Intro: When considering mid-size family sedans, the first that might come to mind are the well-known Japanese offerings that have long dominated this market segment. But for the past several years, Chevrolet has been serving up a formidable competitor in the 2011 Malibu.
The Malibu is longer, wider, and more sharply styled than its blocky predecessor. The vertically stacked grille openings, angled headlights, well-thought-out sheet metal, and long flowing roofline ensure that the Malibu's styling competes with other proven family movers.
Performance: The Malibu's sharp styling is complemented by a choice of two engines that offer decent power and good fuel economy. The base engine is a 169 horsepower 2.4-liter inline 4 mated to 6 speed automatic transmission. The optional 3.6-liter V6 generates 252 horse power and is coupled with a high torque 6-speed automatic. Front wheel drive is standard with both engines.
Fuel Economy: Here are the highest and lowest EPA estimates for fuel economy:
Features: If the exterior styling has grabbed your attention, then the interior won't disappoint. The dual pod instrument cluster is sporty but not extreme. Turn on the ignition and the needles go to their max setting then return to their real-time position as if the car is raring to go. An information center in the instrument cluster provides a healthy selection of readouts including current outside temperature and tire pressure.
The trunk of the Malibu offers side cargo nets for added storage solutions and the 60/40 fold down rear seats make carrying larger objects a cinch. At a spacious 15.1 cubic feet, the trunk is larger than that of both the Camry and the Accord.
Safety: Standard active and passive safety features include side curtain airbags for front and rear passengers, seat-mounted thorax-protection airbags for front passengers, antilock brakes and traction control. All models come with GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability control and 6 months of GM's On-Star Automatic Crash Response.
Pricing/Warranty: Base MSRP for the 2011 Chevrolet Malibu is $21,975. An LTZ model starts at $27,015. The Malibu is backed by a 5-year, 100,000-mile power train warranty.
Summary: The sporty styling, energetic yet fuel-efficient engines, and a host of standard and optional features found in the 2011 Chevrolet Malibu make it a true competitor among family sedans, poised to run with the best.