2006 Chevrolet Malibu SS

Mark Gillies
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Front Passenger Side View

We find it hard to believe that anyone aside from Chevy dealers was clamoring for performance versions of the mid-size Malibu sedan and long-wheelbase Maxx hatchback, but here they are, part of an expanded Chevy SS range that now numbers eight cars. The two vehicles are externally differentiated by new front and rear fascias, larger blacked-out mesh grilles, eighteen-inch wheels and tires, and dual chrome-tipped exhausts, although it's a case of the ugly woman adorning herself with expensive jewelry when a facelift might have worked better. Inside, there are sport seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob.

Under the skin, the capable Epsilon chassis gets a sport-tuned suspension that has stiffer springs, firmer dampers, and bigger anti-roll bars, while the disc brakes are increased to 11.7 inches in diameter at the front and 10.6 inches at the back, with standard ABS. The engine is the latest version of GM's trusty (and rather wheezy) OHV V-6, displacing 3.9 liters and making 240 horsepower and 245 lb-ft of torque. The numbers are good enough, but we haven't been bowled over by the latest versions of GM's OHV six. It is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission with adaptive shifting and manu-matic control.

Chevrolet hasn't released performance figures or pricing, but the cars will go on sale late in the year.

Rear Drivers Side View

Rear Passenger Side View

Front Drivers Side View

Front Passenger Side View

Hatchback Rear Passenger Side View

Rear Drivers Side View

Interior View Steering Wheel

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