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Minor update: Chevrolet Malibu of 2019 - Michigan to Minnesota in 2020


trinacriabob

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I'll do this minor update with pros and cons, since it's just an update and it's easier.  I had a white 2019 Malibu sedan that I drove for about a week from Michigan's U.P. to the Twin Cities.  I've probably had a handful of this generation of Malibu as rentals.

 

Pros:

- familiar and popular

- the 1.5 liter engine is up to the task, but that's probably because of the assist from the turbocharger

- roomy interior and trunk

- sensible dash layout and cluster arrangements that are easy to learn

- respectable fuel mileage, especially on the highway

- fairly comfortable seating

- nimble and connected handling ... seems to be at its best on winding, rural 2 lane roads at 35 mph to 45 mph

- the auto-stop/start can now be deactivated from the dash

- the rear fascia, with its lip, and the taillamps are attractive, especially with the more recent redesign

Cons:

- the CVT isn't too too bad, but it's not as much fun to drive as when it had a geared automatic transmission

- for a somewhat large car by today's standards, the price is a little high for 1.5 liters, or about 90 cubic inches

- I'd rather not have a turbocharger

- down-market fabric and interior bits on LS and LT base versions; color choices, especially for interiors, are very limited

- no leather steering wheel on the one-up LT version ... to get it, you have to get leather seats and a whole bunch of other stuff ... similarly, it would be nice to order up a power driver's seat by itself and not be forced to get one of the additional packages

- no remote release fuel filler door

- every rented Malibu I've had with over 25,000 or 30,000 miles has had a drone of sorts from the rear, and it leads me to wonder if it's a hub bearing or a tire ... or if they're just not driven and maintained with a lot of care

- not as quiet on interstates as a heavier GM midsize of yesteryear, especially where the paving hasn't been updated in a while

- the styling is quirky in parts - the roofline of the cabin looks too elongated and the window/roofline at the rear pillar looks odd, the front grilles of this model have always been tall and segmented in an awkward way

- the base price of simpler models doesn't offer compelling value

 

This car is a real mix of pros and cons.  This generation, with this turbocharged engine and transmission, has only been around for half a decade, so we won't know with more precision about its longevity and reliability.

I don't know what Chevrolet is going to do with this car.  I wish they'd keep it and improve it.  I know what I'd like to see, since I prefer sedans and coupes.  Even if the geared automatic transmission doesn't come back, could you at least throw in a normally aspirated engine with a larger displacement?  Toyota's Camry has a bigger 4 with a geared automatic, and it gets commendable highway gas mileage. Some of the vantage points of this car are somewhat attractive and some aren't.  Could the greenhouse be "jelly beaned up" a little to get rid of the elongated look and kinks in the window profiles?  Can you throw in a leather steering wheel and maybe even a power seat into the basic LT?

Photos:

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Exterior side view - see my comments about the rear 1/3 of this vantage point

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Front 3/4 view:  the lattice effect on the grille helps some over the earlier ones, but they could redesign it

KIMG2589-inked.thumb.jpg.5770bf492cd72f52eb980efb3719159d.jpg

Rear 3/4 view:  attractive enough treatment of the rear

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Dashboard and instrument cluster:  pleasant to look at, easy to learn, and I like the digital setting for the speedometer (not yet set to do that)

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Center stack:  mostly engaged as opposed to upright, so it looks decent.  Both the infotainment system and the climate control panels are easy to operate

- - - - -

End of review and photos

Edited by trinacriabob
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  • trinacriabob changed the title to Minor update: Chevrolet Malibu of 2019 - Michigan to Minnesota in 2020

My wife has a '16, it has about 54K miles on it now. Turbo... I don't know the displacement offhand. 6-spd auto. Power is pretty good on this combo, I agree on the handling- nothing quirky or unsettled.

Her's has a leather-wrapped wheel and cloth seats. I think GM nailed the styling on it vs. 'bubbled'/taller sedans. Side contours are nice. Also like the split grille on the '16 vs. this arrangement. Here it is when she got it in '18

2016 Malibu.JPG

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18 hours ago, balthazar said:

My wife has a '16, it has about 54K miles on it now. Turbo... I don't know the displacement offhand. 6-spd auto. Power is pretty good on this combo, I agree on the handling- nothing quirky or unsettled.

Her's has a leather-wrapped wheel and cloth seats. I think GM nailed the styling on it vs. 'bubbled'/taller sedans. Side contours are nice. Also like the split grille on the '16 vs. this arrangement. Here it is when she got it in '18

2016 Malibu.JPG

1.5 liter Turbo.  If it was the 2.0T you'd know because she'd have burned a few sets of front tires off by now. Horsepower is 163 at 5700 rpm and 184 lb-ft of torque at 2500, about the same as the old 2.4 but the torque comes on lower. 

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