The eighth generation Chevrolet Malibu is hardly successful. The model, bearing a name with a rich history, finally abandoned its “American identity”: the car, developed in conjunction with the Korean division of GM, became the same for the markets around the world, and it was Korea, not the United States, that received it first. Having acquired the new GM Epsilon II platform, the puffy and inexpressive “face” he retained from the predecessor of the seventh generation, and it was fundamentally not combined with the interesting design of the rear, which clearly flirted with the style of the Camaro oil car. In general, it is not surprising that the sedan, which debuted at the end of 2011 and entered the markets in 2012, immediately began to prepare for early restyling.
The restyling did take place in 2013, less than a year after the debut, but for Russia all this fuss was no longer relevant. Malibu was brought to us in 2012, but sales were so low that the update did not make sense. The sales plan in Russia was already modest – from 600 cars per year, but in practice 600 cars were sold only by the end of 2014 – at the same time they decided to complete the experiment. The prices also did not dispose to great success: at the start for the Malibu in the only configuration they asked for 1.3 million rubles, to which one could add a surcharge for a few options like a sunroof. At the same time, the same Mondeo or Teana in the database cost a million, and Camry is even cheaper! Of course, the cars differed in equipment and engines, but buyers still did not understand why they were being asked to pay so much for a car produced in South Korea and assembled at the Kaliningrad Avtotor. However, today the prices for these cars are already well within the market: for a good Camry they ask for under one and a half million, and Malibu can be bought for a million. True, the choice is three orders of magnitude more modest: at the time of this writing, there were only 8 cars on sale on Avito. Are there any chances of success with such a meager assortment?
The age of the cars in 8-10 years allows us to hope for a decent safety of the body. The adherents of “real foreign quality” should take into account that the cars were assembled on the Avtotor by the SKD method, and the welded and painted bodies came to Kaliningrad from Korea. In fact, this does not give any incredible advantages, but it is difficult to find complaints about the quality of the painting, and the statistics are not enough, given the meager circulation of cars. Accordingly, attention should be paid primarily to the accident history of a particular machine, as well as typical operational defects. The massive front bumper covers the entire front end, protecting the bonnet edge, but picks up stones and chips by itself. The hood here is aluminum and should not rust, so you should pay attention to it – the steel hood will hint at recovery after an accident. Arches and thresholds are not covered by anything, so they suffer from stones and sandblasting. It is also worth looking into the cavity of the arches, as well as inspecting the thresholds from below, in the seam area. There is a minimum of potential weak spots behind, even the license plate area is placed on the bumper and does not upset with corrosion, so you only need to inspect the lower edge of the trunk lid and the condition of the spare wheel niche. Well, on cars with a hatch, you should check its operation and the dryness of the floor in the cabin.
In the case of the Malibu, the chances of encountering a badly damaged and refurbished car are very slim simply because body parts are rare and expensive. The short conveyor life and low popularity led to the fact that manufacturers of non-original body parts practically ignored the model, and the original is expensive and is almost always brought to order. For example, a new bumper – both front and rear – will cost 40-50 thousand. The aluminum hood is a rare part and costs 80-90 thousand or more, although there is a piece steel analogue for 30 thousand. But the front fenders are again strictly original, with a price of 20-25 thousand rubles and a delivery time of a month and a half. Even the windshield will have to be ordered “branded” at a price of 20 thousand rubles. The optics on the sedans officially sold in Russia were strictly xenon, and, as you might guess, it also has no analogues, but costs 80-100 thousand per headlight. In general, the purchase of Malibu is a reason to learn how to search for and order parts from foreign showdowns and from the USA. By the way, when choosing spare parts, it is worth remembering that the model had European, American and Chinese versions, although their differences cannot be called massive and cardinal. And one more caveat: the chances of meeting a wrecked car are really small, but on the market there are piece options imported from the United States, and here the probability of an accident history increases significantly. This, of course, can be verified with Carfax, but the question is whether it is worth the effort.
As we remember, in the eighth generation, Malibu moved to the GM Epsilon II platform – the same one that underlies, for example, the Opel Insignia, and this is very beneficial for the car. The construct is the same here: MacPherson in front and a multi-link in the back, and the relationship with Opel and other co-platforms promises that there will not be those problems that we saw with the body. Maintainability, of course, is not ideal: for example, the front ball joint, like in Opel, changes complete with a lever, but the lever itself can be bought non-original for 5-7 thousand. The rear silent block of the L-shaped lever is available separately and costs 3 thousand for a “firm” and from 1.5 for analogs, and the bushing itself for repressing can be bought from 500 rubles. Shock absorbers here are conventionally their own, so there are few analogues: in addition to the original for 20 thousand, in fact, there is only KYB for 17. The stabilizer struts are also not unified, and the choice is narrow: either the original for 3 thousand, or Magneti Marelli for 800 rubles. The wheel bearings, both in front and behind, are replaced as an assembly with a hub unit, and here unification with the Insignia will allow you to buy a part for 3-6 thousand instead of 18-20. The rear levers are not unified and therefore are not very cheap – 5-10 thousand per part, but for the lower transverse, for example, there are substitutes, and in general, for everything here, you can buy silent blocks for repressing. In general, the unkempt suspension in the case of the Malibu is definitely a reason to bargain well, but there are no complex solutions like controlled shock absorbers or air bellows, so there is nothing to be afraid of.
Brakes Malibu also went “corporate”. The mechanisms here are the most primitive – single-piston discs with a floating caliper in a circle, and there were no frills like the mechanisms from Brembo, like the Insignia OPC, here. But the disks themselves are large: even cars with basic 16-inch wheels were equipped with ventilated disks 296 mm in front and non-ventilated disks 292 mm at the rear. However, on cars with wheels of 17 inches or more, “valves” were already installed in a circle, and their diameter was 321 mm in front and 315 mm in the rear. So there is no need to complain about the performance, and the cost of consumables too. The front disc can be bought for 3-7 thousand instead of 18-20, and the rear ventilated one will cost even less, 3-5 thousand. Attention here should be paid to the state of the highways, as well as to the operation of the parking brake: it is electromechanical, and the actuators are very expensive, and the bulkhead will also require money. The steering rack is electrically assisted here and it fits from the Insignia too. This is very good news, since the price tag for a new one is not just six figures, but in some places it goes off scale for 200 thousand. Against this background, a restored rack with an amplifier for 45-50 thousand is just a gift. By the way, light knocks pursue the owners with low runs, so you shouldn’t panic right away, but also unconditionally trust the seller talking about a “chronic illness” too.
The Malibu had a fairly wide range of gearboxes around the world, including even a six-speed manual, but we only got the six-speed 6T40 from GM. And this, I must say, is not the best option. You can read in detail about all the problems of the box, for example, in the material about the Chevrolet Epica. In short, this is a high operating temperature, valve body wear, low oil operating pressure, mechanical problems, including planetary gears, as well as typical wear due to oil contamination with abrasive from a torque converter blockage. Before buying, you should attend to both diagnostics and a test drive, and nothing can be forgiven here. Considering that the Malibu is even larger and heavier than the Epica, life for a box is no easier. The only consolation is that the box is well mastered in services and is not very expensive to repair.
The local Malibu also had only one motor: this is a 2.4-liter gasoline unit of the Ecotec family with the LE5 index, which the car inherited from the previous generation. It produces 167 horsepower, which is generally not a lot for a large car, so it is not surprising that the bet was placed on other, more powerful motors in the world. However, something else is more important for us: this “old” engine is quite good and reliable. There are cast iron sleeves in an aluminum block, a decent timing chain and a simple distributed injection. Phase regulators are used both at the inlet and outlet, but their price is quite adequate. Timing maintenance cost may seem high compared to other chain motors, but it will not ruin it either, given the frequency of replacement. A major drawback can be considered only the lack of standard repair dimensions of the cylinder-piston group, but not every owner will be puzzled by the “capital” in case of a breakdown, taking into account the fact that a similar Opel engine A24XE, which is familiar, for example, from Antara, can be selected for replacement. In general, you should not expect miracles from the motor, but it will pass its 250 thousand, subject to normal maintenance.
Thus, the main task when buying a Chevrolet Malibu is to find a car with a live and serviced gearbox and a whole body. And if, for example, Autotek can help with checking the emergency history, then checking and diagnosing the box before buying in any case falls on the buyer. Well, for a budget of a million rubles, you can look for a well-groomed car with a range of up to 200 thousand kilometers – something like this.
However, logic dictates that you can actively bargain when buying such a rare and not very liquid car, and with a long search there is a chance to find a car with a lower mileage, and for much less money – for example, over 800 thousand. There is a lot to be forgiven about a car – especially if the back of it really makes you turn around every day when you go home.
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