This generation of the Malibu initially debuted with a front facia design featuring a wide grille split horizontally by a prominent chrome bar that ran the entire width of the car, which was intended to make it resemble Chevrolet's trucks. However, for 2006 the front end was updated with more conventional styling; The chrome bar was removed, and the grill itself was made smaller, bearing a resemblence to the grille on the previous generation Malibu.
Base power comes from a 2.2 L Ecotec L61 I4 which produces 145 hp (108 kW). LS and LT trims get a 3.5 L 200 hp (149 kW) High Value LX9 V6 while both sedan and Maxx SS models are powered by the 3.9 L 240 hp High Value LZ9. For 2007, the LX9 was replaced with the LZ4 V6, which in the Malibu produces 217 hp (162 kW). A remote starter is also available, which was introduced on several other GM vehicles for 2004.
The Malibu is manufactured at GM's Fairfax #2 factory in Kansas City, Kansas.
2004 - 2.2 L (134 in³) Ecotec I4
2004-2006 - 3.5 L LX9 V6
2007 - 3.5 L LZ4 V6
2006 - 3.9 L LZ9 V6 SS