2001 Chevrolet Malibu Review

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable and roomy interior, speedy acceleration, contemporary styling, ultra-low price yet loaded with features.
  • No traction control, soft suspension, refinement is exchanged for low car payments.
List Price Estimate
$805 - $2,009

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Chevy's non-descript Malibu is one of the best cars General Motors makes. Roomy, quick and loaded with features for a low price, it's tough to go wrong with the too-often overlooked Malibu.

Vehicle overview

Chevrolet is trying to claw its way back from mediocrity. Witness the excellent values to be found in the Blazer, Camaro and Cavalier. The Malibu is more of a good thing. In fact, this is one of the best family cars produced by any domestic automaker today.

Consumer clinics determined much of the Malibu's design. What consumers have demanded is a tight, solid, roomy, fun-to-drive midsize sedan. Guess what? Chevrolet delivers, and delivers big with this car. The Malibu is all of these things and more, wrapped in unobtrusive yet attractive sheetmetal and sold at a price that undercuts similarly equipped imports and domestics.

Two models are available. Both Malibus feature the torquey 3100, 3.1-liter V6 engine, making 170 horsepower and 190 foot-pounds of torque, while meeting low-emission vehicle (LEV) standards. Gears are shifted automatically, and standard equipment includes four-wheel antilock 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 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.

This Chevy goes, slows and turns corners well enough to be entertaining, particularly with last year's boost in power. Interior design elements include a handy, left-handed cupholder (which is really too shallow for drinks and should be relegated to use as a change holder), 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 retro-style, dash-mounted ignition switch, because the driver doesn't have to crane his neck around to find the key slot.

Malibu has safety concerns covered, too. Dual airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes and child-safe rear door locks are standard. According to Chevrolet, side-impact door beams exceed federal standards for protection, though federal side-impact crash tests indicate that occupants may actually be rather vulnerable in this car. Maintaining the Malibu has been made easy with platinum-tipped spark plugs that last up to 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. 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 list of improvements for 2001 doesn't address our concerns, though automatic on/off headlamps have been added and new cloth seats and door panels grace the interiors.

Still, the Malibu impresses us. It's one of the few domestic models that can go toe-to-toe with the imports on comfort and features, while beating them on price.

2001 Highlights

Base models receive black rocker moldings, black molded-in-color outside rearview mirrors and a rear window defogger. LS models get front seatback map pockets. Both models receive auto headlamp on/off, new stereos and new cloth interiors.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2001 Chevrolet Malibu.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Did its job
Got this car in '07 with 20,000 miles. Besides replacing the head gasket this car has been relatively problem free. It had piston slap since 80,000 miles but it never seemed to do anything besides make noise. It lasted until last fall when at 205,000 some things finally started breaking. I could still get 32 mpg highway driving at 200,000 miles. The common AC problem can easily be fixed if you search it on Youtube. Once I got rid of this malibu I went I got an '02. Overall I'm satisfied with vehicle it did its job.
I Will Miss This Car
Warren P,02/21/2009
I have had my 2001 Chevy Malibu for almost 8 years now and have never had a problem with it. It's comfortable to drive, smooth ride, great lumbar support. My wife bought a new Altima and sold it a year later because we both had backaches after driving it for more than 30 minutes. I have to get a larger car (SUV) for work purposes but I will miss this car. I think Chevy has an unjustified bad reputation compared to Honda and Toyota - this car has treated me very well for 8 years!
Don't buy it!
Worst first car ever!, I got the Malibu 2001 on 2003, the breaks went bad, then the ac randomly tuned off, then the AC didn’t work, then the ABS went wrong, then the wheels covers did a squeaky sound on the road... then the RPM stayed at 3,000 randomly, the tail lights filled with water every time it rains, the car got foggy on cold weather when the defroster went on. The steering wheel started to disintegrate on my hands… the car lasted 5 years with me… I switched to Nissan Rouge on 2008, and now I own other Nissan, a Murano
Nice design but poor reliability
I really enjoy driving this car, but the reliability has been very poor. This year/model apparently has a very poor brake design. The car's brakes had to be replaced 4 times in 64000 miles (including new rotors on 3 occasions). Other reviews describe the brake problems in more detiail. Have also had numerous problems with the engine including a bad head- gasket, thermostat, and other random issues. Have also had problems with the AC switch, the blinkers, and the windshield wipers. Despite the comfort of the car the reliability makes this car a real bummer.

Features & Specs

18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
170 hp @ 5200 rpm
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
170 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 2001 Chevrolet Malibu features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver2 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2001 Chevrolet Malibu

Used 2001 Chevrolet Malibu Overview

The Used 2001 Chevrolet Malibu is offered in the following submodels: Malibu Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (3.1L 6cyl 4A), and LS 4dr Sedan (3.1L 6cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2001 Chevrolet Malibu?

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Which used 2001 Chevrolet Malibus are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 2001 Chevrolet Malibu?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out Chevrolet Malibu lease specials