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2004 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx
Program #2345 / Broadcast Window Begins July 9, 2004
Motorweek.com



If you have a family, you know the value of a solid, practical car, and our favorite family sedan for 2004 is the Chevrolet Malibu. And one of the reasons that the Malibu is a MotorWeek Drivers' Choice winner is this Malibu Maxx. But what is it about the Maxx that makes the Malibu such a family-car standout?

To be a great family car in the 21st century, we think the design must deliver excellent versatility, economy, safety, and everyday performance. A tall order. To meet these requirements, Chevrolet designers have equipped the 2004 Malibu Maxx with all of the same features that make the Malibu sedan such a top notch family hauler, and then went a bit overboard with clever extras.

Both Malibus are built on the same solid Epsilon platform shared with the Saab 9-3. But the Maxx stretches the wheelbase a full 6-inches for an SUV-like 112.3-inches. That results in a stretched out cabin that gives Chevy's ''extended-sedan'' the look of an old Jensen GT from the 1970's. It's kind of clunky.

But the Maxx makes up for its peculiar styling with an enormous and flexible interior. The raised, theater-style second-row seating has more than 7-inches of fore-and-aft travel for more leg room than a full-size Chrysler 300 and still splits and folds 60/40 for maximum versatility. With 22.8 cubic-feet of cargo space, the Maxx offers almost 8-cubic-feet more than the Malibu sedan and adds a clever multi-position cargo shelf. Impressive flexibility continues up front as the passenger side seat folds flat to allow for objects up to 9 feet long.

When rear passengers are your primary cargo, the interior is kept bright and sunny by large fixed glass skylights with retractable sunshades. And to help keep them quiet on long trips there is an optional rear seat DVD entertainment system.

Up front, we find the standard Malibu instrument panel with its modern styling, big switch-gear, and import-looking fine grain low luster plastics. Gauges are large and clear, with a tachometer included. Both LS and LT trim include wide, comfy bucket seats with power height adjustment for the driver. Seat heat is optional, but power-adjustable pedals are standard, as is air conditioning with oversized vents capable of putting a lot of cool air to the rear seats, and a single-CD stereo with rear radio controls in LT trim. Both an in-dash changer and satellite radio are available. As for safety, besides dual-stage air bags up front, both seats get standard head curtain air bags.

The Maxx moves out thanks to a smooth, low friction, 3.5-liter pushrod V6. It has 200 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque on tap to move you and your family effortlessly. The sole transmission is a 4-speed automatic that, as we have said before, has the shift quality of a Lexus.

Traction control means instant hookup, as the Malibu Maxx darts to 60 in 8.1 seconds. The quarter mile takes 16.3 seconds at 85 miles-per-hour. Times are barely slower than the sedan despite an extra 160 pounds of weight. The V6 drivetrain is strong off the line, dips a little in the mid-range, and then picks up power again above 4,000 rpm. This drivetrain is well balanced for both urban and highway driving.

So too are EPA mileage estimates at 22 city/30 highway. Expect 26 in mixed driving. Try getting that in a mid-size SUV.

FULL Article Here

 

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Wow that's great I've never heard such a good review for the Malibu Maxx. Good Work. . . I'm sure chevrolet is happy.
 

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I have driven one, they are awsome cars and would be great for a small family, but to be honest, I really felt like it was one of the uglyest cars I've ever seen. Which is a shame considering how great a car they could have had if they didn't make it look so stupid.
 

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bland styling is holding this car back. i myself had doubts about it, but once i drove it, i wish i had one. but thats just its problem, you dont know how good it is until you get inside, and it doesnt appear to many people are doing that.

pros.
interior accents
speed sensative steering
powerful v6 for its market
hip maxx version
almost nonexistant road noise

cons
bland front end
lack of high performance version (xtreme or ss, hey doubtful but it would draw attention to the other trim levels)
 

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I have a regular Malibu but I just love the car. Very sold, decent power, no rattles, good gas mileage. I wish it looked more like the Opel version, but still it is a good platform.
 

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I actually like the styling.

Its kinda weird at first yes, But Its definantly one of those unique designs that grows on you after a wile.

I think sails will increase given time.
 

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The sales are behind what Chevy was hoping for, but I still think it's a success. My lot has done very well with them, even before the big incentives hit. Our market is different than most, and on our lot the MAXX has actually done better with than the Equinox.

Part of the success here has been that I've trained oru staff how to present and demonstrate the vehicle effectively. Part of it has been that women have mostly been into the Equinox, while men still seem to dig the MAXX for its "stretch" look. Finally, we really try to work the word-of-mouth angle for referrals on this car, since getting -into- it is where the sale is made. We also had an Autoshow In Motion even here recently, which has resulted in a definite increase in MAXX interest, especially with import drivers that attended.

Owners that I've sold MAXXes to have become MAXX enthusiasts. One of our employees who got a loaded LT got a vanity plate reading "MAXX OUT." I'd hoped it would develop a cult following, and it seems to be doing so. I'm also hoping to see some customizing that would emphasize its uniqueness.

One other factor is that we've ordered them correctly: LS trim, with the remote start, side-curtain airbags, and adjustable pedals, and with the DVD. These vehicles sticker for around $24,200. The sedan sells the best as the LT, but this LS MAXX has definitely been the right ticket.

We still have people that won't look at it because of the [previous] Malibu name, because of the resemblance to a wagon, or for some other reason, and that's okay. Chevy isn't going to convert every driver (40% of car buyers won't even consider a GM) right away. The MAXX, being a great car in its own right, is a good place to start. GM's quality initiative will continue to make inroads on brands' perceived quality. More on that later.

Ghrankenstein
 

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Originally posted by logansowner@Jul 14 2004, 09:52 PM
... I really felt like it was one of the uglyest cars I've ever seen.
:angry: Ooh, no doubt. With all that time to get the design right, I'm shocked that the new Malibu's design is so uninspiring. Some call the design bland, but to me, it goes way beyond that. The style just seems to lack grace and proportion. The car's 'face' is not attractive, with oversized headlights and bloated fascia. The oddly flared rear wheel arch just seems out of place.

I realize that the car has some redeeming values, but I'm personally hoping that GM can do a quick tweak of the design, at least the front end, to make it more pleasing to look at. Better yet, it should be something that 'grabs' potential buyers, not something that they have to work up the courage to get past. I'd hate to think that this face is something I need to look at for another 6 or 7 years.
 

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Car and Driver's Perspective:

http://caranddriver.com/article.asp?sectio...0&page_number=1

From the article:
" Lots of utility, yes, plenty of room, okay, terrific chassis, no question. But the packaging! Slab-sided, odd proportions, like a Procrustean Toyota Tercel. And the steering! I can imagine a bunch of guys cruising around on an engineering check ride saying, “Eureka, we nailed it!” Really? For whom? Looks to me as if Mr. Lutz’s talent hunt still has a way to go."
 

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I really like the way the Sedans look, especially in dark colors. I have seen ALOT of them around DC lately, which is pretty surprising and a good sign, since DC is such an import haven.
 

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If GM would spice up the interior with some color and fix up the front nose a little, the car would attract more attention. I drove one in the winter and it's a great car with a lot of great features.
 

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I thought the front and overall exterior design of the new Malibu was awful when I first saw pictures of it. But when I went down to my local dealer to look at the Colorado, the grille of the Malibu is actually what caught my attention. I did numerous double-takes. I actually think the grill looks great in any color but silver and white (which along with gold are the worst car colors anyway). It looks great in darker colors. I have been wondering since I saw them in person why Chevy keeps advertising them in silver anyway?
 

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The styling of the sedan is growing on me the more of them that I see, but I'm still not really sold on it. I'm sure if I drove one, I'd like it a lot more. The MAXX just looks too oddball for me to like. It's like it can't decide if it wants to be a wagon or a sedan...
 

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Hopefully an SS version of either model will be out sooner rather than later.
 

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Great article. I have recently read a lot of reviews that the Maxx is just too plain, and it is good to see an article that praises Chevrolet for the guts to come out with a midsize wagon. I have seen so many Maxx's here in Tulsa, not many sedans. The Maxx gets a lot of attention, and the owners seem very pleased. Hoping to test drive one soon. :)
 

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I think given the stretched wheelbase and the abbreviated overhang in the back, there's no way to make the car not look odd, but the packaging benefits are worth it.

Still, I have to wonder how it would look if they had just gone the full wagon route. I think when they were planning it, "wagon" was a dirty word, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

Can any of you photochoppers out there come up with a good side view of a MAXX with the roof extended all the way to the rear and a more upright liftgate (give a little slant)? I'm thinking this would look better, and it would give more room.

Feel free to throw out some ideas on what to do with the front end. It wouldn't keep me from buying one, but I don't find it attractive at all.
 

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I think the Maxx is a great car, and for 20k with incentives, you can get one with the DVD player, remote start, side curtain air bags, and you have yourself a car that is a lot more verstile then anything from Honda or Toyota for thousands less. When I drove the Maxx, I was very impressed with the quite cabin, ride, with the quality and lay out of the interior.
The Malibu's styling seems to go better with teh Maxx then the sedan, at least IMO. The steering is also something to get used too. I dont think its made for "sport touring" but its good for driving around. I am deffinatly looking at getting a new car within the next year, and the Maxx seems like a great car for the cash.
 

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Originally posted by dindak@Jul 14 2004, 09:54 PM
If GM would spice up the interior with some color and fix up the front nose a little, the car would attract more attention. I drove one in the winter and it's a great car with a lot of great features.
I totally agree on this. The seats are kinda ugly and use cheap feeling material and the front end is just too huge and in your face. Other than that and some steering issues I like the car.
 
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