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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
“is on the slow side for this class”
quicker to 60 and the quarter mile than seven...sports cars
caffeine under the hood
Anyone looking for a comfy and fuel-efficient sedan that’s also to fun drive would be smart to test drive the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu.
The 2010 Chevrolet Malibu is once again offered with either a 169-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which is rated at an economical 22 mpg city and 30 highway, or a gutsy 3.6-liter V-6, which is very responsive and better suited to sporty driving. In these fuel-price-conscious times, the four-cylinder mill is easily the most popular option, but if you plan to haul full loads or take on mountain passes, the V-6 is the preferred choice.
Reviews for the Malibu's performance are mixed. ConsumerGuide notes there might as well be "caffeine under the hood" of the 2010 Malibu, as it offers energetic performance. Edmunds, on the other hand, finds the four-cylinder model “on the slow side for this class.”
The New York Times compares the "eagerness" of both the four-cylinder and the V-6 favorably with the Honda Accord and the Nissan Altima. Cars.com notes that the V-6 is "sturdy" and produces "plenty of power," but is disappointed that the power is not in line with its "numbers." Road & Track credits the redesigned intake manifold with the four-cylinder Chevrolet Malibu's "loss of thrashiness" and better noise control. Edmunds gripes about lower fuel-economy numbers, too: "Possibly this is due in part to the Malibu's heft. At 3,649 pounds, the Malibu V-6 is the fat kid of the group."
In the handling department, most reviewers feel that the Malibu is strong. Cars.com reports that "while handling is good, there's still more lean in corners than with its competitors." The reviewer does concede that the Malibu "has excellent ride qualities, certainly on a par with the Camry and Accord."
Editors at TheCarConnection.com think the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu has a very smooth, well-controlled ride and handles securely, though without much performance flair. If equipped with the four-cylinder engine, the Malibu has a fuel-saving electric power steering system, but V-6 versions come with hydraulic power steering that provides a bit more road feel. Several editors at Edmunds, however, actually prefer the four-cylinder car.
The 2010 Chevrolet Malibu benefits from confident handling, a quiet ride, and an overall level of refinement that’s hard to beat in this class, though sporty drivers may be left wanting more.