Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
NeonLX

(GASP) Mopar guy likely to be getting a Malibu Maxx

32 posts in this topic

The lease is up on my wife's '06 Dodge Caravan SXT and we're looking for replacements. One vehicle we're NOT considering is the '08 Mopar minivans. The things are butt-ugly and they're even larger & heavier than the outgoing models. Yeah, the interiors are pretty nice and they've done some remarkable stuff with ride quality and sound insulation on the new models. But unfortunately, they're now big tubby tanks and have been supersized right up & out of our league.

Saw an ad for price-leader "program cars" at a local Chevy dealership so we popped in to have a look. They let us have an '07 Malibu Maxx LT for the weekend to evaluate it. The car has 15,900 miles on it and was first put on the road in March of '07 (probably a rental). We both love the way it drives and interior comfort is quite good. We got them talked down from $17,900 to $16,700 pretty quickly. As we were cruising around earlier today, we spied another Chevy lot advertising deals. We found the very same vehicle (though different color) with 13,600 miles for $14,995. Needless to say, we're going to stop by and look at that one as well. I actually prefer the second car because the interior features woodtone trim rather than the brushed metal that the first has. But we need to take a spin in the second one to make sure it drives as nicely as the one we have right now (it's Sunday today so none of the dealers are open around here).

Anyhoo, my questions about the Malibu Maxx: What is the ancestory of the 3.5L V6 in the Malibu? Is it related to the other, older 60-degree V6s like the 3.1L? How does it hold up? Also, what is the 4-speed ATX used in these cars? It seems to shift very smoothly and predictably. Thankfully, so does the 4-speed ATX in our '06 Caravan--the history of that tranny has been a bit "checkered", as they say.

Though I've driven predominately Mopars over the past several decades, I've been impressed with recent GM efforts. I've had many GM products too, including '52, '55 and '56 Chevies, and a '72 Olds 98 Regency that I really regret unloading back in 1978.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fuel mileage on the Maxx is phenomenal. We can't keep them on the used car lot. The 3.5 is the son of the 3.4, but to my knowledge there have been no recent issues. GM's 4 spds are reknowned throughout the industry as being bulletproof. The Maxx was always an underappreciated vehicle, which is why there always were great deals on buying one. I nearly bought one myself, but the ugly cloth and the lack of iPod (for my XM) input were two stumbling blocks. Over all, a decent car. Well worth the money.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife's G6 has the 3500 - no issues with the motor (25,000 miles). It has enough power and has pulled around 34 mpg on a trip from NJ to Washington DC and back (all on 1 tank of gas), so I was VERY impressed with the gas mileage. No problem with the trans.

I have a 2006 MAXX SS and I really like the car. The style and utility of the hatch, along with the sliding rear seat give the car a lot of rear leg room. It's a good solid cruiser. If you're looking to buy a used one, make sure that the two sun-shades for the rear sun roof work. This is a problem with the MAXX, as they sometimes don't retract. I've had one replaced under warranty.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i've test driven a maxx and found it to be a fun car. it has some utility to it and has a spacious rear seat. if you live with the unique looks of it, its a good find. A Maxx SS would really be fun.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah its too bad you're leaving the Mopar camp-I've started to get used to the 2008 Grand Caravan and Town & Country-they're slightly better appointed than before (about time they shed those black bumpers, 4-cylinder engines, and semi-regrettably-the underwhelming, perennially underequipped SWB models), but they still look like nobody bothered to style them or give them detuned engines that hailed from the end-game K-Car era. And as with virtually all Chrysler LLC products these days, the front seats, headrests, and upholsteries are CRAP.

Malibu Maxx has obvious shortcomings too, like the narrow 'its still 1982" 69" width and the ancient OHV engines from the pathetic 2004-07 Malibu sedan, but it has good rear seat and cargo room and was very versatile. A shame it fell fast after 2005 and was discontinued though. Good luck with the Malibu Maxx or whatever you choose and have a Happy New Year!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would highly recommend the Maxx, I nearly bought one instead of my Fusion, and there are days thats I regret not buying the Maxx.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got a 2006 Maxx with the LX9, transmission is the 4T45E which has been the 4A in almost all sub W-Body GM Efforts since about 1998 I think, so bulletproof tranny especially compared to the Caravan (eek). 3.5L Motor is strong, smooth and has a real nice sound- the 3.5 is built off the 3.4 but has solved alot of the problems such as the gasket leak issues that plagued the LA1 engine. Walt is right about the sunshades, but they can be fixed under warranty in about 1.5hrs if they don't work, so just be gentle with them and you won't have a problem there. The engine has great fuel economy, we get about 26MPG in 80/20 City/Hwy driving in ours. It's a great car, and I say go for it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GREAT cars, especially after my month long experience with an '07 Malibu 1LT with the 2.2L. Not a Maxx and not the 3.5L, I know, but same basic car. I loved it, basically. Very solidly built, the materials actually are quite good, the ride/handling decently sorted, and the electric steering not at all objectionable as I had expected after reading so many reviews.

These cars (the '04-07s), both goodly and badly have NO resale value after being so heavily fleeted and such, but that's great if you're buying used. You get a heck of a car, for a bargain.

We're now buying the new '08, based on my experience with the "old" '07 and just how much nicer the new one is...but I wouldn't hesitate in a second still to buy an '06/07, etc. especially for a good deal. All the same guts, just a more pleasing (to most) look and further refinement, for '08+.

Coming from a minivan...again, GREAT car. You get the maneuverability and economy of a sedan, but still the most flexibility you'll get in a car this size because of the--now missed--Maxx layout.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The fuel mileage on the Maxx is phenomenal. We can't keep them on the used car lot. The 3.5 is the son of the 3.4, but to my knowledge there have been no recent issues. GM's 4 spds are reknowned throughout the industry as being bulletproof. The Maxx was always an underappreciated vehicle, which is why there always were great deals on buying one. I nearly bought one myself, but the ugly cloth and the lack of iPod (for my XM) input were two stumbling blocks. Over all, a decent car. Well worth the money.

Be VERY careful to check the engine. I've heard of some reports of missing coolant from other G6 owners on this engine, and I'm starting to get a little worried myself, as it happened once on mine, although it never came back after the dealer topped it up.

Otherwise, the Maxx was my alternative to the G6 back then. It's a practical car, and it actually fitted my needs better, if not the pre-2006 models a bit ugly and when new it was a bit expensive.

And might I ask why you think the new Mopar vans are ugly? I think they look great and unoffensive, if not a tad bit boring. But if you ask me, they're fine for vans and they're the class leaders.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we "pulled the trigger" on the lower mileage (and lower priced) Maxx we found at the second dealer. Brought it home yesterday. It's a "2LT" model, complete with heated seats, power everything and a sunroof. It's "sandstone" in color with the beige-ish interior, complete with "plood" trim in place of the brushed metal trim (Being an old dude, I like the plood look!). It's a GM-certified car so we get an extra 3000 miles/3 months on the bumper-to-bumper warranty. The odometer read 13,851 miles when we left the lot yesterday, where we parted with just over $14,780.

My wife absolutely loves the Maxx and it will primarily be her car. I'll continue driving the Neon until something big busts on it, which will hopefully be far, far in the future. I'd seriously consider a Cobalt to replace the Neon if something did happen. We drove an '07 Cobalt LTZ sedan before we drove the Malibu and it was a mighty nice ride; much more civilized than the Neon (and a lot spendier too, of course).

Hard to believe I've gone almost 30 years without a GM vehicle (all the way back to my '76 K10 pickup that I drove through 1981).

Edited by NeonLX
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats on getting the MAXX. It's always been one of my favorite cars.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Congrats on getting the MAXX. It's always been one of my favorite cars.

Thanks! I always wondered why it didn't sell better. They drive great, are very practical & seem especially solid. Pricing seemed pretty good as well.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And might I ask why you think the new Mopar vans are ugly? I think they look great and unoffensive, if not a tad bit boring. But if you ask me, they're fine for vans and they're the class leaders.

The T&C isn't too bad but the Caravan really rubs me the wrong way. The wheels on any model look too small relative to the slab sides and big wheel arches. And to me, they look positively institutional from the rear. Never got that impression with the '01-'07 models (or earlier versions, for that matter).

I like the interiors of the '08s, especially the "classier"-looking T&C with the woodtone trim.

I still think they're great vans; it's just that they've become too big & heavy for our needs.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about a Magnum? I bet you can get a great deal on one.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Congrats on the Maxx, Mr. Neon! I always liked them, too.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What about a Magnum? I bet you can get a great deal on one.

The Magnum is a fair bit bigger, isn't it? I've never been a fan of the lack of rear visibility.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What about a Magnum? I bet you can get a great deal on one.

I hate to admit it, but I like the looks of the Magnum even less than I do the new minivans. I'd get over the styling for the chance to have a Hemi-powered wagon, but keep in mind this is essentially my wife's car. She doesn't like the Magnum's styling one bit. And when momma ain't happy...well you know the rest... :)

We actually wanted FWD; seems to do better than RWD here in the WI winters.

As I said before, the Maxx ain't much of a looker from the outside, but the interior is really nice. And it drives very nicely as well. Finally, Mrs. Neon loves the car--which is pretty much the whole ball game.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hate to admit it, but I like the looks of the Magnum even less than I do the new minivans. I'd get over the styling for the chance to have a Hemi-powered wagon, but keep in mind this is essentially my wife's car. She doesn't like the Magnum's styling one bit. And when momma ain't happy...well you know the rest... :)

We actually wanted FWD; seems to do better than RWD here in the WI winters.

As I said before, the Maxx ain't much of a looker from the outside, but the interior is really nice. And it drives very nicely as well. Finally, Mrs. Neon loves the car--which is pretty much the whole ball game.

Like a lot of Mopar products, I like the styling of the Magnum; however, Chrysler has always sacrificed sight lines, trunk space or whatever in the name of outside looks. The Magnum felt like driving in a coffin, especially when trying to see out the rearview mirror. The Maxx is completely different from that!

However, the LX cars have lent Chrysler a degree of cool-factor: a lot of TV shows, including the 4400 love the LX cars.

Having had a Caprice for many years, then a Blazer and FWD vehicles since, FWD will always win in the winter.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hate to admit it, but I like the looks of the Magnum even less than I do the new minivans. I'd get over the styling for the chance to have a Hemi-powered wagon, but keep in mind this is essentially my wife's car. She doesn't like the Magnum's styling one bit. And when momma ain't happy...well you know the rest... :)

We actually wanted FWD; seems to do better than RWD here in the WI winters.

As I said before, the Maxx ain't much of a looker from the outside, but the interior is really nice. And it drives very nicely as well. Finally, Mrs. Neon loves the car--which is pretty much the whole ball game.

Well as far as winter goes, you can get AWD with the Magnum, you can't with the MAXX. AWD > FWD in the winter.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well as far as winter goes, you can get AWD with the Magnum, you can't with the MAXX. AWD > FWD in the winter.

True enough, but that AWD adds even more to the sticker price, and subtracts even more from the fuel economy :)

Never needed AWD in any of our Caravans or Voyagers down through the decades...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
True enough, but that AWD adds even more to the sticker price, and subtracts even more from the fuel economy :)

Never needed AWD in any of our Caravans or Voyagers down through the decades...

So true...coming from a family who just had 2 full-size GM SUV's, an Avalanche and a Suburban that WERE 2wd...and way too hard to find, that's very true.

Too many people have a fascination with "I must have AWD/4WD", that I think they can't fathom ever owning a vehicle like has been made for years, with drive wheels on one end only. It's just dumb, I think, but that's a whole other discussion for a whole other topic...the "Why are people so obsessed with always having AWD/4WD".

Glad the Maxx is doing well :AH-HA_wink:

Edited by caddycruiser
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The fuel mileage on the Maxx is phenomenal. We can't keep them on the used car lot. The 3.5 is the son of the 3.4, but to my knowledge there have been no recent issues. GM's 4 spds are reknowned throughout the industry as being bulletproof. The Maxx was always an underappreciated vehicle, which is why there always were great deals on buying one. I nearly bought one myself, but the ugly cloth and the lack of iPod (for my XM) input were two stumbling blocks. Over all, a decent car. Well worth the money.

Agreed, bulletproof. Plus as a guy who likes quirky offbeat cars I can definitely say the MAXX has a lot of very uniqe style. Were it not for the lack of an MT I would own one myself.

Chris

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What about a Magnum? I bet you can get a great deal on one.

Magnum would have been another nice choice. They had an SRT-8 version at a local car lot and I had to remind myself several times that college is coming up for my son....

Too bad the LH cars like my old Concorde or your Intrepid are becoming a little older/harder to find. That would have been a great choice also.

BTW, congrats on the MAXX.

Maybe by the time the Neon needs replaced Chrylser will have re-introduced it and you can own both a mopar and a GM.

Chris

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For many years, I drove what was arguably the worst car ever built for winter driving--a 1974 Gremlin X. Because of its bob-tail design and heavy powertrain plopped over the front wheels, the car had about a 70/30 front/rear weight bias. And of course it was RWD with no limited slip differential. Keep in mind that I live in the upper midwest where the winters can be brutal, yet I never got that Gremlin stuck or even into an ugly situation I couldn't get out of. I was still farming up into 1977, so the Gremlin would sometimes have to do "snowplow" duty out on the county roads before the crews made it out. I did put some gnarly snow tires on it in the winter, plus carried around four 50-lbs. bags of rock salt in the rear from November-March, but the thing got me through the worst winter crud for 10 years.

For me, FWD by itself is a big improvement in most respects. I don't really want or need all that extra stuff twirling around underneath the car that comes with an AWD setup (not to mention the decreased fuel economy).

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Who's Chatting

    There are no users currently in the chat room