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.