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Old 09-11-2007, 06:52 PM   #1
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Regretably I will be replacing my perfectly running Saturn (too low and tight getting in and out) with something hopefully as reliable and easy to tow...thinking about Malibu...how good are these cars and can you just hookup and tow without a bunch of hoops to jump thru? Other inexpensive choices? I have about a $5000 budget
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:52 PM   #2
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Regretably I will be replacing my perfectly running Saturn (too low and tight getting in and out) with something hopefully as reliable and easy to tow...thinking about Malibu...how good are these cars and can you just hookup and tow without a bunch of hoops to jump thru? Other inexpensive choices? I have about a $5000 budget
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:38 AM   #3
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The Malibu was redesigned for 2008, but I haven't heard if it will still be towable 4 down. Assuming it is, the new styling is quite nice. If I remember correctly, the old Malibu was easy to tow - hook up, pull a fuse, put it into neutral, and go.

We looked at a Malibu when we bought our new toad back in the fall of 2005 (2006 models). We liked the Malibu Maxx because of the access to the rear storage through the hatch back instead of the trunk, but the Maxx has been discontinued for 2008. The Malibu may not be as low as your Saturn, but it was definitely lower than the Saturn Vue we ended up with. Because of my wife's bad knees, she has trouble getting into vehicles that are too low or that have a high door sill. The Vue door sill is almost flat whereas you had to lift your feet over several inches of door sill on the Malibu. The old Malibu, however, seemed fairly roomy. I think the new Malibu is supposed to be a little bigger than the old one.

The Saturn Vue has also been redesigned for 2008 with (I think) a new engine/transmission to replace the V6 they got from Honda. I haven't heard whether or not this new transmission is towable 4 down.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:59 PM   #4
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I am presently towing a Malibu and have been for 5 years now. Nothing could be easier to tow, pull 4 fuses, put in neutral and go. It tracks beautifully, better than the Saturn I had before. I traded the Saturn for the same reasons, could not get in and out comfortably. The Malibu will not give you as good mileage as the Saturn, but it is more comfortable and much more power. I have 70,000 on it and not the first problem. The weight is not that much more, my coach does not know it is back there.
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:58 AM   #5
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I've towed a 2000 Mailbu for 5 years. Currently we share toad duties between the Malibu and a CRV. In my opinion, the Malibu is one of the easiest vehicles with an automatic transmission to tow. The Malibu has 110,000 driving miles and has been towed around 25,000 miles more.

Since the early Malibus have no steering wheel lock and a removeable interlock between the gearshift and ignition key, by removing the interlock you can tow without a key in the ignition.

Simply hitch the toad up, turn it off and put the key in your pocket and put the gearshift in neutral. WIth the key in the off position, there is no need to pull any fuses, and the car is secure.
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:12 AM   #6
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we got the 2005 malibu maxx and it is easy to go, key to accessory, shift to neutral, pull 1 fuse and tow. easy to get into and out of.
with a budget of $5000. you will be able to get a used one with your trade in. mine was 24000 new but i have seen used ones advertised for 12000. the LT version is better than LS.
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Old 09-13-2007, 03:46 PM   #7
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JOE K. Is this interlock something anyone can remove or disable. This sounds like it would be a great asset in towing. I must agree with you 100% on the Malibu being a great toad. After 5 years of towing, I took it to a front end alighnment shop to have the alighnment checked. It was right on the money yet.
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Old 09-14-2007, 05:17 PM   #8
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Homer,

You can easily disconnect the key/gearshift interlock. I've done ours as well as a couple others. First, I should mention to be careful once it's done as you can shift the car from park to neutral without the key.

To disconnect the interlock you must remove the black plastic bezel that surrounds the gear shift lever on the console. Use a thin bladed screwdriver to gently pry up on the bezel all the way around and it will easily snap off and lift over the gearshift handle.

Once you remove the bezel, look down on the drivers side of the gearshift and you'll see a thin steel cable that resembles a bicycle brake cable. If you turn the ignition a couple times while pressing the gear shift button on the gearshift, you'll see how the ignition switch pulls the cable and unlocks the gearshift.

To defeat the interlock snap the plastic clip that is attached to the steel cable off of the linkage connected to the gearshift. Once you disconnect the cable, you've disconnected the interlock.

Joe
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Old 09-14-2007, 05:37 PM   #9
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I'd suggest a used Chevy Tracker or Suzuki Grand Vitara - the SUV style will be much easier to get in/out of than a small sedan like the Malibu. And no fuses to pull either (4WD - out it in neutral and go). Honda CRV would be another good choice - no fuses to fool with there either. A used Honda Civic or Accord would also be a fine choice if you want a sedan instead of an SUV.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:49 AM   #10
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I have a 2006 Malibu Max LT I bought used for a little over $12K. Drove it to Montana from Texas last month and got between 33 to 36 mpg. I traded my old jeep in on it and so far no regrets. I think it tows better than my jeep. I wired in a fused bypass circuit for the ignition fuse so I just put the key in ACC and flip the switch.

I use a Road Master Tow Bracket, US Gear Tow Break, and wired in my lights myself.

The only problems I've had is the Tie Rods required replacement at 32K miles and the ignition switch needed to be replaced as it was real sloppy.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:02 PM   #11
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Maybe you folks could help me.I am going to tow an 06 Maxx. The manual says to remove one fuse the Ignition Sensor (2amp). Upon doing this I was stillable to start the car. I thought the ignition would be disabled.Do you know what is affected by the removal of this particular fuse?
Thanks
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Old 01-30-2008, 06:37 AM   #12
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Tony, I have an '07 HHR which states to disable Fuse #8 for towing. This fuse controls accessory electrical components when in the key is in the ACC position.

The car will still start with this fuse disabled, but the radio will not work and a couple other electrical accessories, including the ability to move the gear shift from 'park'. Must be controlled by this fuse also.

PS I installed a fuse switch, which makes this task simple.
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Old 01-30-2008, 10:15 AM   #13
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Thanks for the prompt reply. On my old Malibu one of the 3 fuses disconnected the ignition completely. Now that I know I've got the right fuse removed i will install a switch.
Thanks again
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:17 PM   #14
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Take a look at the Chevy HHR 2006, 2007 and 2008. The 06 HHR came out mid 2005.
Tows 4 down and need only pull one fuse. If you are looking for something used the first HHR's should be available at a very reasonable price.

On our HHR we especially like the height of the seats off the floor and the height of the roof line makes it is easy to get in and get out of, not like the Sunfire that is so low you have to fall into it and climb out of. This is the reason we traded our 2005 Sunfire for our new 2008 HHR.

As we get older comfort and ease of operation is important.

The Malibu is a great choice also.
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