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2011 Chevrolet Malibu

Overview
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2011 Chevrolet Malibu Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.7

Chevy's mid-size offerings, 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. What a difference a few years make. After surviving one of the worst crisis in automotive history, GM emerges from bankruptcy with a renewed emphasis on high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles. Nowhere is this philosophy more evident than in the company's most successful mid-size sedan, the Chevrolet Malibu. Now entering its third year of production, the Malibu has bolted from middle-of-the-road contender straight to the top of the mid-size sedan game. The 2011 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. If there is one weakness in the Malibu game plan, it is the lack of a proper hybrid model to challenge the Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2011 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 2011 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 (OnStar Turn-by-Turn does not feature a map display), music streaming and keyless start and entry, are not offered on the Malibu. And Chevrolet has nothing to counter Ford's SYNC voice activated audio system.

What's New for 2011

For 2011, Chevrolet adds its fuel-saving six-speed automatic transmission with TAPshift manual shift control to all Malibu trims.

Driving the Malibu

Driving Impressions The 2011 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 Malibu is amazingly well behaved on uneven pavement, absorbing all but the most stubborn bumps and never giving in to wheel hop or chatter. The cabin is also luxury-car quiet, with no perceptible wind noise around the pillars or mirror caps. GM's fuel-efficient six-speed automatic is a welcome addition to the Malibu lineup and offers paddle shifters for more spirited driving.
Favorite Features

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.

2011 Chevrolet Malibu Details
Interior

The 2011 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 wood grain accents, while an all-Ebony combination is accented with tasteful wood grain. Rear seat legroom for tall passengers is exceptionally good, and the high roofline allows enough head room for all but the super long-bodied, who probably will be more comfortable up front.

Exterior

The 2011 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 tail lamps are traditional Chevy cues. The Malibu feature a large, deep trunk with a low lift over height for easy loading, and the car's elongated rear doors make entry and exit comfortable even for tall passengers. LTZ models feature front fog lamps and clear-lens LED tail lamps, while V-6-powered Malibus sport twin chrome exhausts. With tight panel gaps and rich-looking details, this 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 9.0 and six air bags: Dual-stage front, front seat-mounted thorax (side) and two-row head-curtain bags. Also standard are a six-speed TAPshift 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

2011 Chevrolet Malibu option and equipment packages include such features as power-adjustable pedals, up level interiors, leather seats, power equipment groups and a premium audio system. A touch screen GPS navigation system is not 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 2011 Chevrolet Malibu offers a choice of a standard 169-horsepower 2.4-liter ECOTEC four, or a 252-horsepower 3.6-liter V6; both engines feature dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing. Chevrolet's fuel-efficient six-speed automatic is standard across the line, and features a manual shift mode to aid when passing or merging. The 2011 Malibu does not offer a manual transmission option.

2.4-liter 4-cylinder
169 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
160 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/33 (six-speed), 15/23 (E85, six-speed)

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

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2011 Chevrolet Malibu Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 501 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

Most Dependable vehicle i have owned!

By on Sunday, April 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "smooth ride.. very dependable"

Cons: "cup holder area is a little bit tight to fit2drink"

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

"I bought this vehicle used in 2009 with 26,000 miles.. everything works great still with almost 119,000 miles on it now with hardly a lick of trouble.. just change the oil and rotate the tires and it just keeps on rolling great gas mileage.. usually get around 30-31 under normal highway driving... If you are thinking of buying don't hesitate.. I'm going to drive this till the wheels fall off."

My review

By on Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable,"

Cons: "Mpg, cheap interior"

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

"In all I love my car, I bought it for a reason. It's comfortable, it rides perfect, I bought the 3.6 engine and the acceleration is perfect and it shifts oh so nicely. It handles very well. The sound system is amazing, the leather seats are high quality so i don't have any wear on them whatsoever. The exterior is very nice although I already have a crack in my grill. The gas mileage is funny because I get horrible mpg in the city and when I'm accelerating, but on the highway I get amazing mpg especially when I set the cruise. I do drive predominately on the highway, and I bought it with 68k miles on it and have put on 8k since November. So I drive a lot. The heating system seems to make a smell over time, and I have read online that's very common for people with this car. The owner before me changed rotors and now I need to change the other ones so those wear easily. And in think in all Chevy did a good job on everything other than the interior. I have the ltz so it has special chrome framing and on the inside wood, but the dashboard is a cheap plastic material. I could break it with my own hands. I just feel like they could have done a little bit better in that area. Otherwise, great car, great investment."

My review

By on Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable,"

Cons: "Mpg, cheap interior"

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

"In all I love my car, I bought it for a reason. It's comfortable, it rides perfect, I bought the 3.6 engine and the acceleration is perfect and it shifts oh so nicely. It handles very well. The sound system is amazing, the leather seats are high quality so i don't have any wear on them whatsoever. The exterior is very nice although I already have a crack in my grill. The gas mileage is funny because I get horrible mpg in the city and when I'm accelerating, but on the highway I get amazing mpg especially when I set the cruise. I do drive predominately on the highway, and I bought it with 68k miles on it and have put on 8k since November. So I drive a lot. The heating system seems to make a smell over time, and I have read online that's very common for people with this car. The owner before me changed rotors and now I need to change the other ones so those wear easily. And in think in all Chevy did a good job on everything other than the interior. I have the ltz so it has special chrome framing and on the inside wood, but the dashboard is a cheap plastic material. I could break it with my own hands. I just feel like they could have done a little bit better in that area. Otherwise, great car, great investment."

My review

By on Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable,"

Cons: "Mpg, cheap interior"

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

"In all I love my car, I bought it for a reason. It's comfortable, it rides perfect, I bought the 3.6 engine and the acceleration is perfect and it shifts oh so nicely. It handles very well. The sound system is amazing, the leather seats are high quality so i don't have any wear on them whatsoever. The exterior is very nice although I already have a crack in my grill. The gas mileage is funny because I get horrible mpg in the city and when I'm accelerating, but on the highway I get amazing mpg especially when I set the cruise. I do drive predominately on the highway, and I bought it with 68k miles on it and have put on 8k since November. So I drive a lot. The heating system seems to make a smell over time, and I have read online that's very common for people with this car. The owner before me changed rotors and now I need to change the other ones so those wear easily. And in think in all Chevy did a good job on everything other than the interior. I have the ltz so it has special chrome framing and on the inside wood, but the dashboard is a cheap plastic material. I could break it with my own hands. I just feel like they could have done a little bit better in that area. Otherwise, great car, great investment."

My review

By on Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable,"

Cons: "Mpg, cheap interior"

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

"In all I love my car, I bought it for a reason. It's comfortable, it rides perfect, I bought the 3.6 engine and the acceleration is perfect and it shifts oh so nicely. It handles very well. The sound system is amazing, the leather seats are high quality so i don't have any wear on them whatsoever. The exterior is very nice although I already have a crack in my grill. The gas mileage is funny because I get horrible mpg in the city and when I'm accelerating, but on the highway I get amazing mpg especially when I set the cruise. I do drive predominately on the highway, and I bought it with 68k miles on it and have put on 8k since November. So I drive a lot. The heating system seems to make a smell over time, and I have read online that's very common for people with this car. The owner before me changed rotors and now I need to change the other ones so those wear easily. And in think in all Chevy did a good job on everything other than the interior. I have the ltz so it has special chrome framing and on the inside wood, but the dashboard is a cheap plastic material. I could break it with my own hands. I just feel like they could have done a little bit better in that area. Otherwise, great car, great investment."

i bought this car in 2010 used and have never had

By on Sunday, April 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "cheep relyabul good gas mileg long term car"

Cons: "4 celender not much on power front weel drive"

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

"i use it back and forth to work and around town have driven it to az. and back with out problems it rely reliable and simple good looking car after owning it for a fue years now i don't think ill ever buy any thing but Chevy for the rest of my life its now a brand i trust and rely on"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?