The 2006 Chevrolet Malibu sedan features the General Motor’s Epsilon global chassis with a larger, 3.5-liter, V-6 engine. Chevrolet has had problems generating any broad-based appeal for the Malibu since resurrecting the line in 1997. However, the 2004 redesign has the potential to lure sedan buyers, featuring better handling, a stiffer structural build, and a European flare. The Epsilon-based model is available in two body styles: a standard four-door sedan and the five-door Maxx station wagon, which is the first midsize Chevrolet hatchback since the 1980s.
Body Styles: sedan, station wagon
Engines: 2.2-liter, 3.5-liter V-6, 3.9-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet Malibu LS, Chevrolet Malibu LS Fleet, Chevrolet Malibu LT, Chevrolet Malibu LTZ, and Chevrolet Malibu SS
The Chevrolet Malibu’s high-performance SS trim is new for 2006, featuring a 240-horsepower (hp), V-6 engine. The introduction of this new trim has brought on a flurry of name-changes to existing trim levels: The base model has become the LS, the former LS model is now the LT, and the previously-known LT model has become the LTZ. A few minor cosmetic changes are also new in 2006. Chevrolet updated the front-end styling, included some flashy trim pieces to the instrument panel, and added fresh, new wheel designs, along with a four-spoke steering wheel. Rear child security locks are also now standard for every trim level.
This sixth-generation 2006 Chevrolet Malibu is the first model to showcase the next-generation family look. This expressive styling mixes elements of the company’s storied heritage with a touch of European flavor. The front bar is fitted in stylish chrome, with the classic Chevrolet gold bowtie emblem featured prominently on the front fascia. The LT sedan has side moldings, rocker panels, and body-colored mirrors. A rear spoiler has been added to the LTZ sedan. It is slightly wider than previous generations. It is built on a chassis with a 106.3-inch wheelbase and is 188.3 inches in length. The LS has 15-inch tires, the LT has 16-inch tires, and the new LTZ has 17-inch tires. Vehicle dimensions are comparable to competitors.
The 2006 Chevrolet Malibu holds five occupants. The inside is roomy, with plenty of head, shoulder, and legroom. While the interior aesthetics are somewhat bland, it is functional. The control layout is straightforward. Cargo space is respectable, with a spacious trunk capacity of 15.4 cubic feet. Both the front passenger’s seat and rear seat fold flat to make room for bulkier items. Standard on the LTZ are adjustable accelerator and brake pedals. These adjustable pedals are optional with the LT sedan. The LTZ sedan also has amenities like heated front seats, leather seating, a six-way power driver's seat, and automatic climate control. All models are built to accommodate a variety of drivers with tilt-adjustable steering and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. XM Satellite Radio is available for entertainment. Up to 15 warning messages can be shown via the radio display that allows for the personalization of electrical features. GM's OnStar communication system comes optional.
Performance & Handling
The base four-cylinder engine provides adequate power, but most buyers will want a V-6 Malibu. Both provide enough torque for traffic merges and passing. It rides smoothly, with predictable handling. Brake performance is adequate, and is largely void of any overtly unpleasant features – though it may fall short in excitement for some buyers.
The V-6 models come standard with anti-lock brakes and traction control. These are optional features on four-cylinder vehicles. Front-seat side-impact airbags and head-protecting side curtain airbags come standard with the LTZ and SS models. These airbags are optional with the LS and LT. In NHTSA crash testing, the Malibu has been rated five out of five stars for front-occupant protection during head-on collisions. In side-impact tests, the Malibu earned another five-star rating for front-occupant protection.
EPA Fuel Economy
Chevrolet Malibu LT: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Malibu LS: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Malibu LS Fleet: 20/29 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Malibu LTZ: 20/29 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Malibu SS: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Malibu Maxx: 20/28 mpg city/highway
- Smooth ride
- Fuel economy
- Ample passenger space
- Spacious cargo space
- Excellent crash test scores
You Won't Like
- Bland interior
- Sub-par brakes
- No stability control or manual gearbox
Great on gas, very comfy, and keeps going.
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