Hawking a Hatch: 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx

Oh boy, you’re thinking.  Three posts in to this new blog and already, we’ve hit rock bottom.  A Chevy Malibu?  Bastion of rental fleets and retirement homes across this great land?  Yep.

Bear with me for a minute here.  The Malibu Maxx (you know it’s good – there’s an exxtra ‘x’ in there, ya know) is actually a useful and somewhat innovative “extended five door sedan” – that’s what Chevy called it at least.  Among its interesting features is a rear seat that adjusts fore-and-aft to create a limo-like rear seat experience and a real parcel shelf that supposedly holds up to 200 pounds at several different predetermined heights.  The seats, when not being adjusted horizontally, can lay flat out, creating a huge cargo area.

I’d assume my dog Max would appreciate that flat loading floor, but hopefully not get confused if I were to say, “Max, get in the Maxx.”  I digress…

But perhaps best of all was the availability of the SS package – complete with a 3.9 liter V6 producing 240 horses.  In an era of increasing horsepower, that may not sound like a lot, but it was enough to propel the car to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds according to Car and Driver – making the Maxx a pretty hot hatch.

The rest of the car?  Not pretty.  The oddly extended proportions – 6 inches longer between the wheels than the sedan version – makes the car look, well, weird.  Those odd dimensions do pay dividends, however.  As noted above, that limo seat in the rear sports 41 inches of leg room – far enough for errant Cheerios tossed from the back seat to likely not distract the driver.  I can only imagine the size of the subwoofer box that could fit back behind those seats when they’re pushed to the far forward position.

That said, I love weird cars.  And even as a Ford guy, I dig this Maxx.  You have to give GM credit for stepping a little outside the typical midsized three-box, despite the ridiculous “extended five-door” moniker.  Given the up-and-down nature of America’s relationship with the hatchback, the short life cycle of the Maxx isn’t surprising.  It is surprising that it ever got built in the first place, though.

The rig pictured above is available in Logan Utah for the not-so-low price of $8995.  But for my money, I’d be holding out for the SS version.

So – that’s the first in a series of Hawking a Hatch posts.  I promise they get better from here, but I do need some help.  If you know of an interesting hatchback for sale, send me a tip.  I’ll put it here.

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