Last post on Feb 09, 2013 at 9:37 AM
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Chevrolet Malibu, Sedan
#4640 of 4972 Re: 2 Weeks with rental Malibu LS V6 (Non-Classic version) [maxx4me]
Nov 11, 2005 (5:29 pm)
I had seriously considered a Camry. My last car was a Chevy Prizm (Corolla twin), and I liked the Toyota motor. The Camry is a great car with a price much better than the Accord. Honda also screws you on options. Don't get me wrong...very nice cars, but they should be for the initial cost of ownership.
Anyway, I fell into a 9 month old 2004 GM program Malibu LS. The larger of the cupholder inserts was missing and both of the trunk cargo nets were gone. The car looked like it was only a few months old (as it was), and I drove it home for $11,000 plus my 1998 Prizm with nearly 200k miles. The Prizm MIGHT have been worth $1,000 (the passenger side door didn't open, the clutch was beginning to fade, and it was a base 5 speed).
The LS sedan is AWESOME! Quiet, smooth, nimble (with the Goodyear Tripletreds at 35 psi), and frugal (averaging well over 37 mpg with the factory tires from 15,000 miles (at time of purchase) to 29,000 miles (a month ago). The tripletreds have cost me about 2 mpg so far, but I still feel this may improve to only half that amount once the outer rubber wears a bit. Besides, the Tripletreds run circles around the factory tires in every aspect except for fuel mileage.
The sedan is not a BMW, but after driving Camrys extensively (and living with a Corolla twin for several years), I would choose the 'bu LS V6 over a Camry V6.
For the price it was a steal. I will only know the true outcome if it lasts me 4 or 5 years (which will mean I will have had it for 160k - 200k miles).
#4641 of 4972 4 Cylinder 'bu Test Ride Impressions
Nov 14, 2005 (5:26 pm)
Drove two different 2006 Malibu 4 cylinder "base" or LS trim line models this weekend, on separate days at separate dealers.
Fine acceleration, more than adequate for a single commuter and occasional family use (the 4 cylinder does lose a little acceleration with a big - I mean big - salesperson next to you instead of a skinny short salesperson).
I am very impressed by how capable the 4 speed automatic is in this car. I had expected the transmission to struggle to match gears and give good acceleration with just a 4 cylinder motor, but it is fine - swift up to 80 mph, and smooth and quiet with low rpm cruising at that speed. After all the problems I have heard with 5 speed automatic transmissions and CVT's maybe it's not bad to stick with a proven design for a little while longer.
The car is smooth riding and quiet (very quiet compared to a Focus, and quieter than our CR-V), but takes long sweeping cloverleaf exchanges a lot faster than I had expected. I won't call it sporting, but it isn't the same car as the wallow-y base Impala I drove a few seasons ago (I understand all Impala's have a firmer suspension this year) and has a lot better ride and handling than the CR-V. In fact, a 4 cylinder Malibu would be more than adequate for me for my 40 mile each way freeway commute, for 200 plus mile trips to Yosemite, and for the occasional family road trip.
I like the fact that you can access all the gears in the automatic via pushbuttons on the shift handle, so you can choose a lower gear for descending mountain roads - which saves the brakes. Or choose an appropriate gear for curvy roads and eliminate gear range "hunt." (This isn't "tiptronic" but it IS more versatile than set-ups where you can only access some of your lower gears, like on our CR-V and former Neon.)
The only negative was overly light steering on one of the cars; the other sample I drove had nicely weighted steering, you wouldn't know it was electic instead of conventional boosted. Could the electric steering be out of whack on the "skittish" car or needing a software update? Overinflated tires? Who knows.
#4642 of 4972 Smooth Malibu Engine
Nov 15, 2005 (5:24 pm)
The Malibu Engine 'Ecotec' is smooth because it is build by Honda.
Of course GM will never admit it.
It is also found in some Saturns including the Relay.
#4643 of 4972 Re: Smooth Malibu Engine [autowrite]
Nov 16, 2005 (4:43 am)
Autowrite, you are just plain wrong.
The various versions of the 4 cyl Ecotec (2.0L, 2.0L supercharged, 2.2L, and 2.4L VVT) are GM engines, designed by GM, built by GM, and put in GM cars (including Opel and Saab).
The Saturn Relay is a MINIVAN - try moving a minivan with a 4cyl engine! (By the way, it has the pushrod 3.5L V6).
The Saturn Vue DOES use a Honda 3.5L V6 (same as the Pilot and Odessey) in the V6 versions, but it uses an Ecotec as the base engine.
Get your facts straight before posting.
Nov 16, 2005 (12:40 pm)
Just picked up a 2005 Malibu Classic. For those that don't know this is basically a 2003 Malibu manufactured as a fleet vehicle in 2005. It sports a 2.2 Ecotec engine which leaves a lot of room for upgrading.
My problem lies in finding parts. I need a sway bar for the rear-end because the stock one just sucks. I also would like to do uppers on both front and rear strut towers. Anyone know where I can find these?
As far as the motor goes, I know GM offers a factory supercharger which would be nice but my finances won't sport that currently. What I would like is a good intake, header, exhaust combination. Any suggestions?
Are there any other performance enhacing mods I can do this car for little or no money?
What about a basic weight reduction kit?
Thanks for the help!!
#4645 of 4972 Re: 2005 Classic [cnielsen]
Nov 16, 2005 (4:43 pm)
What you are proposing is totally un-economic, unless your goal is a "sleeper" stoplight racer. Some cars lend themselves well to aftermarket upgrades, like J-body cars, Neons, VW's, etc. simply because they developed a following of enthusiasts and thus there are cheap aftermarket parts available. For the Classic, there are no enthusiasts and no cheap aftermarket parts, esp. critical stuff like suspension upgrades. You can probably get a supercharger on the Ecotec, at least that part of the car is "enthusiast." But, what a cost, and it will be illegal.
The CHEAPEST sleeper out there is the Pontiac GTO, once it's debadged it looks like some snoozer out of the 70's or 80's, but man is it fast.
Save some coin, wait until you can pick up a legitimate hotrod.
Unless you were just pulling our leg?
#4646 of 4972 Re: 2005 Classic [cnielsen]
Nov 16, 2005 (7:06 pm)
I had a 98 Malibu. The best thing that happened with it were performance tires. The car changed its character: it was fun to drive with new tires, but it was boring with stock tires.
The performance tires were Firestone Firehawk SH-30. Now they are out of production, but similar Bridgestone 009 are available.
The Malibu had 3.1l V-6 engine, though.
#4647 of 4972 Re: 2005 Classic [yurakm]
Nov 16, 2005 (7:32 pm)
If you don't mind my asking, what are you driving now?
#4648 of 4972 Re: 2005 Classic [tarheelman]
Nov 16, 2005 (7:59 pm)
2000 Buick Regal GS and 2004 Buick Regal GS. Great highway cars, and very good acceleration, but Malibu was more nimble.
#4649 of 4972 Re: 2005 Classic [micweb]
Nov 17, 2005 (10:37 am)
Makes sense -- I have had my share of hotrods -- 89 S-10 with a 350 that I showed once or twice... it was more for tearing the pants off of people at stop lights. I upgraded to a 1967 Camaro that I showed a few times in New Mexico. I switched to a 1989 Camaro RS Convertible with a pretty stacked 305 in it. Fun Times.
Now I'm about to start a family and needed an affordable family car. Based on what I can see about the motor it's got a TON of possibility.
All I want is a bit more meat at the low-end -- looks like a 4-2-1 header, high flow cat and muffler will help with that and along with it a short-ram intake.
With the stock motor the suspension is already sub-par at the line and even on the highway when I lay it to the floor. This is where I'm having the hardes time for parts. I will probably wind up having a buddy fab these up for me. All I want is a sway bar for the rear end and cross members for the strut towers front and rear.
Turns out the rubber on this car is horribly rated and perhaps I'll notice a major difference after upgrading it. This may resolve much of my suspension issues although I still would like to sport it up a bit more.
A shift kit and a torque convertor should be all the tranny will need.
I will definately post my findings as it comes.
Thanks for the feedback!!