Before I unveil the big secret change for the Chevy Malibu’s 2011 model year, I do request that you sit down. I just wouldn’t want anyone to collapse from the shock. Also, if too much excitement is bad for your nerves you might want to read something in the highly informative Gardening Department.
Actually, I am being totally sarcastic. This “change” is something GM should have offered on the Malibu from day one. Yes, Chevy is now offering a six-speed automatic instead of a four speed automatic. My mom’s 1984 Buick Electra Estate Wagon had a four speed automatic. What was GM doing in between that time and the present?
Of all the huge lessens that you hope the Big Three will learn through these lean economic times, I hope that they remember to pump their profits into new technology. This is why Ford is ahead of the curve with everyone, import or not. GM just seems like it is always playing a game of catch-up and we all know what happens when a mainstream automaker buys a luxury brand.
What do I mean by that? Well, let’s just bid adieu to spunky and clever Saabs. I am sure the company will be around for a few more years but soon they will be relegated to automotive history. They are just too small and unprepared for the coming environmental laws (and taxes!)
But this is no reason to turn your back on the 2011 Chevy Malibu if you are in the market for a new family sedan. When the last generation Malibu was released, it was the first high quality full size family sedan that the Bow-Tie brand had built in decades. Try to name any and if I hear the words Impala or Caprice Classic you are an idiot.
As always, the 2011 Chevy Malibu is available with either a base (yet totally adequate) 2.4 liter 169 horsepower 4-cylinder engine which returns a Sonata rivaling 22 city/33 highway. Optional on up-level LT and LTZ models is a 3.6 liter 252 horsepower V6 that returns a more average 17 city/26 highway. But just imagine how much more fun you will have with the V6? And the efficiency difference is definitely worth your happiness.
Unfortunately, features like Bluetooth and USB are not standard on all models. Bluetooth is standard on LT and LTZ models but is thankfully available with lesser equipped variants. Lastly, only the top of the line audio system in the LTZ has a USB port/iPod connectivity. Does Chevy not know how much I hate to bring CDs in the car?
The 2011 Chevy Malibu has a terrific 15.1 cubic foot trunk and prices start a little over $21,000 to a little over $27,000 to get into a top of the line LTZ variant. In all honesty, the LT is probably the pick of the range from a feature/price perspective.
But this is not the best family car on the market today. Be sure to cross shop the Honda Accord, Mazda6 and Ford Fusion. Everything else is a waste of time.