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2009 Chevrolet Malibu

Overview
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2009 Chevrolet Malibu Review

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Chevy's mid-size Malibu, like most GM passenger cars, suffered corporate neglect in the 1990s and early 2000s as customers – and the company's engineering attention and budget – increasingly shifted toward trucks and SUVs. Still, the plain-looking previous Malibu has drawn kudos as a solid, reliable, high-value contender and has sold fairly well. Fresh from last year's complete makeover, Chevrolet's Malibu has bolted from middle-of-the-road contender straight to the top of the mid-size sedan game. The 2009 Malibu looks wonderful, is solidly built and carefully crafted inside and out, offers good fuel economy, drives wonderfully and is priced to sell in serious volumes. There is even an affordable "mild" hybrid version that performs better than the base four-cylinder car and gets four miles-per-gallon better in city driving.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu's bold, attractive sheetmetal and stylish interior touches are backed by confident handling, a quiet ride and an overall level of refinement competitive with the category's best. Unlike some competitors, the fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine is available on all Malibu trims, not just the entry-level model.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu hasn't been around long enough to challenge the impressive resale values of the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. Certain high-end features available on competitors, like DVD navigation and keyless start and entry, are not offered on the Malibu.

What's New for 2009

Minor changes for Chevrolet's major new player include standard StabiliTrak stability control on all trims, improvements to the Hybrid model's fuel efficiency and the addition of Bluetooth capability to the standard OnStar 8.0. A six-speed automatic is now standard on four-cylinder LTZ models.

Driving the Malibu

Driving Impressions The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu's long wheelbase, wide stance and stiff structure combine for a pleasing balance of ride and handling that's not at all common in this class, particularly for...

a domestic brand. The energy-efficient electric power steering on four-cylinder models – though better than earlier GM electric power steering applications – feels a bit artificial on-center; the conventional hydraulic power steering on V6 cars offers more precise feel. The standard four-speed automatic, a perceived disadvantage to competitors with five-speeds, is smooth and pleasant on the road. GM's new fuel-efficient six-speed automatic, standard on the 2LT and LTZ trims, is a welcome addition to the Malibu lineup and offers paddle shifters for more spirited driving. For the more "green" minded, the Malibu hybrid, though not as fuel-efficient around town as the more expensive "full" hybrid Camry, delivers smooth performance and a four miles-per-gallon economy enhancement for about $1,800 more than a conventional 1LT four-cylinder.

Remote Starting
Available on 1LT models and standard on 2LT and LTZ, this terrific feature lets you start the engine and warm or cool the interior from a distance, with the car still locked, well before departing.

Turn-by-Turn Navigation
A GM OnStar feature, this service provides precise verbal directions through the car's audio system without the need to program in a destination.

2009 Chevrolet Malibu Details
2009 Chevrolet Malibu photo Interior

The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu's beautifully crafted interior uses premium materials throughout. The "dual-cockpit" instrument panel's major gauges are backlit in blue, ambient lighting provides a warm environment and overhead LED floodlights project subdued light on the console area between the front seats. The deep center console's sliding cover opens to accommodate large items, there's a handy storage compartment atop the instrument panel and an available "rear power center" provides a 110-volt AC power outlet. Two available two-tone trim combinations – Ebony and Brick and Cocoa and Cashmere – offer a choice of metallic-look or woodgrain accents, while an all-Ebony combination is accented with tasteful woodgrain.

Exterior

The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu hits a high-water mark for its size and price with taut proportions, elegant lines and a crisp, clean profile. Its split grille represents the new global face of Chevrolet cars, and its twin round taillamps are traditional Chevy cues. LTZ models feature front fog lamps and clear-lens LED taillamps, while V-6-powered Malibus sport twin chrome exhausts. With tight panel gaps and rich-looking details, this new mid-size Chevy looks like $40,000 while starting at half that price.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Malibu's comprehensive list of standard safety features includes four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control, StabiliTrak stability control, front seat-belt pretensioners, OnStar 8.0 and six air bags: Dual-stage front, front seat-mounted thorax (side) and two-row head-curtain bags. Also standard are a four-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch painted steel wheels, XM Satellite radio and (surprisingly) a choice of interiors that includes two-tone trim combinations. The range-topping LTZ offers front fog lamps, 18-inch aluminum wheels, dual chrome exhausts and clear-lens LED taillamps.

Optional Equipment

2009 Chevrolet Malibu option and equipment packages include such features as power-adjustable pedals, uplevel interiors, leather seats, power equipment groups and a premium audio system. A GPS navigation system is not yet available (partially because the center stack design doesn't provide room for a screen), but Turn-by-turn verbal directions can be easier to use (you call in destinations to an OnStar operator rather than program them in) and you may not miss the screen.

Under the Hood

The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu offers a choice of a standard 169-horsepower 2.4-liter ECOTEC four, a 164-horsepower four-cylinder "mild" hybrid system or a 252-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, all with dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing. The Hybrid teams a small electric motor with a more fuel-efficient version of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder to deliver two miles-per-gallon better fuel economy. The four-cylinder is teamed with a four-speed automatic, while a fuel-efficient six-speed automatic is standard with the V6 and optional across the rest of the lineup.

2.4-liter 4-cylinder
169 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
160 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 (four-speed automatic),22/33 (six-speed automatic)

3.6-liter V6
252 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
251 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26

2.4-liter 4-cylinder (Hybrid)
164 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
159 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/34

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2009 Chevrolet Malibu Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 521 Ratings for the 2008 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

great car overall, strong running V-6

By on Thursday, July 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Well built, good handling, great running car. Jury still out on transmission, un-happy with shift feel, dealer says normal. I like a transmission with good shift feel. Feels confused at times as to what gear it wants to be in. Overall, solid car, good quality."

Economical Family/Work Car

By on Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sporty, Economical, Comfortable"

Cons: "Can't think of any"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

2012 Chev Malibu LT

"This car is a 2012 Malibu LT and a great vehicle. I am wanting to get back into an SUV, is the only reason I am wanting to sell. Everything has been well taken care of, maintenance, tires, body and interior. Great gas mileage etc. All new matching tires! Tinted windows. Extra hookups for back seat passengers for electronic devices. Electrical plugin as well."

2012 Chev Malibu LT

Wonderful car but does not hold value

By on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Cons: "Does not hold trade in value"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I bought my 2012 Chevy Malibu brand new and have loved it ever since. Gas mileage is wonderful. It's the perfect size sedan for my small family. Very stylish and sporty looking. The only downfall is that it started losing value as soon as I drove it off the lot. Now, 2 years later, it is only worth 1/2 of the purchase price. Therefore, if I ever decided to trade it in, I would take a large financial hit."

Chevy malibu hybrid

By on Friday, July 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handles very well very smooth ride"

Cons: "Too much electronics (computers)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"One of the most comfortable cars I've owned. The little 4 cylinder engine is enough for it to get up and go. the highway mileage is phenomenal for the size of the car. I'm 6'2" and this is the only car that the seat isn't all the way back. The telescopic steering wheel is great. The room this vehicle has is almost comparable to a 70's Cadillac almost. It has a huge trunk and spacious interior."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

It's a great and very reliable, comfortable ride.

By on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,800

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great car and I like it much more than the Impala"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"When driving on highway I set on cruse control and the MPG is so good. I have a need for a pick up at this stage of my life, or I would hold on to this car. It rides real smooth and I haven't had any problems at all. It's been serviced every 3000 miles. Currently has 24850 miles on the car. The color is pearl, and some folks call it metallic white. Very nice paint and great wheels. No dings or dents, as I always parked in away from others, and it's in the garage when it isn't in use. It's style is LTZ which has a lot of options. Interior is leather with a beautiful walnut wood trim."

Except for steering noise has been a very good car

By on Sunday, June 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "mpg, comfort, quiet, dependable."

Cons: "noise in steering."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Bought one of the first "new" malibus. Noticed a clunking noise as I was driving it home for the first time. Took it in and they "fixed" it. The noise came back. The dealership "fixed" it two more times and it continued to come back. The last time I took it in (still under warranty) I was simply told that "all malibus do that" as if it was ok because they all are messed up. This turned out to be the same problem I had with my GMC pickup. The steering column develops a slack in it and while it is not a safety issue it is very annoying and speaks to GM's failure to build a quality vehicle that they will make right if it has something wrong. Long story short, every time I drive it, especially on cold days when the noise id particularly bad the car (and truck) sing me a song that goes something like this ... Never again, never again, I'll never buy a GM again. The pickup was new in 2004 and stickered for 41k and the malibu was 28k. For that kind of money GM should make it right. At the right price a used malibu would be a good car but just know that they "all do that"."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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