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Avg. Price Paid:$6,755 - $7,795
Original MSRP: $20,575 - $23,915
MPG: 20 City / 30 Hwy
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2007 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx Performance

This performance review was written when the 2007 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx was new.

The Malibu Maxx, reviewers agree, is a competent if uninspiring performer. The Washington Post judges it "a true cross-country runner, assuming you are willing to run mostly at legal to slightly-higher-than-legal speeds." The Chicago Tribune, like a number of reviewers, finds it more quick than fast, claiming it has "decent oomph to get going after you've stopped and dropped your change in the toll booth," but isn't "a screamer on the open road."

The LT and LTZ are equipped with a 3.5-liter V6, while the SS gets a more-powerful 3.9-liter V6. Both are matched with a four-speed automatic transmission. Forbes Autos isn't the only reviewer that points out, "The competition has moved to five speeds." Reviewers find that the Maxx is made for cruising and commuting. On the corners, it's "agile, but not sporty," according to Cars.com, and it exhibits "body motion during relatively minor maneuvers."

Power and Acceleration

The Malibu Maxx comes with one of two engines, depending upon trim level. The LT and LTZ get a 3.5-liter V6 that creates 217 horsepower and 217 pound-feet of torque, while the SS gets a 3.9-liter V6 that gets 240 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. Most reviewers agree with Edmunds that the 3.5-liter "offers snappy performance along with impressive fuel economy ratings," while "the bigger V6 found in the SS model provides plenty of power, lending a sportier feel to the drive."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel claims the "3.5-liter V-6 engine runs smoothly and gives the car good acceleration, even with several people aboard." Cars.com agrees, writing, "Acceleration is a strong point with the regular engine, as the Maxx takes off rapidly and passes with even more vigor." U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman calls the engine "competent and crisp."

The 3.9-liter V6 "pulls with authority in all situations," reports Cars.com. The engine is designed to provide increased low-end torque. The result, explains Forbes Autos, is that the SS has "plenty of pickup," but also gets gas mileage that is "not competitive." It gets an EPA estimated 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway, while the 3.5-liter gets 20 and 30 miles per gallon, respectively.

Reviewers are generally displeased that the Maxx comes with a four-speed automatic transmission, but find its performance acceptable. The SS gets a special tap-up/tap-down clutchless "manu-matic" version. Car and Driver calls this manu-matic "rudimentary," explaining, "We say rudimentary because you must first manually shift to ‘L,' which then permits you to toggle through gears via a rocker switch on the left side of the shift knob. Even then, you have only three gears at your command, as if GM is worried you might get carried away and try to qualify your Malibu at Monaco." As for the regular transmission, Motor Trend concedes that it isn't "technically up to the state of the art," but finds, "Its ratios are well-matched to the engine's power curve, and it up- and downshifts responsively."

Handling and Braking

The Malibu Maxx has the ride of a commuter sedan rather than a sports car. Even though the "Malibu uses a version of the car platform that's in the European-tuned Opel Vectra and Saab 9-3," says Road & Travel Magazine, it doesn't "ride like a sporty German car or a Saab. It's not that stiff, though there is a definite feeling that the car is put together solidly." Likewise, "on the road," judges the Orlando Sentinel, "the Maxx offers a smooth ride and reasonably nimble handling." Car and Driver reports, "Body motions were never sloppy, and path control was excellent."

The Maxx has four-wheel independent suspension and hydraulic power assist steering. Road and Track calls the steering a "bright spot" and explains it "has conventional hydraulic assist with excellent feedback and weight. This system replaces the vague electric boost steering found in regular Malibu models." Edmunds is not as impressed, calling the steering "oddly calibrated."

The standard four-wheel, anti-lock brakes on the Maxx feel good and provide even deceleration, but reviewers find that stopping distances could be better. They have "an easy-to-modulate, progressive feel," reports Motor Trend, but the "stopping distance is uncompetitive." Edmunds calls the Maxx's braking "mediocre at best." Edmunds says, "Braking performance is also a little disappointing, as the Malibu Maxx's stopping distances tend to be longer than those of its competitors in this price range."

Performance Options

3.5 Liter LT and LTZ

The LT and LTZ come with four-wheel independent suspension and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with traction control.

3.9 Liter SS

The SS is more powerful, and also gets a number of sporty tweaks, such as the manu-matic transmission. "While the Malibu Maxx SS won't ever be mistaken for a Chevelle or Camaro, this highly versatile vehicle delivers a European-inspired ride and handling," reports Kelley Blue Book. It gets a more powerful engine, a sportier suspension and 18-inch wheels.

Review Last Updated: 5/5/08

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