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The Chevy Malibu Maxx SS Was Even Cooler — and More Forgotten — Than the HHR SS

The Chevy Malibu Maxx is one of the more forgettable cars General Motors offered through the 2000s. It was certainly unique, as it was a midsize hatchback with questionable aesthetics that actually limited the interior volume to less than that of a Honda Fit. It also had a glass roof over the rear seats that were capable of folding flat, reclining and sliding back and forth, which put the Maxx in S-Class rear-legroom territory. But best of all, the Maxx came in an SS version that made it worthy of the hot-hatch moniker. See the 2006 Chevrolet Malibu models for sale near you

The Chevy Malibu Maxx SS was blessed with a 3.9-liter V6 that produced 240 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to perform righteous burnouts. Considering the base Maxx gave you 140 hp out of a 4-cylinder, this is a serious performance upgrade. The Maxx SS also came with some upgrades aimed at increasing its ability to handle corners, and it had a surprisingly attractive 3-spoke steering wheel during a time when most companies were really struggling to hide airbags well.

Unfortunately, the Maxx SS did have some drawbacks. Most notably, its interior was designed and constructed by pre-bailout General Motors. Cheap plastics and suspect build quality abound, and you could only get cloth seats. On the outside, the design could be described as rental-car chic — and the lead designer may have simply given up halfway through designing the rear hatch.

Performance-wise, the 240 lb-ft of torque from the engine sent to the front wheels gave the Maxx SS a bad case of torque steer, and there was only one choice for transmission: a 4-speed automatic. GM wasn’t known for its manual transmissions, but the Maxx SS certainly deserved one.

Like the HHR SS, the Maxx SS didn’t stick around very long, and it was only offered for the 2006 model year. Likewise, it’s much rarer than the HHR SS, with only 17 currently for sale on Autotrader with an average price of $6,995Find a 2006 Chevrolet Malibu for sale

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9 COMMENTS

  1. I have an ’05 MAXX and I liked the look from the first one I saw. The car has get up and go, gets 27 MPG in mixed driving and has a very versatile interior. Less room than a Honda Fit? I doubt that, The back seat recline/adjust and rear entertainment with headphones for the rear passengers is a great add for trips. We are tall people andthe MAXX fits us all quite comfortably. Wish i had the SS but at least I know the 3.9 is an option if I ever want to go there. Some of the switches have become funky at 175,000 miles but everything fits tight and no rattles squeaks or other issues. Has been a good car.

  2. I have this exact colored 06 Malibu maxx ss… i love it! As for the seats, the article states only cloth seats, but mine are leather? The only thing missing is having it be a manual would have been better. 

  3. I hate to say it, but there were a lot of fun. Being a general GM fan, I could care less about the cheap interior bits. It was pretty quick, handled well for its time, and had a ton of interior space. It was a great balance of fun and practicality.

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