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Old 3rd May 2010, 07:33   #1
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Default Chevy Malibu 3.1 L, V6 - Ownership Report

I am not sure if this is the correct section I should be posting this thread as Chevy Malibu is not sold in India, Mods - pls move it accordingly.

Car details :

Model 2003, Chevy Malibu
Engine 3.1 L, 6 Cylinders
Compression ratio 9.6:1
Horsepower 170 BHP @ 5200
Torque 244Nm @ 4000
Recommended fuel 87 octane
Transmission 4 speed Auto
Tires P215/60R-15
Curb weight 1407 Kg
Drive Front Wheel

I re-located to Phornix early this year and I had to be dependant on taxi's for the first few weeks, I wanted to get a licence and get acclimed to left hand drive before I buy a car for myself. Definetly I missed my Palio which I used to drive in Pune. :-(

In the second attempt, I cleared the driver's written test, actual drive test was cleared in first attempt itself ( I had practiced for a week in a rented car).

Once I received the license I started looking for a car with a budget of $5000 and it was amazing to see the number of options available at this budget, BMWs, Infinity's, VWs,Cameroa,Accord, Camry...long list ( well, all are pretty old though :-) ) I wanted a car which is atleast 2002 or earlier, so I did not look at old biggies. Hyundai Elantra's were coming were pretty cheap, but I wanted to try something which is not available in India.

Dodge cars (Stratus, neon etc) were also coming closer. One fine day I saw an ad of Chevy Malibu, the photographs clearly indicated the condition of the car, very well maintained. I met the guy, drove the car for 15 minutes, and 15 minutes of negotiation - A deal was made !!

Got the car very next day by paying all cash, my taxi driver helped me to get a PUC done (30 $ - 10 minutes), directly taken the car to MVD (Motor Vehicle Dept) got a number plate ( here you will own the number plate even after you sell the car) - paid $ 110 for one year . So, overall it took 1 hr to complete the formalities. Got the filters and oil changed on same day at Walmart ( Valvoline oil+filters $ 30).

The car drives very smooth, of course very powerful compared to my 1.2L Palio. Absence of a clutch makes it easier to drive, but some times I miss the fun of shifting down the gear and get a punch from the engine. What I like the most is the roaring sound it makes when I push the throttle hard. The engine is silky smooth, never gives a feeling that it is a 7 Yrs old car. Gives pretty good response at the red signals, but my competion here are very strong - mostly Mustang GTs, Infinitys, Camaros - and my car is a tiny little car compared to their muscle at the range of 300-400 BHP.

I have done number of highway drives on this car and the highest speed I had gone is around 140Km/Hr, many times I felt Palio was more stable on high speeds compared to Malibu. At 120Km/hr the steering becomes very light and need good care to keep vehicle on the track. Palio definitly has a better steering than Malibu. Brakes are pretty good, it has got ABS, but I dont think there is ESP.

Good bits :

Very comfortable ride, my wife loves to travel in this car.
Electric Mirror adjustment - Very helpfull
Powerfull Brakes
Smoth power delivery
Lot of cup/bottle holders
Very supporting seats

Bad bits (so far):

Steering feeling at high speeds
Lack of stability feeling at high speeds ( to the size and class of the car)

Fuel efficiency :

City 23 Miles/Gallon ( ~ 10 Kmpl)
Highway 28 Miles/G (~12 Kmpl)

Pictures - please see attached...
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Last edited by raneeshvijayan : 3rd May 2010 at 07:39. Reason: added photos
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Old 3rd May 2010, 08:29   #2
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Nice, how much did you pay for this? (If you don't mind sharing)

Also, the logo at the rear looks kindof like Mazda's :-s
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Old 3rd May 2010, 08:37   #3
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I paid $3500, the seller wanted $4500 though.

Yeah, Malibu has its own signature logo, Chevy Impala has also got one..something like a jumping deer...

Last edited by raneeshvijayan : 3rd May 2010 at 08:38.
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Old 3rd May 2010, 17:58   #4
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Thumbs up Great Car

I got a chance to live with the 7th generation Chevy Malibu in CA last year. (guess with the 2.4L engine)

It was completely by chance that we got the Malibu.

I had planned a trip from SFO to LA on a long weekend and my friend was asked to get the car from Hertz on Friday as I was tied up with work.

Usually I go to pick the car up and I wanted our favorite Mazda 6 with the ActiveMatic transmission where the driver would have control over the gear.

However I was totally shocked to see the huge Chevy at the parking lot that evening and was angry with my friend.

But how wrong was I.

The Malibu blew me away on that trip and I liked the car so much so that we kept it longer than we ever had planned initially.

The big Chevy was built like a tank with a lot of features and kept us fresh to party in LA even after such a long drive. Also, the engine was really a workhorse with good linear acceleration and a very good range for the full tank. (one would appreciate this a lot in the US)

Really Great car.

I did some research after coming back and found out that the Malibu was the 2008 CoTY by some magazines and rated very high by all critics and one wouldn't argue that after driving it.

Here's the photograph of our Malibu at LA.
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