Would have given 3 1/2 stars rather than 4. My wife had been sinking all of her money into another car she had gotten before we got married and when the transmission went we finally junked it and looked for a new to us car. The 2000 Chevy Malibu LS was available in a corner used car lot and I went to check it out. Cons first: The styling is bland and the interior is all cheap plastic and fabric and the radio is crap. Pros next: The car started up right away and handled very well for a boring 4 door family sedan. There was a surprising amount of pep in the engine. The trunk holds more than expected and the the cheap interior is pretty roomy. My wife loved it and we bought it the next day. She drove that car for 4 1/2 years and put 50,000 miles on it on highways and potholed city streets. We had to fix the driver's power window, pull the remote lock when the Service Soon light came on, replace the serpentine belt, replace a melted tab that kept brake lights on, and changed the battery once. Other than that the car was only in the shop for inspection or oil changes. It handled snow just fine and we trusted it to carry our most precious cargo, our children. We finally needed a bigger car when the children grew, but it was still running when we sold it. Our old Chevy Malibu didn't owe us anything. It's an underrated car.
I purchased my 2000 Malibu in 2003 with 60k miles. The owner was a senior citizen who had made lots of road trips and meticulously kept up with maintenance and had all receipts to prove it. I've now had my Malibu for 9 years and love it. I've had to do most of the expected routine maintenance - brakes, rotors, tires, filters.
There's been a few pieces of non routine maintenance but overall this has been a great vehicle for me. I'm now at 162k and expect to take it to 200k+. When I'm done, I hope I can find a similar car - malibu from same era with meticulous records and low miles and likely non aggressive driving previous owner.
Gas mileage ranges from 25-30/gallon.
The completely removable back seat.
The stock audio system has alot of bass.
Power Steering and brake fluid fine after 13 years (mechanics see no need to flush, fluid color is like new).
I can change the oil without even jacking the car up.
Its not the easiest thing but its quite doable.
The oil pan plug is a funny angle but reachable.
Radiator is also easy to change.
Alternator, starter, fuel filter, oil, coolant, air filter, radio, ignition, seat belts (got a chunk of wood in it), tie rods, windsheild wipers, etc are all DIY repairs for a semi handy owner.
Enough leg room for a 6'4 dude.
Could have more room for passengers in back.
The stock CD player wouldn't play burned CDs and I replaced.
A/C controllers are notorious for dying slowly, and settings 1-2 die within a few days of installing a new one.
Transmission fluid is difficult to replace or even see how full it is.
You must remove an engine mount to replace the serpentine belt.
The rear spark plugs are very hard to get to and more than a non mechanic owner can usually handle.
The rear spark plugs basically disintegrated when I finally got them off and had to grab piece by piece.
Thankfully this is a ever 50-100k mile change.
Radiator hose fell off at one point.
I bought this car brand new in 2000, and it has been a good car. As with all cars there's maintenance and repairs that need to be done, especially after driving it over 100K miles. It is still running good after 111K and I am confident it will go to 200K. The biggest issue with this car was the anti-theft system. At about 75K it became so sensitive that when I turned the key to start it, the system would turn on, and I would have to wait 5 minutes before it would start. I had the ignition switch replaced and never had the issue again. Also, the cruise control does not stay locked in, but don't use anyway so it's not a problem for me.
Good power and excellent acceleration onto freeways.
I read most of the reviews here and it almost made me back out of my decision to by a 2000 Malibu LS. But the car was like new, even with 200K miles, and it was very inexpensive compared to the other junk I'd looked at for the same price or more. The prior owner had quite of few of his repair papers and like many of these cars it had the intake manifold redone, a new fuel pump, new water pump, plugs, wires, and one injector, all at around 100K. Also had brakes done several times but no more often them most other cars.
I like it's looks better then the equivalent imported vehicles.
It seems to be holding up as well as a friend of mines imports too.
The engine is wonderful, very spunky for 3.1 L.
Steering is nicely weighted.
It rides and handles great, the radio/cd works great, very few of the interior parts have any problems, one of the lock switches has the tip broken off but it still works.
With a 12 year old car there's not much point in suggesting improvements but the main things GM should have done a better job on were the abysmal design of the power window lifts - they are almost designed to fail, there is one plastic part in them that is just way over-stressed.
If GM had simply made it out of metal with nylon inserts all the failed window lifts would have been avoided.
They should have come up with a better intake manifold gasket too.
That's the kind of thing that should last for the lift of the engine, not be a maintenance item.
had my Bu for about 2 years, only problem was external head gasket leak. just kept antifreeze in and drove it like that for over a year. had to send to junk yard due to my stupidity with jacking it up in the rear in the wrong spot and bent something that cause the back end to come around when you hit the breaks. didnt want to take the time to fix as I got another car I was fixing. great car tho loved everything about it!
control around corners at high speeds and reliability