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2009 Chevrolet Malibu

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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
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 581 Ratings for the 2008 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Better have a large wallet, mechanical issues

By on Sunday, December 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Riders good"

Cons: "Not a well built car mechanical."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"At under 50000 miles, it had to have a torque converter, battery, $275.00 for a blinker on the front. Now $600.00 switch to control the vents and it isn't covered under the extended warranty. At 52000 miles . Bad on gas consumption."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Great car for the money!

By on Saturday, December 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great family car, & sporty looking in Red!"

Cons: "Gas Mileage around town is below average for a 4 c"

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

"Car is enjoyable to drive. Gas mileage is a little below average. 30 on trip, 24 around town. Plenty of room inside & trunk space is above average."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

This is the car that should never have been built.

By on Friday, December 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "33.5 mpg at 75 mph"

Cons: "Uncomfortable to drive (annoying)"

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

"1. 3speed wide ratio transmission assures that it will lug at every shift. Not enough power to compensate. 2. Center post design carries door panel design on back which will rip the seat out of your pants if you are over 5'10" 3. You have to go through 10 displays to reach the information you want and then return to the main display. 4. Interior is very noisy. 5. Windshield post and side mirror position assure that a tall driver will never know exactly where he is when turning left. 6. Dashboard is hard to understand. 7. Seats are designed for small people."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

As smooth as a Cadilac.

By on Saturday, October 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

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
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sound proof, rides smooth, easy to work on,"

Cons: "Small trunk opening although big trunk."

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

"My 2009 Malibu is by far my favorite car I have ever owned. I have had it for almost 4 years now and nothing major has happened to it. The only thing (other then brakes and filters) that I have needed to replace was due to me blasting a curb at 35 mph. I cracked the radiator and had a new one installed. I have done a lot of custom work to my Malibu and I get compliments constantly. I have the 3.5l v6 engine in it still and it runs like a dream."

8 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Powerful, reliable at 97000 Miles

By on Sunday, October 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Power, handling, looks, safety, reliability"

Cons: "MPG, turn radius, and lights are her weakness."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I am having trouble thinking about getting a new car. My Me-Bu is a ferocious lady and beats most cars of it's class off the line."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

this car is wonderful

By on Thursday, September 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 123,000

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: "Loved the car. Dependable, fun to drive, sharp!"

Cons: "no memory for drivers seat."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I can't say this car is perfect because that definition varies. For me and what I use the car for - it is. Comfortable, reliable, great for road trips. dependable for every day use, It handles well, it's a quiet ride so I really don't know what more you can say. I'd definitely buy another one."

11 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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