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Chevrolet Malibu Maxx Design Love It or Not?



  • the steering rack of my '04 LS Maxx was replaced with a newer version this year. This changed the steering feel for the better - can definitely feel road texture now. The new tires (tripletreads) also helped - a little harsher on small bumps, but more secure in turns and in bad weather.

    TireRack didn't think much of the stock tires on the SS, or the LS. For the SS, there seem to be very few alternatives - Bridgstone Potenzas are only ones I could find.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    The Bridgestone OEM's on the LS look awful on paper but I find them a lot better than the Michelin Energies that came with my 01 Elantra. Those WERE overpriced crap-- lost most of their wet weather ability by 30K and were totally useless at 40. Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring H's were much better for half the money. I think I'm going to get more than 50,000 miles on the Insignias. Of course I'm a pretty conservative driver and the weather here in Missouri isn't that bad.
  • the reason the the hydraulic steering is because it is more responsive the electronic and after all this is a sports car
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Newer versions of electric steering are quite good (Saturn ION redline, Audi A3, etc.) and don't suffer from hydraulic lock or parasitic loss.
    Unfortunately Chevy was not able (yet) to refine its electric steering and simply adapted the G6's Hydraulic steering.

    The SS a "sports car"? Not really. The Maxx SS is a "show" car with useless spoiler, big bling wheels, lo pro tires rated "average" by Tire Rack, and a definitely nicer engine hooked up to a higher-drive ratio version of same 4 speed. Result? A hair trigger rubber burner (some people like that :) )that guzzles gas and rides like an old truck.

    To make a real Maxx sports car, how about a 5 speed manual, change those rims to forged to get rid of unsprung weight and slap on Bridgestone Potenzias, or better yet, ditch the rims for forged 17" with Goodyear F1 tires (which work decently wet or dry)? That's what the GM Engineers I talked to years ago suggested.

    Won't happen though... :cry:
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    agree with his assessment...looked at a SS Malibu sedan...same issues..and for the price.....wasnt impressed...I was also curious about the HHR.....but just looking....
  • I work at a chevy dealership and just bought the SS Maxx full laod with potenzas...biggest it WONT burn rubber they hook up unbelievable, the torque steer is prolly worse and the ride is harsh buut seriously people thisis a 240 hp sports car for all intense and purposes, if you wnat a smooth camfy ride buy an Impala
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    The Germans, long ago, figured out to make a car handle well without offering its driver a harsh ride. The Japanese learned well from them.
    The Maxx engineers knew this too. But marketing gave them the bling-bling wheels and the accountants the cheap tires.
    For those wanting sporty driving, an '06 VW GTI or '06 Honda SI or Subrau WTI will run circles around the MAXX SS.
  • redmaxxredmaxx Posts: 627
    Do you have traction control turned on? If I turned it off, the '04 I had would burn the tires.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    have to disagree this is a sports car by any stretch of the imagination....I upgraded my 04 Maxx LT to 17 inch rims and wider tires and the handling increased..but I wouldnt say I have a sports car....even the SS version is for show....the only sports car in the chevy lineup is the corvette...

    My 06 Solstice is more of a sports car..long before the SS Maxx or the Sedan.....the problem I have with Chevy is they SS badge everything.....Impala/Malibu/Monte Carlo....etc etc...

    if you want to SS badge one model..then concentrate on one...make the right SS upgrades..suspension, wheels/tires, motor, transmission, brakes etc......remember the chevelle.......SS 396....sure more of a muscle car than a true sports car...but come on.dont throw a badge on a car...give it 40 more horses..a different interior....bling bling wheels and cheap rubber, some cosmetic exterior changes and call it an SS......
  • cwesleygcwesleyg Posts: 64
    I don't think my Maxx LS is a sports car. But I'd have to disagree about the SS. What with SS meaning Super Sport and all. A car does not have to have a V8 and cost $50,000 to be a sports car.

    I can't see paying the extra $8000 for the HP boost though.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    SS to me was the SS chevelle of the late 60s early 70s ..not the 06 SS malibu....its mostly show.....the Malibu SS will never run in SCCA...the real super sport is gone in the muscle cars......

    and there is a distinct difference in muscle cars and sports cars......
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    an 04 Maxx LT the hatch back and rear design...hate the bug-eyed look in the front.....too much chrome on the first year model in the front..that was toned down some what in follow on model the grill and the front lamps.....and give it some fog lights that actually work!!!!
  • another '04 maxxer:

    The small jutting trunklet on the rear hatch sometimes looks like it was tacked on (Saab sports combi avoided that). Front dash headlight controls aimed right at knees when getting into driver seat. Dim, often unreadable DIC. Clunky front end suspension. Small bulge at bottom of seat back uncomfortable at times. Cheap interior trim in back.

    lots of room, well thought out parcel shelf, generally comfortable seats, torquey engine, good "tip in" (no "hair trigger" responses here!) good fuel economy for power engine creates, excellent road cruiser.

    Don't mind the front chrome bar that much - rather distinctive.

    Am sorry to see Chevy give up on it... Could have been a real competitor for the Euro Hatches with a little more refinement and AWD option.
  • Good: About everything. Great fuel economy. About the best 6-cyl around, great ride, better handling that some think, quiet (better than my Volvo S70), very good seats, very good fit & finish.

    Bad: Not much. Fit & finish not quite as good as Honda & Toyota, but 3 to 10,000 less). High grade sound system is "good" but not great (my Volvo S70 it definately better. Of course it is a $39,000 car, and I only paid $18,000 (after GM card rebate) for our Maxx.

    Really think it is the best car for the $$ I have ever seen.
  • The combination of the hatchback and the fold down seats (front and back) have made my many shopping trips to Home Depot rather easy. I can fit 8 foot+ 2x4's in with the front seat down and still be able to close the hatch. I have fit 2ft X 8ft sheets of plywood without a problem. I just bought a 32in TV and was able to fit it in the hatch without taking it out of the box and was still able to close the trunk. Can fit 2 bikes (with the front wheels off) with ease. Without a doubt the most versatile car for transporting things.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    1. Flexibility.
    2. The OHV V6 provides good mileage and is very low maintenance (OLM indicates easy 6-8K change cycles, no timing belt, etc.
    3. Comfortable interior not the best finished but isn't as bad as some reviews have it.
    4. Wonderful flexibility and room.

    1. Road feel only mediocre although electric steering more than makes up for itself by delivering good mileage, sort of sorry to see 07's go hydraulic.
    2. Front end clip cleaned up for 06 but still not a thing of beauty (styling although slabby is distinctive though).
    3. It's going to depreciate, but then I got the base Maxx for $16 grand without GM card, six thou off the list price. Haven't checked Edmunds TMV price but I think you can do better on this car if you play it right.
    4. Seat fabrics durable but ugly in 05 LS.
  • I really like the design of my 2005 Maxx.
    Constantly getting compliments and the occasional "What kind of a car is that?".
    I do wish it had a little more interior room.
    What if Chevy were to make an Impala Maxx SS? I would buy that one in a heartbeat!!
  • i have driven malibus for a while now. i actually have a 80 malibu (2 door), 01 malibu ls, (had 2 of them actually), had an 04 ls, now have a 06 maxx ss (less than 5,000 miles)

    i got my ss out of texas, it had front end damage. (both 01s and the 04 were builders) yes, i rebuilt them!

    i am almost done with the ss. it is getting aligned as we speak. need a right fog lamp, seat belts and airbag.

    we had to replace the rack in it! that was a spendy unit, which dipped into the budget.

    anyways, we are having a "disagreement" right now. i found that when it shifts at times there is a "clunk". like you hit a small pot hole at the same time it shifted. my bf said "it is an agressive tranny and they will do that". i say it shouldnt! now this morning on the way to get it aligned it didnt do it at first but then did after i turned at the 4-way.

    question is, after reading an article on the malibu ss. does anyone know if they have the same tranny? cause in that article it said it was "smooth and positive".

    i am wondering if it is just something that needs to work itself out. it does seem to be getting better. we bought the car in april and it sat for some time before we started working on it. or if this is something that is going to dip into the budget again!
  • when i had my 04 malibu ls i got so many compliments! when i told people it was a "malibu" they were surprised.

    what i liked about it was the gas milage, leather seats, style.

    what i didnt like? hum......selling it? haha

    i now have a 06 maxx ss. just started driving it.

    like on it? the hatch back which i never thought i would like, the leather/cloth combo seats, fog lamps are kickin even tho i still need to get a right one in!

    dont like is less gas milage than my 04. dont like that it only came with ebony interior, but i will get over it!

    my teenage girls love the rear seat radio with head sets and that the seats can recline! now they dont FIGHT to sit in the front with me.

    i dont like that they got rid of the maxx. :mad: it seems that i am seeing more and more of then finally in our area. i still have the only maxx ss around.
  • Sorry to hear the rack went bad.. Was surprising as SS uses hydraulic steering (where actuators push on the throughput rack gear itself), and not electric (which drives the column, and applies to power to the rack via a small gear at end of column shaft.
  • I'm pretty sure the SS tranny is different and a heavier duty model. I would try dropping the pan and inspecting it for debris and then refill with some high quality lubricant like Redline. Buy a Wix filter it's the same as factory. Use the factory gasket over again. The metal/rubber ones are reuseable and good luck!
  • I am going to buy at 2005 Malibu maxx (with like 25 miles).
    Quick question about the Hatch: What are the opening dimensions?
    I can't find any info online with the length, hight or diagonal measurements - only cubic feet. I need to know this info before pursuing the car futher because I will be using it for work.

    Does anyone have these measurements?
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    You mean this was sitting unsold on a dealer's lot for five model years?

    It's roughly 41 inches vertical (hard to accurately measure with a hatch-- this is from top of hatch to bottom with hatch open not an up and down vertical measurement) and 44 inches horizontal.
  • a bit of info:
    Maxx turning circle is big: 40 to 43" depending on model (bigger tires or SS = bigger turning circle). The specs Chevy gave on this are dead wrong.
    If you are going to drive Maxx in winter, get winter tires, or it will get stuck.

    I do not know the dimensions for the hatch. It does taper inwards towards the top and the glass is slanted a fair bit. Opening is smaller than available heigth inside.

    Hatch is made out of Aluminum; you may hear horrendous squeaks when closing it because the metal fasteners holding the trim on hatch don't grip aluminum well (you can add tape to the fasteners to stop the squeaks).

    More info from

    Door Count 4 doors
    Maximum Cargo Volume 41.0 cu.ft.
    Exterior Length 187.8 "
    Exterior Width 69.8 "
    Exterior Height 58.1 "
    Wheelbase 112 "
    Front Tread 60 "
    Rear Tread 60 "
    Turning Radius 18.8 '
    Curb Weight 3,458 lbs.
    Max Trailer Weight 1,000 lbs.
    Front Legroom 41.9 "
    Rear Legroom 41.0 "
    Front Headroom 39.4 "
    Rear Headroom 39.4 "
    Front Hiproom 53.5 "
    Rear Hiproom 52.4 "
    Front Shoulder Room 56.7 "
    Rear Shoulder Room 55.5 "
    Passenger Volume 106 cu.ft.
    Interior Cargo Volume 22.8 cu.ft.
    Interior Cargo Volume w/Seats Folded 41.0 cu.ft.
  • murphycmurphyc Posts: 8
    '05 Maxx LS.
    Love: great mileage on trips, great room and comfort, rear seat that slides and reclines (everyone who's sat back there has been impressed), cargo flexibility, good value, various innovative design pieces like the rear skylights, parcel shelf in rear, tilt/telescoping wheel in this price range and flat folding front passenger seat.
    Don't love: cheap plastic throughout (especially in hatch area), rear vision, front end styling ('06-07 was better without the chrome), what seem to be common problems like starter and steering/suspension clunks, brakes not the most confidence inspiring, rear wiper switch placement.

    Overall I think the Maxx was a good first effort, just needed some tweaks here and there. GM's cheapness really on display in places. Some of the plastic is so cheap it's embarassing. I think my '93 and '94 Saturns had higher quality plastic. To me the reliability has been a bit disappointing, especially in terms of the suspension and steering systems. Biggest problem with the car seemed to be Chevy had no clue how to market it. Plenty of clever ideas, but I only remember seeing one ad (had to search youtube just to find that). Combine that with 35 mpg on trips with 200 hp, nice comfort and space, plenty of features and more, this should have been successful.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    assume you realize you were replying to a 2 and half year old message....but i do agree with you that Chevy did a poor job marketing this model over the sedan.....There was a burst of advertising when if first came out under the american revolution theme....but nothing after the initial 04 LT here....great car....great reliability in my case.....over 5 years old, 140K on the car and just replaced my first component....right front tire rod.....didnt have any of the steering or suspension issues....

    I know that was the major complaint, but wonder what percentage of the total Malibu production 04-07 had the problem? theonly downside I had was the front end design as you stated...too much chrome....the 06-07 models tonned it down quite a bit.....anyway...hope to see 200k out of my Maxx
  • Good
    The obvious: engine, transmission, ride.
    The steering wheel is much thicker than in previous vehicles, so my fingers are comfortable holding it.
    Remote start as standard equipment.

    Limited utility of hatch design: a car this long should be able to swallow a bigger box.
    Rear corner visibility, due to pillar size and position around hatch.
    Skylight as standard equipment -- shades are so fragile.
    "Check Gas Cap" -- again???

    The good has outweighed the bad for four years. I hope to keep it for many more.
  • I love my Maxx --she's sporty!!!
    I am starting to hate my Maxx because yet again -I have that clunking noise from the front end. Last time I had something like that it cost me 250.00 for the deductable in my extended warranty and now a year later its back!! Anyone have any advice????
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    unfortunately one of the bads of the Maxx is the front suspension well as the 'electronic' the clunk tolerable?....I have had the clunk for some time now......and never bothered to have it checked after the issues here on the maxx is 6 years old in Feb and currently has almost 155K on it.....I have seen no ill effects from the clunk......only replaced the front right tire rod this summer..due to wear....and it lessen the clunk somewhat but didnt eliminate it...
  • tires4utires4u Posts: 3
    edited February 2010
    I purchased my 2006 Chevy Malibu MAXX SS 1 year ago. The ride,fit,finish,power,comfort and excitement are among the BEST of any of the over 100+ cars I have owned.Including 64,64,67 and 68 Impala's SS's. The car hauls A_ _ and all of my 5 grandchildren and all their stuff.
    We travel alot and we have out over 50,000 miles on the car SO FAR. It handles the local dragstrip as well as the freeway FANTASTIC. The rear seat DVD entertains the grandkids and the LOUD PEDAL entertains me and grama.
    The car is fairly rare in the hatchback form. Over 200,000 Malibu Maxx's were made
    in the years 2004-2007..but less than 1,200 in the SS model. Mostly all in Black or Blue. Amazing choice of colors for a BAD A_ _ car.
This discussion has been closed.