Car repair: arrrgh, Chevy Malibu: Yummm!

Land Rover LR3 | HDRMy Land Rover LR3 is in the shop for repair for a computer crashing problem (yes, oh the irony of that). Basically after driving awhile and perhaps tapping on the brakes all the idiot lights come on at once – transmission fault, brake fault and suspension fault. The suspension fault is actually the most worrisome. The LR3 suspension is a modern miracle. But when the computer is crashed the ride in the LR3 goes from “Modern Luxury Vehicle” down to “62 Rambler with no shock absorbers”. So at first they thought it was my old battery so they replaced it. But when I went to pick it up I didn’t get even a mile away from the dealership before the computer crashed. So I took it back in. Now they are saying that its the compressor for the suspension that’s gone bad. That’s a warranty service so while I’m annoyed that I’m losing my vehicle for another couple of days at least its not costing anything.

But it should be done by now. I called my service writer there this morning and, lo and behold, “she is no longer with us”. I hope that means she was layed off or something! So I left a message with the sole remaining service writer there in order to find out what is going on. I suspect that replacing the compressor, which may or may not have been needed, is NOT going to fix the problem. This is the problem with computer hardware glitches in general. ¬†For some reason people find it hard to believe that the computer hardware can be acting up. Its oh so much easier to blame the software (heh heh… said the computer programmer).

Except for the pausity of progress reports, Land Rover’s customer service is quite good. This particular dealership shoulders the extra (and enormous) burden of also being a Jaguar dealer. My LR3 floats in a veritable sea of misbehaving Jaguars when I take it in there. So I cut them some slack. And they are happy to give me a rental car from Enterprise whenever they keep the rover for an extended period. Today’s car is a Chevy Malibu.

2008 Chevrolet MalibuGazing at the car from a ways away I initially thought they might be giving me a Lexus. But soon I saw the Chevy logo on the front and that dispelled that notion. The Mailbu is a good looking car from the outside – a sleek sedan with the classic looks. Inside we are looking at something a lot more basic that a Lexus or a Mercedes. But the seats are very comfortable, the stereo decent and the ride to this non-car-guy is as smooth and luxurious as any Lexus or Mercedes. Thousands upon thousands of dollars less, of course. The only unfortunate thing about the Malibu is that the engine sounds anemic and squirelly when at high revs. The engine certainly has plenty of pep but it definately needs some throaty near-subsonic bass tones when you are pouncing on the gas pedal to make it feel even more like one of those other super expensive luxury cars.

Unfortunately I will never be able to buy one, it turns out. My Detroit-born wife with her storied family history in the car business with Chrysler and yes, even Chevrolet, considers the Chevy to just be too boring to even warrant our consideration. So all I can do is just wistfully enjoy my rental while I have it. Linda makes all the car decisions in the family.

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