better to consolidate the FWD offering in a single LWB Epsilon Malibu and free the Impala name for the RWD that is to be called the SS.......

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Came up on a '13 Malibu from behind yesterday. I hate to say it, but the rear end really doesn't work for me. My daughter said that the taillights looked like they were made for some other car. :(

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Why does that Malibu have plastic wood in the car? Moreover, is Epsilon II (wrong platform?) really that bad, or is the car just under-refined?

The same reason the Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and VW Passat do in there upper trim level models. It gives the interior some contrast to the plain boring gray/silver of the base cars and looks more upscale. You have to go to a luxury division for real wood.

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Came up on a '13 Malibu from behind yesterday. I hate to say it, but the rear end really doesn't work for me. My daughter said that the taillights looked like they were made for some other car. :(

I have to agree with your daughter, the car has more than just the rear tail lights that doe not really work. The car comes across as a Parts bin special to me of mix and match to make something to sell and not really a refined flow.

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I, for one, enjoy having some woodtone as part of a car's interior treatment. Warms things up considerably, in constrast to the sterile & techy-tacky metal surface designs.

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I, for one, enjoy having some woodtone as part of a car's interior treatment. Warms things up considerably, in constrast to the sterile & techy-tacky metal surface designs.

Glad someone agrees with me on this. I'm tired of looking at charcoal and silver paint in these new cars. It reminds me of a cell phone not a car interior.

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DROVE A 3LT TURBO TODAY.....


DO NOT DRIVE THIS MODEL IF YOU ARE TRYING TO SAVE THE DOUGH.........

OMG the Turbo makes a world of difference in this car.

If you hadn't driven the turbo and just drove the 2.5 only, you would say, "that 2.5 is a good car".</p>

Even salesdude said it, you're not gonna want the non-turbo after you drive the turbo.


I have driven all these GM cars with the 2.0 turbo in them now..

HHR SS
Cobalt SS
Saab 9-5
Buick Regal

Every time I drive a car with some variation of the GM 2.0 I am impressed.

In the Malibu is adds the power and refinement that you don't notice until you have compared it side by side. That same thing happened with me and the regal.

What sucks is that you need to be in a 3LT to have the turbo option.  Why can't GM do a 1LT special turbo?  A cheap sport package, like an RS?

I really like the 2.0 turbo, dare I say more than the v6..........


Drove the 2.5 again today and now re-reading my initial review, I would say mostly it sticks but I will say the powertrain did seem louder than the before.....I had thought the Malibu had an interior noise advantage over its competition but now maybe not as much.

There is something slightly underwhelming about the basic car, its really hard to pinpoint. Maybe again it was because the turbo was so well suited to the car.

Edited by regfootball

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