• May 1st 2008 at 4:07PM
  • 7
Chevrolet recently launched a four cylinder version of their mid-sized Malibu sedan which is combined with a six speed automatic transmission. The six speed unit is only offered in the top LTZ model for now and replaces the four speed that's offered in the LT and LS versions. GM is still ramping up production of the six speed and will expand availability as volumes go up. In the meantime, Jim McCraw had a chance to take a road trip in the new 6 speed LTZ model which performed quite well.

McCraw went 500 miles from Detroit to Gary Indiana and back along US 12 which is a mix of cruising and stop and go and managed nearly 30mpg. The LTZ comes equipped with a wide array of standard equipment like heated leather seats, steering wheel mounted audio controls, and pretty much everything else available. It's not a bad deal at $26,545. The four banger's 169hp isn't going to excite enthusiasts but it's enough to haul a mid-size car around without straining. Interestingly that 30mpg on the road is better than the 26.5mpg I managed with the Saturn Aura Hybrid last year which is built on the same platform.

[Source: Popular Mechanics]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Great news for Malibu buyers! Nice to see GM doing what it needs to sell the best cars it is currently making.

      As for big cars as 30mpg, my 3.9l '06 Impala with a 4 speed has averaged 32mpg over a 360 mile trip with 5 people on board. Average speed was about 62mph and that is in the hilly highways of upstate NY. On a nice flat ground, I am sure it would do better. Cruise control and patience is all that is needed.

      For an average driver, the same car gets 20mpg around town. Carefully driven, it can get 30mpg with lots of grumpy people behind me. Keeping all 240bhp at bay is the only way to manage such a feat. A 50% decrease in consumption is something everyone can manage if they don't mash the gas pedal.

      Slow starts really save money, plain and simple.
      • 7 Years Ago
      My 2007 Chevy Malibu LT with a 4-speed automatic and a 2.2L 4 CYL gets 35 mpg on level ground at 65 mph (summer fuel).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Fuel-economy wise, I'm not sure what the big deal is here- 30MPG is mostly the rule, not the exception, in midsize 4-cylinder sedans. I've got 30MPG or more out bigger Chevy Impalas with the V6 during business trips and I consistently get 30-32MPG out of my 2003 Honda Accord 4-cylinder.
      • 7 Years Ago

      I would like to say however, that I own a Saturn Aura Hybrid and have driven it over 18000 miles. The lifetime fuel efficiency has been 36.1 MPG on all 18000 miles. That's a far cry better than the 26.5 that you got. Did you accidently leave the parking break on?
      • 7 Years Ago
      30 mpg is very good for such a large car, but your mix of stop-and-go and highway is vague. Is it 70/30 or 40/60?

      I'm impressed by the first commenters AURA Hybrid figures. So much of this depends on the driver behavior even if the same routes are followed.

      But, I have to continually toot Saab's horn though. I drove my mom's 2004 9-3 2.0 t with 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, (5 spd auto) averages 28.5 mpg and I recently got 35.5 mpg on an all-highway trip. My manual 9-3 SportCombi 210 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque , (5-spd manual), averages 28 mpg. Keep in mind that the wagon uses 17" all-season performance tires or snow tires, and can carry tons of stuff/ With the turbos, both cars are fun to drive. If I went to lower rolling resistance tires and lowered the cars a bit, I'm betting I could improve these F.E. figures by half an mpg or so.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Honestly, 169HP, a car that size, that quality, that price and 30mpg, this is a killer. It should move a lot of units, if people find out about it.

      Once the 6-speed goes down ever farther to the lower end models it'll be a slam dunk for the economy-minded driver.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yeah for modern transmissions!
      Did GM fill it up with premium fuel?


      So, Toyota what about the new 2.7 I4 & 6 speed auto from the Venza for the Camry?

      Shorter axle ratio for the Hyundai Sonata? (please for the SE model!)

      Will the Accord improve after 'break in'?

      Will Cerberus-Chrysler install the CVT in the Avenger/Sebring?
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