2006 MALIBU & MALIBU MAXX: SS MODELS ADD EXCITEMENT AND PERFORMANCE
Source: GM Media
The 2006 Malibu SS and Malibu Maxx SS add excitement to the Malibu lineup, bringing a level of value-driven performance unique within the mid-car segment. The Malibu SS and Malibu Maxx SS are powered by a new, sophisticated 3.9L V-6 that uses variable valve timing and variable intake technology to help produce 240 horsepower (179 kw).* Unique interior and exterior appointments, along with sport-tuned suspensions and segment-largest 18-inch flangeless wheels, complete the SS packages.
All ’06 Malibu and Malibu Maxx models feature a new front-end appearance, with a sleek, dual-port grille design. LS, LT and LTZ models feature horizontal grilles with chrome trim surrounds, while Malibu SS and Malibu Maxx SS models feature grilles with a crosshatch pattern and platinum-look surrounds. Also, all ’06 Malibu and Malibu Maxx models receive body-color side moldings for a more integrated and upscale appearance.
Malibu and Malibu Maxx deliver the performance and versatility of the best midsize sedans with the dependability and value that customers expect from Chevrolet. The two body styles are adaptable to different individuals and lifestyles, with flexible interiors and a full range of driver personalization features.
From the B-pillar forward, the Malibu sedan and Malibu Maxx are identical. The five-door Malibu Maxx rides on a wheelbase that is 6 inches (15.2 cm) longer than the Malibu sedan, while its overall length is a half-inch (1.3 cm) shorter. The result is a spacious interior for a car its size that offers clever and convenient cargo capabilities.
For 2006, Malibu and Malibu Maxx offerings begin with the well-equipped LS model and include LT and new LTZ models – the base Malibu model has been eliminated. Then, of course, there are the SS models; performance versions with a unique style and driving experience.
Here’s a look at all that’s new with the 2006 Malibu and Malibu Maxx models:
Malibu LS / Malibu Maxx LS:
Malibu LT / Malibu Maxx LT (in addition to or substituting LS equipment):
- Standard Ecotec 2.2L four-cylinder engine with 144 horsepower (107 kw)* with Malibu LS sedan
- Standard 3.5L V-6 engine with 201 horsepower (150 kw)* with Malibu Maxx LS
- Body-color side moldings
- Fifteen-inch wheels on sedan models; 16-inch wheels on Malibu Maxx
- Instrument panel with chrome trim around gauges, radio and climate control knobs, and shifter “PRNDL” plate
- Gunmetal- and walnut burl wood-appearance trim plates
- Titanium and Cashmere trim colors
- Cloth seats with new face art
- New four-spoke steering wheel
- Cruise control with cancel feature
- Rear door child locks
Malibu LTZ / Malibu Maxx LTZ (in addition to or substituting LS and LT equipment):
- Standard Ecotec 2.2L four-cylinder engine with 144 horsepower (107 kw)* with Malibu LT sedan
- Standard 3.5L V-6 engine with 201 horsepower (150 kw)* with Malibu Maxx; available with Malibu LT sedan
- Body-color outside mirrors
- Body-color side molding with chrome insert
- Body-color rocker panels
- Sixteen-inch five-spoke wheels, painted sterling silver
- Uplevel cloth seats with new face art
- New Ebony interior, along with Titanium and Cashmere
- Available Luxury & Convenience Package, includes: bright chrome wheels, front fog lamps, leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter knob, electrochromic inside mirror with compass, steering wheel radio controls, rear reading lamps, six-way power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats and lighted passenger vanity mirror
- Standard 3.5L V-6 engine with 201 horsepower (150 kw)*
- Front fog lamps
- Chrome exhaust tip
- Automatic climate control
- Heated outside mirrors
- Six-way power-adjustable driver seat
- Heated front seats
- Roof rail and thorax side-impact air bags
- Seventeen-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels
- UltraLux and leather-appointed seating
- Rear spoiler
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
- Steering wheel radio controls
- Illuminated passenger vanity mirror
- Auto-dimming inside mirror with compass
- Rear reading lamps
- Rear seat audio (Maxx only)
- Available Ebony/Titanium, Ebony/Cashmere or all-Ebony interior colors
- Universal home remote
All ’06 Malibu and Malibu Maxx models feature standard power-assisted driver’s seat height adjuster, tilt/telescoping steering column, CD-equipped audio system, power windows, door locks and mirrors. Power-assisted adjustable brake and accelerator pedals are standard on LTZ and available on LT. Manual lumbar support is standard on LT and LTZ models.
Malibu and Malibu Maxx also offer a factory-installed remote vehicle starter system, allowing the driver to get a head start on the car’s interior heating and cooling from a range of up to 200 feet (61 m). It is standard on LT, LTZ and SS models, and equipped for dealer activation on LS models.
Three new exterior colors are available in ’06, including Sandstone Metallic, Silverstone Metallic and, available on uplevel models, Laser Blue Metallic. The new colors replace Galaxy Silver Metallic and Light Driftwood Metallic.
When it comes to safety, Malibu and Malibu Maxx deliver:
- Dual-stage frontal air bags for the driver and front passenger
- Three-point safety belts for all occupants
- Head curtain front, rear and side-impact air bag with front seat-mounted thorax side-impact air bag is standard on LTZ and SS models, and available on all other models
- Standard four-wheel anti-lock brakes with traction control on vehicles equipped with a V-6 engine; the system is optional on four-cylinder models
- LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat attachment system in all rear seating positions
- Outstanding safety performance, with 19 out of 20 stars in government crash test – including 5/5 stars in frontal crash tests and 4/5 stars in side crash tests
OnStar-equipped Malibu and Malibu Maxx models feature OnStar dual-mode (analog-digital) equipment. OnStar’s digital equipment also includes enhanced hands-free voice recognition capabilities including more intuitive continuous digit dialing and improved voice recognition accuracy. OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada . Using the GPS satellite network and wireless technology, OnStar features core safety services and OnStar Hands-Free Calling that allows drivers to make and receive voice-activated phone calls using an externally mounted antenna for greater reception.
The OnStar service standard on the 2006 Malibu and Malibu Maxx includes the General Motors Advanced Automatic Crash Notification (AACN) system, making crash data available to the participating 911 centers to help them dispatch the appropriate live-saving personnel and equipment to crash scenes faster.
In the sedan body style, Malibu measures out at 101 cubic feet (2,871 L) of space for passengers. With its 60/40-split/folding rear seat and a fold-flat front passenger seat, a variety of items will fit fully inside Malibu , including long items such as ladders and snow skis.
The even more spacious Malibu Maxx features rear seats that slide nearly 7 inches (17.8 cm) fore and aft, and are split 60/40. The rear seat backs also recline, allowing different sized rear passengers to tailor their seating position in a similar way a front-seat passenger can. The Malibu Maxx has a generous 106 cubic feet (3,002 L) of passenger space and a luxurious 41 inches (104 cm) of legroom with the seats pushed all the way back – legroom comparable to a full-size domestic luxury sedan.
The Malibu Maxx also features a standard fixed rear glass skylight that provides an open atmosphere over the rear seats. Both driver- and passenger-side rear occupants have the option of opening or closing a standard split/retractable shade to control the amount of light coming through the skylight.
The Malibu Maxx’s rear cargo area features a standard power outlet and a multi-functional cargo panel with four positions for two-tier loading. The cargo panel also can be positioned as a table for picnics or tailgate parties. Hooks on the cargo panel help secure smaller items, such as grocery bags, and cargo nets on each side of the cargo area.
Comfort for rear-seat passengers for all Malibu models is enhanced with a heating / air conditioning system designed for their needs. In addition to airflow to the feet, two vents on the center of the dash – dubbed “turbo blasters” by the engineers – are designed to pour generous amounts of heated or cooled air directly into the back seat area.
Three levels of audio system offerings are available on the Malibu, including an uplevel radio with an in-dash, six-CD changer, six speakers (including two tweeters on the A-pillar), automatic volume and tone controls, and XM Satellite Radio compatibility (continental U.S. only). Malibu Maxx adds the option of a rear-seat audio system or a DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system, both complete with wireless headphones.
Chassis and powertrain
The powertrain choices for Malibu and Maxx LS, LT and LTZ start with the 144-horsepower (107 kw),* 2.2L, dual-overhead-cam Ecotec four-cylinder engine, which is standard in LS and LT sedan models. Standard in Maxx models and LTZ sedan, and available in LT sedan, is the 3.5L, overhead-valve V-6, with 201 horsepower (150 kw).* These engines are mated to the smooth-shifting Hydra-Matic 4T45-E four-speed electronic automatic transmission. Combined with the broad torque curve of Malibu ’s four- and six-cylinder engines, the result is strong performance and outstanding fuel economy – Malibu LS sedan is EPA rated at 24 mpg in city driving and 35 mpg in highway driving.
An independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and a four-link independent rear suspension underpin Malibu . All Malibu models are equipped with power brakes and power steering with variable assist for low- and high-speed steering maneuvers. Malibu and Maxx LS, LT and LTZ models feature electric power steering. SS models feature hydraulic power steering.
In addition to the vibration-reducing properties of the Epsilon architecture, Malibu has a host of noise-elimination features, including a cast foam-rubber barrier covering the dash panel; a modular noise-dampening plate and laminated steel in the dash panel; a fiberglass-composite hood insulator; and front and rear “glove-fit” carpet floor modules.
Engineers made extensive use of high-strength steel in strategic areas of the body and developed energy-absorbing front and rear crush zones to obtain impressive structural performance for safety.
Malibu SS and Malibu Maxx SS build on the strengths of the solid Malibu sedan and Malibu Maxx extended sedan platforms, and include the following enhancements:
- New 3.9L V-6 with variable valve timing rated at 240 horsepower (179 kw)* and 240 lb.-ft. (325 Nm) of torque
- Hydra-Matic 4T65-E four-speed transmission with manual shift mode and adaptive shift control
- SS-specific front and rear fascias, with blacked-out crosshatch grille pattern, platinum-look grille surrounds, projector beam fog lamps, rear spoiler and dual chrome-tipped 3.5-inch exhaust outlets
- Monochromatic exterior moldings and trim
- Segment-largest 18-inch flangeless wheels
- Sport-tuned suspension
- SS-specific ebony interior with gunmetal trim accents
- New sport seats with larger bolsters, new three-spoke leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and leather-covered shifter knob
The SS models’ new 3.9L V-6 is the first production variant of GM Powertrain’s all-new 60-degree V-6 OHV engine family, which is designed to deliver smoothness and quality while balancing strong performance and economy. The large displacement of the 3.9L V-6 – achieved with 99-mm offset bores and an 84-mm stroke – combines with torque-enhancing technologies such as a variable air intake to produce a broad, flat torque curve that translates into exceptional all-around performance and terrific off-the-line launch feel. With variable air intake, air entering the engine is continuously tuned through a valve in the intake manifold to deliver optimized low-, mid-range and high-rpm torque. In fact, 90 percent of peak torque is available from 1800 to 5800 rpm.
Variable valve timing is used to bolster performance, enhance fuel economy and reduce emissions. An electronically controlled cam phaser provides for infinitely variable adjustment of camshaft timing in relation to the crankshaft. By electronically controlling the camshaft, the optimum location can be selected for various engine operating conditions, maximizing torque and horsepower outputs. The 3.9L V-6 is the first production cam-in-block engine to incorporate cam phasing.
Power from the 3.9L V-6 is channeled to the front wheels through the Hydra-Matic 4T65-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. It is designed for high torque loads and consistent performance and durability. It also features a manual shift mode and an aggressive 3.69 final drive ratio that enhances the performance driving characteristics of the Malibu SS and Malibu Maxx SS. Adaptive shift control is used to optimize shift quality during varying driving conditions.
Firmer, more responsive suspension systems elevate the driver’s feeling of control and feedback. New springs in the front and rear are stiffer and work with specially valved struts and shocks to increase damping and response. The diameter of the front and rear stabilizer bars has been increased, as well, to help reduce body lean while cornering. Also, a variable-ratio, hydraulically assisted rack-and-pinion steering system provides precise steering feel to create an “on rails” driving experience.
Transferring all the suspension enhancements to the tarmac is a set of 18-inch flangeless aluminum wheels and two available tire choices: an all-season 225/50R18 tire and a “summer only” performance 225/50R18 tire. A larger four-wheel disc brake system with standard ABS is included, featuring 11.65-inch (296 mm) vented front discs and solid 10.63-inch (270 mm) rear discs. A performance-calibrated traction control system also is standard.
As with every vehicle wearing the SS badge, the Malibu SS and Malibu Maxx SS wear sporty interior and exterior cues that include specific front and rear fascias, monochromatic body side moldings and exterior trim, rear spoilers – unique between the Malibu and Malibu Maxx – and 18-inch flangeless wheels and dual chrome exhaust outlets.
The new front fascias incorporate the large and low grille opening, with a black crosshatch grille pattern with gold center Chevy Bowtie emblem, projector beam fog lamps, and a prominent “chin” spoiler. The grille surround comes in a platinum finish rather than the chrome surround of other Malibu models. The rear fascias provide a tauter overall look to the vehicles, accenting their performance stance, as well as incorporating cut-outs for the dual chrome-tipped 3.5-inch exhaust outlets.
Four exterior colors are offered: White, Black, Laser Blue Metallic and Silverstone Metallic.
Inside, the vehicles feature SS-specific treatment that emphasizes the performance and upscale touches that are woven into all SS models – a heritage of sportiness and comfort that dates back to the first production SS model, the 1961 Impala Super Sport. The Malibu SS and Malibu Maxx’s features include:
- All-ebony design theme, including the rear shelf of the Malibu and cargo area of the Malibu Maxx
- New sport front seats with enhanced, leather-covered bolsters, contrasting stitching and sport cloth inserts
- Three-spoke leather-wrapped sport steering wheel with prominent SS badge
- Leather-covered shift knob with contrasting stitching
The Malibu SS and Malibu Maxx SS receive a unique instrument cluster with sport graphics, chrome-ringed gauges and red pointers, and the SS logo. The instrument panel also has a redesigned “PRNDM” display, with the “M” designating the vehicles’ manual shift mode.
*Horsepower and torque SAE certified. A new voluntary power and torque certification procedure developed by the SAE Engine Test Code committee was approved March 31, 2005 . This procedure (J2723) ensures fair, accurate ratings for horsepower and torque by allowing manufacturers to certify their engines through third-party witness testing. GM was the first auto manufacturer to begin using the procedure and expects to use it for all newly rated engines in the future.