Chevrolet Malibu Performance
Reviewers find the 2007 Chevrolet Malibu's performance to be solid if unspectacular. The U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman says, "It's simply an enjoyable car to drive."calls the Malibu's ride "solid, stable, and quiet," while
Three engines are available. A 2.2-liter in-line four-cylinder engine comes standard on the LS and LT. A 3.5-liter V6 is optional for the LT and standard on the LTZ. The 3.9-liter V6 is reserved for the SS. While the four-cylinder gets slightly better gas mileage than the 3.5-liter V6, it significantly betters the larger 3.9-liter V6.
Acceleration and Power
The 2.2-liter in-line four-cylinder engine creates 144 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 155 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm, while getting an EPA estimated 21 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway. Kelley Blue Book writes, "The standard 2.2-liter engine is an underwhelming performer, but returns outstanding fuel economy considering the Malibu's size." Kelley Blue Book also points out, "The V6 models offer better power, with city/highway fuel economy almost equal to the four-cylinder." The 3.5-liter V6 creates 217 horsepower and 217 lb-ft of torque while getting an EPA estimated 19 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway. The 3.9-liter V6 makes 240 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque but only gets an EPA estimated 16 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway.
Some reviewers find the four-cylinder engine adequate. The New Car Test Drive is among reviewers preferring "the extra kick" of the V6, which allows for easier "highway passing maneuvers." The big V6 means that, "on the street, the SS feels powerful and quick enough to impress your buddies from stoplight to stoplight," according to Edmunds.writes, "It would be nice if the Malibu's four-cylinder engine had a bit more power and made less noise, but unless you plan to climb a lot of hills with a full load, it may not really matter."
A four-speed automatic is standard and a manual transmission is unavailable. Consumer Guide says that the transmission is "smooth" and "works well with either V6," but finds that it "must shift frequently to keep 4-cylinder in its power band." The four-speed automatic on the SS version gets a special tap-up/tap-down sport-shifting feature, which allows the driver to manually toggle between gears one through three.
Handling and Braking
Most reviewers have good words for the Malibu's handling. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman writes, "On the road the Malibu is sure-footed and confident, with tight handling on curves (for a family sedan) and taut steering... Malibu's handling is a high point. It has a strong bearing on curves and is comfortable on the highway." Kelley Blue Book reports, "The stiff body and firm suspension give up very little in the way of body lean, squat or dive." Consumer Guide insists that the "taut suspension" helps the "Malibu corner with agility and confidence." The Malibu has a four-wheel independent suspension. "The four-cylinder base car," notes Automobile Magazine, "has softer front springs, different damper valving, and lighter steering, on account of its lower front-end weight." The SS has a specially tuned suspension. MSN says that, "despite a firmer all-independent suspension," the "SS versions have sharper handling than non-SS versions and a supple ride."
The LS and LT models have front-disc and rear-drum brakes. Four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes with traction control are optional on the LS and LT, and standard on LTZ and SS. MSN writes, "Stops are straight and controlled, thanks partly to an easily modulated brake pedal." New Car Test Drive says, "The firmness of the brake pedal impressed us and inspired confidence, as did the couple of times we felt the ABS step in to hasten our deceleration on wet roads."