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What have we done? 2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5t

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10 hours ago, regfootball said:

and you think its ok we are being forced and shoved down our throats that these are mainstream engines......

Nobody forced you to lease this vehicle. There are plenty of other vehicles to choose from. 

 

8 hours ago, oldshurst442 said:

Dude...when you bought your 1.5T Malibu...a very affordable HEMI powered BASE 350 cubic inch Charger could have been yours to own for about the same price of your 1.5liter Malibu...Ive heard that FCA discounts the shyte out of them...

Heck, even a V6 would have suited him, most likely. For sure, those could be had with plenty of discounts and it would have been a little better in the fuel economy field while still being able to smoke the 1.5T with its 300hp 3.6L. 

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12 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

To be fair, there is probably a 10k difference in price between a rental spec Malibu and a V8 Charger..and is the Charger still available in V8/AWD spec?  I don't think so (reg can't drive RWD). 

RWD is not an option in the winter here.  Especially since they don't treat the roads anymore.

And to your point, yes, a v8 charger does cost a bit more.

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12 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

@regfootball what are the $$ details on this. How much down, how much a month?

Admittedly this is a second car in a 2 car house.  235/mo on the lease can't remember how much down, i had several things available to me that acted as real cash which i could have applied to another vehicle, to bring the cap cost down nicely to the point where it made an enthusiastic deal.  To buy the car would have been 500-550 a month, which is not chump change.

You flip that around and realize GM put a 30k sticker on the car and even that is an average MSRP these days, the low end performance of the powertrain for competitive purposes could stand to be improved at that MSRP.  And i can bet it may be part of the reason Malibu's are not flying off shelves.  30 grand is a lot of money and at that price class there shouldn't be big downsides about any vehicle.  My friend who has a 15 fleet Malibu for example when he travels he has rented the new 16 a few times and he didn't like the changes.

the point is that despite all the required engine downsizing and CAFE that GM (and any manufacturer) is forced into, and i noted this when i test drove it, its borderline acceptable from a overall power standpoint (my beef is low end, stoplight to stoplight driving...you will note i said its a fine highway car).  We all know you get a few minutes on the test drive and i know this as well as anyone, you're not going to learn everything about that ride in 5 minutes.  Because i love GM stuff and i liked the new design i was more than willing to give it a go.  I was being optimistic and enthusiastic and being a homer.  And now I don't have a right to point out legitimate things I don't like about the car?  HMMMMM

Charger is of course an interesting option, but if you don't like the style then it is what it is.  But in these parts you are only looking at AWD and since I had more interest in the style of the Malibu i had a lot of faith that I would be able to endorse the whole car.  Instead there are parts I think would definitely stand to be improved.  One of those is a base engine with a bit more pop or the ability to buy the uplevel engine without having to get into a Premier.  I know there are other GM fans that agree that not providing the 2.0 option on the LT trim sucks too.  So for me to state that is not whining and I know others agree.  GM's old 2.4 used to take a lot of shit in the press on car reviews, and it also has a lot of rap as problems when it comes to reliability.  So to use the 2.4 as a benchmark to compare to in 2016/17/18 is pretty misguided too.  It's not 2008 or 2009.

The terrible seats are actually the biggest problem with the vehicle.  That's the part that needs fixing the most.

Many other choices are out there and have plus and minus too, so you can make the case for any vehicle over many others.  Overall I like the car, but the seats and the low end engine performance are highly suggested improvements for GM.  Enough such that if another person asked me about it, I would probably say look at some other rides.

 

Edited by regfootball

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12 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

An AWD V6 Charger isn't a bad place to spend the time.  I lean more towards the 300 and Chrysler practically gives them away on leases. 

they didn't really start giving them away until the last 12 months or so but i do think they are good choices available to people who maybe would like their style.  I have a coworker that just leased a Charger.  If it keeps people out of Toyotas and Nissans that is fine with me.

13 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

To be fair, there is probably a 10k difference in price between a rental spec Malibu and a V8 Charger..and is the Charger still available in V8/AWD spec?  I don't think so (reg can't drive RWD). 

I've had several RWD vehicles in my life time, its not correct to say can't drive them.  it's that they are of no use in snow environments.  And to anyone who naysays that, explain why AWD and FWD took over the market.  I've chosen not to buy RWD anymore is more accurate.  Unless that is specifically what you were speaking to here.

Edited by regfootball

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54 minutes ago, regfootball said:

they didn't really start giving them away until the last 12 months or so but i do think they are good choices available to people who maybe would like their style.  I have a coworker that just leased a Charger.  If it keeps people out of Toyotas and Nissans that is fine with me.

I've had several RWD vehicles in my life time, its not correct to say can't drive them.  it's that they are of no use in snow environments.  And to anyone who naysays that, explain why AWD and FWD took over the market.  

FWD took over the market because the number of mainstream RWD models dwindled as the automakers moved en masse to FWD over the last 30+ years. Also, many people today are too lazy to buy winter tires and don't know how to drive properly in the winter.

 The police drove RWD only in snowy climates for decades, for example. I drove 5 winters in NE Ohio with RWD and winter tires, before switching to SUVs. Proper winter tires and knowing how to drive make all the difference.  

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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32 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

FWD took over the market because that's what the majority of mainstream cars have been since the mid 80s as the number of RWD models dwindled. 

Exactly. Japanese imports pushed FWD first, and it took decades for a mass switch toward FWD vs. RWD- it wasn't traction in snow (which FWD doesn't provide any better ability in).

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FWD, once it was no longer a luxury and hit the mainstream, was for package efficiency and making cars cheaper. 

It had nothing to do with traction. Marketing departments came up with that one. 

The first vehicles I see in the ditch when the snow starts are the 4x4 SUVs.

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12 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

FWD, once it was no longer a luxury and hit the mainstream, was for package efficiency and making cars cheaper. 

It had nothing to do with traction. Marketing departments came up with that one. 

The first vehicles I see in the ditch when the snow starts are the 4x4 SUVs.

Yes, they did a great job of selling the cheaper FWD engineering as a traction benefit.  But to be honest, I like the way FWD cars drive and handle, so FWD vs RWD is not a thing for me.  No doubt a car like a Camaro i would of course prefer RWD.

Agree.  People believe AWD is automatic safety but dedicated snows help a lot more.  No matter if you are FWD, RWD, AWD.  I would love to get snows for any vehicle I have.

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Taking into consideration all the ideas and advice you've all shared, good things to consider.  So i decided i would try being an aggressive driver for the next couple weeks.  I realize i am not juicing the car enough to see the full nuts of how it really moves out.  So let's see how that goes.  The extra throttle really amplifies the lawn mower engine qualities down low; but it does make sense for me to give more consideration of what its real capability might be.  I pussyfoot the throttle a lot because i like to avoid the blender noises.  Lots of threads in the past about the character of motors.  Selling the cars gig i got exposed to a lot of different makes and models and a lot of them were recent, similar cars ...stuff like Camry's with 4 cylinders, etc.  

 

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30,000 mile report

Passed the 30,000 mile mark recently.  MPG particulars.  The first 15,000 miles i averaged 31.4 mpg total.  The second 15,000 was 30.9.  That's combined.  Keep in mind there are heavy doses of winter in there.  Recently in the last month or so, the mpg has dropped a fair amount....  like by 2 or so.  Back a couple months ago, I achieved a 25 mile best of 52.0 mpg.  This is repeatable when conditions are right...that was about a 60mph average with few to no stops and a flat windless gradual downhill, with mild weather and later in the day.  I consider the fuel economy of this vehicle to be among the economy car ranks.....amazing considering the size of the vehicle IMO.  This fuel economy will be what keeps the midsize sedan class on the market despite crossover popularity.

I really could go back to my test drive reviews and other previous observations in this very thread and repeat a lot of my same impressions.  So I will try to hit the major themes.  And after two years, the newless is worn off and I have had a lot of time to consider what i like and what i don't, and what will happen when my lease is up.

-still love the styling, except the front grill is getting tired to me.  good thing they are refreshing the front for 2019.  This is one of Chevy's best styling jobs in the last decade or more.

-good fuel economy performance, as mentioned above

-jekyll / hyde powertrain.  super smooth and quiet on the highway and at higher speeds.  GM 4 cylinders are not supposed to run this smoothly.  Times when it is surprisingly sprite and peppy in everyday driving, in that 40+ mph range.  Very good interstate car!.......Heavy stop and go, or needing a lot of thrust shows the weakness of the small engine more often than you may want.  Slow off the line, lag at times, transmission will wait too long to kick down when you really need it to the most.  Can strain and moan alot.  Sometimes the lack of low to mid power is dangerous.  Weather conditions affect how peppy the engine and turbo are at times.  If you don't ask or need a lot of the powertrain, it does well enough.  Plenty of upside, plenty of disappointment.  I think its borderline and does come down to whether you think the cost of more power and reduced fuel economy, how much it matters to you.  More power would always be welcome in a similarly compact and smooth engine with more displacement.  1.5 runs fine on plain 87 garbage gas....in fact, it prefers it.  Strange for a turbo... but it really doesn't like higher octane or more expensive premium gas.

-room and space, i've come to appreciate the size of the malibu cabin, its about right.  A larger car would be fine for when i have passengers more, and for more long trips, but as a family car with one primary driver, I like it.  If the other class competitors keep growing in size, however, you would want to keep up with the Jones.

-driving position and ergonomics... i think the control layout and other things like that, seating position.  I really like.  I don't like the claustrophobia from the low roof so much, but i may need to get the big moonroof next time.  maybe the gauges could be bigger (if not electronic) and the dash ipod could look less fruity.... and they could improve the touchscreen a bunch.  The seating is lower and as i get old keeps getting less convenient to get in and out of, but i like being about this position above the road so i still like it for now.  Really love the simple climate controls.  I would like to be able to still have part of the screen dedicated to other vehicle functions (like a climate control readout, outside temp etc.) when Apple carplay is in use.

-driver's seats, i have to put these in a separate category.  I don't like the seats in front.  They feel weak and insubstantial.  They are narrow for the butt.  They seem to flex and move around on their mounts a bit.  The power recline doesn't work smooth, it makes bumps along the way.  The seat digs into your lower back, and you seem to feel where the lumbar device is even when you have not inflated it.  The leather is not awesome and is too grippy sometimes.  I may be ok with cloth next time.  The seat heaters work good.  But you can't get cloth heated seats, which is bullshit.

-speaking of carplay, that could warrant a separate post.  It's been buggy a lot.  For a lot of different things.  A lot of stuff works fine and considering it was the first year on the market for that, it's been ok.  The system is very sensitive to the quality of the USB cable believe or not.  You better be using a genuine Apple cable plugged snugly into the USB port (which is in a highly inconvenient, difficult to reach spot below the dash bulge).  I see in the future a better system where your mobile profile is pushed to your car platform in addition to your cell phone, or your phone is accessed wirelessly.  Things like streaming apple music for example would work so much better that way.

-interior and trim.  GM has gotten good at building interiors with good assembly quality.  gaps are small and things fit together well.  switches and buttons feel good.  Some plastics are cheap, but this is a low priced car and so they are not too far off the average for that.  The all black interior is a huge downer.  Seems to be the only choice most of the time in GM cars these days.  And the leather is average at best.  The vinyl on the dash inserts could be more interesting and better quality and make me wonder if I wouldn't like the cloth inserts more.  GM has to start to get a mix of grays in with the back more in their car insides.  Yes other interior colors are available but when you check inventories those are so rare its like they don't exist.  And they only offer those on higher trims.  Why does Chevy have a hard time offering a mostly tan interior on any of their cars?  GM seriously needs to figure out how to get away from death interiors.

-trunkspace, is good and very efficient.  I like the fuzzy material finish, it's minimal but is not that cheap fuzzy stuff.  

-ride and drive, i think for a midsize family type car, the ride and drive is very good.  The car itself feels light and nimble; very balanced.  But yet it is solid and planted on the road.  I think that is the best quality about this car.  It has a chassis that is tuned pretty good but they have so much potential to do more with this!  The steering feels good....you feel the road some, and the steering has good feel and is direct.  I could enjoy it even more if it were a bit quicker steer and a small percent less effort but that is real nit picky.  It is good.  The ride on plain pavement is good and a nice compromise on firm and comfortable.  The car corners very well I believe for a car meant to sell cheap and many.  When the bumps get more harsh it doesn't tackle those nearly as well however, and the suspension has more trouble.  I think that's not too big a deal, just try to avoid the bad pavement, right?  Road noise is either really quiet, or on certain pavement types can be very loud.  Overall i think its fine for quietness, certainly quieter than the tinny Mazda6.  It is very quiet at interstate speeds on the right pavement, so that is good for me.  It is more lively a car than its platform mate the Regal.  For a light large car that is not meant to be a sport sedan, its pretty good.  Which makes me think this platform would really be nice to see GM have a suspension and handling package as a reasonably priced option.  I'd like to see a small turbo six in this thing, or a better newer 2.0, paddle shifters, performance suspension on the cheap.  The 2019 RS package could be that, rather than just an appearance package (I hope the spoiler can be deleted, this car doesn't deserve a tack on like that). 

I'm interested to test the 2019 when it comes out to see how the CVT is.  I don't know why they don't mate the 9 speed and higher horespower version of the 1.5 from the Terrain / Equinox and put it in the Malibu.  I doubt the CVT will give big mpg improvements.  It may...or may not make for needed improvement in bottom end response.

Overall, its been a great car, apart from the crappy seats, tough engine performance (at times), will consider it again when the time is due..... but will also look at others.  Will be ok with a 1.5 again if i decide i still like the mpg.  Or may look hard at a 2.0 (why can't i get a simple LT 2.0 with cloth), or a Regal.  Unless i go dark side and look at a crossover again.  (Blazer)

***

edit

Love the brakes, like the reviews say, they are awesome brakes.  Decisive pedal feel.  great stopping power.  Only sometimes the brake pedal is too firm.  Hard to knock that considering how terrible of brake feel GM cars had in the past.

The parking brake needs to be electronic.  The old, kick lever below the dash is just not as easy to use as a little finger pull on the console.

Would really love a switch to turn off the auto stop when i want to.

Edited by regfootball
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got rear ended :( but i was given a rental while the car is getting fixed.  But. Its another Malibu.........

 

 

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not at all a fan of silver, usually, but this is sort of growing on me.

The cloth and the smaller touch screen I am trying to decide what i think.

Edited by regfootball
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yeah, i really have grown to like the lines on the car.  The front end of course old or new version will have friends and foes.  wouldn't it be nice with just cloth heated seats and a moonroof, and a 2.0?

 

configging a 2019 right now just for fun.  The RS package has very limited options and looks cool, but the LT has more value features now, and you can actually on some exterior colors get an interior color besides black.

Edited by regfootball

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• I cannot imagine anyone having a dislike for the front end, it's head & shoulders above it's segment competition, namely toyoyo, honda, nissan. The rest is nice, clean, mildly dynamic, but the rear isn't as striking as the front. Sort of generic. Whole car really doesn't say 'Chevy' anymore, but it's still well-designed.

• I greatly prefer the parking brake on the floor (or as a button if an OEM offers); console-mounted levers take up room and are ungainly to look at. Old school at this point.

• I'm interested to see how fabric on the dash lasts long-term- it's going to be harder to clean if soiled than any other material.

• Our '16 does not have the heated seats or paddle shifters the '09 did. The paddles are wildly out of place in this class- we never used them outside of the first few 'playing around' times. Still getting used to Start/Stop- it's less obtrusive than I had expected. Question- this feature must be having a measurable effect on 0-60 times, right?

• I have not driven this car much yet, but it's 2 thumbs up from Mrs Balthy so far.

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4 minutes ago, balthazar said:

• I cannot imagine anyone having a dislike for the front end, it's head & shoulders above it's segment competition, namely toyoyo, honda, nissan. The rest is nice, clean, mildly dynamic, but the rear isn't as striking as the front. Sort of generic. Whole car really doesn't say 'Chevy' anymore, but it's still well-designed.

• I greatly prefer the parking brake on the floor (or as a button if an OEM offers); console-mounted levers take up room and are ungainly to look at. Old school at this point.

• I'm interested to see how fabric on the dash lasts long-term- it's going to be harder to clean if soiled than any other material.

• Our '16 does not have the heated seats or paddle shifters the '09 did. The paddles are wildly out of place in this class- we never used them outside of the first few 'playing around' times. Still getting used to Start/Stop- it's less obtrusive than I had expected. Question- this feature must be having a measurable effect on 0-60 times, right?

• I have not driven this car much yet, but it's 2 thumbs up from Mrs Balthy so far.

Agree on all of the above...but absolutely love heated seats.

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21 minutes ago, balthazar said:

• I cannot imagine anyone having a dislike for the front end, it's head & shoulders above it's segment competition, namely toyoyo, honda, nissan. The rest is nice, clean, mildly dynamic, but the rear isn't as striking as the front. Sort of generic. Whole car really doesn't say 'Chevy' anymore, but it's still well-designed.

• I greatly prefer the parking brake on the floor (or as a button if an OEM offers); console-mounted levers take up room and are ungainly to look at. Old school at this point.

• I'm interested to see how fabric on the dash lasts long-term- it's going to be harder to clean if soiled than any other material.

• Our '16 does not have the heated seats or paddle shifters the '09 did. The paddles are wildly out of place in this class- we never used them outside of the first few 'playing around' times. Still getting used to Start/Stop- it's less obtrusive than I had expected. Question- this feature must be having a measurable effect on 0-60 times, right?

• I have not driven this car much yet, but it's 2 thumbs up from Mrs Balthy so far.

The option the malibu does not give which is standard now in so many vehicles, is to put the electronic parking brake switch on the console.  No big levers anymore.  The Regal has the eBrake switch, doesn't take any space.

People would like the Malibu if they spent good time in it.  Not perfect, but moreso than many other GM vehicles in affordable price class, it gets a lot of the basics right.  I would dig more grunt in the 1.5 engine but realize the tradeoff is fuel efficiency.  Can't wait to see how the CVT fares with it.

Cheap 18 Regals will hit the market in a few months; GM hasn't gone full bore on the incentives for it yet.  The Regal will have the 2.0 in it and apart from that and the hatchback its more or less the same car.  The screen in the Regal is angled more to the driver and it helps some with reach.  I don't like the shifter and one aft cupholder.  The Malibu shifter and cupholder layout it perfect.

 

I haven't minded the fabric on the dash so far in the rental.

As far as the start stop, the 1.5 is so slow off the line, and it shifts slowly....I think those two things impact the 0-60 more for the 1.5.  

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Edited by regfootball

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Well, winter broke me.  Despite not having that much left on the lease, in order to get around, and safely, I had to break down and get some tires.  So I chose to get some winter tires.  I may have preferred to get Nokians, but the Michelin X-Ice was available and in stock (which is tough in February), so I got those.  With the weather assault the last couple weeks, it's been really nice to be able to get around and turn and brake with stability.  Now, ice is still ice, and other stupid drivers are still out there to compete with.  In fact, even with these new winter tires, I couldn't make it up an ice glazed inclined road the other day and in fact had I not bit some of the snow still left on the side of the road, I would have slid backwards (even with brand new winters on).  The Malibu has been decent in winter to this point, no real complaints till the last couple weeks.  The car is super light for its size.  Coincidentally the internet sales gal at the dealership called the other day with enticements to get out lease early.  She shared with me that she has a Malibu also and she says the same thing.  The lightness of the car, and its obvious fuel economy benefit,  can be a limitation in the winter.  The Cruze she had previously, she said was better in winter (no problems).  This winter may the winter that has finally broken me to saying I would prefer AWD and a heavier vehicle again next time possibly.  A light car is nice for fuel economy, which I like good fuel economy also.  It's just a good example of the tradeoffs in these big CAFE pushes.  Lighter vehicles and their improved fuel economy is in competition with something larger and heavier and possibly AWD, which is what more drivers are finding more useful all the time.  Since even middle and bottom feeders like the Altima are offering AWD on the newest version, maybe even the Malibu line in addition to the Regal needs to look at offering an AWD option.

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Edited by regfootball

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Light engine in the front end, probably relatively wide tires don't make for a good combination.  A light car with 185s winter tires on it wouldnt be bad.

 

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These are 225’s. I can’t recall if the LS has 205’s or 215’s on 16 inch instead of 17. Your point is quite right. Narrower tires allow more weight per square inch that grabs onto the road. 

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