Amazing value, standard A/C, standard anti-lock brakes, available V6 engine
No traction control or integrated child seat available
First year for new midsize sedan with classic name.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 1997 Chevrolet Malibu 4dr Sedan and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of N/A undefined in Virginia.
Chevrolet is producing good cars and trucks. Witness the excellent values to be found in the Blazer, Camaro, Cavalier, and Lumina. With the introduction of the 1997 Malibu, it's hard to go wrong when visiting a Chevy dealer for a bread-and-butter sedan.
Consumer clinics determined much of the Malibu's design. Engineers used a nearly identical methodology when concocting the recipe for the successful Lumina. What consumers have demanded is a tight, solid, roomy, fun-to-drive mid-sized sedan. Guess what? Chevrolet delivers, and delivers big. The Malibu is all of these things and more, wrapped in unobtrusive but not ugly sheetmetal, and sold at a price that undercuts similarly equipped imports and domestics.
Two models are available. The base Malibu features a 2.4-liter twin-cam four-cylinder engine, the same one found under the hood of the Cavalier Z24. Gears are shifted automatically, and standard equipment includes four-wheel anti-lock brakes, four-wheel independent suspension, battery rundown protection, theft deterrent system, tachometer, air conditioning, rear seat heat ducts, tilt steering wheel, and remote trunk release. Step up to LS trim, and you leave the showroom in a fully loaded car. The LS includes a 3.1-liter V6 engine, aluminum wheels, fog lights, remote keyless entry, power driver's seat, power windows and door locks, cruise control, uplevel stereo, and a trunk cargo net.
While we haven't driven the Malibu at this writing, performance figures dictate that this Chevy goes, slows, and turns corners well enough to be entertaining. Interior design elements include a handy left-handed cupholder, backlighting for major controls and switches throughout the interior, and heating and air conditioning ducts located on the A-pillar to help direct air flow to rear seat passengers. Also notable is the dash-mounted ignition switch. Moving the switch from the steering column to the dashboard means the driver doesn't have to crane his neck around to find the ignition slot.
Safety concerns are covered by the Malibu. Dual airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, and child safe rear door locks are standard. According to Chevrolet, side-impact door beams exceed 1997 federal standards for protection. Maintaining the Malibu has been made easy with platinum-tipped spark plugs that last 100,000 miles, engine coolant designed to last five years or 150,000 miles, and transmission fluid that never has to be changed or checked.
Our list of gripes is short, at this point. The fake wood in the LS is unnecessary. We also want to find an integrated child safety seat on the options list in the future. And why can buyers get traction control on the Cavalier but not the Malibu? The Malibu's standard second-gear start feature, does, however, help make up for the lack of traction control.
We're impressed by the new Malibu. Evidently, both Motor Trend and AAA are as well. Motor Trend named the Malibu Car of the Year for 1997, and AAA calls the Malibu the best car to buy in the $15,000 to $20,000 range. Great job, Chevrolet.
Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Chevrolet Malibu.
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.
4.75 out of 5 stars
1997 Chevrolet Malibu LS 4dr Sedan
Not one problem EVER! Love this car and wouldn't trade it for anything. Will be my Son's car next year, that is how much I think of this car.
4.25 out of 5 stars
35mpg v6 + reliable!
1997 Chevrolet Malibu LS 4dr Sedan
1 alternator and tires/brakes in 135,000 miles! Gets 35 mpg and the new cars with V4's can't do that! Great car. Too bad used American cars are worthless, but then again, why would I ever sell it?
3.38 out of 5 stars
Could be cheaper to maintain
Would I do it again?, 01/31/2009
1997 Chevrolet Malibu 4dr Sedan
Rebuilt transmission $2,500, replaced steering rack $800. Rear brake adjusters seem not to work well on this model which causes high front brake wear. Have put two sets of rotors on and many pads on front. Have replaced the water pump twice. Due to the way the water pump is driven from the timing chain. It has a long shaft. That is subject to a high side load on the front bearing from … the oil pressure activated chain tensioner .Chevy dealer here wants $800 plus to do the repair. Spring rates on the front struts are high which causes the front shocks ride at a extended height that causes early front shock failure. Replaced 3 sets. The car now has 166k and still going