The Malibu is a solid, well-rounded sedan. Roomy, it offers easy cabin access, a quiet interior and a comfortable ride. Its V6 engine delivered quick acceleration and competitive fuel economy among competing V6 family sedans. While overall crash protection is average, the Malibu received a Poor in the IIHS side-crash test when tested without its optional side airbags.
Alerts
There are 9 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
NA
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2008. Head protection air bags available from 2004, standard from 2007. Side air bags available from 2005, standard from 2008. ESC available in 2008, standard from 2009.
Road Test

The Malibu is a solid, well-rounded sedan. Roomy, it offers easy cabin access, a quiet interior and a comfortable ride. Its V6 engine delivered quick acceleration and competitive fuel economy among competing V6 family sedans. While overall crash protection is average, the Malibu received a Poor in the IIHS side-crash test when tested without its optional side airbags.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door hatchback
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 4-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 2.2-liter 4 (144 hp)
  • 3.5-liter V6 (201 hp)
  • 3.9-liter V6 (240 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2006 Chevrolet Malibu owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

"Had to replace upper and lower ball joints on both sides"

Bob M., MB (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)
Power steering pumps and hoses

"Electric power steering is failing, occasional power steering is not working"

Anonymous, IA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Parked at a store and when I tried to restart the car the steering wheel was frozen in place. Had to have car towed to dealer to have problem steering pump replaced"

David S., MI (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

"Changed struts after 130K kms"

Dave B., ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Had to replace struts on both sides"

Bob M., MB (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"looseness or play in the torsion bars"

Brian F., PA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.5-L V6)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Recall on steering system"

Anonymous, TX (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

"Rack & pinion vibration felt in the steering wheel especially when traveling over bumpy roads and uneven surfaces"

Walter R., IL (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"electric power steering motor and sensors. steering intermediate shaft was loose and worn"

Anonymous, CA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Excessive play in rack and pinion. Caused vibration while braking"

Anonymous, MD (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)
Steering wheel vibration

"Answered previously about noise and vibration from rack & pinion felt in the steering wheel over bumps and pot holes"

Walter R., IL (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"During a regular service it was discovered that a tie rod had to be replaced and it is just fine now. Why?---because I never forget to do regular service on my vehicles!"

Richard A., ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Brought my car in for inspection and mechanic said I needed to replace tie rods in order to pass inspection"

Anonymous, NY (2006 Chevrolet Malibu Unsure Unsure)

"Tie rods went bad. Repair was expensive"

Anonymous, PA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"a little vibration in steering, repaired at the dealers"

C Y., OH (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.5-L V6)

"Bearing on front drive wheel seized. Needed to replace complete assy. $700"

Anonymous, MI (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Wheel bearings fail frequently. We have had to replace bearings multiple times on this car and on our previous Malibu. I'm told it is a common defect on these cars"

Anonymous, PA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"changed wheel bearings after 130k kms"

Dave B., ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

"Car won't lock after continued dealership fixing. Electrical problems"

Jonathan P., RI (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)
Body control module

"Replaced by dealer. Factory recall"

Anonymous, NC (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

"Brake lights functioning sporatically"

Anonymous, AB (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

"Centre Break lights need changing"

Anonymous, ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 3.5-L V6)

"Brake light sensors were defective and resulted in a recall. They were replaced by the dealer"

Anonymous, SC (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.5-L V6)
Interior lights

"Not coming on when door is opened"

Anonymous, OH (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)
Keyless entry

"Works intermittently, not real consistent"

Anonymous, OH (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"remote senser was too exspensive couple years later was a lot cheaper"

Paul G., NJ (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 3.5-L V6)

"The batteries in the key fobs were good but would not open or lock car. Had to purchase two new fobs costing over $150.00 each"

Anonymous, NY (2006 Chevrolet Malibu)

"Driver door locking intermittent using remote. Appears that door locking module may be failing. Too costly to have replaced so have to revert to key locking and unlocking of doors"

Anonymous, PA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Key fobs no longer work at all even when new batteries were installed"

William J., MB (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

"audible warning that an electrical items has failed and the power steering fails"

Anonymous, MD (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.9-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

"The driver door does not fit properly. It leaks when it rains. Looking at it you would think it was in an wreck. It has no history of damage"

Drew L., MI (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Sometime does not catch"

Anonymous, CA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu)

"Car auto locking system will not engage or disengage unless I have to push the button several times before it starts to work. dealership says this is "Normal" for this car!"

David S., MI (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)
Mirrors

"power mirrors stopped working about two years ago. Decided not to pay for electrical repairs. Did not even get an estimate"

Anonymous, IL (2006 Chevrolet Malibu Unsure 3.5-L V6)

"Right passenger side view mirror was accidentally damaged and stopped responding to remote adjustment from drivers door. the whole unit was replaced with a new one"

Lloyd T., KY (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)
Seat controls - movement

"Driver's seat vertical controls stopped working"

Robert J., SC (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.2-L 4 Cyl)
Seat controls - temperature

"heated seats come on without switch being activated"

Anonymous, MN (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"Torsion springs have broken several times in the past 5 years in the trunk"

Robert J., SC (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

"rust on tailgate and windshield wiper hose has been inoperable for many years"

Debbie W., KS (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"body trim molding comes loose and catches in carwash"

Anonymous, MN (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Rocker panels needed to be replaced due to rust problems"

Bruce B., MA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Paint on lower left back of tailgate has bubbly and peeling paint"

Anonymous, IL (2006 Chevrolet Malibu Unsure 3.5-L V6)

"paint is cracking and peeling around wheel wells"

Anonymous, ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Had left dogleg repainted due to road grit wearing paint away before winter. New paint now showing same issue. Body mechanic said there is no adjustment on rear door to protect dogleg. Paint around right rear wheel well peeling away"

Michael C., ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Paint chipping off. Many little rust spots on white exterior paint"

Anonymous, ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 3.5-L V6)

"The paint round the wheel wells is cracking and flaking off leading to rust issues"

Anonymous, NB (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)
Rust

"rust has seemed to develop overnight on the trunk and lower wheel well"

Diana R., OH (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"due to cracking and peeling around wheel-wells, rust is developing"

Anonymous, ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

"abs light comes on"

Anonymous, ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"I've had issues with the front wheel bearings and have had the abs light come on as a result of faulty speed sensors"

Anonymous, NB (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)
Calipers

"apparently the caliper developed a leak and had to be replaced they said it was a fluke"

Diana R., OH (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"All the previous; brake safety, caliber and rotor are all related. When the front passenger wheel lock, the did a complete front brake job changing both rotors, brake pad and the jam caliber"

Marcel C., QC (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

"brake system is too "light" for weight of car. rotors tend to overheat and warp"

Anonymous, NM (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"I have replaced rotors twice and had them turned two other times since I have owned the car"

Anonymous, NM (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Wearing"

Anonymous, CA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)
Parking brake

"Parking brake failed and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, PA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.5-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Blower (fan) motor

"Only works for heating and cooling on highest fan setting"

David A., DC (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

"The fan speed switch stop working at switch speeds 1 and 2. Dealer Cambell Chevrolet replace switch unit with a new one"

Lloyd T., KY (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

"fan would not shut off right away-had to wait for appt with dealer-the not shutting continued- and then fan died-while waiting for appt I was very concerned about car fire or other damage to vehicle.Very expensive to repair and dealer erred in order"

Anonymous, NY (2006 Chevrolet Malibu)
Electrical failure

"Auto temp control system ran continually and could not be turned off. Faulty module was replaced"

Anonymous, ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.5-L V6)
Refrigerant leaks

"Cheve dealership kept refilling refrigerant, which kept leaking. Dealership couldn't diagnose the problem unless we consented to a costly dismantling of the AC system"

Anonymous, PA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ 3.5-L V6)

"Antifreeze needs topping off every week or so due to unexplained loss. Diagnostics at a dealership indicated some engine problem (expensive to repair) that I can't remember! There is no visible leakage"

Anonymous, NY (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

"stopped working and had to replace the whole radio"

Anonymous, NH (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Pushed the exit disc button and nothing came out, and nothing was playing so I put in a disc. Now I have not one but two CD's jammed in my CD player"

William J., MB (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.2-L 4 Cyl)
Display screen difficult to see

"Unable to see any of the readouts on the screen during daylight driving Readout is ok while driving at night Seems to be a poor design or some other issue with this car Problem has been there since car purchased"

L P., ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.2-L 4 Cyl)
Rear entertainment system (e.g., DVD player, rear screen)

"Cd has stuck in the CD Player and will not eject. This appears to be a common problem with this model"

Leslie C., IN (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.2-L 4 Cyl)
Steering wheel controls

"Recall for steering electronics part"

Anonymous, GA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

"The 3 problems that I had with this car were all LATE recall from GM. One was the transmission shift cable that could be out of park when the shifter was in park NHTSA 14V224000. The other brake light & cruise switch NHTSA 14V252000. Last was Power"

Marcel C., QC (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

"Pulled gear shifter off"

Anonymous, KS (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"the gear shifter was not smooth to move"

Anonymous, CA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"This was recall NHTSA 14V224000 as discuss before"

Marcel C., QC (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

"GM recall because shift cable may fracture"

Anonymous, ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu)

"Recall on transmission cable"

Anonymous, MD (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

"Coming back to town, all kinds of engine lights, things blinking. I was just sitting at a stop light and 1st and 4th no longer worked. Took to the shop, said a solenoid in the trans was bad. The transmission would need to be replaced. I asked to repl"

Wes M., MO (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Service engine light came on intermittently. Valve located on top of fuel tank stuck open , canister , related full of red dirt. Dropped fuel tank , replaced valve and canister. Took approx five hours"

C B., AL (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)
Fuel gauge/sender

"Lost level indication causing failed inspection until replaced. $300 repair"

Anonymous, NY (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Fuel gauge will not read correctly. This problem is all over the internet yet Chevy will not issue recall. Spent $1,000 to get fixed"

Tim S., IL (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Car will sporadically demonstrate unwillingness to start and "runs on". Priming fuel pump for by turning ignition to "on" a few seconds before starting vehicle seems to solve this problem"

Michael C., ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Needed to get this fixed in order to licence the car (emission's testing)"

Frank D., ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

"vibrations & rattles under dash board"

Charles S., CA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Rattle prone suspension and steering"

Anonymous, IA (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"Generally rattley while driving on bumpy roads"

Frank D., ON (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

"Transmission failed. No longer was able to go forward. Still had reverse. Replaced transmission for ~$2400"

Reginald R., CO (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 3.5-L V6)

"I will replace the trans in the next few weeks. replacement $$$$ problems"

Wes M., MO (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

"No sign of any issue, took a long trip and the transmission just quit on the way home"

Anonymous, IN (2006 Chevrolet Malibu SS 3.9-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"Check engine light on and shop unable to identify problem. Engine lagging"

Frederic W., SC (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 3.5-L V6)

"Had three seals replaced after having oil leak for 3 years"

Debbie W., KS (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Traction control

"The repair for the traction control was to replace a complete spindle, not just a sensor"

Drew L., MI (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 3.5-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Ignition switch

"This part is on recall on earlier models. this is an early 2006 and I had the same problem as on recall models. Repaired at dealer and paid myself pending further recall"

Anonymous, NC (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

"Head gasket cracked"

Rose O., OH (2006 Chevrolet Malibu LS 2.2-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Change Vehicle