We bought the Malibu new in September 2003. Actually we bought two (one basic and one LS), and have been very pleased. This review is based on our experience involving the basic Malibu after 59,000 miles. Mainly interstate driving, 20,000 miles per year. Using cruise control, I consistently average 30 MPG. New tires at 43,000 miles. Replaced front brakes at 56,000 miles, at a dealership cost of $127.90. Rear brakes still good shape. Oil changes every 3,000 miles. We are happy Malibu owners, and armed with hindsight, we would make the same purchase decision as we did in Septemer 2003.
Quiet and comfortable ride. Great acceleration on entrance ramps. Good CD/cassette/radio. Provides dependable transportation at a reasonable cost. We are pleased with the overall performance.
Sun visors were improved in later models to provide extenders.
One thing after another. Front brakes and rotors. Tire sizes hard to find, never on sale like others. Driver side window loose. Blower motor resistor just went. Back of driver seat broke earlier. CD player does not eject fully anymore. Plus, the CDs get extremely hot after a short play time. Not the best on gas either. Just my opinion. Hard to resell.
Get what you pay for.
Alternate tire sizes. Better front seats. Improve the braking system.
This has been a very solid and reliable car--my experience matches the high JD Power and strong CR ratings for this model year. Lots of interior room and luggage capacity. Fule mileage has been good, with over 30 mpg on highways with cruise control. Strong pickup, decent handling. Brake rotors were turned at around 25,000 miles, which seems normal to me for mostly local stop and go driving. Seating could be better for me on long drives (I'm 6'3" with long legs). All in all, I was pleased enough to get a used model for my college son. It's a good deal for those who keep their cars for a while.
Replaced front brakes and rotors at 6900 milles, again at 30,000 and again at 48,000 including replacing wheel bearings and calipers to the tune of $1200. No, I do not ride the brake! I have been told by several people that GM knows they are installing junk and the only way not to be replacing the brakes and rotors all the time is to replace the wheel bearings to correct the problem. GM should step up. Considering the size and price of the vechile, besides the brake issue, it has been dependable transportation. Mine is a basic model so it lacks in the comfort department.
Better quality bearings, rotors, brakes etc. Critical part of the safety of vechicle is knowing when you hit the brake - the vechicle is going to stop. GM should step up and correct this defect. Better gas mileage, thicker steering wheel - hands cramp holding onto the thin wheel on long trips.
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