2004 Chevrolet Malibu Review

Pros & Cons

  • Balanced ride and handling characteristics, plenty of passenger and cargo space, ample safety and convenience features, innovative remote start feature.
  • Down on power compared to its competitors, lackluster interior, no manual transmission available.
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Edmunds' Expert Review

Roomy, affordable and well equipped, the 2004 Malibu delivers excellent value.

2004 Highlights

The midsize Malibu has been totally redesigned for 2004. It now rides on an entirely new vehicle platform and offers a more powerful V6 along with must-have safety features like side curtain airbags and adjustable pedals.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

An Accord V6 for $5500 less
This car is bigger than it looks. Steering is silky smooth and silent. Good pickup when needed and excellent milage when driven prudently (36mpg city 44mpg hwy). Interior is built better than my office desk for bins clips and tables. Beautiful car I think; much better than all the other triangles and jellybeans running around out there. Headlights are outstanding, really light up the road ahead.
Poorly made
4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 4A)
If you'll look at carcomplaints.com, you'll notice 195 people reported steering problems. I had an issue with my steering column, which rendered the car as though it was hydroplaning. I paid to get that repaired (because Chevy still refused to do a recall even with all of the complaints). My engine coolant sensor has crapped out, so that indicator comes on every time the car is started. I was told that was also a common problem and would require a decent amount of labor to replace a relatively inexpensive part. There's also a loud vibration noise coming from the front dash when driven. It also dies randomly, but thankfully, as the car has already stopped. The trunk button stopped working so it has to be opened manually. The turn signal lights go out frequently. The display doesn't function if it's too cold.
355,000 mies and still a dream to drive!
LS 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
... pleasurable miles of driving:+)}}} This is my third review on this vehicle, did one in 2014.............just took in for 333,000 check up, all I can say it is amazing. Had oil gasket replaced three years ago for the first time, burns virtually no oil (most driving is highway). Has plenty of pep, but needs new shocks...........my chevy mechanics have asked me if I will sell this vehicle to them, after I am done with it! Minimal replacement of parts, had new ball joints put in a couple of months ago, and brakes, other than that, nothing has gone wrong. As said before, I would buy another in a heart beat..............with 333,000 miles on the odometer the car has a negative value (just don't tell that to the car)...........happy owner, Just came back from a 8 and 1/2 hour drive to NYC.............burned about an eighth of a quart of high mileage oil, and the auto drive has quit, but had chevys since I was in high school..........1949 fastback pea green, and paid a whopping $50.00 for it (it ran great for two years, the tranny went) should have kept my 1958 Impala two door, paid $800 for it and today it is worth $80,000, but who knew! A trick I highly recommend is to put a bottle of Gumout High Milage liquid into your gas tank, and burn regular gasoline(every 9,000 miles)............better performance, and I picked up about three miles per gallon.......................enjoy!
276,000 miles and still runs like a top!
We purchased our Malibu in 2006 from a leasing agency............to say the way this car has lasted is amazing...........just took it in for one of three recalls, and the mechanics were amazed at the milage (276,016) and runs smooth. I burn about a cup of oil every two thousand miles, and just put it on high mileage oil for the first time. Just a couple of items of note, gas gauge no longer works, but use the mileage ap to figure fill up to fill up. Averages 36 on the highway, and 32 in city, and the automatic locking system is finished, but can be opened manually. Everything else works fine............I give it five stars out of five.:+)}}} and I would purchase another one in a heart beat.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2004 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
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    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
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu
More About This Model

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 Overview

The Used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu is offered in the following submodels: Malibu 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).

What's a good price on a Used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu?

Price comparisons for Used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu trim styles:

  • The Used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu LS is priced between $4,800 and$4,800 with odometer readings between 108939 and108939 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2004 Chevrolet Malibus are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2004 Chevrolet Malibu for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2004 Malibus listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,800 and mileage as low as 108939 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2004 Chevrolet Malibu.

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Find a used Chevrolet Malibu for sale - 12 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $18,118.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 10 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $16,472.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Malibu for sale - 11 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $16,911.

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Should I lease or buy a 2004 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.

Check out Chevrolet lease specials
Check out Chevrolet Malibu lease specials