Chevrolet turns up the heat in the Malibu for 2006, introducing the SS-badged Malibu and Malibu Maxx with a new 3.9L V-6 with variable valve timing, unique interior and exterior appointments, sport-tuned suspensions, and 18-inch flangeless wheels. All other 2006 Malibu and Malibu Maxx models feature a new front-end appearance with a sleek, dual-port grille design. LS, LT, and LTZ models feature horizontal grilles with chrome trim surrounds, while Malibu SS and Malibu Maxx SS models feature grilles with a crosshatch pattern and platinum-look surrounds. Also, all Malibu and Malibu Maxx models receive body-color side moldings for a more integrated and upscale appearance.
Originally introduced in 1964, the Malibu was marketed as a family sedan but quickly joined the muscle car ranks. Surviving through various iterations, today's Malibu is offered as a sedan and an extended five-door version, dubbed the Maxx. Both Malibu and Malibu Maxx are available in four trim levels: base LS, uplevel LT, premium LTZ, and sporty SS. The Malibu LS and LT models are powered by a 2.5L DOHC inline-four cylinder engine, producing 144 hp. The Malibu LTZ and Malibu Maxx LS, LT, and LTZ trims receive a 3.5L, 201-hp V-6, while SS models get a 3.9L V-6 with variable valve timing that generates 240 hp. All Malibu powertrains are mated to a four-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels.
Designed with safety in mind, Malibu and Malibu Maxx feature dual-stage front air bags; head curtain front, rear and side-impact air bags (with front seat-mounted thorax side-impact air bags standard on LTZ and SS models and available on all other models); three-point safety belts for all occupants; and standard four-wheel anti-lock brakes with traction control on vehicles equipped with V-6 engines and optional on four-cylinder models.
Standard equipment includes daytime running lamps, electric power steering, cruise control, rear window defogger, power programmable door locks, driver information center, dual auxiliary power outlets (three in Malibu Maxx), remote keyless entry, remote vehicle starter (not available on Malibu LS and optional on LT), a vehicle theft deterrent system, power adjustable pedals (not available on Malibu LS and optional on LT) a rear DVD entertainment system for Maxx models, and adjustable lumbar support for the driver's seat. Notable options include a sunroof, engine block heater, OnStar telematics, premium audio system, XM Satellite Radio, and heated front seats.
The Malibu competes in the Midsize Conventional segment, a group of 20 mainstream models that includes the best-selling car models in the U.S. Buyers in this category look for value and modern safety features in a mid-size package.
The Toyota Camry is the perennial sales leader in the segment and continues the streak in 2005, selling 376,803 units, just ahead of the Honda Accord (369,293), according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM The Nissan Altima (255,371) nudges the Malibu (245,861) for the third spot on the sales chart.
|LS (Fleet)||4 speed automatic||$19,565||201-hp / 3.5L 6-cyl||22/30|
|LT||4 speed automatic||$20,165||201-hp / 3.5L 6-cyl||22/30|
|SS||4 speed automatic||$23,265||240-hp / 3.9L 6-cyl||18/26|
|LTZ||4 speed automatic||$23,465||201-hp / 3.5L 6-cyl||22/30|