-One of the rear seat reading lights was broken when we bought the car.
-The passenger side sun visor had to be replaced as a spring in the vanity mirror cover had popped out.
-There was a noticeable dashboard rattle that was resolved quickly by the dealer.
All of these items were covered by the remaining 39-month/39,000-mile warranty (GM Certified pre-owned).
This is a very impressive car for the money. We looked at a 2004 Honda Accord at the same dealer with twice as many miles on it that was $3,000 more! While I will admit that the Honda is the superior car, there is not such a huge difference in quality anymore, and the Malibu does offer more flavor for the buck. This Malibu had a clean Carfax report and was GM certified.
The performance is good, even though this is not the most polished powertrain in the world. It does get very good fuel economy, though (28 MPG average). The engine has good power, but can be a little thrashy when revved. The transmission shifts well and has that "feel" that it will probably last the life of the car with proper servicing. The LTZ suspension makes the car handle better than the base Malibu and it soaks up road imperfections without noise or "floatiness."
The fit and finish are much better than any other GM car I can remember. It's still not up to the levels of Honda, but it also costs considerably less. My only real complaint with the car is that the doors swing shut way too easily and will crush your leg. I am used to my BMW, where the doors would NEVER crush your legs.
This car has a more distinctive look than most other cars in this class. The spoiler is done just right, the lines on the car flow beautifully from front to rear; and I usually do not like chrome wheels, but they look quite good on this car. I highly recommend getting an LT or LTZ as they are very nicely trimmed with heated leather/suede seats, chrome gauge rings, and fog lights. The back seat is incredible! Very roomy and fits two perfectly! The trunk is the biggest I have ever seen on a mid-size car.