2004 Chevrolet Malibu LS Sedan (489)

This week I drove the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu LS Sedan and I’m not one to complain, but the two ladies riding in the car on this lengthy journey complained about the seat comfort. I thought I didn’t have much rear body padding, and the seats were just fine to me.

Ok, so the Malibu is “Plain Jane” styling but this is a fine, practical car for today with good gas mileage numbers and plenty of room and a great value. Bravo GM.

General Info:

Parts –  n/a

Assembly – Kansas City, KS – USA

Class:  – Mid-size

Cars: – Astro, Avalanche, Aveo, Blazer, Cavalier, Colorado, Corvette, Equinox, Express,    Express Cargo Van, Impala, Malibu, Malibu Maxx, Monte Carlo, S-10, Silverado    1500,2500,3500, SSR, Suburban, Tahoe, Tracker, Trail Blazer and Venture.

Over the river and through the woods to Brother John’s house for a retreat. John is not a monk or priest, and even further from the city which affords a little solitude… so I made the journey in the Chevrolet Malibu.

Below is a shot of early morning snow that blanketed the area over night. By the end of the day it was nearly Spring again. And a  day later it would be Summer.

As they say, if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.

Handling & Performance:

Hitting the road for a long trip is a great test of performance and comfort and Malibu passed the test easily. The V6 engine provides 200 hp that is all you need while providing very acceptable gas performance that is equally important. Gas prices have escalated by early 2004 to over $2.50 per gallon in the western US and 32-highway mpg was welcomed at the pump.


Plain Jane styling can be taken wrong and that’s not how it is meant. The lines are simple and clean and that’s a good thing. One of my favorite cars that I’ve owned over the years was a Malibu. It was not too grandiose for the Big 8 CPA firm I joined out of college but it afforded our family a perfect car for the time and place. With a new baby we had to be economy minded but we also wanted a stylish car as well. Chevrolet had always been a favorite of mine and that Malibu didn’t disappoint us.

Fit and Finish:

As good as ever for Chevrolet, and considering the price level of this car it is very good indeed.


All the bells and whistles you could expect for the money and more. It even included XM radio and the OnStar System.

You’ll also impress your friends with a very unique, first of its kind, remote vehicle start system. Unnecessary you say. That’s what I thought too, but for those in colder climates it is a very nice addition. From the comfort of your home push one button on the remote key fob and start the car. It warms up before you get in. Daughter Jen just bought an Acura TL at nearly twice the money and other than the Navigator system, it did precious little more than this Malibu and it surely didn’t have the remote start feature.


Outstanding value, in my humble opinion.

Consumer Recommendation:

Perhaps the most compelling reason to test-drive this car is the overwhelming value for such an “All Around” family sedan. It is the pick of the litter and a must see in your search for a good family automobile.

The Competition:

Chevrolet Malibu $19-23,000, Dodge Stratus $18-23,000, Subaru Impreza $20-31,000, Toyota Corolla $14-15,000, Pontiac Grand Am $17-23,000, Oldsmobile Alero $18-23,000, Honda Civic $13-21,000, Volkswagen Jetta $17-24,000.

Good News:

Very good gas performance, well priced, roomy and lots of conveniences for the money.

Bad News:

Questionably uncomfortable seats, but I’m not buying the complaint.

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter V6 engine, 4-speed automatic trans, electric variable steering, dual front air bags, anti-lock brake system with traction control, theft deterrent system, auto headlights, rear child latch system, power mirrors, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, power trunk release, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, AM/FM with CD player with 6 speakers, 6-way power driver seat, split folding rear seat, remote keyless entry with remote vehicle start system, power adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, driver info system, XM satellite radio upgrade with 100 channels.

Gas Stats:

23 City and 32 Highway MPG.


MSRP $22,990 as equipped.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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