Check out the list of top-selling family sedans in America and the dominance of the imported brands is almost frightening. Over the last decade, Toyota and Honda have come to dominate the category, while Ford has quietly slipped out of first place and Chevrolet lingers even further down the list. Although the bowtie brand introduced an all-new midsize Malibu sedan in 1997, it lacked the size, power and refinement necessary to win back consumers who made the import switch and liked what they found.
For 2004, Chevrolet is going after the imports once again, and this time it's leading the charge with not one but two new Malibus a traditional four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback dubbed the Malibu Maxx. These new additions to the Chevrolet lineup promise more room, more power and innovative new features that the imports don't have. But will it be enough to convince the buying public that the age of the American sedan is back?
After sampling both models recently, we don't expect the sales crown to switch to Chevrolet just yet, but there are promising signs that GM is finally seeing the light when it comes to building competitive new models. And with a price that remains several thousands lower than the Accord and Camry, those looking for a slightly more affordable family car might find the Malibu an enticing prospect.
Like its competition, the Malibu sedan offers both four- and six-cylinder engines and three levels of trim. The base Malibu is equipped with a 2.2-liter, 145-horsepower inline four-cylinder mated to a four-speed transmission (no manual is available). Standard features on this model include air conditioning; a CD player; power windows, locks and mirrors; a height-adjustable driver seat; a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel; and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. Stepping up to the LS model upgrades the Malibu with a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 200 hp. In addition to the larger engine, the LS adds alloy wheels, power-adjustable pedals, cruise control, keyless entry, premium cloth seats and an upgraded stereo with a driver information center. Top-of-the-line LT models are further enhanced with heated leather seats, automatic climate control, 16-inch wheels and a segment-first remote starting system. The Malibu Maxx hatchback is identically equipped, but no base model is available.
The Malibu's V6 engine has a considerably lower horsepower rating than some of its chief competitors, but it proves to be more than adequate during typical driving. There's plenty of punch off the line and the power doesn't let up much from there on out. The power delivery is consistently smooth, but its rough sound keeps it a step below the Accord and Camry in the refinement department. The four-speed transmission performs flawlessly delivering sharp, quick shifts right when you expect them and a thumb-actuated rocker switch makes manual shifts a breeze.
Ride quality and handling were never the previous Malibu's strengths, but the latest version rides on an all-new vehicle platform that delivers significant improvements in both areas. The Malibu now feels tighter through corners, more composed over bumps and quieter on the highway. There's a much better sense of the road beneath you than on the previous model and none of the creaks and rattles. A new electric steering system provides decent road feel on the highway, but inputs at lower speeds and around sharp corners return a more artificial feel that's less impressive. It's not a car you would characterize as light on its feet but, as family sedans go, the Malibu is comfortable and capable.
A similar improvement in quality is noticeable inside the Malibu. There are fewer awkward gaps between the various trim panels, the dashboard is solidly anchored in place and the climate control knobs feel substantial. There are still a few pieces that show signs of flimsy construction, but for the most part the overall build quality of the interior displays marked improvement.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said of the materials quality or design as the Malibu still lags behind its competitors in both areas. There's not much in the way of soft-touch materials and the plastic trim pieces lack the kind of texturing that would give them a more upscale look. It wouldn't be so noticeable if the overall design was more dynamic, but there's nothing much going on in that area, either. The gauge cluster doesn't look much different from the previous model's design and the center stack isn't much better. There's nothing wrong with it all from a functionality standpoint, but at the same time there's nothing about the interior that makes you feel like you're getting more than you paid for.
No such complaints could be rendered about the comfort level inside the Malibu as there's plenty of room up front and in back. Between the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and power-adjustable pedals, finding a comfortable driving position is never a problem. The seats themselves are a good compromise between initial softness and long-range support with plenty of adjustability in all directions. Even with a tall driver behind the wheel, the rear seats offer ample leg-, toe and headroom for average-size adults.
As spacious as the standard sedan is, the Malibu Maxx deserves additional recognition for its innovative and functional setup that provides even more rear-seat room along with added cargo capacity. All Maxx hatchbacks feature individually adjustable rear seats that slide fore, aft and recline to give rear passengers first-class accommodations that no midsize sedan can match. There's also an available DVD-entertainment system that flips out of the center console, as well as skylights to give the space an even more spacious feel. Behind the seats, there's 22.8 cubic feet of cargo room and a multiposition cargo tray similar to that found in the Chrysler PT Cruiser. The extra bulk of the hatchback configuration adds some weight compared to the sedan, but only a stopwatch could tell the difference between the two when it comes to performance.
Adding the Maxx to the Malibu lineup was a smart move for Chevrolet, as it offers something truly unique in the segment. Although the two Malibus show significant improvements in both handling and build quality, getting import buyers to give up their trusty Accords and Camrys isn't going to be easy. The improved performance, capable handling and comfortable interior should go a long way toward convincing buyers that the Malibu deserves a look, but whether its average materials and so-so design will be enough to keep them behind the wheel is another story. Honda and Toyota aren't likely to lose their chart-topping sales positions just yet, but this new Malibu could make some positive inroads toward getting an American manufacturer back near the top.
Used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu listings and inventory: Shop Edmunds' used car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million pre-owned vehicles to find a cheap used and certified pre-owned (CPO) 2004 Chevrolet Malibus for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 1,871 used and CPO 2004 Malibus listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 2,996 and mileage as low as 105. Simply research the type of used car, SUV, or truck you're interested in and then select a vehicle from our massive database to find cheap pre-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. Then select Edmunds' special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 137 on a used or CPO 2004 Malibu available from one of 2,805 dealerships in your area.
What's a good price on a used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu ?
Save up to $137.5 on one of 12 used 2004 Chevrolet Malibus for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $2996 as of Jan 20, 2018, based on data from 12 dealers and 8 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu trim styles:
The used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu LT is priced around $2996 with average odometer reading of 118690 miles.
The used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu Base is priced around $5827 with average odometer reading of 81077 miles.
The used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu LS is priced around $4350 with average odometer reading of 108370 miles.
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What options are available on the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu?
Available Chevrolet Malibu 2004 Submodel Types: Hybrid, Sedan
Available Chevrolet Malibu 2004 Trims: LTZ, Premier, LT w/1LT, LT1, LS Fleet, LT2, Hybrid, Eco, Base, LS, Fleet, L, SS, LT, LT w/2LT
Exterior Colors: Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Nightfall Gray Metallic, Mosaic Black Metallic, Black Granite Metallic, Blue Velvet Metallic, Cajun Red Tintcoat, Atlantis Blue Metallic, Champagne Silver Metallic, Iridescent Pearl Tricoat, Ashen Gray Metallic, Taupe Gray Metallic, Imperial Blue Metallic, Mocha Steel Metallic, Pepperdust Metallic, Butte Red Metalllic, Arctic Blue Metallic, Gold Mist Metallic, White Diamond Tricoat, Sable Metallic, Sandy Ridge Metallic, Red Jewel Tintcoat, Crystal Red Tintcoat , Dark Gray Metallic, Golden Pewter Metallic, Silver Moss Metallic, Sandstone Metallic, Silverstone Metallic, Dark Blue Metallic, Amber Bronze Metallic, Medium Gray Metallic, Autumn Bronze Metallic, Crystal Red Tintcoat, Galaxy Silver Metallic, Navy Blue Metallic, Blue Topaz Metallic, Silver Topaz Metallic, Silvermist Metallic, Sport Red Metallic, Black, Bright White, Dark Jade Green Metallic, Dark Tropic Teal Metallic, Laser Blue Metallic, Light Driftwood Metallic, Medium Bronzemist Metallic, Redfire Metallic, Silver Green Metallic, White
The used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu is offered in the following submodels: Sedan. Available styles include LS 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LT 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A), and 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 4A). Pre-owned Malibu models are available with a 0-liter gas engine, with output up to 200 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2004 Malibu comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic.