The little brother to Chevy’s other midsize, the 2011 Malibu LS enjoys a six-speed automatic transmission – two cogs better than the Impala – but starts with a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine. Front bucket seats are covered in cloth, and the driver gets power height adjustment as well as lumbar. Power windows, mirrors, and door locks are all included across the trim lineup, as well as remote keyless entry. The steering wheel is a tilt and telescoping unit for further comfort control. Air conditioning and one year of OnStar are standard, as well as cruise control and a satellite-ready CD and MP3 player with digital media connection. Headlights are automatic and join traction control, antiskid, six standard airbags, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, and daytime running lights to finish off its list of safety features.
Added features for the 2011 Chevrolet Malibu LT trim are sparse here, as moving that second letter one step down the alphabet from the LS trim gets you 17-inch alloy wheels, floormats, and auxiliary controls for the satellite-ready CD and MP3 player on the tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Otherwise the two trims are virtually indistinguishable with the same powertrain setup of a 2.4-liter engine coupled with a six-speed automatic. Traction control and antiskid are included as well. There are power windows, doors, mirrors, and remote keyless entry. Front bucket seats are cloth, and the driver enjoys lumbar and power height adjustment. Cruise control and automatic headlights are also standard, and further safety features include daytime running lights, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, and six airbags.
Adding luxury while still leaving room for a further trim level upgrade is tricky business. Making a steering wheel leather-wrapped while leaving the seats cloth is just one of those tricks, but here the front buckets get heat as well, and the driver even enjoys 6-way power. Who needs leather upholstery? You’ll also get Bluetooth added to the satellite-ready CD and MP3 player, which has secondary controls on the tilt and telescoping steering wheel. Remote engine start is added at the LT2 level to join remote keyless entry and power windows, mirrors, and door locks. There’s an automatic rear-view and illuminated visor mirrors, but for a real touch of style, look to the chrome alloy wheels you’ll be rolling on, which hide four-wheel antilock disc brakes. Cruise control and automatic headlights make things more convenient for the driver, and antiskid and traction control regulate power from the base 2.4-liter or optional 252-hp, 3.6-liter V6. Either is mated to a six-speed automatic. Safety is handled by six airbags, daytime running lights, and a theft-deterrent system.
When nothing but the best will do (in a Chevy Malibu), the LTZ is where you’ll end up. Leather dominates the cabin, covering the tilt and telescoping steering wheel as well as the front power heated bucket seats. The mirrors get heat and power as well, and the LTZ trim also adds a manual rear sunshade. But there’s power to be had with the doors and windows, as well as remote start and entry. The stereo is upgraded to a Bose unit here and adds an iPod adapter. There’s also a 110-volt outlet and automatic climate controls. You’ll lose the flashy chrome rims, but find 18-inch alloys in their place. Foglights join the daytime running and automatic headlights, and just to make sure you’re really not in the dark, there are illuminated visor shades and an automatic rear-view. The LTZ comes with the option of a 2.4-liter inline four or a 3.6-liter V6 engine, both mated to a six-speed automatic. You’ll get cruise and traction control, antiskid, and four-wheel antilock brakes. A theft-deterrent system is also included, as well as six airbags.