My 04 Malibu was a total piece of junk by 7000 miles. By the time GM bought it back with 18000 miles, it had the steering shaft replaced three times, along with two sets of brake pads. My replacement 04 Impala has been a dream.
I love it how some people that own Hondas and Toyotas automatically assume that everyone is jealous of them, especially if someone has anything negative to say about one they had, or one that somebody else had. Newsflash for the owners that are in denial, Honda and Toyota have their lemons also, and the chinks in the armor are really starting to show through these days. And don't tell me "Yeah, but they have much less problems than the domestics" that argument doesn't fly either. Besides, the 2004 Malibu was a completely different car than the one that came before it (which I agree were total junk), and while there were some lemons in the first year, (the above comment is a good example) overall, most who have bought the newer model are satisfied.
I own a 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, with which the next-to-last (2000 or so) generation Malibu shares a basic platform (3.1L engine, wheelbase, etc.). It had not a single problem until 85,000 miles, and runs strong today approaching 106,000. Obviously, the GM midsize sedan platform is seriously flawed. Any good, self-respecting automobile in this day and age should know well enough to suck before the 85,000 mark.
To the Honda enthusiasts: Show me one of your new Accords with no problems before 85k miles, then post ridiculous comments. Until then, keep your domestic-bashing to the Honda pages. And don't forget to read my unrefined 92 Cutlass Supreme review. It's the one titled "Beats Accord, Hands down." You can hate me there.
If you look at any car company's history they all had good and bad models/years. How about an early 80's Camry. Remember the Pony? Show me your 1982 Honda/Toyota/Mazda or any other japanese car and then drive my two early 80's GM vehicles. The GMs will put those things to shame.
Recently I drove an Accord along with many other japanese cars before buying a 05 Malibu. The Honda dealership had their heads so far up their a**es it completely turned me off. I now refuse to buy a Honda...EVER. I made the decision to buy what I did based on research on many factors such as safety, features, value, dealership reputation, looks, comfort, driveability, etc. In the end, there was no match for the Malibu. The Accords didn't cut it at any price, Camrys are overpriced and besides, I didn't want to drive the same car as most everyone else on the road. I like to be a little unique at least!
Cars are simply cars, they are all a crap shoot when purchased new or almost new. GM has had some amazing models over the years, and some bad ones just like anyone else. It's not out of the question that they may have another outstanding design and many new Malibu owners feel that may be true. I've owned enough cars and have an open enough mind to know that this car is built very well.
I am in total agreement about cars being a crap shoot. You can probably even find a brand-new problematic Corolla.
I also agree that Hondas are overrated, and practically everyone that talks about how great their Accord is drives one from the early 90's. I drive a 1996 Oldsmobile Ciera which currently has 181,000 miles and has had only an oxygen sensor and radiator replaced. Every electrical and mechanical system works flawlessly.
Yeah, if you ignore all the JD Power surveys, Consumer Reports ratings (which come from OWNERS), and the reviews here American cars are the best in the world.
And what are you defining as American? Your sister's Civic was built in America by Americans, sold in America by Americans, and bought by an American.
The Malibu may be assembled in Kansas, but the reality is a lot of its parts are not American in origin. In fact, even its design has European, not American, roots.
And GM was almost bought by the French and may still be bought by some foreign entity.
As far as consumer reports go... they are extremely biased and even once have admitted to a biased review. They are not done by people that have driven the car they are done by analysts of the cars themselves. Did you know that Honda and Toyota lie about their HP and TORQUE because they rate their readings at the flywheel and not the wheels.
Agreed 100%, Honda & Toyota ARE the REAL American manufacturers these days. If you want to see your money go to Mexico, Canada, or France instead of the USA, buy a GM. Otherwise if you'd rather have quality, dependability, and a true American car you can have pride in, buy a Honda or Toyota. I also read CR, and go by their recommendation.