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2004 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan

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Starting at | Starting at 24 MPG City - 34 MPG Highway

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  • $18,770 original MSRP
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2004 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan

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2004 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan

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2004 Chevrolet Malibu

Source: MSN Autos

Chevrolet officials must have had winter's bitingly cold winds and low temperatures in mind when they re-engineered and redesigned the Chevy Malibu.

Why else would they make the new 2004 Malibu the only auto in the midsize sedan market that can be fitted at the factory with a remote vehicle starter, allowing a driver to start the car—and, most importantly, the car's heater—without climbing inside the frigid interior?

OK, maybe they were thinking of the 100-plus-degree heat of the desert Southwest or the high humidity of a Florida summer.

Anyone facing these weather extremes, it seems, can appreciate the Malibu's handy remote feature which allows a driver to activate the vehicle starter, with the car's doors remaining locked to prevent theft, from as far away as 200 feet.

This remote starting feature, a $150 option that's normally available only as an aftermarket purchase, is just one of the changes that make the 2004 Malibu worth a look for family car shoppers.

The Malibu rides on a new, improved platform for a better ride and has sedan styling that would be expected from the popular Japanese family sedans such as Toyota Camry and Honda Accord—not from expressive Chevrolet.

The '04 Malibu also includes a comfortable, five-passenger interior with standard driver-seat power height adjustment and a standard tilt and telescoping steering wheel.

There's a good choice of other features, too, that include optional OnStar emergency notification system, optional XM satellite radio and power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals for proper driver positioning behind the wheel.

Starting manufacturer's suggested retail prices at introduction of between $18,300 and $23,000 put this extensively revamped model squarely in the heart of the family sedan competition.

Strong sounds and power from V6
The test Malibu was the top-of-the-line LT sedan whose price tag was more than $25,700 with options and destination charge included.

It had the top engine—a 200-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 whose design uses overhead valves rather than the more modern dual overhead cam technology of the smooth-running and quiet Accord and Camry.

Still, the test Malibu with four-speed automatic transmission ran quite smoothly, with satisfying engine sounds easily heard inside the vehicle accompanied by good power that got me merged into traffic without a hiccup. Torque is 220 lb-ft at 3200 rpm.

Note the Malibu isn't the power leader in the segment, but the new V6 is way ahead of the 170-horse V6 with 190 lb-ft of torque that was in last year's Malibu.

Meantime, Toyota's Camry in 2004 offers twoV6s for the first time: A 210-horse 3.0-liter V6 with 220 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm, and a 225-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 with 240 lb-ft of torque. The Accord's top 3.0-liter V6 generates a maximum 240 horsepower and 212 lb-ft at 5000 rpm.

I averaged 26.1 miles a gallon in mostly highway driving in the Malibu test car. But the V6 Malibu's official government fuel economy rating is 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, which is higher than the top-V6 Accord and Camry.

Base engine for the '04 Malibu is a 2.2-liter Ecotec four cylinder that's capable of 155 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm. The 2003 Malibu didn't offer a four banger at all.

Better ride
Auto writers are making much of the fact the new Malibu uses a version of the auto platform that's in the European-tuned Opel Vectra and Saab 9-3. (Chevy's parent company, General Motors Corp., operates Opel in Europe and controls Swedish automaker Saab.)

Don't expect the '04 Malibu to ride like a sporty German car or a Saab. It doesn't.

The front-wheel-drive Malibu test car had a supple ride, with the suspension working well to absorb and manage many road bumps and control body roll and dive.

Sure, I felt road imperfections as I traveled. It was a mostly mild sensation of rolling over uneven pavement, and there was no harshness, even when the Malibu made a "cha-chunk" sound as a wheel rolled into and out of an occasional sunken manhole cover.

Overall, the car conveyed a sense of control and comfort with nary an artificial, cushioned feel. I didn't need a long spell behind the Malibu steering wheel to get accustomed to the car's on-road mannerisms.

The front suspension is independent MacPherson strut, while the rear is an independent, four-link design.

The test car had 16-inch Bridgestone tires that didn't convey a lot of road noise—unless I put pedal to the metal right from a stop. Then, the tires could be made to squeal and I felt a short tug of torque steer before electronic traction control took over and put a stop to this power play.

At highway speeds, there was scarcely any wind noise in the rather plain, yet pleasantly styled Malibu.

New safety efforts
The previous Malibu wasn't competitive in safety crash test ratings of midsize sedans. In fact, there wasn't a single five-star rating for the 2003 Malibu in any of the tests—frontal or side.

Competitors like the Accord sedan and Camry had some five-star ratings, so among the updates to the Malibu, Chevy engineers added high-strength steel in strategic areas. Head curtain airbags are available for the first time, too.

At this writing, the federal government had not released crash ratings for the 2004 Malibu.

Interior a surprise
The '04 Malibu's dashboard and gauge are straightforward and nicely arranged.

I appreciated that buttons and knobs are good-sized, so even gloved hands in winter can operate things without much fuss. A knob to tune the radio manually was an especially nice addition.

I also liked the attention to detail. The Malibu's ignition keyhole is in plain view on the dashboard, not hidden on the side of the steering column. Below the keyhole, a piece of black rubber keeps keys from banging and marring the Malibu's decorative, matte dashboard trim.

Check out the ceiling material. It's textured and upscale, the kind you might expect in a ritzier car.

I enjoyed the suede-like material that was in the middle of the test car's seats. My, how quickly the front-seat heaters could work in winter to warm driver and front-passenger behinds.

Notice how generous the Malibu's rear-seat cushion is. When I sat back there, the cushion extended all the way to the back of my knees to provide good support.

Rear doors and rear-door windows are good-sized, too.

There's a lot more functionality to this Malibu sedan than what people realize. For example, the rear seatbacks fold down. So does the front passenger seatback. This means a really long item can be stuffed through the trunk, over a rear seatback and come to rest on top of the hard plastic back of the front passenger seat.

Try doing that in an Accord sedan.

Printable Version

2004 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front n/a
Side Impact Crash Test - Rear n/a

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt
Traction/Stability Control Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Opt

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Telematics Opt
Printable Version

2004 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Corrosion 6 Years/100,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Chevrolet Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

2-Year/24,000-Mile1 CPO Scheduled Maintenance Plan.

12-Month/12,000-Mile2 Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty.

5-year/100,000-Mile3 Powertrain Limited Warranty.

1Covers only scheduled oil changes with filter, tire rotations and 27 point inspections, according to your vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule for up to 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Does not include air filters. Maximum of 4 service events. See participating dealer for other restrictions and complete details.

2Whichever comes first from date of purchase. See participating dealer for limited warranty details.

3Whichever comes first from original in-service date. See participating dealers for limited warranty details.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2009-2014 model year / Under 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 172-Point Vehicle Inspection and Reconditioning
Download checklist
Return/Exchange Program 3-Day 150-Mile Satisfaction Guarantee
Roadside Assistance Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2004 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan

Data on this page may have come in part, or entirely, from one or more of the following providers.

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