2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx Review

Pros & Cons

  • Hatchback configuration makes for easy loading, spacious interior with adjustable rear seats, plenty of safety and convenience features, innovative remote-start feature, standard V6 power.
  • Lackluster interior, subpar braking and steering, less cargo space than true wagons or SUVs.
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Edmunds' Expert Review

Spacious and well equipped, the 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx is a well-executed design that adds the functionality of a wagon without giving up sedan drivability.

Vehicle overview

The Malibu Maxx takes the idea of a car-based crossover to a new level -- or maybe it's just a modernized version of a 1970s Chevrolet Malibu wagon. Either way, the Maxx represents a step forward in Chevrolet's thinking. The company has learned a lot by selling hundreds of thousands of Tahoes every year, and with the Maxx, Chevrolet is applying SUV versatility to a capable midsize sedan.

Chevrolet is hoping the Malibu Maxx will woo some import sedan and wagon buyers, and indeed it's based on GM's Epsilon platform shared with the nimble Saab 9-3. The Malibu Maxx offers a roomy interior with a fixed rear skylight to give the cabin an airy feel. Neither the styling nor the materials quality is anything special, but the control layout is at least straightforward. Additionally, there's plenty of head-, shoulder and legroom in all directions.

In order to accommodate a variety of drivers, every Maxx comes with a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and power-adjustable pedals are optional. The rear seats are split 60/40, and each section offers 7 inches of fore/aft travel as well as a recline feature. Passengers are protected by an optional set of front 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 before setting out for the day. To enhance its family-friendly nature, the Chevy Malibu Maxx offers an optional DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones, video game console jacks and a remote control. The hatch area offers 22.8 cubic feet of capacity, and you can fold down the rear seats and the front-passenger seat to open up more room for bulky items. An adjustable parcel shelf allows for two-tier loading in the cargo area, and it can also function as a makeshift picnic table. Various hooks and nets help keep grocery bags from spilling their contents.

The ride quality of this Chevy car is smooth and comfortable on the highway. Handling is predictable in the corners, though an oddly calibrated electric steering setup makes it 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. Most buyers will be satisfied with the Maxx's dynamics, but more enthusiastic drivers will want to look at the Dodge Magnum, Mazda 6, Subaru Legacy and Volkswagen Passat. While the Malibu Maxx is no substitute for seven- and eight-passenger SUVs, there are plenty of people who really don't need more than five-passenger capacity but could use a little extra flexibility to keep up with a growing family. If that describes you and your family, then the 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx is a crossover wagon worth consideration.

2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx models

The Chevy Malibu Maxx comes only as a four-door wagon and is available in three different trim levels -- LT, LTZ and SS. The LT is well equipped with features like air conditioning; a remote vehicle starter; a six-speaker stereo with a CD player and driver information center; a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel; cloth seats with height and lumbar adjustment for the driver; power windows, mirrors and door locks; a multiadjustable 60/40-split folding rear seat; a fixed rear skylight with retractable shade; and a rear cargo shelf. The LTZ adds automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals, side curtain airbags and a rear spoiler. The SS adds features like leather-and-cloth sport seats with extra bolstering, a sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch allow wheels. Options include an in-dash CD changer, satellite radio, separate rear audio controls, a rear-seat DVD player and OnStar telematics.

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2006 Highlights

The Chevy Malibu Maxx 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 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.

Performance & mpg

Standard on the Malibu Maxx LT and LTZ is a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 200 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque. The SS features a potent 3.9-liter V6 with 240 hp and 241 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed automatic is the only transmission available, and the SS includes a manual-shift mode.


Safety is a strong point for the Chevrolet Malibu Maxx. Four-wheel antilock disc brakes and traction control are standard. Front-seat side-impact airbags and full-length head-protecting side curtain airbags are optional on the LT and standard on the LTZ and SS. Though neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has tested the Maxx, one could expect it to perform similarly to the five-star-rated Malibu sedan in frontal impacts.


In most driving conditions the 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx is a competent and comfortable performer, but handling suffers as a result of its overboosted electric steering. The SS fares better with its traditional hydraulic power steering. Although the base V6 might seem down on horsepower for this class, generous low-end torque and a quick-shifting transmission make the Chevy car feel more powerful than its numbers suggest. The V6 found in the SS model is even more sporting. Braking performance is adequate in everyday traffic, but stopping distances are longer than they should be for a car in this class.


Inside, the Malibu Maxx offers plenty of passenger space. Head-, shoulder and legroom in the front and rear seats are competitive with what the roomiest midsize sedans offer. The Maxx is 6 inches longer than the Malibu sedan, and the 60/40-split rear seat reclines and offers 7 inches of fore/aft travel. A standard fixed sunroof over the rear seats contributes to the cabin's open feel. Cargo capacity behind the rear seats measures 22.8 cubic feet, and a parcel shelf allows for two-tier loading. Though not particularly upscale or stylish in feel, the cabin is at least functional with a straightforward control layout.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Love this 2006 malibu ss
SS 4dr Hatchback (3.9L 6cyl 4A)
I really do love this malibu ss and it drives so smooth and fast. I get a lot of compliments about this car. It has a lot of truck room and seating is perfect for me. this is a car to get for sure. This car is so much better then hatchbacks out there and thats a fact.
Me 'n' Maxx
LT 4dr Hatchback (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
I bought an '06 Maxx LT with 70k (43,500 mi) on it, in October '09. It's whisper quiet, fast, gets 28-30 mpg, and I love the looks. The one complaint I had was the 'clunking' noise coming from the steering column that seems a common complaint. I sprayed some lubricant on the steering shaft (under the dash) and no more clunk! It's a great alternative to the bigger SUVs and for my needs, very practical, with the folding seats, and removable rear deck cover. The 3.1 L V6 gets the job done quite nicely. Love it!
STS twin turbo 3.9l ss maxx
SS 4dr Hatchback (3.9L 6cyl 4A)
I loved the SS Maxx from the first time I saw it. It is naturally fast. Very comfortable, and quiet (for those who like quiet, I prefer a throaty exhaust). I would totally recommend this car to anyone (modded or not)
SS 4dr Hatchback (3.9L 6cyl 4A)
I bought this car with right around 30k. It was a lease turn in so i know it was treated well by the previous owner. Being an American car guy chevy has been all I have ever owned. I was tossing this car up with a mazda 3 hatch. This car had a much smoother ride and a ton more power, SS package sold. Ohh yeah and it had plenty of space for my bicycles to fit without needing a rack.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx

Used 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx Overview

The Used 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx is offered in the following submodels: Malibu Maxx Hatchback. Available styles include LT 4dr Hatchback (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LTZ 4dr Hatchback (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LS Fleet 4dr Hatchback (3.5L 6cyl 4A), and SS 4dr Hatchback (3.9L 6cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx?

Price comparisons for Used 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx trim styles:

  • The Used 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx LT is priced between $4,953 and$4,953 with odometer readings between 93004 and93004 miles.

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Which used 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxxes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2006 Malibu Maxxes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,953 and mileage as low as 93004 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx.

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Find a used Chevrolet Malibu Maxx for sale - 5 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $19,653.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 6 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $25,649.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Malibu Maxx for sale - 12 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $17,587.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 12 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $25,657.

Should I lease or buy a 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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