Chevy Malibu LTZ Challenges Toyota Camry LE

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GM has been gearing up to boost consumer confidence in the past few years with its campaign slogan “May the Best Car Win” as the car guide for new consumers in the family car market. The ad was very effective in that it extends the 60-day satisfaction guarantee.  Its ad campaign also dare to challenge Toyota’s bread and butter Camry at point blank.  The Toyota Camry has an already established reputation of being a reliable and economic car.  But the Chevy Malibu’s reputation is also getting up there, just not way up there yet.  So what are the selling points for the Malibu to dare take on this challenge?

Let’s us run a few numbers.  First off from the ad campaign by GM.

2010 Toyota Camry Le 2010 Chevy Malibu LTZ
Hwy Mpg: 32 33
Frontal Crash Test: 5 stars 5 stars
Automatic Crash Response: Not available one-year standard with OnStar
Turn-by-Turn Navigation: optionalPowertrain Warranty: 60k miles/5 years one-year standard with OnStar100k miles/5 years

As you can see the selling points for the Chevy Malibu LTZ are pretty weak (Onstar and more Onstar…) to go against an already established player.  When it comes to powertrain warranty, 60k miles and 100k miles are basically the same due to the advance in manufacturing technology, the engine and transmission can go up to 180k miles without any problems (provided that you do regular maintenance such as oil change).

Now let’s look at the additional data that I’ve gathered.

2010 Toyota Camry Le 2010 Chevy Malibu LTZ
MSRP Price: $24,565 $26,605
City mpg: 19 22
Engine: 3.5L v6 2.4L 4 cylinders ( with optional v6)
Seat type: cloth leather
Wheels: 17-inch alloy 18-inch alloy

Camry wins in this table because of two major items: the V6 engine and lower MSRP price than Chevy Malibu.

Let’s look at the Pros and Cons:

Pros Cons
Toyota Camy LE Roomy cabin, refined fuel-efficient V6,quiet and comfortable ride, scored excellent in crash tests Fit and finish are not spotty,too tamed in handling
Chevy Malibu TLZ Good fuel economy in 4-cyl engine, excellent ridequality and handling balance, comfortable seat,high crash test scores Small seat space, cabin materials and construction are subpar

I would say a tie here .

Verdict

And the winner is………………Toyota Camry LE as the car guide for consumers.  Chevy Malibu is still catching up to the Toyota Camry.  To take on this challenge would require the Chevy Malibu to develop a reliable and dependable reputation, and we all know too well that reputation takes time to build.  The Chevy Malibu’s image just got changed a few years ago to being a better car, it has the potential to become Chevy’s bread and butter.  My first impression of the Chevy Malibu last year’s design was “Wow”, and so did my friend who saw it with me.  At first glance, I thought it was some sort of  a cross between the Honda Accord and Camry.  I always had an image of the Chevy Malibu of being a car for people in their 50’s, but the new design really washed that image off my head.

All and all, the Chevy Malibu has the potential to become a great family car.   With a few more years of driving experience and refinement, the Chevy Malibu may have a good shot of taking on the Camry Le or Honda Accord.