MPG-o-Matic 2010 Chevrolet Malibu Review Summary: The Chevy Malibu is a classic American mid-size sedan, with roots that run back to the mid-1960s. While old school Chevy Malibu fans may argue that the ‘72 was the last truly beautiful Malibu, a highly-successful redesign in the 2008 model year breathed new life into the model. These days, Malibu battles it out in a wickedly competitive mid-size market with the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, and newly redesigned Hyundai Sonata leading the pack.
The front-wheel-drive (FWD) 2010 Chevy Malibu can be equipped with an Ecotech 2.4-liter VVT (variable valve timing) inline four or 3.6-liter V6 engine. The DOHC inline four produces 169 horsepower (HP) and 160 foot pounds of torque, while the DOHC V6 produces 251 HP and 251 foot pounds of torque. All 2010 Malibus are equipped with automatic transmissions. The base Malibu LS uses a four-speed automatic, while all other models use six-speed automatic transmissions.
The official fuel economy estimates for the four-cylinder equipped 2010 Chevy Malibu LT and LTZ are 22 city / 33 highway miles per gallon. The entry-level four-cylinder Malibu LS is rated at 22 / 30, while the V6 Malibu is rated at 17 / 26.
We covered over 400 miles in our four-cylinder, six-speed automatic Mocha Steel Metallic Malibu 1LT review unit and slipped past the official mileage estimates on the open road, achieving an average of 35.5 MPG on the Interstate highway and 26.5 MPG combined, with temperatures ranging from the low-sixties through the low nineties. Interstate highway testing temperatures were in the mid-seventies.
The test vehicle was delivered with slightly over 5000 miles on the odometer. LS and LT models are equipped with 17-inch wheels and 215/55R17 Firestone FR710 (low rolling resistance) all-season tires, The LS receives steel wheels with painted trim, while the 1LT features “bright chrome trim.” The 2LT features 17-inch Chrome-Tech alloys, while the top-of-the-line LTZ is fitted with 18-inch alloys and 225/50R18 Goodyear Eagle LS-2 all-season tires.
Interstate Mileage Testing:
- Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 34.4 MPG
- Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 36.7 MPG
While performance-oriented folks will likely opt for the V6, the Ecotec inline four delivers solid fuel efficiency with adequate get-up-and-go.
Highway driving range is quite good. All 2010 Chevy Malibus are fitted with a 16 gallon fuel tank and are designed to run regular unleaded fuel.
Curb Weight: The 2010 Malibu LS weighs 3415 pounds, while the Malibu LT comes in just slightly higher at 3436 pounds. The range topping Malibu LTZ saunters across the scale at 3649 pounds.
The Malibu is equipped with four-wheel ABS disc brakes (11.65-inch ventilated front rotors / 10.87-inch solid rear rotors), regardless of trim level or drivetrain.
The Driver Information Center provides average fuel economy and real-time fuel economy displays, along with Oil Life, Tire Pressure, Outside Temperature, and Fuel Range among other data. As always, we recommend using a real-time MPG display to enable the adoption of a fuel-efficient light-footed driving style.
The Malibu handles better than one might expect and delivers a smooth and predictable ride. GM’s StabiliTrak stability control is standard.
The Malibu’s cabin has a distinctively flowing two-tone design. LT and LTZ models provide steering wheel audio controls and TAPshift manual shift controls. Our 1LT test unit was fitted with the standard custom cloth interior in cocoa and cashmere.
The TAPshift controls use a non-intuitive interface, with each paddle allowing upshifts and downshifts.
Two-way power driver lumbar support is standard across the range. Heated front seats are standard in the LTZ (with leather seating surfaces), optional in the LT, and not available in the LS.
Our review car was equipped with the Power Convenience Package, which includes a power 6-way drivers seat, remote start, Bluetooth cell phone interface, USB port, and rear 110V outlet. USB and auxiliary audio input ports are on the face of the head unit. The Audio system provides full control over iPod playlists. GM’s OnStar service is standard, with one year of directions and turn-by-turn navigation included.
The Malibu has two twelve-volt outlets: one at the base of the dash and one at the back of the console.
A six-speaker audio system is standard. A Bose premium speaker system is standard in the LTZ and optional in the LT.
While the rear seating area is adequately sized for two – with 37.6 inches of leg room and 37.2 inches of rear seat headroom – it’s tight for three and lacks a center armrest.
The Malibu’s trunk provides 15.1 cubic feet of cargo area. The 60/40 rear seats are folded down from within the cabin, allowing for longer payloads.
All-in-all, the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu is a worthy competitor in a highly competitive space, combining styling that’s easy on the eyes, with a four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission that deliver solid mileage results. We’d love to see Chevy liven things up with the addition of a highly-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder engine and manual transmission with the upcoming redesign due in the 2012 model year.
Parts Content Information
US/Canadian Parts Content: 75%
Final Assembly Point: Kansas City, KS
Country of Origin:
Engine – United States
Transmission – Korea
– by Daniel Gray
July 28th, 2010
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