2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx SS 4dr Hatchback (3.9L 6cyl 4A)
I've had my SS Malibu Maxx for 4 months and put about 5000 miles on it. I really love the car. I wasn't considering the SS until I sat in one and realized how comfortable the seats are. I test drove it and was hooked. I'm not really a performance car guy but I'm becoming one. Car handles beautifully and the acceleration is awesome. The regular Maxx is pretty peppy but I'd encourage prospective buyers to try out the SS. The tricked out family car is cool. (Even, my friend who is a BMW devotee is jealous!) I was attracted to the Maxx b/c of its room and styling. It feels like a much more expensive European car -- but will be much more reliable.
Smart design inside and out -- good guages, cool trip computer, fold-out picnic table, wireless headphones for the back. Roominess is a plus. But performance is really great. And it's US and union-made.
An audio input jack should be standard in every vehicle. Better fuel economy would be nice, but I do appreciate that it's has pretty low emissions (much lower than the Dodge Magnum I was also considering).