We bought this Mailibu Maxx in August of 2005 and the only issues have been with the steering and one tierod joint. GM made good on the steering issue and beyond that it has been a rock solid vehicle. The gas mileage is always around 24-26 MPG. The V-6 engine gives this car the power to really get up to speed fast and is smooth and quiet. The hatch back design makes for a real hauler of just about everything you can imagine and with the rear seat down we used it as our ski car for years. It has great traction in snow and ice. We now have about 85,000 miles and the only thing besides the steering issue that was taken care of by GM is we replaced the battery. Not bad for 10 years of service. My only complaint is the amount of road noise when on the freeway. They could have done a better job of noise isolation.
My only regret is they don't make this car anymore. I would like to find something like this other than a Cadillac CT-S that has all the features and functions of this wonderful car. We found this car to be a real value when we bought it and looking at the prices of used Maxx's they have held up over time. The 3500 V6 is a lot of power in a car this size. You can't help but be impressed. Also, it handles the curves and hills quite well. I hope GM will eventually bring this car back we have tried newer cars like the Subaru Outback and found it lacking in power and acceleration we are used to with our Chevy Maxx.
update 2-23-2017: We have now had our Maxx for nearly 12 years and over 100k miles. I just put my second set of tires, replaced the brakes, spark plugs and wires, and drained and replace transmission filter (scheduled maintenance items). This car gets garaged every day and washed regularly with that said the paint, a metallic champagne green still looks like new. We have had no mechanical surprises with this car. It gets great mileage at around 24-26 mpg on a regular basis. My wife loves this car with its hatchback for all the things she transports for her church. She also has to child protective seats installed in the rear seat as she babysits our grand kids 3 days each week. We really like the power of the V-6 engine and would not consider a new Malibu unless it has the V-6 option. Mpg is one thing but under-powered is not something I would consider. All in all, we are still very happy with the decision to buy this car.
Have had many cars and makes over the years. The Malibu Maxx is one of the best I've owned (into my sixth year with 80K). Normal maintenace only, couple of wheel bearings, tie rod, ball joints, new steering rack and tail light assembly. Car is into its ninth year and still drives and looks great. (I have treated it with rust proofing every other year) Would consider moving up except there is nothing out there to replace it, so I keep driving this one of a kind car and loving it still.
This is an old car by now so there's nothing I would say to new (used car) buyers. I'm here to go on record to say that I have never never had as reliable and easy to maintain car as this Malibu Maxx. I'm amazed at the bad reviews. Did I get a Supercar by mistake? I have had Mazdas, Olds, Fords, Dodges, absolutely nothing compares to the performance of this cheap little car. Bought it for 14K with 35000 miles. Now has 237000 miles and DRIVES EXACTLY LIKE IT DID ON THE CAR LOT. I can't explain it. It's only had regular maintenance.
Been driving a Nissan for a while; went to a dealer to check out used Nissans.
Walking through the used lot I spotted a 2005 Malibu Maxx; another customer behind me told me "best damn car GM ever produced".
Took a test drive and bought it without hesitation...that was 7 years ago.
Had the tranny rebuilt...only major fix in 7 years!!
Getting ready to buy one for my granddaughter (college student)...she wanted mine...I gave her driving lessons and she also took her driving test in my Maxx.
I just went over 133,000 miles! I want to be buried in it!
UPDATE (03/14/16): Just went over 197,000 miles...the "Maxx" is still in great shape...have had several "do you want to sell" to which I answered with an emphatic "NO"!! Purchased a 2007 CTS a couple of years ago but spends most of my driving time in the Maxx...a great, great purchase!!
I have had a lot of problems with this car over the years. Researching a little I discovered that many people have had the same problems. The latest problem is the engine deciding to shut off while in the middle of driving. There doesn't seem to be any clear direction as to what causes this. Within the first 3 months of purchasing the car I started having brake problems. I had to get the brakes replaced within 6 months. The "DAB" warning shows up periodically (the dealership says it is not anything wrong and they just clear it). My CD player still doesn't work (2 replacements).