Last week, you may recall me gushing over the turbocharged four-cylinder motor that’s buried under the bonnet of the handsomely sculpted Malibu. I warned then a few more long-term reports would likely emerge with me raving on about the 250bhp mill, such as this one.
It sure deserves credit because back in the day, front-wheel drive models from General Motors such as the huge Toronado and Eldorado may have had the firepower (on paper at least) to tear the wheels to shreds — but they were unable to do so because of their sombre automatic transmissions not to mention their elephant-like weight which made sure unrestrained wheel spin was habitually kept at bay. Generally speaking, FWD cars wouldn’t be your first choice should you wish to be immature and create clouds of smoke since they have more weight hanging over the driven axle — but the Malibu sure displays a zest for life when you give it the beans. There aren’t any histrionics, it just hunkers down and gets on with it. It’s a sensible family hauler with a naughty side. Just look at the glint in its headlights!
The Chevy has many ‘highs’ but I’ve been poking around for some ‘lows’ and have finally found a minor niggle. The volume knob on the centre console is rather stiff and its chrome ring doesn’t offer the most grip both of which conspire to make adjusting the sound a tad difficult. You can always use the buttons behind the steering wheel but every time I do I’m reminded of the Malibu’s lack of paddle shifters there.
If you want to manually work that turbo, it has a Plus/Minus button on the top of the gear lever — but this doesn’t feel nearly as engaging as the wheel/column mounted flickers would.