Saddled with a car weighing more than 3000 pounds, its 144 horsepower delivers what's best described as casual acceleration. We think it was exactly the right decision. Standard in the Maxx are a pair of fixed skylights over the rear seating area, so rear-seat passengers can see clouds by day and stars by night. The electronically controlled steering is reasonably responsive, having overcome the spongy on-center feel and directional uncertainty in the technology's early years. It's decently up to date, with variable valve timing and the like. The seats are comfortable and the controls are logical and easy to use.
Malibu buyers get a choice of four-cylinder or 3. Controls on the center dash are conveniently backlit for night driving. Like all variable-assist systems, it provides the driver with more assistance at low speeds for parking maneuvers, with less power assistance at highway speeds for better steering feel. The rear of the sedan resembles the upright rears of European cars more than any of the Asian-branded competition. It's not included on the new, 2007 Suburban, an indication of the extent to which it flopped. Rear-seat passengers sit farther back in the Maxx and enjoy nearly identical room as the front-seat occupants and as much as the rear-seat riders in a full-size domestic sedan.
Chevrolet offers a factory-installed remote starter that allows the driver to start the engine from up to 200 feet away. Under the Hood A 144-hp, 2. There's a 12-volt power outlet way in the back in addition to the two up front that it shares with the sedan. Interior Features The Malibu looks as substantial inside as out. The car features a chrome front bar and a gold bow tie emblem. There are hooks for hanging plastic grocery bags. In addition to the four-door Malibu, an extended-length Malibu Maxx hatchback is offered; that model is listed separately in the cars.
It feels firmer than the Camry, but softer than the Accord, a good balance, in other words. Seeing as how the gear selection is all done electronically anyway, why not a secondary slot in the shift gate where a driver can actually move the lever to select a gear? A four-position shelf in back can be configured for two-tier loading or, with a drop-down leg, as a table for roadside picnics. Although fit and finish was otherwise good, with decent tolerances between pieces, panels and fabrics, we didn't feel the interior generally measured up to the craftsmanship of a Honda, a Toyota or today, a Hyundai. Yet in overall length the Maxx is a half-inch shorter than the sedan. Developers sought to give the new sedan a European flair in ride and handling qualities. On the upside, the system did hold the chosen gear all the way up to the engine speed limiter and against every effort to force a downshift.
Fold down Maxx's back seats and the available space expands to 41 cubic feet. Maxx is also a half-inch taller than the sedan. In short, the back seats of the Maxx are a comfortable place for adults. The cover for the driver's seat-mounted, side-impact airbag left gaps around the edges. And indeed, the Malibu shares its structure with the highly successful German Opel Vectra and the Swedish Saab 9-3, which provides a solid platform with the vital added benefit of good economies of scale. Summary The Chevrolet Malibu has a solid driving personality, a nice ride, a quiet, and a comfortable cabin.
Performance in these is even peppier yet, adding to the Malibu's overall promising lineup. The stereo and information system are a little less so, but still more readily understood than many others. With 101 cubic feet of interior space, the sedan is extremely roomy front and rear. Several plastic pieces showed flash where the sides of the mold had clamped together. A new four-spoke steering wheel is installed. Front seat-mounted, chest-protecting side-imp Walkaround Where the Malibu needs work is in the appearance department. The Malibu emphasizes civilized road manners, quality construction, and buttoned-down practicality wrapped in innocuous if not anonymous styling.
While the sedan is built on a 106-inch wheelbase, the Maxx rides on a wheelbase that's six inches longer, stretching to 112 inches. Safety Antilock brakes with traction control are standard on V-6-equipped models. Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. Space is ample and the seats are sufficiently comfortable. From the center post of its roof forward, the Maxx is identical to the sedan, including the updated front end. It also looked more substantial, giving the impression it's a more expensive car than it is. Similar options packages are available for the Maxx as for the sedan.
The Maxx has held up better, with its longer wheelbase and chopped off, rather stubby, but somehow sporty back end that, perhaps thankfully, none of the others has felt compelled to emulate. Otherwise, it's a convenient interior. Compared with its predecessor, the current version has a slightly wider stance. Again, more European than Asian, or even U. And the triangularly shaped outside mirrors are small, limiting rearward vision more than we liked. Chevrolet engineers deliberately tuned the Malibu's ride and handling to fall between Accord firmness and Camry and Sonata softness. The biggest problem with the Malibu's interior, whether sedan or Maxx, is its inconsistency.
The Maxx is a long-wheelbase variant, whose extended roofline and rear cargo hatch suggest a sporty wagon. Some interior parts are made from high quality materials, such as the soft rubber door handles, which reminded us of Volkswagen, the benchmark for interiors. Manufacturer Info Sources: 800-950-2438 -. Equally thankfully, the front end of the Malibu has been relieved of the chrome bar spanning the full-width of the car. Model Lineup The 2006 Chevrolet Malibu is available as a conventional four-door sedan, or as the longer-wheelbase Malibu Maxx. Developers sought to give the new sedan a European flair in ride and handling qualities. The sedan's freshness has faded, however, increasingly looking like a collection of styling cues and surface planes gathered from here and there but not all that well integrated.