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Old 12-31-2008, 02:42 AM   #11 (permalink)
Depends on the Day
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Location: Kansas City Area
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Teggy - '98 Acura Integra LS
Sports Cars
90 day: 32.74 mpg (US)

IMA - '10 Honda Insight EX
Team Honda
90 day: 34.76 mpg (US)

Tessie - '06 Acura TSX Base
90 day: 28.2 mpg (US)
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Malibu City Mileage: 19.9 MPG

OK, I'll admit -- my FE results are traditionally weighted heavily toward highway mileage. It was to mirror the motorist who drives about 80% on the highway during their average commute. It's what I do -- drive the Interstate from city to city, and motor about the destination, and turn around.

This time, I'm on Holiday in Hawaii. Take your notions of clear, desolate beach locales and replace them with the 405 in LA. Yep. Oahu has Interstate Highways -- and they're packed at all hours of the day. Driving towards downtown or Waikiki, it's stop-and-go, bumper-to-bumper. Perfect for assessing city mileage...

Here's the setup: 100% A/C, heavy traffic, mountainous hills to the North Shore, and heavy "City"-like traffic. Passenger load: 4 adults. Driving style: average-to-aggressive. The rental: 2008 Chevy Malibu LS 4-cylinder (non-fleet).

Nothing irks me more than not finding a parking spot. The result? Heavy-footed acceleration and frustration. I'm on vacation dag-nabbit. Where's my Mai-Tai and sashimi tuna!!! Check out the raw data:

Distance: 180 Miles
Gallons of Fuel: 9.495 Gallons
MPG = 19.9 MPG
Speed Avg: 20 MPG
Passengers: 4 Adults
Temp range: 75-85F

Conclusion: The new Malibu is a solid domestic that can keep up with foreign makes, and produce solid MPG per-passenger, in 4-cylinder form. The city-mileage component is a new addition and honestly reveals the low-end FE one can expect.

Driveability: Absolutely no complaints. The 4-banger is slow off the line, but happily revs as the R's increase. Even more, the trunk is cavernous with additional room for rear passengers.

Notes: When the 4 passengers moved to Maui with a 2008 Fleet Malibu (the old-style), everyone was more impressed with the roominess and simplicity (including the driver -- yours truly). It was equipped with the 3500 V-6 and LS trim. Nothing fancy, but easy and responsive to drive. So, which to choose?

The 4-banger 2003 new to '08 "Classic" Malibu is a great value for an average, 4-door vehicle. The V-6 cruises the highway with equal economy, but provides neck-snapping torque and higher fuel consumption in-town. The new 08-present non-fleet model is fancy, but has no advantage.

I've driven the previous-gen Malibu for 1000's of miles and absolutely love it -- it's like a good friend for the road. The Saturn Aura-like 08+ version is just too much. Even further, the pre-'03 versions are wretched, low-quality appliances. Investigate, drive for yourself, and find the one you want...


If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research ― Albert Einstein

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Old 12-31-2008, 06:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Yorba Linda, CA
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The Clunker (retired) - '90 Honda Accord EX sedan
Team Honda
90 day: 29.49 mpg (US)

Mountain Goat - '96 Ford Ranger XLT 4x4 SuperCab
90 day: 18 mpg (US)

Zippy - '10 Kymco Agility 125
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I like the Ecotec. I have the 2.2 in my '04 Ion, and my last three tanks averaged nearly 37 mpg (highway estimate is 32.)

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Old 05-16-2009, 09:07 AM   #13 (permalink)
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33.5 mpg

I had a biz trip to St Pete last week and rented a Malibu LT with the 4cyl/6spd auto. (I wanted to try a new Fusion, but they were out.) Briefly, I was very surprised by the quality, practicality and MPG of the car.

Driving was 80% highway/20% city and I drove 65-70mph on the highway (which is slow in the Tampa area). I'm not a hypermiler (I simply try to beat EPA hwy), but drive gently. I reached 500 miles on the tank and 33.5 mpg, actual. (Trip computer indicated 37.5 and I don't know how much gas was lost by the previous renter getting to the airport(?)). Conditions: mostly alone, 80* avg, good Wx.

I worked in assembly line quality control (engineering) and the car appears to be put together very well. (JD Powers backs this up.) Underhood is tidy and well thought out - solid looking components. I really couldn't fault it in anything for a car in this price range. It really put the, "what more do you need in a sedan?" question in my mind.

I'd place the car as 'better' than the Camry on just about all counts and tie with the now bigger Accord (Honda lost direction, too. Opportunity lost!), which I really don't like. But, it really is splitting hairs at this point and I'd 'go American' as a tie breaker.

Rent a 4cyl *6spd* to try it out. (Still need to try a Fusion for a week...)

- Charlie

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