Chevrolet Malibu tested

By CARSIFU | 3 December 2014

Malibu (12)

Chevrolet’s Malibu LTZ D-segment sedan does not fail to impress with its list of features.

When someone mentions “Chevrolet”, it is likely that the images that come to mind are that of the classic muscle cars like the Chevelle, Camaro and of course, the iconic Corvette sports car.

Back in the 1960’s, these cars came with huge petrol guzzling engines, heaps of power and a style that many motoring enthusiasts could not help but fall in love with.

Fast forward about 40 years later, Chevrolet still produces the Camaro and Corvette but somewhere along the line, the Chevelle nameplate was replaced with the Malibu.

Local Chevrolet distributor Naza Quest introduced the Malibu in September and the car now joins the D-segment sedan battle that is being fought by the likes of the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Teana and Mazda6.

Malibu (13)

The Malibu remains true to its muscle car heritage and at the very first glance, you would notice the quad tail lamps are strikingly similar to the Camaro’s.

From the outside, the car looks sleek, although visibly smaller than the other cars in its class.

Looks, however, can be deceiving, as there is surprisingly plenty of leg room for rear passengers even with the front seats pushed all the way to the back.

Although the 165hp and 225Nm of torque produced by its engine are low when compared to those of the Camry (181hp), Accord (173hp) and Teana (171hp), the 2.4-litre Ecotec powerplant is capable of allowing the Malibu to do the 0-100kph dash in 9.6 seconds.

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The Malibu promises a fuel economy of 7.8 litres/100km which is similar to that of the Toyota Camry.

Taking this sleek sedan for a test-drive along the North South Expressway to Johor Baru was a pleasant experience for me.

Stepping hard on accelerator pedal brings the powerplant to life, making quick overtaking an easy task.

The six-speed automatic transmission does the job of translating that power to the huge 18-inch wheels.

At highway speeds, the Malibu hugs the road with its stiff chassis setting.

MacPherson struts at front and multi-link suspension unit at the back do a fine job of soaking up the road irregularities.

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In the city, the size of the Malibu seems ideal, and was easy to navigate through heavy traffic.

The Malibu LTZ available here, boasts gadgets such as HID headlamps with washers, tyre pressure monitoring system, cruise control, heated wing mirrors with turn signals, auto dimming rear-view mirror, eight-way power adjustable seats (with lumbar) for both driver and passenger, keyless entry with push start and 462 litres of boot space.

Luxurious and comfortable leather seats hug the body of driver and passengers apart from the three-spoke steering wheel as well as shift knob wrapped in the same material.

The rear seats split at a 60:40-split to make way for more boot space if needed.

The “MyLink” six-speaker sound system with seven-inch touchscreen gives the driver and passengers a proper in-car entertainment experience with AUX-in, USB interface, Bluetooth, a reverse camera and steering controls.

The touchscreen flips up to reveal a storage area which can easily store and conceal a GPS unit or SmartTag device.

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The car also features acoustic-laminated windows for noise reduction and a remote engine start function which is great for getting the air-conditioner up and running to cool down the cabin on a hot day before passengers get in.

The instrument cluster again bares a striking resemblance to the Camaro spirit with its square and hooded design and illuminates in a cool shade of blue.

The dashboard and front doors also illuminate the same hue in ambient lighting which, at night, brings the interior to life.

In terms of safety, the Malibu offers four dual-front and side airbags, a “StabiliTrak” electronic stability control and anti-lock braking system with brake assist.

Built in South Korea, the Malibu is priced at RM155,444 (on-the-road excluding insurance) and is covered by a five-year/200,000km warranty.

Overall, the Malibu is a comfortable and enjoyable car for long distance cruising.