2006 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Chevrolet Malibu Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.9 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 240 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Chevrolet Malibu

  • Roomy, safe and well equipped, the 2006 Chevrolet Malibu offers excellent value but can't match the handling dynamics and refinement of the class leaders.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Smooth ride quality, fuel-efficient engines, plenty of passenger and cargo space, outstanding crash test scores, ample safety and convenience features, innovative remote-start feature.

  • Cons

    Lackluster interior, subpar brakes and steering, base four-cylinder down on power for this class, no stability control or manual gearbox.

  • What's New for 2006

    The Chevrolet Malibu gets a few updates for 2006. Most interesting is a new performance-oriented SS trim level that features a 240-horsepower V6 engine. Chevy has also juggled the existing trim levels: the base model is now called the LS, the former LS is now the LT, and last year's LT is now the LTZ. Other minor changes include freshened front-end styling, new wheel designs, flashier trim pieces for the instrument panel, a new four-spoke steering wheel and standard child security rear door locks on every trim level.

Full 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Review

What's New for 2006

The Chevrolet Malibu gets a few updates for 2006. Most interesting is a new performance-oriented SS trim level that features a 240-horsepower V6 engine. Chevy has also juggled the existing trim levels: the base model is now called the LS, the former LS is now the LT, and last year's LT is now the LTZ. Other minor changes include freshened front-end styling, new wheel designs, flashier trim pieces for the instrument panel, a new four-spoke steering wheel and standard child security rear door locks on every trim level.


Since its introduction in 1964, the Chevy Malibu has gone from affordable family car to high-horsepower muscle car to little-noticed rental car. Despite its historic value, the Malibu nameplate was discontinued after the 1983 model year, returning in 1997 as Chevrolet sought to give customers a value-packed midsize sedan that still cost thousands less than the imported competition.

The designers and engineers at Chevrolet listened to consumers from across the country in an attempt to design and build a sedan with broad based appeal. The result was a roomy, tasteful-looking midsize sedan that offered just about everything you might want in a family car. Unfortunately for Chevrolet, this Malibu never received enough attention to get it noticed by mainstream buyers. The company tried again last year with a fully redesigned Malibu riding on an all-new platform and powered by a larger 3.5-liter V6 engine.

Chevrolet is hoping this Malibu will woo some import sedan buyers, and indeed it's based on GM's Epsilon platform shared with the nimble Saab 9-3. Ride quality is smooth and comfortable on the highway. Handling is predictable in the corners, though an oddly calibrated electric steering setup makes Chevrolet's family sedan feel less adept than many of its competitors. The brakes perform adequately in everyday traffic, but we've measured longer-than-normal distances in simulated panic stops. In general, those who make few demands on their cars should be satisfied with the Chevy Malibu's dynamics, while those accustomed to the sharper reflexes of other cars in this class may want to look elsewhere.

Inside, the Chevrolet Malibu is quite roomy, with as much headroom, shoulder room and legroom as anything else in the class. The spacious trunk offers 15.4 cubic feet of capacity, and you can fold down the 60/40-split rear seats and the front passenger seat to open up more room for bulky items. Passengers are protected by an optional set of front-seat side-impact airbags along with front and rear head curtain airbags, and Chevrolet is offering an interesting remote start feature that allows owners to get a head start on heating or cooling down the cabin. The interior is bland compared to the competition, but it is at least functional with a straightforward control layout. Build and materials quality is still several steps behind the Accord and Camry, though.

In order to accommodate a variety of drivers, all Malibu models come with a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and standard seat-height adjustment for the driver; power-adjustable pedals are available on all models. The Chevy Malibu is purposefully conservative with regard to exterior styling. Fresh without being funky, Chevrolet refers to the Malibu's exterior style as "enduring." While the company still has some work to do before it can dream of stealing Honda and Toyota customers, the roomy and well-equipped Malibu is certainly a step in the right direction.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The four-door Chevrolet Malibu is available in four different trim levels -- LS, LT, LTZ and SS. The LS model comes well equipped with air conditioning; a CD player; a height-adjustable driver seat; a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel; power windows, mirrors and door locks; and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. The LT adds remote vehicle start, premium cloth seats, front map lights, a cargo net in the trunk, adjustable lumbar for the driver and an upgraded stereo. The LTZ adds a rear spoiler, antilock brakes, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals and side curtain airbags. The SS adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, bolstered sport seats and unique trim. Various options include an in-dash CD changer, satellite radio, a sunroof and OnStar.

Powertrains and Performance

LS and LT models come with a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 144 horsepower. Standard on LTZ models and optional on LT models is a 200-hp, 3.5-liter V6. The SS comes with a 3.9-liter V6 with 240 hp. All engines are mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, and the SS features a manual-shift mode.


Front-seat side-impact airbags and full-length head-protecting side curtain airbags are standard on the LTZ and SS; and optional on the LS and LT. Traction control and antilock brakes are standard on all cars with a V6 and optional on those with the four-cylinder. In NHTSA crash testing, the Malibu earned a perfect five stars for front-occupant protection in head-on collisions. In the side-impact test, a Chevy Malibu with side airbags garnered five stars for front-occupant protection and four stars for rear-passenger protection. In IIHS testing, the Malibu earned the top score of "Good" for frontal offset crashes and side impacts when equipped with side airbags (without the bags, it rated "Poor" for the side-impact test).

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, the Chevrolet Malibu offers broad, flat seats with plenty of head-, shoulder and legroom in both the front and back. Optional adjustable pedals and a standard tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel allow drivers of all sizes to get comfortable behind the wheel. The cabin design is functional but bland with a straightforward control layout. Trunk space is generous at 15.4 cubic feet, and a 60/40-split rear seat and fold-flat front-passenger seat make it easy to expand cargo space when needed.

Driving Impressions

Power is adequate with the base four-cylinder, but most buyers will want to step up to one of the V6s, both of which offer plenty of torque for merging and passing. A softly tuned but composed suspension gives the 2006 Chevy Malibu a smooth ride and predictable handling in the corners. Unfortunately, the car's electric steering ruins the fun by providing too much power assist much of the time. The SS fares much better with its traditional hydraulic power steering and sport-tuned suspension. The brakes perform adequately in traffic, but stopping distances are long for this class.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Love my 06 lt v6

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)

Purchased my 2006 Malibu with only 81K miles on it, 12000 miles later i still love it. i haven't had any problems with the vehicle other than regular maintenance. there are a few recalls on the vehicle but Chevrolet is taking care of that for me but if you are looking for a family vehicle with a little get up and go then I recommend this vehicle. also I am averaging about 25 miles per gallon if I keep my foot out of the gas pedal. I am 5'9" and with my driver seat adjusted there is plenty of leg room for my rear passengers to be comfortably seated.

Horrible car

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)

literally two weeks after buying the car the air conditioner went out, i live in Texas and bought the car in July rolling with out an AC was not an option. i also had the same problem as everyone else with the tie rods and the power steering cutting out. but the worst was when i started feeling my brakes locking up. i later found out it was due to the rubber in the caliper rotting and allowing break dust into my breaking system. i didn't have the money for a whole new brake system. so for the last year or so i owned the car i couldnt drive on the freeway. having your brakes lock up at 70mph is EFFING SCARY. im so much happier with my suzuki econo car. not as roomy but way more fun to drive.

Worst car ever (and i

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 4A)

I bought this 2006 Malibu LT in January of 2009 with about 60,000 miles on it. So far...front shocks replaced, crack in the intake manifold fixed, controller arms replaced, rear shocks replaced, new tires 3 times in 3 years, etc. Just last week, had head replaced and now they are saying it is actually a crack in the engine block. Car needs a whole new motor. The windshield buzzes because the cowel (sp?) piece is warped. It eats CD's and won't give them back. This car has been the bane of my existence for the last 3 years. I would never ever ever recommend anyone buy a Malibu. And GM just lost a repeat customer. I will never buy GM again. I have had enough.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

Bye bye gm - update

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)

Well, I finally got out from underneath this piece of junk, money pit!!!! I can no longer support "buy American" due to GM and their inadequate skills in producing a quality built vehicle not to mention their lack of customer service and not standing behind their warranties! Maybe this should be directed solely to the dealership in Rochester, NY on Ridge Rd and not GM as a whole but in any event their practices are shady at best and due to them, I will never, ever buy a GM vehicle again!! PS.......loving my new NISSAN ALTIMA!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great car

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS Fleet 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)

I purchased this car used with about 20,000+ miles four years ago. I have been driving it daily ever since and other than a new set of tires had no problems what so ever. well almost. The gas tank sending unit was not working when i bought it. The dealer told me to set up a apointment to get it fixed i just never did it. That is not the cars fault. It drives nice and is comfortable for my commute. I live 45 miles from my work and it is quite good on gas. I average anywhere between 28 and 34 mpg with a V6 not bad if you ask me. It aint pretty, it isnt Hot but if you are looking for good dependable every day transportation that wont bleed you dry its just what you need!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Safe, reliable, and fun car

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)

It's been an excellent car overall. Have 58K miles right now and the only problem I've ever had is some exhaust gasket that needed to be replaced for $50 (which included labor). It handles very well, even during North Dakota winters. The 3.5L V6 has more than enough power for merging and passing and gets as good of gas mileage as many 4 cylinders do. The factory stereo is one of the best I've ever heard for a family sedan - although the rear speakers aren't the greatest. They sound a bit "spongy". Just a side note... most of the bad reviews I've read are about the Maxx. Not sure why there'd be that big of a difference, but it is something I've noticed.

Talk About The 2006 Malibu

2006 Chevrolet Malibu Discussions See all Started By

The car shifts into reverse fine but there is no motion in drive. When I shift to "M", I am able to drive forward using the manual shift buttons on the gear shifter. Is it a wire or electro?...

When I am driving down the road at at least 60 km/h and I let off on the accelerator my rpms will fluctuate up and down. It almost feels like the transmission is kicking in and out. Can anybody help ?...

I saw this out on leftlane news. Spy shots with very little camo of the new 2008 Malibu. There is discussion that it will launch early part of next year....

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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