New models and revised styling are 2006 highlights for this underskin sibling of the Pontiac G6 and the 9-3 from General Motors-owned Saab. Malibu comes as a sedan and as a 4-dr hatchback.
Called the Maxx, the hatchback has a 6-inch-longer wheelbase than the sedan. Both body styles offer LT models that are joined for ’06 by uplevel LTZ and sporty SS versions. Sedans also come in price-leader LS form. LS and most LT sedans come with a 144-hp 4-cyl engine. 2LT sedans, LT Maxx, and LTZ models have a 201-hp V6. SS versions have a 240-hp V6. All use a 4-speed automatic transmission, with manual shift gate on SS models. Antilock 4-wheel disc brakes and traction control are standard on 2LT sedan, Maxx, and SS models and optional on other Malibus. SS models have 18-inch wheels, sport suspension and seats, and unique trim. Front side airbags and curtain side airbags are standard on LTZ and SS, optional on other Malibus. Maxxes have a rear seat that reclines and slides fore/aft, a rear skylight, and a rigid cargo cover that doubles as a table. Optional DVD entertainment is a Maxx exclusive. LTZs have leather upholstery, SSs have a cloth-leather combination. Power-adjustable pedals and OnStar assistance are available.