The Malibu receives a short list of upgrades for 2007, including a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with variable valve timing that replaces the previous 3.5-liter V-6. Safety upgrades include standard dual-stage frontal air bags with GM's Passenger Sensing System. A head curtain side air bag is standard on LS and LT models, and a remote vehicle start system is available on the LT sedan and standard on the LT Maxx. The OnStar communications program offers Turn-by-Turn navigation that comes with the available Directions & Connections service. Three new exterior colors are offered for 2007-Amber Bronze Metallic, Dark Gray Metallic, and Golden Pewter Metallic.
The 2007 model year will be the last for the Malibu in its current state. An all-new model will be appearing for 2008. For now, however, you can still get the Malibu in two body styles: sedan or Maxx hatchback, and in three trim levels per style: LS, LT, and SS for the sedan; LT, LTZ, and SS for the hatchback. In terms of design, the Malibu offers a nicely integrated appearance but doesn't stand out much from the crowd in sedan dress. The Maxx, however, is unique with its hatchback design. Both interiors are well equipped, but if you're looking for room, the Maxx offers a rear seat that slides fore and aft almost 7 inches and reclines for a comfortable ride.
The LS and LT models on the sedan and LS on the Maxx feature the standard Ecotec 2.2-liter inline 4-cylinder engine good for 144 hp and 152 lb.-ft. of torque. Step up to the LT Maxx or LTZ sedan and you get the 3.5-liter V-6 that features variable valve timing and 217 hp with an equal amount of torque. The SS on both body styles will net you a 3.9-liter LZ9 V-6 with 240 hp and 240 lb.-ft. of torque. There are two different transmissions-both 4-speed automatics-but the SS model's transmission is reinforced to handle the extra torque of the 3.9 and receives different gear ratios for more aggressive performance.
In addition to the more powerful engine under the hood, the SS is dressed up with unique front and rear fascias, blacked-out crosshatch pattern grille surrounds, projector beam fog lamps, a rear spoiler, and dual chrome-tipped 3.5-inch exhaust outlets. Large 18-inch wheels and tires, monochromatic exterior moldings and trim, and ebony interior with gunmetal trim accents add to the bad-boy image on both the Malibu and Maxx SS models.
The Chevrolet Malibu competes in the Midsize Conventional segment, which consists of 18 models. Buyers in this segment look for reliability, fuel economy, and performance, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Toyota Camry (397,630 units sold), Honda Accord (354,441), and Nissan Altima (232,457). The Chevrolet Malibu sold 163,873 units in 2006, a decrease of 33.3 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Midsize Conventional segment include the Pontiac G6, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, Subaru Legacy, and Buick LaCrosse. Joining the segment in 2007 is the Saturn Aura.