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2011 Chevrolet Malibu

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2011 Chevrolet Malibu Review

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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.

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
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 565 Ratings for the 2008 - 2012 models.

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

Best car we have ever owned.

By on Monday, July 27, 2015

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

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
7/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"We have only had recommended upkeep on this car, no major mechanical problems and it has 70,000 miles on it. It runs like a charm and is extremely comfortable...very smooth quiet ride. Looking into updating to a newer model, to complete the safety features and update technology capabilities. The only design feature I would change is the seat manuverability...it does not have a mechanical lift to the back of the front seats, you need to push the lever, and put your hand behind the seat in a backwards motion and pull up. Very cumbersome. I hope this design has changed to help adjust back of driver and passenger seats."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Fair priced reliable, but boring car

By on Friday, July 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Cheap, reliable, safe, easy car to drive"

Cons: "Boring, little extras, low-tech"

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

"This car is very reasonably priced for what you get. I'm currently a student, and I'm using this car to commute back and forth. Chevys seem like a solid car to put miles on as both the car itself and repairs are fairly cheap.cheap. I've put on close to 15,000 with nothing but an oil change, and no problems at all. Pros: Cheap, reliable, safe, easy car to drive Cons: Boring to drive, as the 4 cylinder just doesn't add any excitement, not many features included, even added features are a little low tech, maybe geared more towards the technologically impaired"

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

I LOVE MY MALIBU

By on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, THE WALL CHARGER IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!"

Cons: "non"

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

"I love my malibu. It's a great car.I have had not one problem out of this car. Great on gas and comfort."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

very nice ride great value

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

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
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "value, good ride, gas mileage, no repairs"

Cons: "small trunk opening, cup holders, firestone tires"

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

"had a 2009 toyota camry with many issues so thought id try the malibu. The malibu is very quite. good gas mileage. great on long trips. good value no repairs in 44 months of driving in hot climate, mostly city. Only complaints are small trunk opening and cupholders. and firestone tires."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Won't do it again

By on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "comfortable, great gas mileage."

Cons: "all the other stuff listed above is a take away."

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

"engine failed two weeks out of warranty. cloth seats suck to keep clean. Haven't changed a burnt out headlight yet because you have to drop the whole front plastic grill area, remove 32 bolts to change headlight."

11 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Comfortable, reliable. and fun to drive.

By on Friday, June 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

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

"I have put 60,000 miles on this car with little to no problems. I plan to buy another when this one wears out. Highly recommend."

4 people out of 10 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

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