By on February 19, 2016

2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx rear three-quarter in California junkyard, Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars

The Malibu Maxx was a funny looking, crypto-station-wagon version of the 2004-2007 Chevrolet Malibu (which was itself based on the Opel Vectra C). It sold poorly and is now largely forgotten, which makes it exactly the kind of junkyard car I like to find.

Yes, obscure sales flops in the junkyard have stories to tell!

2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx badging in California junkyard, Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars

Cars this new tend to get picked over pretty quickly, provided that they share components with vehicles still on the road in large numbers. General Motors is all about the parts bin, so owners of everything from the Pontiac Sunfire to the Buick Rendezvous can do their shopping here.

"You Got High, Now Go Home!" sticker on 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx in California junkyard, Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars

(*shakes cane at those damn cannabis tourists leaving their tax dollars in Colorado*)

2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx badging with Jesus fish in California junkyard, Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars

I have rented many a Malibu with the LTZ trim level, during my travels with the 24 Hours of LeMons, and I have always assumed that LTZ is GM code for Bob Lutz.

You know you’re really reaching when the biggest selling point on your car is the sliding rear seats.

[Images: Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]

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128 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx...”

  • avatar

    I remember looking at one of these to replace my mother’s Escort wagon. The car was decent, but w-a-a-y overpriced.

  • avatar

    I have never driven or ridden in one of these but visually this car was almost cynical in its lack of character and style. It looks like a low resource rendering car for the background of a video game. Just as non-descript and easy to manufacture as possible. Malibu has come a long way from this…. nobody would have mistaken this for a luxury car, even in Lutz trim

    • 0 avatar

      I always thought this generation of Malibu looked like it was designed by people who didn’t like cars for people who didn’t like cars. It’s simply a way to get from point A to B.

    • 0 avatar

      LTZ autocorrected to Lutz…that’s brilliant.

    • 0 avatar

      True, but this thing had a MASSIVE back seat.

    • 0 avatar

      Not luxury one bit – very utilitarian, very spartan, very functional.

      If you cross-sat this with a G6 or an Aura, you realized that there was one nice thing you got – amazing shoulder room and the feeling of lots of space. I upsized to the Ford D3s instead of going with another Malibu after one from this generation because the interior space was simply lacking on the later generations. We all know the crime that was the 2013 Malibu back seat, but even “The Super Accord’ years were incredibly uncomfortable if you were used to driving in the big, open sledgehammer Uglibu.

      I was told at the time that the idea was that Chevy was told – these are the fixed points from the Saab – you can’t change those – and so, realizing that they weren’t going to be able to position it as sporty (that was supposed to be the G6) or as some sort of nouveau semi-premium (that was supposed to be the Aura, at least that’s what the Saturn marketing guy told me, showing Saturn knew nothing), they went for maximized functionality.

      Like a plain girl with a nice personality who you can rely on through thick and thin, the Uglibu just grows on you.

    • 0 avatar

      Excellent description. But who wouldn’t want to drive the video game background cars?

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Fun fact: During the production of this car, for a time at least, the 4 cylinder version of the Maxx had the lowest cost to insure of any car for sale in America.

    The following is a list of the cars we’ve had available for us to drive at work since I started here in the order of which people would avoid:

    1. Final generation Cavalier
    2. The above generation of Malibu
    3. First generation Colorado
    4. Cobalt
    5. Current generation Colorado

    The interior of the Malibu we had here was worn completely out after 40k miles. All the writing on the buttons was worn off, the steering wheel plastic delaminated, and much of the edges of the plastic were actually sharp. It was slow and of course criminally ugly. I don’t normally claim to know anything (or really care) about steering feel, but this car had the worst I’ve ever experienced.

  • avatar

    A friend bought one early in their run and I thought it was very nice. It takes a lot to make me not like anything with a hatch, though several recent cars have managed that.

  • avatar

    Hmmmmm, showroom to junkyard in only 10 years, may be a new record for “Junkyard Find”.

    • 0 avatar

      Either a wreck or he followed the maintenance schedule recommended in the owners manual.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s a wreck – you can see clearly the passenger airbag is deployed in one of the pictures. It appears the remains of the airbag sack for the driver side is in another (possibly just part of the removed door liner). The front fenders are bent up, the door is caved in, the main support is damaged passenger side, and the headlights are shoved in.

        10 year old Malibu with airbags deployed – terminal.

    • 0 avatar

      I was thinking the same thing, unless it was totaled in an accident. Not sure if you could see how many miles were on it or it had a digital dash, I see these now and then in the northeast but they are pretty rare, I do not know to applaud GM for making something so out there or ask what were they thinking? Maybe GM’s take on the Datsun/Nissan transformer car with a sq back that was removable, Pulsar( ??) I think .

    • 0 avatar

      It is pretty obvious a wreck put this in the junkyard.

      Gee, these 2014 Nissan Maximas are junk. Showroom to junkyard in 2 years…

  • avatar

    I still see a fair number of these on the road here in the Lower Midwest. Surprisingly for GM crap of this vintage, I have yet to see one with a sagging headliner or windows taped closed. They must have accidentally raided some other manufacturer’s parts bin for these items! But yeah, these were overpriced garbage.

  • avatar

    Did this have the weird sunroof only over the rear seats thing that almost all of the Maxxes seem to have had?

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Jeremy Clarkson referred to the original UK version of this vehicle as the only car that was designed strictly from the backseat.

    We had a previous generation Malibu and found it to be a solid, reliable, good bang for the buck vehicle. Had no gasket problems with it. There are still many of these on the road in Ontario, so others must have found them to be the same. The styling has actually aged relatively well. Better than the 04-07 generation.

    The Maxx was as others noted, overpriced. And it probably would have benefited sales wise if they had made it a true wagon, thereby greatly increasing the usability of the rear hatch.

  • avatar

    I owned one of these of this model year in SS trim for 7 years, loved it. Never had a problem with it, other than the under-designed brakes, which would eventually shudder when heated up too much.

    240 horses was enough to get out of it’s own way, and it turned left AND right fairly well for a station wagon.

    The car gave up it’s life for my family after being rear ended by a Dodge Ram 2500, everyone walked away with no injuries.

    • 0 avatar

      So the SS got the 3.9 you saw in Cadillacs at the time, while the other versions got a 3.5.

      Why don’t I recall much 3.5 use from GM?!

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t know of any Cadillac that used the 3.9L pushrod engine.

      • 0 avatar

        The 3.5 was in a myriad of vehicles from GM mid 2000’s.

        • 0 avatar

          Was it extra reliable like the 3800?

          • 0 avatar

            Reasonably so, 3.5 is an evolution of 60V6.

          • 0 avatar

            My beater van has the GM 3.5L V6 with 165K miles now on it. They don’t suffer from the seal/gasket issues that the 3.4L suffered from.

            My oil pan is starting to leak and I will have to decided in about a year in whether I want to pump another $1.5Kish into the Saturn Relay or let it go to what will likely be it’s final owner.

            $1.5K to $1.75K comes from the math of likely front and rear brakes (rears at 40K now, fronts at 30K), tires (currently have almost 70K on them and plenty of tread – love Yokohama for moderately priced yet quality tires), the above mentioned oil pan gasket (5-1/2 hour labor – they have to drop the motor apparently!) and sending out the instrument cluster for service (burned out lights – the collection is growing – about $100), and finally a DIY repair of the heated driver seat (element is bad, part is only $78 but 3-1/2 hours book labor to replace). For me, I’m not buying ghetto tires or brake parts and the van has stock 17″ wheels, so moderate tires are still around $150 a corner after tax, fees, etc. etc. etc.

            If I do all that at 180K miles then I figure I’m married to 225K, which means at 200K I’m looking at all bodily fluids and the transmission filter. This also assumes they don’t screw up my HVAC system when they do the engine drop and reinstall. So between brake, steering, fuel injection cleaning, transmission, coolant I’m in another $500ish. So over 12 to 18 months I basically will have to sink in the value of the vehicle in maintenance costs (and because it is cared for this way is a major part of why it runs well at its age)

            Meh – I see cheap tires, pads only, some heavy weight oil and a for sale sign in my future.

            But the 3.5L V6 – it is the Energizer Bunny – it just keeps going and going and going and going…

    • 0 avatar

      I very much wanted to get a Maxx SS. So very few were on the lots in 2006 and each of the dealers I spoke to were not dealing on those cars. Maxx LT for me, instead.

  • avatar

    If I Remember correctly, the Malibu Maxx and the Malibu didn’t share anything other than the name… I thought that they were completely different platforms.

  • avatar
    Fard Barkle

    I was always amazed that GM gave us an Epsilon-based hatchback as a Chevy, yet the Saab 9-3 on the same platform had a trunk. Chevy drivers don’t want hatchbacks and Saab drivers don’t want trunks.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    A family friend of ours had a 2004 Malibu Maxx V6. I hated it. She finally sold it last year when fuel vapor started to leak into the cabin, and bought a 2010 or 2011 Lexus ES350.

  • avatar

    I had one of these as a rental once. There was a thing in the dash…a placard or something that said “Malibu”….I think Murilee has a picture of it in the set here.

    I was fascinated with it…the General’s attention to detail and quality. But then I pressed it with my finger and it popped loose and fell back into the void under the dash, leaving a hole.

    That’s really my only memory of this car.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Then it started rattling around in there. No one could later figure out where the “dash rattle” was coming from.

      Pity the poor buyer who got it as a “program car”.

  • avatar

    Owned a Maxx for 5 years. Seats were very comfortable (good long trip car), engine was peppy and got decent MPG, front suspension was a junk yard (rack and shocks constantly fell apart), all sorts of minor glitches and rattles, constantly shifting cruise control, terrible extended warranty. Resale value was ziltch.

    Best thing that happened with Maxx was being invited to a Chevrolet 1st year evaluation program, where factory reps worked our cars over to fix some of the worst problems.

    Bob Lutz once said he got involved with that Malibu program too late to get the vehicle properly finished. Pity. Maxx could have been a nice car.

    Ironically, there are a lot of Maxxes up in Portland OR.

  • avatar

    My brother has one as a DD. Still running.

    [P.S. Long time reader since 2008, first post.]

  • avatar

    Nice to see the haters made it out en masse on a car they probably barely had any interaction with. I had a 2006 Maxx LT for 3 years. For us, it was a great car. My wife didn’t want a minivan, and I didn’t want a SUV. The 5 door hatch was great, could carry all of our stuff for all the normal kid’s soccer, Scouts and church stuff. With the sliding rear seats, we could easily fit folks who were 6’4″ in the back. (I’d really like to know what benchmark people were using who said that the Maxx was small inside? An aircraft carrier?)

    We had a GM Smartlease for that car, but the buyout was too steep at the end of the lease. Typical of my GM experiences, the Chevy was the least trouble car(s) to run; this one was no different. We had only two issues I can remember, the famous intermediate shaft issue and a squeak coming from the headliner (another Epsilon 1 known issue). Otherwise, we drove the car for three years without incident.

    I’d gladly take another one, if they made a 2016 version. From the looks of the new ‘Bu, they could. The back ends of those cars look like they could accommodate a hatch. But I know it ain’t happening. Oh well…

    • 0 avatar

      Really I have no idea how these cars performed but find the B&B normally badmouth anything lacking in soul (whatever that means). I do know that I like cars with five doors. My current “hatchbacks” are a Nissan Cuba and a Toyota 4Runner. Maybe my two favorites would have been the Nova hatch (only three doors IIRC? and a rwd Toyota that I rented years ago. May be short on soul but I like cars that are up for anything.

    • 0 avatar

      I, for one, like both wagons and GM products just fine; the gripe I have with the Maxx specifically is that it rivals the Aztek for ugliness, whilst also looking cheap as hell. There are very few cars that I’d be embarrassed to own based on their looks alone, but the Maxx is firmly on that list.

  • avatar

    I like the Maxx. It dared to be different in a sea of notchback sedans.

    I recently found a really clean example while looking for my neighbor’s daughter a car. I sent the link to her mom, and she loved it. I recommended having a mechanical inspection done before buying it. She said her daughter could drive the Altima, she would rather have the Maxx for herself. Cant say I blame her. I despise that Altima. Id take a 4 cyl Corsica over it, lol.

    Anyway, by the time she was ready to go look at it, it was sold. Fully loaded model, low miles, decent price.

  • avatar

    too bad its not the SS version!

  • avatar

    Ah, great car! I drove 800 miles in it. The flight to Atlanta layover was in Richmond VA. But the departures were shut down. On December 24. One way rental in the Maxx. I was of course skeptical at first. Then we missed an exit which added 30 miles. Then I noticed there are no cops and people cruise at 80+. Then I found the downshift button on the shifter column. Then I pretty much kept it under 100 and made it to dinner in one shot. Great car!

  • avatar

    My wife has been daily driving an 05 Maxx for the past 7 years. At 130K miles now and I’ve had to replace both front wheel bearings, airbag clockspring, evap vent solenoid, brakes all around twice. Couple other small things like buttons and switches, but everything is so cheap and easy to fix…don’t care. We’ll happily drive it into the ground since the resale value is non-existent.

    Changing the transmission fluid on this thing was a joke, no dip stick, no drain plug. Had to make a mess by dropping the pan, then you check the new fluid level by cramming your finger into a hole right next to the exhaust with the car level and engine running.

  • avatar

    I remember looking at one of these. It had an INSANE back seat but that’s about it. The next gen Malibu was vastly better.

  • avatar

    Having been burned a few times by a GM purchase through the years, I’m no fanboi.

    That said, we needed to do a 700 mile business trip in one day, and a Maxx was the rental we ended up with.

    It was one of their better efforts. 4 passengers total, the seats were comfy, the engine had plenty of power and liked to keep the car at 70+ with no effort..all in all, one of the better offerings I’ve driven from the General.

    I’d take one over the ’15 Cruze I rented in Atlanta last year.

    • 0 avatar

      HA! I had a ’15 Cruze last year I drove for just under 1K miles in Michigan. I was glad to be rid of it. It had some good qualities but there were a number of issues that were deal breakers for me.

      Given the choice of a Cruze LT or a Malibu MAXX LTZ side-by-side, yup, I’d take the MAXX.

      • 0 avatar

        @APaGttH, was it the 1.4 turbo or the 1.8?

        • 0 avatar

          It had the 1.8 – the issue wasn’t the engine – it was a death of a thousand cuts.

          I actually found the power to be perfectly fine on Michigan’s flat roads. I drove from Detroit to Whitefish Bay and back and then around the Detroit area on business.

          My knee would constantly hit the HVAC controls changing the temperature endlessly. The seat for long term driving wasn’t very comfortable, I’ve had worse, A LOT worse, but it wasn’t great. The transmission would seek and hunt and was tuned to be very soft (fuel economy).

          The trunk design and entry was a bit – odd – again not horrific – I’ve had worse.

          I wouldn’t call it a “bad” car just not a car for me – too many small issues.

          • 0 avatar

            I was only curious because a few people have contended that the 1.8 is actually better suited to the car, even though once you step up above the poverty trim level the 1.4 turbo is standard.

            I know someday I might have a long commute and want something to just pile the miles onto. That combined with dimensional stats that remind me of my old Celebrity have kept the Cruze on my radar.

          • 0 avatar

            @ PrincipalDan – I’ve had the first-gen Cruze several times as a rental. On the whole, I like it; conversely, I don’t necessarily disagree with APaGttH’s findings.

            Transmission: One of my examples did seem peaky in denser city traffic; my impression was that this was the transmission rather than the engine. The other ones drove nicely city or highway. I believe it’s an adaptive, computerized transmission. I’m curious to know how they operate under one or two-driver use.

            Comfort: I didn’t have the knee issue that APaGttH reports, although I believe other people have. You’d have to try the car on for size to see if this an issue for you. The front seats do seem lacking in lumbar support. I didn’t find it deal-breaker bad, but I did notice it on an all-day drive. Again, you’d have to try it on for size.

            The trunk, IMO, is a strength – very big for a car of this class.

            Regarding the Celebrity, the Cruze–like virtually everything on the market today–lacks the packaging efficiency of a 1980s FWD sedan. The Cruze is fine for four people of 5’10” or less, but it’s not going to rival a bench-seat ’80s sedan. (And yes, I have considerable seat time in an ’88 Celebrity.)

            I do like that the Cruze is something of a tweener. It drives like a car one size up and in a good way. It’s quiet and is a good highway cruiser, no pun intended.

            Two other notes:

            1) I’ve gotten better mileage than testers, with a high of 38 mpg in mostly highway driving. I think journos tend to cane the 1.4T and keep it in the boost all the time. That, of course, is going to kill their economy (and satisfy their need to bash the General).

            2) In its production run, the Cruze has been available with several wheel and suspension combos: with or without a Watt’s link; with 16″, 17″, or 18″ wheels; and with slightly firmer springs/shocks for the 2LT and LTZ. The differences in ride quality and handling are not huge but are noticeable enough that you’d probably have a preference. E.g., were I buying one, I’d try to browbeat a dealer into selling me a 2LT with “downgraded” 16-inch wheels from a 1LT. The 1LT rode better around town and dealt better with expansion joints. The 2LT was a little more stable in lane changes and so forth, not that the 1LT was boaty.

        • 0 avatar

          I test drove a 1.8 Cruze with the 6MT, due my then sister-in-law, and I have to say it rivaled my KIA for worst clutch/transmission I’ve had the displeasure of dealing with. I imagine if the action itself made a sound it would be of those metal doorstop bongers. No decent feedback that I could gather.

          Oh, the sales guy made me want to slap him. “Pretty peppy for a 4-cylinder idn’t it?” My Focus had more power and didn’t weigh as much as a moon.

          Caveat, I had my very will sorted Focus to compare it to. That might have alerted my view.

  • avatar

    2 yrs ago, I saw a meticulously-maintained Maxx SS in metallic blue in a Lowe’s parking lot – I definitely stopped to give it a look-see.

    I have a “thing” for hatchbacks, what can I say.

  • avatar

    It looks like an accident put it there. I’m still not used to seeing cars this new in Junkyards. It’s basically a brand new car to me having never owned anything made in this century…

    • 0 avatar

      The bar to put a car into the junkyard today is VERY low. Check out this totaled 2015 Mustang. The airbags didn’t even deploy, but enough damage to total it out apparently.

      I’ve seen plenty of G8s that look like they have almost no damage go to the salvage yard post accident.

      • 0 avatar

        I find this curious because typically when stuff is totaled by the insurance company it is because repairs exceed the value of the car. Even if this is a V6 its still worth 18-20K. Frame damage?

        02/04/16 DFW Regular $20,200 585 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
        02/17/16 SAN ANTO Lease $20,700 1,391 Above BLUE 6G A Yes
        02/12/16 NEVADA Regular $20,000 3,201 Avg RED 6G A Yes
        02/15/16 NC Regular $20,200 3,656 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
        01/20/16 DFW Factory $19,700 4,006 Avg CY-ORAN 6G A Yes
        01/27/16 SAN ANTO Lease $20,500 4,422 Above BLUE 6G A Yes
        02/10/16 DENVER Lease $19,700 5,138 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
        02/18/16 PITTSBGH Factory $20,200 6,070 Above RED 6G A Yes
        02/17/16 TAMPA Regular $21,000 6,237 Above Silver 6CY A Yes
        01/21/16 DFW Factory $18,000 6,835 Below J7-GREY 6G A No
        02/18/16 PITTSBGH Factory $20,000 7,423 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
        02/03/16 TAMPA Factory $20,000 7,590 Avg WHT-YZ 6G A Yes
        01/27/16 SAN ANTO Lease $20,400 8,873 Above SILVER 6G A Yes
        01/28/16 FRDKBURG Lease $19,200 8,904 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
        02/11/16 DFW Lease $19,400 9,222 Avg UX-SLVR 6G A Yes
        02/18/16 DFW Regular $21,000 9,917 Above GRAY 6G A No
        01/27/16 DETROIT Factory $19,100 10,023 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
        02/18/16 FRDKBURG Regular $19,000 10,135 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
        02/04/16 PHOENIX Lease $18,900 10,577 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
        01/27/16 TX HOBBY Factory $19,100 10,708 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
        01/20/16 DFW Factory $18,300 11,164 Below UX-SLVR 6G 6 Yes
        01/27/16 TX HOBBY Factory $18,400 11,469 Below RED 6G 6 Yes
        02/03/16 SAN ANTO Lease $21,000 11,609 Above BLACK 6G A No
        02/17/16 TAMPA Lease $20,300 11,952 Above BLK-UA 6G A Yes
        02/18/16 PITTSBGH Factory $18,500 12,262 Below RED 6G 6 Yes
        01/27/16 NASHVILL Factory $19,200 12,329 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
        02/04/16 TAMPA Lease $20,700 12,498 Above BLK-UA 6G A Yes
        02/04/16 TX HOBBY Lease $19,600 12,568 Avg WHITEE 6G A Yes
        01/21/16 SO CAL Lease $19,750 12,635 Avg RED 6G A Yes
        02/11/16 SO CAL Factory $19,400 12,744 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
        02/10/16 SAN ANTO Regular $19,700 12,879 Avg GREEN 6G A Yes
        02/03/16 KC Lease $19,400 13,230 Avg RED 6G A Yes
        02/10/16 TX HOBBY Factory $18,100 13,546 Below RED 6G 6 Yes
        02/17/16 CHICAGO Lease $20,000 14,110 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
        02/17/16 KC Regular $19,300 14,245 Avg RED 6G A Yes
        02/03/16 KC Lease $19,400 14,431 Avg YELLOW 6G A Yes
        02/04/16 SO CAL Lease $19,250 14,504 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
        02/17/16 DFW Factory $20,200 14,706 Above J7-GREY 6G A Yes
        02/08/16 GEORGIA Factory $18,100 14,973 Below BLACK 6G 6 Yes
        01/20/16 DFW Factory $19,800 15,392 Avg UA-BLACK 6G A Yes
        01/21/16 TX HOBBY Lease $19,500 15,928 Avg GREY 6G A Yes
        02/03/16 DFW Lease $20,000 16,434 Avg UA-EBONY 6G A Yes
        01/21/16 NASHVILL Factory $19,400 16,448 Avg RED 6G A Yes
        01/21/16 SO CAL Lease $19,600 16,613 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
        01/21/16 NASHVILL Factory $19,500 16,706 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
        02/17/16 KC Factory $19,200 16,808 Avg RED 6G A Yes
        02/02/16 KC Factory $19,200 17,049 Avg YELL 6G A Yes
        02/17/16 DFW Factory $19,700 17,370 Avg H3-YEL 6G A Yes
        02/11/16 DFW Lease $18,100 17,406 Below CY-ORNGE 6G 6 Yes

        • 0 avatar

          Total isn’t typically the value of the car, once you approach 75% of value you’ve got a dead car rollin’ the green mile. I had a car totaled by an insurance company years ago that was at 60% of value. Part of this is they don’t know hidden costs until they start tearing sheet metal apart.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks guys, never had a newer car totaled.

          • 0 avatar

            When I did claims, my first total loss claim was a Malibu that got rear ended. It got rear ended very hard though. It was a $14,000 vehicle at the time. We were at 50% for repairs before tear down. We totaled it without doing the tear down.

            The next one was a brand new MKX that was a week old. If you buy a new car on a loan, please get some sort of GAP coverage. It’s pretty cheap from your auto insurance company.

          • 0 avatar

            The “hidden” is what usually does them in. Also if a body shop doesn’t want the job, they’ll exaggerate things, like by nicking a wiring loom that can add hundreds to a job.

            They could be too busy to take on more work or just hate dealing with the brand, BMW and such.

            Definitely a V6 here, with damage all around, including both quarter panels.

        • 0 avatar

          It doesn’t have to exceed the value, just a percentage. That depends in the state. In Michigan it’s 75%. If it gets close, some insurance companies will call it a total loss. They expect that once a mechanic starts working on it, costs will go up.

          Also, if Cost of Repair + Scrap Value > Actual Cash Value then it’s getting totaled.

          • 0 avatar

            Btw, helping “total” new cars like this ’15 Mustang, if they’re less than a year old, they get “all new” dealer parts, even if used parts are available, right?

          • 0 avatar


            You are right.

            I don’t know of an insurance company that uses used or aftermarket parts on a car that is less than a year old. However, it does depend on the insurance company. The newer the car, the more likely it’s OEM parts.

  • avatar

    If you squint a little bit you’ll notice that the Audi A3 bears more than a passing resemblance to the Malibu MAXX on the sides and rear quarters (not the front at all).

    I looked at a MAXX in 2005 because I get a bit excited for a hatchback (also looked at the Mazda 6 5-door at the same time).

    There was a lot in the MAXX that was very logical. Like so many other GM products from the 90’s and 00’s the idea was very sound, the execution simply sucked. I couldn’t get past, even in LTZ trim how cheap and beancountery everything was.

    My kids LOVED it. The loved the second sunroof, the rear DVD player, the moving and reclining rear seats, the overall room they had, and the general visibility. LOVED IT.

    I liked the Mazda 6 5-door much better, the product quality was simply no comparison. However the Mazda 6 suffered from quality issues with the engine and paint, and was Hellaciiously expensive to insure.

    The very versatile rear seats made the hatchback even more practical. Had this been born from another company that didn’t cut every possible flippin’ corner on the vehicle, it might have done a little better.

    The sad reality, Americans HATE hatchbacks for reason I’ll never understand.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, I’d say Americans don’t hate hatchbacks. Look at all the SUVs and CUVs that we buy.

      But you’re right…I don’t get the hate for sedans with a hatchback. A compact with a hatch is an amazingly versatile vehicle.

      • 0 avatar

        I so wanted to love the Mazda 6 5-door. It was so perfect in so many ways. The 4-banger 5-speed I found was a blast to drive. However to get the 4-cylinder and manual meant forgoing almost any available option (why do feckin’ car companies DO THIS). The crash test data from the IIHS wasn’t good, the insurance was sky high, and the dealer had a yellow ’04 lease return on their lot where the hood looked like someone had taken a shotgun to it, chipped to HELL.

        But it was so much more practical then the sedan, and even looked like the sedan. Ironically, in the end, I bought a sedan (Grand Prix). The rental fodder queen met my long list of requirements, including boat anchor reliability (GM 3.8L FTW), flexibility) the front passenger seat even folded down, I carried insane loads in there), good in crash tests (with optional side air bags), cheap to feed, cheap to insure.

        It was a good car in the reliability department. The interior was pretty awful out of the gate, but at least I could get climate control, something that resembled leather, heated seats, etc. that Mazda wouldn’t even offer. Now if GM only had a row your own version in 2005…

    • 0 avatar

      You got the resemblance a bit backwards – the A3 was around for a long time before the Maxx ever came on the scene. Just not in the US.

  • avatar

    My wife and I had the displeasure of owning the sedan version of this for three years. It was even a 2006 as well. A white on gray 2006 Malibu LT. What a truly miserable car.

    My wife’s grandmother bought it for her in 2009, with 44,000 miles. It was completely random. My wife and I were college sophomores at the time and my wife didn’t ask for a car – her grandmother just showed up with it and said it was for her. We were grateful for the free car but as time went on, we were even more grateful for the warranty.

    At 44,000 miles, it had a loose headlight that was rattling in its housing, a broken piece of trim under the steering wheel allowing a ton of road noise in, discolored weather stripping around all doors, plastic broken on both sunvisor mirrors, each and every air vent broken, and stained seats. And it was owned by a local elderly couple. They didn’t exactly abuse the car.

    Within the course of three years, it went through three CD players, both front CV axles and tie rods. The transmission slipped, the electric power steering locked up when you accelerated, the door switch went out causing the car to think the door was open and thus setting off the alarm, all 4 door lock indicators on the doors broke off, and it started leaking coolant. This was all before 86,000 miles when we finally traded it in on our 2013 Mazda CX-5 around mid-November 2012.

    That car and ones like it made it obvious why GM went bankrupt.

    • 0 avatar

      I have an MY08 and have had numerous materials quality issues with it but thankfully no drivetrain issues. GM was going bankrupt in 2006 and it seems like mid 00s GM product is endemic of the impeding demise of the company (rumor at the auction in summer 2005 was GM was declaring bankruptcy in August at the time). I also have an MY02 which I acquired in very clean (almost showroom) condition, I have had zero issues with the car despite it being five years older. Materials, fit, and finish matter and there is a stark contrast between the MY01/2 and the MY06/7s, at least those I have seen.

      • 0 avatar

        Wait wait, two of your four cars currently owned are Malibus!?!

      • 0 avatar

        I noticed the same thing. At the time she got the Malibu, I had a ’99 Pontiac Grand Am GT. An N-Body, the same as your ’02 Malibu. My Grand Am was 10-years-old at the time (mid-2009) but light years ahead of the Malibu in fit and finish.

      • 0 avatar

        My bad on the confusion, I had an ’02 Grand Am in college before I worked in the business, but my current ’02 is a Saturn SL and the ’08 is a Grand Prix powered by our lord and savior, 3800. GM’s path to insolvency seems to be reflected in product long before 2008, without 3800 my Pontiac may have already been junked its been so frustrating. Now it has another exhaust leak, this despite being Krowned for the second year in a row (although Krown is keeping the overall body from rusting in the way it likes too).

  • avatar

    My grandmother almost bought one one of these travesties, until she realized she could get an AWD Subaru Outback for $5k less.

  • avatar

    Ha! 2 days ago on my way to San Francisco I saw a grey one of these getting off the ramp onto 280. I remember thinking how I just don’t see these often. But then I remembered that I never saw them often even when they were new.

  • avatar

    For all the hate they received at the time, I always thought the Maxx was infinitely better-looking than the regular sedan- that was ’95 Camry-level bland. The Malibu almost seems like the automotive version of Windows, where every other generation is done reasonably well, only to be followed by things like this and the ’13-’15 model.

  • avatar
    Jim Fekete

    The deck lid of that car was manufactured using GM’s Aluminum Quick Plastic Forming process, that shape would have been unmanufacturable in a conventional aluminum stamping process. It used heated blanks with a special proprietary chemical composition and elevated temperature dies to extend the formability of aluminum. It worked very well, but the elevated temperature made the exposed surfaces very sensitive to dirt, and they required a lot of metal finishing. The process was also used on the STS deck lid, and also the Aurora 4.0 deck lid (look for the ones that don’t have the plastic trim around the license plate

  • avatar

    I owned one, got totally sucked in by the brilliant packaging and versatility. Once carried a dining table and 4 chairs in it. It was reliable enough, but when something broke it cost a lot to fix. Also, it was just so badly made of badly made materials, the glass was wavy, the body was wavy, the headlights faded by the hour, the interior was trash and looked dirtier when you cleaned it. The ABS was actually dangerous and the electric steering provided a few scary moments. Traded it on an older Lexus GS, best car decision I ever made.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I had the not so great a luxury of being a back seat occupant on a one and a half hour journey from Sth Jersey Shore to PHL Int.

    The comfort was worse than sitting in the back of a dual cab midsize pickup.

    Lucky I was the only rear passenger so I could spread out a bit.

    The vehicle was peppy enough with the V6, but the ride was not solid or performance orientated.

    I don’t mind to look of the vehicle, it has that “Scandanavian” appearance, almost SAAB like.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I happened to see one the other day on the road in decent shape. The rear “Vista” roof was probably the best feature.

    I remember reading when these were new GM considered a AWD version since it was based on the Epsilon platform which was AWD compatible.

  • avatar

    You know, I find it rather encouraging that this was unbeloved on the other side of the Atlantic, too.

    When it launched I greeted the Vauxhall / Opel Signum (you’ll find one under every Maxx, Son,) with an expression of “Ew, really?”. A few years later, when I drove a laughably body-kitted (by Irmscher) “Design” model, my preconceptions were validated. It was, for want of a better word, insipid.

    Plus, you guys had to deal with it having a really silly name. Malibu is fine, but Maxx? It was fine on an Opel concept car for trendy urbanites, but a bit too “sugar free carbonated beverage” for a middle-of-the-road machine like this.

    • 0 avatar

      opel signum, a car almost impossible to see on the road. it took the place of the opel omega a big, confortable, simple and affordable saloon very hard to sell. the signum sold even less.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I might be in the minority but I always liked this car. I have driven a fleet version in the sedan of a 2007 Malibu which was not bad but which is not nearly as nice as the current Malibu. GM could have done more with the Maxx.

  • avatar

    As a confirmed long-roofer, I always liked (some of) the design aspects of the Maxx, but it looked like a 25+ year old Corolla Liftback with two extra doors and a fugly front end treatment.

  • avatar

    These were strangely popular in Canada. I once had an owner try to tell me it was “basically a Saab.” Which isn’t entirely wrong, I guess.

  • avatar

    I always felt GM was trying to copy an IS300 Sportcross with the Maxx, except they left out the Sport and made it FWD. Seeing how a few of you talk of fading materials and trim with a short half life, I expect these to be extinct in 5 note years.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter


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