By on March 17, 2014

2004-2005_Chevrolet_Malibu_MAXX_LS

Not long ago, seemingly off-the-cuff comments by Mark Reuss, GM’s chief “car guy”, got everyone in a tizzy. Reuss lamented the lack of affordable station wagons on the market today, and suggested that GM ought to start offering one in the near future. The comments, of course, came at the Detroit Auto Show’s, and Reuss, who certainly has had ample media training, had nothing to lose by throwing a bone to the assembled enthusiast media, who are uniformly pro-wagon, no matter how poor of a business case the wagon in question may be.

From the way Reuss spoke, you’d think that GM hadn’t offered a proper affordable wagon since the last of the full-size B-Body wagons rolled off the line in 1995. It turns out there was one more that had escaped many people’s imagination. I can only assume that the Malibu Maxx had been collectively blotted out of our memories in the post-bankruptcy era. Like the Saturn Astra and L-Series, the Malibu Maxx was another ill-fated experiemnt in rebranding a European offering as something wholly American.

The Maxx was essentially an Opel Signum with a bowtie – the Signum being the hatch/pseudo-wagon variant of the Opel Vectra. In the run-up to its launch, the Signum was touted by the famously jingoistic UK motoring press as a new kind of “executive car” (their term for a near-luxury sedan). To nobody’s surprise, the Signum was a flop – fleet customers stuck with the sedan and families remained with the “estate” (what we’d consider a traditional wagon).  The Signum died quietly after a few years on the market.

The Maxx never achieved a lot of traction in the North American marketplace either, despite the presence of a hot SS version offering a 3.9L 240 horsepower V6 engine. Compared to the current crop of GM wagons – whether it’s the Cruze, the Astra estate or the Commodore station wagon – the Maxx was a crude, odd-looking version of a rather uncompetitive mid-size car. Unfortunately, I am not sure that any of the three modern wagons would sell in greater quantities than the Maxx, even though they’re vastly superior.

Reuss may be a car guy at heart, but he also knows how to manipulate the media, and nothing gets the hacks going like talk of a new wagon. In the mean time, you can still buy a GM wagon. A Maxx will run you about $3,000, and you’re sure to be the only one on your block.

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152 Comments on “Crapwagon Outtake: GM’s Forgotten Wagon...”


  • avatar
    KixStart

    A used Volvo 240 would also probably run you about $3K and I know which vehicle I’d rather have at that price.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      For a $3k used car, the newer, faster & safer General Motors product seems like a no-brainer over the 240.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Says the man not familiar with a Volvo 244/5. The 200 series at the same 150Ks mileage laughs at similar GM product (and anything short of Lexus for that matter). But then again those cars aren’t “normal” by any stretch of the imagination.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam P

          My parents owned a 245 wagon and a 242 coupe when I was a kid. I drove a 740 Turbo in high school and a 940 SE in college.

          I know a few things about RWD Volvos. They’re great as long as you like chasing down electrical glitches and continually blowing overdrive relays.

          I also know people who have gotten FWD V6 GM cars to stupid high mileage with few issues compared to what a RWD Volvo would require over the same period.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            I have a 1995 LeSabre at about 220k miles, and it’s still going. Old GM cars run bad longer than most cars will run. I’ve seen a couple dozen LeSabre/88/Bonneville’s from the 90s with painful sounding noises that just keep ticking.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            2005 Maxx, white with tan cloth interior sitting right in the front row at our dealership with 220K runs and drives as new with no rust $3495.

            The only thing we had to do to get this car front line ready was new rotors and pads, a new water pump and a set of tires.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOL@ 220k for $3495. Put a “4 SUCKER” sign in the window.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Sam

            Ironically I own both a 3800 powered GM and a RWD Volvo. I’ve seen 3800s go the distance, 60V6s the motor might go that far but not the rest of the car. I’ll still take a RWD Volvo for the simple durability of the drivetrain and the car itself. I stripped a ’90 a few weeks back with 310 otc. It was on its sixth or seventh owner, the final of which was a jitney cab driver (unregistered cab). He hit a guardrail and banged up the side. This damage combined with the fact the auto trans was finally giving up led him to junk it. In theory the car could have been rehab-ed.

            @Corey, Ponchoman

            I just brokered a deal for my brother on an 04 Neon SXT 65K ~ $1300. I told him new rotors and maybe two new front tires and that Neon would easily be $3495 on every lot in town. Now I hear about a 220K oddball ride with that exact amount, makes me chuckle.

            Trouble with any car at this point is as long as its running its worth too much. As recently as 2006 97 and 98 Saturns 60-90K could be had for $800 depending on where you got it. Then as the dealer you could easily afford to fix little things and still make a healthy profit on even $1999 sale. Now an 05 Saturn any decent mileage runs a dealer 2K-5K or more. I betcha this Malibu Max ran Ponchoman’s shop at least $1500 even with those miles. Water pump and labor usually runs me 3 bucks, so he might have 2 or more in it all told. In a perfect world this Maxx with those miles would come in for $400-600 and make a nice cheap buy for the teenage/poor/retired crowd.

        • 0 avatar
          Stumpaster

          And as a 240 laughs, it rains dried bits and pieces of rubber and plastic around itself. Then the blower motor starts squealing and you know what that means – take apart the dashboard’s 1,705 small clips.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Combined metal fatigue, lack of parts, and a serious lack of innovations is why this place makes that choice so hilarious to read. In my mind half the comments are being said out of old men in bib overalls and straw hats sitting on the porch of the general store. I’m currently in an area where the dryness makes rust a non-issue and I still could not tell anyone with a straight face to purchase 25+ year old car over a Malibu Maxx. The only reason why a 240 in good shape costs 3K is the bottom of the market won’t go lower.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    I rented a few back then. They drove OK and got pretty good fuel economy for a V-6, maybe mid-20s. They were comfortable and had lots of space, but the interior/fittings of course were GM craptastic.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      This sums it up perfectly. I actually looked at one in 2005 as on paper it met my “requirements,” in a vehicle (on paper).

      I found it roomy, MPG was really good for a V6. It wouldn’t win any drag races or burn up the onramps, but it wasn’t an abomination to drive. It had some good ideas on paper like reclining, moving back seats, dual sunroofs which was kind of cool in 2005, the flip up DVD babysitter in the back.

      But I just could not get over the quality of interior materials, the fit and finish, the coarse engine sound. It just wasn’t all that solid. Never mind the ridiculous steering wheel, the pretty cheap stereo and center stack, and signs everywhere that said, “a beancounter was here!”

      I felt it was a really practical car, on paper, and somewhat in person, just horribly executed.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    For a “forgotten” wagon, I see a fair number of them around. I suppose their transaction price has descended to the point where the curious nexus of wagon/hatch aficionados and domestic loyalists have picked them up and will hold onto them until Doomsday.

    Wasn’t the Malibu “SS” the one that finally convinced Reuss that GM had used up the last of the goodwill in the old Super Sport moniker?

  • avatar
    86er

    Looks more like an oddball hatchback to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That’s the charm of it. It’s got more room than any hatch, and it doesn’t look (much) like a wagon. Aside from the usual cheap materials, the drive train is solid. The only thing to worry about is the ignition cylinder lock (and that crazy Metternich speedometer, if you’re buying in Canada)!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Yeah, it’s not a wagon.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    If they had offered the SS with the 6 speed stick coupled to the 3.9, I would have been driving one.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Would you have had the money to move up from your Alero back then though, at an inflated SS price?

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Yeah, I had a bit more room, but I chose the Alero because it fit my peculiar list of needs:

        -4 wheel disks
        -4 wheel independent suspension
        -bigger than a compact
        -manual transmission

        I have always found the 3.9L/6MT combo compelling, and the M.Maxx utility proposition was equally intriguing, but the availability of a manual is an absolute deal breaker for me.

  • avatar

    I kinda liked it, sold more than a handful new and used. then again this is coming from a guy who once had a Pacer Wagon for a demo (by choice).

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Much more a hatchback than a wagon. Too short, and the tail is so raked it majorly compromised the cargo space. Still, if someone had held a gun to my head and made me drive a Malibu (shudder) that would be the one to have. I have about a billion miles in rented Malibus of that era courtesy of my previous employer’s Avis account back in the bad old days when GM owned Avis. Though they sure were a major step up from the sundry Oldsmobile (under)Achievas.

    I cannot believe a GOOD LOOKING, good driving modern wagon at a reasonable price would not sell quite well – VW has no problem selling Jetta wagons, my local dealer can’t keep them in stock. Imagine if the Venza just looked like the Camry wagon that it really is instead of a goofy mess with wagon wheels. The problem is many sales of such would be sales taken away from the more profitable CUV sitting right next to it in the showroom. THAT is the problem with the business case, not that “wagons don’t sell”.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Via press releases, 2013 US sales:

      Subaru Outback 118,049 (Legacy Wagon discontinued after MY2008 d/t poor sales)
      Toyota Venza 35,846
      Toyota Prius v 34,989
      Ford Flex 25,953 (walking dead)

      VW SportWagen 22,534 (<- best selling true wagon)
      Audi allroad 5,386 (A4 wagon discontinued after MY2012)
      Volvo XC70 4,882 (V70 wagon discontinued after MY2010)
      Acura TSX Wagon 1,976 (walking dead)
      can’t find a breakdown for Cadillac CTS (walking dead), BMW, Mercedes wagons. GM exec (Reuss?) says <11K luxury wagons sold in a year.

      FWIW: Volvo V60 2014 YTD: 657 for 2 months
      Historical: Mazda6 wagon sold about 200/month, and about half went to fleet.

      tl,;dr
      Total US wagon sales about 33k, I believe that’s sports car territory.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Again, how many of these are actually ordinary traditional non-premium wagons? The Jetta, which VW handily sells every one of that they bother to import.

        I’d call the current Outback a CUV, and I don’t blame Subaru for killing the regular Legacy, it sold for thousands less and they could market the heck out of the big and butch Outback. All-road is the same thing – it’s an A4 with a butch kit for $5-$10K more, why would they keep selling the plain one? And same again with the Volvo XC70. The V60 is so small it is nearly a Golf competitor, technically it is a wagon but come on? Mercedes makes a killing on every e-class wagon they sell, even if it is not a huge number – it never was at those prices. BMW is the odd one out. TWO CUVs in more or less the same price range and they still bring over the 3-series wagon for the faithful, even if in not the configurations I would personally prefer. Per my local dealership, the F31 is outselling the E91 about 3:1, and almost entirely diesels. Six month wait for one there, they don’t have the allocations to meet demand. So the wagon wheel is slowly turning.

        So again, if Ford or GM or Chrysler came out with a traditional wagon version of the Fusion, Cruze, or 200, do you really think it wouldn’t sell in decent numbers? Not a goofy too small V60 style hatchback or a sporttruck Dodge Magnum, just a long-roof sedan with a $500-1000 markup over the betrunked version. This is not ten years ago, SUVs are dying, CUVs are getting to be old hat too though I agree that the “up high” thing has appeal so they will not go away entirely. But it comes at quite a cost. Seems like there is room for both in the market.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          No, it wouldn’t sell in decent numbers. I don’t think you understand why people don’t buy wagons, and the average American will always pick the CUV over a wagon all else being equal.

          Yes, VW sells the wagons they bring over, but that indicates nothing more than there is that much demand–it does not mean there is more, pent-up demand.

          Now, I would love to have some good looking wagon options. If Mazda sold the 6 wagon here, I’d already own one. But there are very few people like me, and enthusiasts make up no more than 1% of the new car market.

        • 0 avatar
          Richard Chen

          The VW Sportwagen is the only wagon left that’s affordable. Heck, there wasn’t even enough room for two wagons in VW’s lineup. The one affordable wagon sucks so much air out of the room, so that it’s impractical to compete against it.

          The Fusion (Mondeo) and Cruze wagons already exist, but aren’t already stateside. So, how many millions does it cost to federalize a wagon, and over how many can you spread the cost, parts, advertising, etc? Makes sense for luxury wagons, though.

          Mazda’s not going to bother losing money on the Mazda6 wagon again, with less than 200/month sold. They did move almost 80K CX-5′s, and don’t forget CAFE favors CUV sales.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Women have veto power over family vehicle purchases and they appear to prefer the CUV. My theory is that sitting up high and being able to see in traffic is a big CUV selling point.

      I sometimes wonder why GM bothers to rebadge an Opel as a Chevrolet. The people who want a wagon would probably prefer the European brand.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I must have missed that constitutional amendment.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam P

          There’s no veto in my marriage as far as cars go. We drive what we want.

          My wife bought a Mini Cooper. My preference was for her to get the bigger & faster GTI.

          I bought a 330i. She was initially against the idea of me selling my practical Subaru for a RWD BMW, but has grown to enjoy the car.

      • 0 avatar
        musicalmcs8706

        My mom is the exact opposite of this. She likes her small wagons. When I was growing up she had an Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser, the old school B-body. That was NOT small. But after two Chrysler Concordes that were still working when she sold them or gave them to my sister and I, she had a chance for a Volvo V70. Now she has a V50 and adores it. She hates huge cars!

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I think space efficiency has a lot to do with it, too. If you look at the side of a CUV and of a wagon, the CUV is more square and the wagon is more rectangular. For the same or similar sized shapes, a square has more area. I think this ultimately helps with packaging, too.

        For example, I have a Rav4 and a Prius v in my driveway right now. The are platform mates as both are essentially Corolla based. The Rav is a CUV, the Prius v is a wagon. The Prius v is 2″ longer and the Rav is 4″ taller. The Rav has over an extra inch in legroom front and rear despite a wheelbase that is nearly 5″ shorter. The turn radius is better on the Rav. The Rav has 4 more cu.ft behind the 2nd row, 6 more cu.ft with the 2nd row flat, and 4 more cu.ft in total passenger volume. The visibility is better in the Rav, it is easier to maneuver in parking lots, and the ground clearance is much better. The only thing that the Prius v outclasses the Rav on is mileage (which is due to having a very small engine and regen braking to recover energy rather than a peppy, larger 4 cyl) and the back doors are longer which makes getting the rear facing kiddo in a little easier. It is lower to the ground, so you have to bend down, though.

        I’m a wagon guy. I’m dying for Subaru to bring the Levorg as a WRX wagon. CUVs do have some definite advantages for families. Sitting up high is part of it, but most of them are very space efficient while being quite versatile. Having the option of AWD on all CUVs is a huge selling point, too.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    “The Maxx was essentially an Opel Signum with a bowtie ”

    It’s comments like this that have caused the gross overuse and misuse of the term “badge engineering” by everyone and their second cousin.

    These two cars didn’t share one body panel and probably not one interior panel.

    Badge engineering has been a derogatory term throws at the big 3 for way too long, when I reality, the foreign competition is usually the worse offenders.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I’d agree. The Maxx was longer, wider and had a longer wheelbase than the Signum and was styled completely differently. The Opel looks something like the Saturn Aura (not Astra) on the outside (but not at all inside!), which it also didn’t share a exterior panel with.

      They shared the Epsilon platform and the hatch design, but that’s it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I also agree, the term “rebadged” or “badge engineered” is inappropriately over used. The Maxx and the Opel Signum shared the Epsilon platform, that’s it. Are we now saying that every vehicle that shares a platform is identical to every other car with the same platform? That to me is rather shallow thinking, especially from people who claim to be car enthusiasts

      • 0 avatar

        I never said it was either. It was a North American-ized Signum, much like the last gen Mazda6 had a world market version and a North American version that was styled differently and had different dimensions. Looking at photos, it seems as if the two shared common Epsilon “hard points”, in the same way that the Dart and 200 now do via sharing CUSW, even though one is a larger car than the other.

        I think it’s also fair to say that sometimes, some creative license has to be taken. The phrasing “Signum with a bowtie” is one example.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        When almost all the body panels appear identical and sometimes even nose and tail caps, with only the name badge changed, I’d call it “badge engineered”. In the early-to-mid-00s, there was very little difference between the Opel Aura and the Chevy Malibu. Even Buick got in the game with one model that I believe was the Century for a short time. Even now, many of the Opel/Chevy cars wear the same chrome stripe across the nose with either a bow-tie or the Opel emblem and are otherwise complete twins.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          The previous generation Malibu to the one that spawned the Maxx had an Oldsmobile Cutlass sibling that was very much the definition of badge engineering. Different grille, different badges, slightly different interior trim options. I doubt a single body panel was different. Even better example, the Dodge and Plymouth Neons.

          Platforms are much more nebulous. The 2003-on Saab 9-3 was technically on the same Epsilon platform as the Malibu Maxx, but you would never know it by looking at them.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          Vulpine you need to look at pictures of these cars before you comment.
          The Saturn Aura and Opel Insignia were similar in style, not the Malibu/Aura.

          Badge engineering is ok if the cars aren’t sold together. Opel and Buick now share the Insignia and Regal. Honda does similar things with its Acura division.

          Real “badge engineering” is the Subaru/Scion twins, or the Chevy Volt/Opel Ampera, or the Dodge Spirit/Lebaron/Acclaim. Heck even the lexus ES250 was basically badge engineered.

          Enthusiasts accuse the MKZ of being the Fusion. Sure they share a platform, but I’ll put a years salary on 99.9% of the people interested in them would have no idea the two are the same car.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “When almost all the body panels appear identical and sometimes even nose and tail caps”

          They aren’t. Again, the wheelbase is different. Once you’re talking “different wheelbase” in a unibody, you can pretty much ensure that there aren’t many shared panels.

          “Even Buick got in the game with one model that I believe was the Century for a short time”

          No, the first Epsilon Buick was the Lacrosse, which is a generation after this car. The Century was a W-Body.

          There was a Cadillac; the Epsilon-based BLS. It was a Saab 9-3/Open Vectra cousin and didn’t make it to North America.

          The Epsilons are the next generation of GM2900 (which underpinned the Saab 900/9-3 and 9-5, a bunch of mid-90s Opels like the Vectra and Calibra and the Saturn L-Series)

          The first-generation Epsilons were the Saab 9-3 (from 02 onwards), the Opel Vectra, Chevy Malibu sedan (up to 07), all in shorter-wheelbase form, and the Maxx, G6, 07+ Malibu sedan and Aura, in longer-wheelbase form.

          The Signum was very slightly shorter than the G6, Aura and Maxx. It’s also much less blockier and has a completely different interior. I’d hardly call the Maxx a Signum with a bowtie any more than I’d call the L-Series a Saab 9-5 with a bowtie.

          But, you know, journalistic license and all…

          The Epsilon and GM2900 were actually pretty decent platform-engineering exercises from GM and did break from their bad old traditions of rebadging or reskinning., even if the individual executions were occasionally pretty poor.

  • avatar
    GoesLikeStink

    When these first came out, there actually was one on my block. I thought it looked good at the time. He was not fond of it. It was a company car.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    This car wasn’t a bad concept: it had a lot of interior passenger room—much more than the sedan and even more than the W-body Impala. It was quite nice in that respect; both front and rear quarters were best in class, and probably best in class for the next two classes up from it.

    The hatch was a nice touch, too: a huge load opening and lots of useful space. It was the car that the Epsilon 9-3 should have been, in that respect.

    It drove pretty poorly, though, and the interior was, well, a cut above the Cavalier and prior Malibu. That’s about as nice a comment as I can come up with.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Like too many GM vehicles of that era, the Maxx was a mediocre execution of a good idea.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        THIS. Spot on. This.

        Had the execution been better, I may have bought one in 2005. Had the SS existed with a manual, I may have even looked past the short comings.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          I was seriously considering one of these, but the positively dreadful interior turned me off. The center stack (which seemed to hang from the dash) probably squeaked and rattled over expansion joints.

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        Agreed. I test drove one in late 2005 when I was looking to replace my ’96 Buick Regal GS. I was okay with the footprint and liked the room inside but after being spoiled by the GS and an ’87 Olds 98 Regency Brougham before that, the cabin of the Maxx was a letdown and the fact that the sunroof was for the _rear_ passengers seriously annoyed me.

        Ultimately, the car had too many compromises and seemingly it wasn’t available at the trim level I was willing to pay for. And that may be the only positive thing to be said about old GM having most divisions put something on every platform: if you liked the car but not the price point, all you had to do was go a notch up or down the ladder.

        Of course, the very next car I test drove was a ’97 Volvo 850 T5, so no guesses as to how that story ended…

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I’m not sure about the business case argument. Anyone at GM looking at Malibu Maxx sales and using that as a barometer of what the market COULD be for a good midsized wagon is selling themselves short.

    Similarly, GM has NEVER made a wholehearted attempt at competing in the minivan market. I’m sure beancounters at GM look at Minivans as a lost cause as well because their sales numbers were never any good… blame everything but the product you made.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Right. If they had put as much effort into the U-Body vehicles as they did the Lambdas, their minivans would have been right up there with Chrysler, Honda, Nissan and Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        Ah, but that’s rather the problem. Building a competitive minivan means putting in just as much effort as they put into the Lambdas — and brings much smaller returns. GM sold ~245k Lambdas in the US last year. The entire minivan segment in the US was 530k — and half of it was Chrysler.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        The U-Body is a uniquely awful product. That’s a rebadge, in case you wanted a textbook example…

  • avatar

    > Unfortunately, I am not sure that any of the three modern wagons would sell in greater quantities than the Maxx, even though they’re vastly superior.

    This portion of the article just proves the rest of its efforts to denounce marketing is misguided.

    The matter of what people buy is often irrational therefore not conducive to reason-based analysis much less generalizing that reasoning. After all plenty of people still bought domestic or european cars even when the japanese were clearly making higher quality stuff per unit price in the 80′s and 90′s.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    why I saw a LW200 just yesterday.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    yes, a horribly ugly car with a mediocre interior and legendary pre-crisis on multiple earths level of GM quality didn’t sell well. This, is somehow news.

    Now lets look at something that is an outlier: the old Dodge Magnum. Yeah, that wagon, with the performace bias, the Hemi, and the last, best hope for a man to look manly in something with 5 doors and a baby seat. That wagon moved 20k units a year. that’s more rubber on the road that Audi sells for their bread-and-butter A4 every year. Chrysler killed it (according to Ralph Giles) becuase one exec hated it. NOT becuase it didn’t sell.

    Have a look around. There’s market share available out there for a hi-po biased wagon. Show me one family vehicle with a 5th door that your average late 30′s to early 40′s free-range North American dad will drive with pride. It’s not a minivan, they’re just giving up. It’s not a CUV, they’ve been adopted by the imperial fleet of soccer moms. It might be a FS SUV, but it’s not very butch openly weeping at the gas station during fill-ups. It might be a Subi Outback (htat car sells in droves, too), but what else you got? you got zilch.

    Give the mature men-children of the abandonded class a step up from their Foci and WRX’s and, and GTI’s. Give it a rubmle at the back, a sneer at the front, and some sweet rims in the middle with a low roof. And for FAWK’S SAKE give it good set of engines and proper manual transmission. Who cares if the manual sells, the nutbag journos will drool all over it for free press bonus points.

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      What you describe is a cross section of what Homer Simpson would design and something I think I’d like.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      The golf and jetta wagon in Tdi form fit the bill to some extent

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      Except for the Dad part, you pretty much nailed my thinking. The older 4Runner mainly sits due to bad mpg while I daily drive an economy car. I’d love to be down to one car, but no way I’m driving a mommy mobile or a new 4Runner which still gets poor mpg. A well executed, reasonably priced sporty wagon would be the ticket. Think Honda Accord Sport in a wagon with a msrp of about 26k.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      @FractureCritical

      You describe my BMW wagon, but of course it just costs way too much for the average family Dad. And it is also a bit small. VW really should do a GLI version of the Jetta Wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I could probably forgive some VW sins if a GLI wagon came. 2.0T, 6MT, plaid. The BMW 3 wagon is wildly expensive now that you have to get AWD and you have to get the AT. You could build a reasonably optioned e91 for under $40k.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          VW did have a wagon here with the 2.0T for at least one model year (although not a GTI/GLI wagon). I remember almost buying a 2009 Jetta Sportwagen 2.0T, but I purchased a GTI instead.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            It was missing all of the GTI goodies, though. The fantastic plaid seats were good enough that a Rabbit or non-GLI Jetta wasn’t even a consideration when I bought my ’07 GTI. The powertrain was there, but the GTI and GLI were the complete package.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Right. It was more like a 2008-2011 Jetta Wolfburg Wagon (not the stupid 2007 Wolfsburg with the 2.5L, badges, and a spoiler). The 2.0T Wolfsburg was a great deal at 22K-23K for one with the DSG. I owned one because they were a great deal. My GTI was a much better car though. The Wolfsburg almost felt worn out at 40K miles. When I sold the GTI, it was as good as the day I bought it.

          • 0 avatar
            FractureCritical

            you forget (or didn’t know about) the 2006-2010 Passat wagon, which was a fantastic car, came with the 2.0T and a stick. It has all the same genitals as the GTI and all the same go fast parts fit. I owned one of these for two years, and it’s always been my favorite car, power tailgate and all.

            I wake up every morning and curse VW for a number of sins, but no longer importing that beauty is chiefest among them.

  • avatar
    7402

    That is a hatchback, not a wagon. Please correct the headline.

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      I agree, we used to call them “five-doors” and they were most definitely different than station wagons. I know the definition of what is and isn’t a wagon can get very picky, but this five-door hatchback evokes back to an earlier age of vehicles. I owned a 1983 Nissan Stanza five-door and found it to be very useful for the first years of married life. Later I purchased a first generation Honda CR-V and immediately saw how the higher ride height, additional ground clearance, and bigger and taller cargo area were worth the trade-off of reduced fuel efficiency and somewhat better handling.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      So…a swatch back?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I kind of remember it being marketed as a crossover here in the States.

  • avatar
    Madroc

    I always liked the idea of that car. But that name. “Malibu Maxx” is Barbie’s porn-star friend, not a car.

  • avatar
    Reicher

    Yeah, I see alot of those Malibus around still. My buddy’s dad had the sedan and it wasn’t quite what they hoped for :S

  • avatar
    geozinger

    It seems to me the headline set the tone for the comments to come after. So often the editorial staff here claims they don’t have a bias against GM, but stuff like this pops up and we’re all off to the races to come up with the snarkiest comment about a car most have never owned or in some cases, seen.

    I leased one of these for 3 years and really came to appreciate it. I’ve always been a fan of hatchbacks, and this was another one in a line that I’ve had since I was able to afford my own cars.

    This was one of the roomiest cars I’d ever had that wasn’t a land yacht, 112 in wheelbase with a backseat with it’s own fore and aft mechanism. Very handy when your kids are in that growth spurt age bracket. We hauled everything in ours as our kids were very active as teenagers: Soccer, band, scouts, church events (Edit: Absolutely the easiest car for me to load my 5 piece Ludwig drum kit into). We could take all four of us and our two dogs in the car, crank up the a/c and cruise down the highways with fuel mileage in the high 20′s.

    The front passenger seatback folded forward so you could place long items in the car and close the hatch. The hard plastic cargo cover in the back could double as a picnic table. It had all manner of grocery bag hooks on it, very convenient. With the two sunroofs (the front one was optional) it was very airy in there.

    The interior in the LS model I had was rather basic, which was great as I had kids and dogs in the car a lot. Mine was assembled in Fairfax, KS, which seemed to have better assembly than the Malibu’s and G6′s I’ve sampled that were built in Lake Orion, MI.

    The car wasn’t meant to be a BMW competitor, so the handling was average along with other characteristics of the car. The SS versions were a little more engaging, but truly, they should have been called RS to follow the proper nomenclature. I’d buy another one in a heartbeat. Preferably the SS version. For the minor hit in fuel mileage you’ll take, the extra HP and torque would be worth it. The car is anvil simple and tough and plenty roomy for most anything I would need to do with it.

    Now that I’ve defended the old girl, I will say this: I’d like to see a Cruze wagon hit the streets here in the US. It would make an entertaining alternative to the small SUV. Which is probably why it will never happen.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      I think the headline realistically represents what that gen Malibu was – over promised and under delivered. It was touted as a Second Coming and upon closer inspection turned out to be typical under baked GM wares.

      The best thing about the bankruptcy? The excuse about not being able to compete based on legacy costs. We’ll see. So far the newer fare seems better…but then so does everyone else’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      @Geo;

      I agree with you on the seemingly deliberate GM-bashing, FWIW. Over 8 years of absolute reliability in an out-dated, crude, lousy, behind-the-times lowly Chevy Impala, and now in a stellar reliable, equally bad 2012 Impala… well, I guess I’ll never learn!

      I love ‘em, though…

      Hey, I’ve had a couple of shout-outs to you the last couple of days. Today on an earlier article about some old movie and the mention of infringing on your copyright concerning the “Cockroach of the Road”©! Several owe you a beer!

      When shopping for my old 2004 Impala, Wifey and I seriously checked out a Malibu Maxx and were very impressed with the interior roominess and the skylights – those were pretty cool!

      However, my many years of “Impala love” got the better of me, and the rest is history. Oh, well – we also liked Azteks too…

      • 0 avatar

        Crapwagon is a generic term I used to write about cars I find in online classifieds. Previously I’ve done Crapwagon pieces on a mint TSX and a Galant VR-4. It’s not a value judgement on a brand or nationality.

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          @Derek, understood. I haven’t been following these posts as closely lately, I may have missed those.

          But, there seems to be a double standard of sorts WRT to some cars like this. Clearly meant to be the basic car (as opposed to a higher line car i.e., a Buick), they get criticized for whatever shortcomings, real or imagined.

          I got no problem with someone who had one and had a bad experience calling it a crapwagon, but for folks who have only ever SEEN one and call it that… You can understand my distress.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I would have liked the Aztek, had Pontiac not made too many mistakes on it.
        The tiny wheels just LOOKED ridiculous on such a big body and the V6 was grossly underpowered for the car. They didn’t even consider putting a 6-speed stick under her and as a result the performance was simply abysmal!
        I ended up buying a 2002 Saturn Vue–among the first in my region–and with a 2.4 EcoTec engine w/5-speed stick it was a remarkably quick and agile rig, even at 3600# curb weight. Decent gearing even with only 145 horses under the hood made a huge difference between ho-hum boring and sporty economy. I even managed over 30mpg on long drives at 70mph freeway speeds.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        Hey Zackman! Thanks for thinking of me. I should have collected those beers yesterday, they would have all been green!

        In a way, I’m just glad to have contributed to the automotive lexicon albeit in a strange fashion. I should have come up with something more noble, I guess…

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ Zackman…I never quite got over my 2009 LTZ. I wrote about my 3 car shuffle on the TTAC Forum.

        My 2014 is very cool, though I’m still deciding if I like more than the 2009?

        As far as the GM TTAC bashing goes? These days I let it slide off.

        Enjoy your Impala. BTW I’m not going to offer to race you. You will certainly win.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      @geozinger- I think your analysis of the Maxx is spot on. A few years back my eldest bought one which left me scratching my head a bit over his decision. He never does anything without thoroughly thinking it through and after seeing how it handled his three kids and all their stuff I began to see why he chose it. It hasn’t given him any trouble and he still loves it even though it’s getting pretty old. The thing is that it’s a good car that GM went out of their way to make look cheap and boring

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Well typically sell one or two 2005-2008 Malibu/Maxx types cars a month. The customers generally seem to like them. the major Achilles heel stems around the early 04/05 electric steering which many seem to have been fixed by now. The 2.2 Ecotec is pretty bulletproof and the 3500 is a fantastic engine that solved the intake issue of the 3100/3400 with it’s coolant bypass redesigned intake. Most everyone we get runs as new regardless of mileage. The other complaint is the cloth seat material which is harsh, cheap feeling and hard to clean. But then most every car uses similar material so that is a common complaint with many main streams sedans and CUV’s now. I don’t see where the interiors are all that bad. In fact they seem to hold up better than some of the same year Camrys we get in which suffer from storage doors that won’t stay closed, worn and faded knobs, dash vents that fall out and misaligned bits everywhere so again I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        If they have fixed the electric steering for good I wish they’d transfer that fix to the Cruze! I hate hate hate the electric steering in my car, and I’m on my second rack. I’ve been to the dealer 3 times with this new rack and they either can’t “duplicate” the problem or don’t have a fix for it. Its the only real problem I’ve had in 70K miles, but it is really making me think I need to cut my losses and trade it in.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Funny, the steering unit was the only part of Delphi that GM wanted to bring back in-house. Yet GM has a long standing reputation for wandering steering that doesn’t track well. I’ve had adjustment periods when renting GM cars. If that vague steering feel is part of your problem, you’ll never get it fixed – it’s baked in.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            I wish it had a little more of a vague spot on center, it is a little too sensitive on the highway.

            My problem has been it sticking on the highway. When you try to make small corrections to stay in your lane it is like the PS goes into sleep mode and you have to nudge it past the dead spot. Very annoying over a long commute. Almost feels like it has a detent you have to get past, but it doesn’t do it all the time.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree with this, most of their product suffers from “vague steering”. However it seems in the Z-body Saturn SLs they seemed to have figured out steering as its much tighter to the other GM product I have driven/owned.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      My wife has been driving a Maxx for years now and has been really happy with it. At the time we bought (2006), there really weren’t any other mid-size vehicles with a back hatch that wasn’t an SUV, CUVs not having caught on yet. Both of us value function over form and this design delivers on that score. As to form, I’ve always seen echoes of the Avanti in its profile. It’s really a shame that current fashion trends seem to prevent mfrs from offering similar vehicles that package high function without butching up the design as CUVs do (at the expense of functionality).

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    Check out this cheap example in Woodstock Ontario, just $2 grand CAN for a 3.5L model with 158,000 miles:
    http://ontario.kijiji.ca/c-cars-vehicles-cars-trucks-2005-Malibu-Maxx-W0QQAdIdZ574560234

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I would love an SS model. Seriously.

    That is the old fashioned formula for a “muscle car”, drop the big engine from the car car a class above it (W-body Impala in this case) into your midsize family car – bang, speed.

    The only thing that truly bugs me about the Malibu of that generation is the too tall shifter that looks like it was designed as the floor shift for a minivan.

  • avatar
    Carfan94

    The Opel Signum looked a 1000x better than this hideous contraption. I remember when Jeremy Clarkson reviewed the Signum and tried drive it from the backseat. And I can’t remember the last time I saw a Magnum, You see plenty of them in the bad parts of town, But i don’t recall seeing any where i live even when they were new.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Magnums must be dented and badly parked, it is a rule.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Was there a 2.7 Magnum? Then your Magnum could be dented, badly parked, AND terminally ill!

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I wish the LHS/Concorde/NY triplets would’ve had better engines, then they’d be more prevalent today. Seems like other than that huge failing, the interiors have held up nicely, and the design is nice IMO. And it’s a huuuuuge spacious car!

          I preferred the Concorde with the white strip across the back, and the mesh looking wheels. 1st gen only, I thought the redesign when they brought it in line with the 300M was too bulbous.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    More of a hatch like the Corsica hatchback.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    These always reminded me of an modern Citation 5 door. Maybe there were some folks out there desirous of a updated X-Car.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Pffft, had the MAXX been brown, with a manual, diesel, got 60 MPG US highway, could go 0 to 60 in 5 seconds and burn the 1/4 mile in the low 13s, was made of sold unobtanium, was completely wrapped in rich leather, and was priced at $11,999, $9,999 after $2,000 rebate – all other sins would have been ignored.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Went for a test drive with 2 new wagons, Acura and Volvo also the 5 door Imprezza. Also saw two of these today. One was kind of beat up and the other still looking good, in it’s odd sort of way. The fact that people are still driving these odd wagons along with PT Cruisers and the Matrix tells me there is still a demand for economical wagons/5 doors.

  • avatar

    Great post. I like the idea of this car. High quality and I like the specs. Your thoughts are also very good and i am very inspired from your post. Thank you for sharing this post.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    Actually you were probably right the first time, i.e. GM hasn’t offered a proper affordable wagon since the last of the full-size B-Body wagons rolled off the line in 1995. Well, it depends on which was in production longer, the 1996 model Caprice/Roadmaster wagon, or the 1996 model A body Century/Cutlass wagons. The Maxx is NOT A WAGON. It’s a gloppily designed hatchback. I remember when these came out, I wanted to grab onto that roof and stretch it out all the way to the back of the car, so it WOULD be a real wagon.

  • avatar
    YetAnotherHobby

    Bought mine with 7K on the clock for about a 40% discount off new. 100K miles later…it’s been reliable if not exactly soul stirring. The electric steering likes to seize up on cold mornings, it warps its brake rotors with great regularity, and miscellaneous switches and levers have snapped off or quit working. But….it starts every day, gets very respectable gas mileage (30 mpg on highway is normal) and it can carry a good sized vacation load.
    Craptastic is harsh. Sure, it took a good whack from the ugly stick but it’s just an honest hardworking CHEAP car. I bet this unloved mongrel will outlast quite a few of the new 9 speed turbocharged LCD-festooned wonders on the lots nowadays.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I hadn’t realized it was a wagon. It’s as much a wagon as the Chevy Citation 5-door.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    It’s as ugly as an Aztek

    And it’s a hatchback, not a wagon.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    The worst thing that can be said about the Malibu Maxx is it might have been the inspiration for what would eventually become the universally despised, craptacular Dodge Caliber.

    The Caliber’s rear hatch treatment is just way too similar to that of the Maxx’ to be coincidence.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      The Dodge Caliber. Now that was a crap wagon

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Not so! in Australia you could get one with a VW turbo-diesel and 5-speed manual. All you needed was a brown paint job (and a Recaro driver’s seat). The US-available SRT had the 2.4 turbo “Warhawk” engine and a 6-speed Getrag manual. Again, all you needed was a brown paint job (and a Recaro driver’s seat). You might want to upgrade the stereo too.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    A 5-door hatch is NOT a wagon.

    • 0 avatar

      I think cars like this were common in Euroland back in the70s, 80s, and 90s. The French also tried to revive this idea in the 00s as an alternative to the German luxury sedans. In Brazil they were also pretty common in the 70s and 80s then died off in the 90s. They were considered sort of halfway between a hatchback and a sedan. I’ve seen them called notchbacks or 2 and 1/2 cars (as in volume being 2 volumes a hatch and 3 a sedan). I also remember the term liftback, but I think that’s another style.

  • avatar
    mshenzi

    Back in the 1970s my family had an AMC Sportabout. I don’t think the ’5 door hatch’ category existed then in the way it’s being discussed here, but these days its dimensions might make it one. It was my mom’s car and she loved its small size, but the ‘crapwagon’ shoe fit it really well. Still, it had a Gucci interior– little G’s all over the headliner, and the classic Gucci bag colors for the seats

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    This car was ridiculously overpriced. I remember taking my kid to the local Chevy dealer to check these out nearly a decade ago. Stickers were all 26-28K USD. Considering I could get a decently equipped Sienna or Odyssey for the same price, I could make no sense of buying something way smaller, less reliable, and less durable for the same price. I like the anecdote about picking one up with under 10K miles for 40% off sticker. That tells you all you need to know about what the car was really worth.

    Come to think of it, this prompts a thought. When I worked at a car dealership, I learned from the finance manager that 99% of buyers do not give a damn what price they pay for the car. All they want to know is the monthly payment. Now, I think 99% might be a slight exaggeration, but anyhow: If the final decision of this type of buyer is based only on payments, might a higher sticker price actually make the car more appealing? I cannot figure out how else to explain the ludicrous pricing of the Maxx back in the day, nor the current phenomenon wherein our local Chevy dealer is now adding ‘additional dealer markup’ to all the vehicles on its lot. Help me out here, B&B. Does pricing a crapwagon higher help it sell?

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      GM prices their products with ‘built in rebates’. Such as the ‘all new’ pickups, with $8000 rebates, now.

      The Maxx was a ‘throw it on the wall and see if it sticks’ [coined phrase from Pete of Autoextremist site].

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      It wasn’t this crapwagon in particular, every GM car (and truck) in that era had an absolutely insane sticker price. Undercutting the competition on paper would be a loss of face, therefore every GM rental car had to be priced to match – not compete with, literally match within 100-200 dollars – its segment leaders.

      The Malibu sedan stickered like an Accord. The Cavalier matched the Civic. The Trailblazer matched the 4Runner.

      That they then needed $4-6,000 on the hood to sell at all was Ally’s problem.

      • 0 avatar
        Truckducken

        Dan,
        Thanks – I guess that makes ‘sense’, from a pre-BK GM viewpoint. Apparently my local Chevy dealer liked this pricing model and is now adding ADM to maintain it.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I always liked the look of the Maxx SS in blue with those same chunky alloys the Cobalt SS ended up having…

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    I always had a soft spot for the Maxx! The sliding seat, the hatch, the skylight, etc. The standard Malibu of this era drove worse than the generation before it, and had an awful plastic interior. But the SS had cool 1970s Porsche style upholstery, loads of power and some handling tweaks… but, alas, otherwise the same crappy interior, plus a lofty price, terrible fuel economy (that go-fast pushrod motor returned numbers in the teens), and thanks to the SS badge, a ridiculous insurance premium. So I didn’t buy. I wonder how long now before they’re “collectors items” …and to whom…

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    I remember watching on GMInsidenews around 2005 when this generation Malibu was on sale about how it was “soooo much better than the Camry” and how it was going to be the best selling car in America. They also said the same about the Cobalt.

    Makes me lol.

    We had one of these Malibus (and the “classic”) back around that time as a rental on vacation. What a steaming pile of crap it was. Cramped, typical GM terrible build quality, gutless, coarse, and ugly. Still don’t know why GM went out of business.

    • 0 avatar
      Carfan94

      Makes me laugh out loud too! The Camry was like a Rolls Royce compared to this thing. Didn’t they say the same thing about the 1997 Malibu and the 2008 Malibu?

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Kind of reminds me of the steaming pile of crap 2014.5 Camry SE rental I had last month that failed to start due to a mysteriously drained battery that required a jump to get going. It’s all black and fake silver interior was like stepping back into the 90′s with the horrible harsh fake cloth seat material and automatic pop out front vents when you hit a pot hole the right way.

      Oh and it’s std equipment list made us think we were driving a basic Corolla not a 25K plus sporty sedan.

      Oh and your full of it saying the Maxx was cramped. That had more rear seat room than any Camry of that time and equivalent front seat space and every 3500 V6(which was std in Maxx) had plenty of power and would blow away the gutless Toyota 2.4 and 3.0 V6 in those years.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Okey dokey,

        Car and Driver 0-60 & 1/4 mile of Malibu Maxx v6: 7.8 & 16.1 @ 86
        Car and Driver o-60 & 1/4 mile of Camry 3.0 v6: 8.2 & 16.4 @ 86 (new)7.9 & 16.2 @ 87 (40,000 miles)
        Yes, quite the “blowing away” there.

        About that 2014.5 Camry:
        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/review-toyota-camry-se-2-5l-track-tested/

        About the new Malibu:
        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/rental-review-2013-chevrolet-malibu-ltz/

        That is all.

        No, it actually isn’t. You read the Captiva review? Now I’m done.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    When the speedo crapped out on my 2003 z71 Tahoe (25mph suddenly became a blistering 110) the local inept Chevy dealer gutted the instrument clustser, put the truck behind their shop, then put me through a month of hell as they summoned the GM wizards to reprogram a new cluster with my precise mileage, something that apparently took a great deal of time and effort rather than hooking up a new unit to a computer and hitting a few buttons… but I digress.

    During that time they gave me a pimp burgundy Malibu MAXX! with a baby poop brown interior. The car smelled of cigaretess, piss, and strawberry air freshner. Even by the standards of GM at the time it was a garishly ugly and misconceived creation with a cheap interior and handling as bland as its styling. The engine was adequate and the interior seating room in the back was surprisingly large, but the weird sport hatch design meant that there was sadly little room behind the back seats in a vehicle roughly the size of a 4runner or Subaru Outback wagon which by comparison had cavernous cargo holds.

    Oddly when I got the Tahoe back, I promptly traded it for a Outback wagon… which I still have.

  • avatar
    iwasntspeeding

    LOL the guy writing about Chevy’s most recent forgotten wagon forgot about Chevy’s most recent forgotten wagon: the 2011 HHR! It may be government classified as a compact SUV due to its flat load floor, but that shouldn’t fool anybody. It’s a car. It’s a compact wagon like the Jetta Sportswagen but with a 2 inch higher H point. It’s a Cobalt wagon with retro body panels (and a manual transmission!). Obviously I own one, and am mighty worried about what I would replace it with if the need arose. I don’t want the stinkin’ VW. And as this article forewarns, the Cruze wagon will probably never happen. Focus hatchback maybe. Also, yes, the HHR interior is 100% hard plastic, and yes, my ignition switch has broken.

  • avatar

    I think this was a great concept that Mazda perfected with the Protege5. Of course, I also loved the Lexus IS300 SportCross (remember those?), so my vehicular taste isn’t exactly mainstream.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    I owned a 2004 Maxx for 4 years, until Oregon snowstorms flummoxed its traction control. Maxx had decent seats and freeway manners allowing long trips. MPG was 18 to 30. Aluminum rear hatch was unique GM forming process but fasteners within it squeaked horribly. Plenty of rear seat room. Ride was ok up front, somewhat harsh in back (no hydraulic bushings there).
    GM offered us clinic participation where 120 MAXX owners met factory personnel, who went over and tweaked our cars. At clinic, engineers told us the SS version was badly executed marketing exercise (rode like truck, huge turning circle, etc.).

    Rear sunshade, suspension and steering column problems plagued the Maxx (I missed the failing electrics and other issues to come). Dealer service departments were fair to downright awful (GM extended warranty took days to get approved).

    Bob Lutz claimed in various blogs that he had worked on the Maxx but came into the program too late to properly polish it.

    Result: a potentially nice but half finished, poorly supported car. Lesson learned; no more GM products in my garage.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I looked into buying a 2004-2008 Malibu last year, thinking it might be an underpriced bargain. To my surprise, they have held their value almost as well as the Honda Accords of similar vintage.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Rubbish.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        No, there’s a 2005 with 72k miles for sale in San Diego for $9,999 by carguru. It’s marked as overpriced with “$1,465 above instant market value of $8,534″.

        Another 2005 with 88,544 miles is listed in Buena Park CA for $6,995 and is labeled “Fair Deal $962 below instant market value of $7,947.”

        What “instant market value” is, your guess is as good as mine, but the prices are pretty good for nine year old cars, at least in southern California with mileage indicating they were owned by little old ladies from Pasadena who only drove them to Saturday night bingo. That may be what Conslaw is saying.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I owned one! I loved the packaging and the size. It was amazing what I could stuff into it (a dining table and 4 chairs once). But, what a horrible POS when it came to interior and exterior materials and build quality. all the interior trim was covered in flash, was incredibley flimsy and sometimes barely attached. When I shampooed the seat material, it looked dirtier. All the glass and body panels were wavy. It was fairly reliable, but every repair seemed to cost more than a Chevy should. I traded it for a 10-year-old Lexus GS, I thought I’d gone to heaven when I sat in that car the first time.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The Maxx does far better on wholesale value than most midsized domestic vehicles of that era, save the Fusion. The list of terrible American cars during this time is long enough to support three major brands… if only they could sell.

    Grand Prix, Malibu, Regal, LeSabre, Taurus, Sable, Intrepid, Concorde, Sebring, L-Series. This will likely be the historical low point of competitiveness for the Detroit automakers of that time.

    My wife had one for about a year. I had bought an 05′ model for $3500 as a repo vehicle back in 2011 (about $1500 off the average wholesale.) It was a great family vehicle for those who are more interested in space and functionality than looks and performance. She especially loved the “shelf” in the back which nearly doubled the overall amount of space you could use in the hatchback.

    That vehicle is still being financed by an older lady. The Maxx wasn’t the worst GM wagon of that decade from my perspective. I would give that award squarely to the Saturn L-Series.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “3.9L 240 horsepower V6 engine”

    That is a terrible amount of horsepowers to pull from 3.9L, and really unacceptable at any time past about 1993.

  • avatar

    had I known this thread would be so popular, and full of irrelevancy, I never would have checked to receive posts. please stop already!

  • avatar
    nrd515

    A guy I used to work with drives a Maxx, and it’s been nearly perfect in the 10 years he’s had it since his wife bought it just before they got engaged. It’s only issue has been the stereo has twice decided to gobble up a CD and refused to play it, or spit it out. It just sits there. After a couple of days with the stereo in “limbo”, it comes to life and plays the CD, or lets you eject it. The stereo was swapped out under warranty the first time, and the second time he just went and put an aftermarket head unit in it.


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