Malibu vs. Avenger

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Thread: Malibu vs. Avenger

  1. #1
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    Malibu vs. Avenger

    So yesterday we went shopping for a used car for my son. Our criteria were 3 year or less, 40k miles or less, mid-size sedan. Based on price, really only two cars were competitive - Chevy Malibu and Dodge Avenger. Toyota, Honda and Ford of similar age / mileage are at least $2-3k more expensive than Chevy and Dodge.

    We did test drives of two Malibus and two Avengers. All were 2011-2012 year models, and anywhere between 29k and 37k miles. So I consider them very comparable in terms of age and mileage.

    My initial expectation was that the Malibus will be more solid / show less wear than the Avengers based on comments from friends who had both Chevy and Chrysler vehicles. Well, it turned out quite the opposite. Both Avengers felt rock solid, with no "knocks" and rattles in suspension, steering and interior. They basically felt like new cars. On the other hand, both Malibus felt as if they had >100k on the clock. The interiors were visibly worn, many plastic parts were loose, and the dashboard rattled with every bump / pothole. Both front and rear suspension sounded as if they were completely worn out, knocking hard on every bump on the road. And the steering felt loose, there was noticeable "play" in the steering wheel, and I could feel hard "knocks" on the steering wheel while going over uneven surfaces.

    Given, the Malibu looks much more elegant than the Avenger, and the interior is more refined. But the quality / durability leaves a lot to desire. If this was only one sample I would blame it on the previous owner, but both Malibus felt the same way, just as did both Avengers. The Avenger also has more trunk space and better rear seat comfort, so we opted for a Dodge.

    Very disappointed with the Chevy. We did not test drive other cars, but had a close look at least 15 cars from different brands / manufacturers. The Malibus appear to age much faster than any other mid-size sedan we had a closer look at (Dodge, Ford, Toyota, ...), maybe only with exception of Nissan Altima which "competes" with the Malibu in terms of cheap, not durable interiors.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Malibu vs. Avenger

    Were all of them ex-daily rentals?

    You drove the vehicles, I didn't. Hope you paid a great deal less for the Avenger. The value drops like a rock.

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    Re: Malibu vs. Avenger

    Very weird. My dad bought his Malibu Oct of 2009 and now has around 134k miles on it. Apart from regular wear and tear, it still drives very silent. He has the four banger.
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    Re: Malibu vs. Avenger

    We had both cars. Our last 2 mid sized cars were a 2009 Malibu and a 2011 Avenger.

    I liked the Avenger better. Bottom line for us: The Malibu has a slightly higher seating position and was more comfortable.

    If you are looking at the 4 cylinder, I'd lean toward the Malibu. The 4cyl in the Avenger is noisy and not too smooth.

    If you are getting a 6, I'd go with the Avenger for sure. Power/performance between them were about the same, but the Dodge 3.6 was smoother AND got a few better mpgs.

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    Re: Malibu vs. Avenger

    Strange about the Malibu, especially 2011 and 12's which I have spent a great deal of time in for rental use. They have been fairly solid and rattle free, the 2.4 is quieter than the Avenger 2.4 and the Bu's engine feels a tad peppier due mainly in the 6 speed vs Dodges old 4 speed. The Bu also has a bit more front seat space and my left leg is smashed up against the Avenger's door but sits with room to spare in the Bu. I agree the Chevy has a near useless trunk as I can barely fit more than two upright vacuum cleaners in there as I do that as a side, second job and need a big trunk for that reason. The Bu's V6 is a tad slower than the Avenger and uses more fuel so the Avenger wins on that accord. Also I agree with your assessment on Chrysler's much improved quality control from 2011 onward as evidenced by solid rattle free examples I have driven.

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    Re: Malibu vs. Avenger

    Never been in an Avenger but have owned an '08 Malibu LT2. I do like the V6 in the Malibu, nice get up and go, but I agree it is slightly thirsty. I usually averaged between 22 and 26 with mine. The interior does seem to show signs of wear at an early age. Mine had 49,000 miles on it when I traded it in and the wear didn't look like that of a 49,000 mile vehicle. I didn't experience the creaks and squeaks, but did notice the ride became harsher with age. Also the way the front cockpit is designed, there isn't that much leg room from side to side. My knee would always hit the console and it became a nagging thing the longer I owned the car. Had a few nagging issues with the car as well (radio went out conveniently after the bumper to bumper warranty expired, replaced the fuel tank sensor twice, cabin lights burned out rather early on the car). All in all it was a decent car, but it had enough drawbacks to where I didn't want to buy another Malibu.
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    Re: Malibu vs. Avenger

    Much to the contrary, I bought a 2011 1LT brand new. Now 3 yrs. old and 37,500 miles later only one problem, a steering wheel that the surface finish was wearing out on. Dealer replaced under warranty at about 34,000 miles. This car is still rock solid and completely rattle/shimmy free. Everything still works as it should too. It helps to take care of things as well. It makes me wonder what the selection of Malibu's was like and how broad of an area got checked out. One has to be selective as there is a lot of crap out there used. The ones I see showing up here used are pretty decent specimens, so it all depends on what the dealers are putting on their lots.

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