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

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author photo by Will Kinton September 2016

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.

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 $6,995.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Chevy Malibu Maxx SS Was Even Cooler -- and More Forgotten -- Than the HHR SS - Autotrader