Pros: Great mileage, good looks and big trunk!
Cons: Poor interior lighting and ugly cloth fabric!
I travel frequently so I rent cars frequently. There are some cars I will not accept as rentals. This was the first time I was offered a Malibu.
My experience was two weeks of delight at this great car which is wonderful at the tank, a delight to drive and has enough features to keep the driver engaged.
I like the sleekness of the design. It is nicely detailed yet, has a look that was redesigned a few years ago to set it apart from the usual Detroit fare. This car is a real go getter. It got 29 miles per gallon in the two weeks which I had it and since I was in the mid-West, and running highways and back roads, that was not an unpleasant thing!
The space in the interior of the vehicle is designed for Americans. I hate small cars that the driver has to push themselves up and out of. Many of the small foreign cars that is true of and as one with bad knees, that causes me a problem. The Mailbu was a twist and swing out of the car without impediment.
The interior design was good and the only thing I was not taken by were the cloth seats. They seemed to hang onto whatever someone had spilled on the back seat, making for a less than desirable appearance. (Shame on Enterprise Rent a Car for letting the car out in that condition!!)
Also, the fabric was a mousey gray, which really did not lend itself to an exciting appearance for the car. It was almost non-descript. It could have been a nicer fabric and made this car look terrific!
I took a person with me who was 5"10' who fit nicely in the front seat and seemed very comfortable. The seat belts also moved with the driver, which is a very important feature to me.
The seat adjustment was far more desirable than most mid sized cars and was easily done. The space in the console could have been a bit more opened up to allow for a bit more space for driver and passenger, but, for the most part it worked.
My favorite part of this car was driving it. I was amazed at the spunk of this engine, which was a peppy 2.2 litre DOHC 4 cylinder option. Great mileage and great power for this vehicle. I was on hilly terrain and found that there was no hesitation on stepping into the accelerator. Even on old country roads as I passed moms and pops, this 4 cylinder got out there and back into the driving lane without a problem!
I also like the steering- which was tight enough to feel in control but loose enough to know that the driver had some play. The handling was perhaps the best feature of the car. It handled so well, tight and close to the road and had the power to feel good while driving.
The trunk could have held the luggage of 4 people. It was huge for this size vehicle. The air handling system was very good and was able to handle temps of close to 100 without letting me down. This is a better than average car.
The light system was excellent and since I drove some unlighted roads at night, I found the visibility and lighting to be excellent. However, I was not ok with the interior light. Someone had turned it off and I was not able to somehow get it to come back on. That was an annoyance and was not a simple icon on the dash to find.
I sold cars for seven months and was amazed by many people who would come in to look at cars and say "Don't show me any American cars" since I worked for a major dealership that sold everything.
I would ardently suggest that if you are in the market for a great mid sized car with solid handling and excellent gas mileage, and good interior space, you may be cheating yourself by NOT taking the Malibu for a ride before you buy. This would be my car of choice to rent in the future!