Multiple problems. Was fine for me for the two years, but buttons fall off in the climate control, intake gasket leaks, and car just isn't built great. If you only have $1500, buy it. Don't expect any money back.
I bought this car in 2002 with 90,000 miles. It now has 171,000 and I only had to replace 3 parts, altenator, water pump, and thermostat. They were really cheaps parts and I've never had to replace anything else besides tires and brakes. It's a really good car and I recommend it to anyone. I've added a cold air intake for a few extra horses and it shows
Smooth transmission, peppy V6, and pretty smooth suspension
Get rid of the Delco sound system. Could use better cupholders and add about 30 for horses
This car is so fun to drive. The perfect mixture of performance and fuel economy. We bought this car with a lot of highway mileage but it was a great little car. It still is and we have only had small problems that were easily fixed and back on the road. Even the usual gasket problem didn't affect it until over 120,000 miles. I can't complain. Beats the old Ford Taurus by a long shot.
Great V6. Responsive and powerful. Acceleration is great. Nice stock stereo and comfortable seats. Handles great too.
Electronic system has had some problems. Still nothing bad except a tricky windshield washer pump.
I bought the Malibu used with 40,000 miles on it. It was our second Malibu, with the first one totaled in a wreck. We drove the second Malibu to almost 140,000 miles before selling it. Overall, a good car with good gas mileage. We did replace the power steering pump, all of the front pulleys, and alternator during our 100,000 miles of use. At the time we sold it, the head gaskets were needing to be replaced (A $900 expense if done at the Chevy dealership). We would purchase another Malibu.
A lot of interior room and standard equipment for the price. Fun to drive and easy to park. Loved the fact that the back seats folded down to allow for long objects to be carried. Good gas mileage for a v6 engine.
Air conditioning could be improved so that it did not cut off and on by itself. I suspect this was a fuel savings tactic.
I know lots of people have had problems with their Malibu's, but I've had nothing. The car was purchased new and has been driven in the mountains, cross country, in city commuting mode and more. Its never failed me. It's currently serving me well in the Canadian north, where it fires up every time, even in -40 weather (without being plugged in). It gets good gas mileage (~35mpg) if one goes easy on the highway, but in city traffic, the best I can usually muster is 22 mpg. Not good there! It's a comfortable roomy car, and would make for a good first auto for a new driver. It's safe, not too fast and they're cheap to get parts for (most of the time!) While I'm no Chevy fan, iIdo like this car.
Highway gas mileage, trailer pulling capacity, interior room