We bought out Malibu a little over a year ago and loved driving it on short and long trips. Great gas mileage for its size, lots of room for people and all the stuff we carry along, and pretty comfortable on the long rides too. But the best thing about it just happened a couple of weeks ago when my wife was in a head on collision. The whole front end was smashed in and she limped away with just a broken collarbone and toe. Front and side airbags and the seatbelt did their job and now we're taking the insurance check to buy an 06 Malibu.
Power with the V6 - we tested the 4 cylinder and it was too hesitant. Roomy interior and lots of leg room. Message center to keep track of mileage, gas use etc comes in handy.
Our only problem was a defective steering column that apparently was a recall item. Ours had to be fixed under warranty but there was still a little knock when you turned the wheel far enough. Hopefully its fixed for good in the 06.