2010 Chevrolet Malibu Review

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

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11 thoughts on “2010 Chevrolet Malibu Review”

  1. We bought our 2010 4-cylinder Malibu back in January and we are only getting 19 miles to a gallon in the city and 20/21 miles to the gal. on the highway. Very, very disappointing! We bought this car because of the so called gas savings. Some savings. We also own a Buick LeSaber that is doing about the same on mileage and that is the reason we turned to the Malibu. Huge mistake!!! I am giving our dealership a chance to investigate as to what is going on. My next step will be to call the corporate office as this is upsetting.

    If this comment goes anywhere I certainly would appreciate it if a corp. representative would take this concern and do something about it. Already, we have had a recall on the air bag and transmission. Took car back into the garage for correction with the hopes are gas mileage would improve but instead has gotten worse; along with the air bag sensor lite coming back on! We called the dealer and back to the garage it goes. As far as the gas issue, I am starting to think there is some thing wrong with the transmission – and that should certainly be cause enough to provide us with a different car!!!!

    I hope to hear from the corporate office soon. Thanks much.

  2. Hi Gary – I just saw your comment (it’s a little after midnight). First of all, I am sorry that you’re experiencing this.

    Second: in the morning I’ll have the customer service folks come check your comment out and try to connect with you. If there’s a case # that you’ve been given when you’ve had the car in for service, having it handy will help them gather the info about what’s already been done.

    Once again, I’m sorry to hear of this, and in the morning I will point @GMCustomerSvc to your comment and we’ll see what we can do.

    Christopher Barger
    Director Social Media, GM

  3. Hi Gary,

    You can reach me at either at facebook.com/jared.duane or at twitter.com/gmcustomersvc.

    If you do not use either of these services you call us at 800-222-1020.

    -Jared Duane
    GM Customer Service

  4. We have exactly the same experience as Gary said.
    We bought our 2010 4-cylinder Malibu in Nov. 2010 and got only 19.3 miles to a gallon city/highway after two winters and 6700 total miles. The best highway mileage was 27 MPG in the summer, compared with 29.6 MPG for our old 1995 Ford Tarrus V6. The Chevy dealer could not find anything wrong with the poor mileage. Very, very disappointing. We blindly believed the GM advertisement and did not see Gary’s comment.

  5. @Qian Liu – What’s your average highway speed? We were able to achieve respectable results at our standard 68 MPH Interstate test speed.

  6. Have also a 2010 Malibu 4cyl at most gets 30mpg, my 2005 Malibu Maxx got 32 and it was a v-6.
    I am disappointed in mpg.

  7. I have 700 miles on my 2011 LTZ Malibu and have not been able to average over 24 mpg’s with most of my driving on the highway. My 2003 Bonneville averaged that! GM has let me down. I wanted an American car that got great gas mileage, but I picked the wrong one it turns out. I am very dissapointed!

  8. I have the same issues poor poor fuel mileage we get around 365 to 370 to a full tank. Had it at dealership twice since we bought the car, this time they keep the car two weeks and said there is NO PROBLEM the fuel mileage is adequate. Can you say time to trade for a VW TDI Jetta?

  9. I brought a 2010 standard model also and have to say that the gas mileage is not what I was led to believe. I’m not heavy footed and use the cruise control all the time so a do believe I have very conservative driving techniques. Still I have to be very mindful of my mileage, something I didn’t have to do with my previous car a 2000 Honda Accord. After doing some more research I’ve found that there are plenty of sites with owners complaining of the same. Barely getting over 300 miles a tank and my avg readout never gets above 25, wonder if its really fuel efficiency or one of the computers not calculating the right usage. But like everyone here the dealer says nothing wrong. Believe me I will never buy another chevy or recommend one either. But the car does look nice.

  10. OMG, the gas mileage on my 2010 is just AWEFUL. I took it back to the dealership twice and both times they indicated that they was nothing wrong. I seems like it is getting worse and worse. How do I file a major compliant? I have a friend that has an 2010 as well, and same for him! What can we do?

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