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2012 Chevrolet Malibu

Overview
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2012 Chevrolet Malibu Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.3

Many critics believed GM could never build a mid-size sedan to compete with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. But, the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu sedan has made believers out of the most strident GM-bashers and given the entire mid-size segment a loud wakeup call. Chevy's Malibu is a stylish sedan with a handsome, intelligently laid-out interior, a choice of fuel-efficient 4- or 6-cylinder engines, and a penchant for driving. Unfortunately, Chevrolet does not offer a hybrid Malibu, leaving green-friendly drivers to shop the Fusion, Sonata, Optima or Camry hybrids. If the 2012 Malibu mid-size sedan falls short in one area, it's the car's entertainment and communications offerings. Unlike the Ford Fusion, the Malibu doesn't offer a SYNC-like system and there is no factory navigation option, although turn-by-turn directions are available through the OnStar system. If these things are an important part of your car-buying decision, you may want to hold off a bit longer when the all-new 2013 Malibu sedan arrives. Already unveiled, the 2013 Malibu offers an even bigger dose of expressive styling, a very cool interior and GM's MyLink voice-activated communications system.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you've been wanting to come back to a domestic sedan, but felt the quality, styling and features just weren't there, the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is your ticket back to the good old days. Long-legged occupants will appreciate the Malibu's generous legroom both front and rear.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're all about cutting-edge electronics, the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu sedan falls a bit short of the mark. Those who prefer the fun of driving a manual-transmission car will be better served by a Honda Accord, Kia Optima or Ford Fusion.

What's Significant About This Car?

For 2012, the Malibu LS sedan receives a new Uplevel Package option, while the 1LT offers a Sunroof and Convenience Package.

Driving the Malibu

Driving Impressions The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu sedan's impressively smooth and controlled ride is a direct result of its European-inspired suspension, stiff body, long wheelbase and wide stance. On uneven or rough pavement,...

the 2012 Chevy Malibu is able to absorb all but the harshest road imperfections while maintaining its composure, never giving in to wheel hop or chatter. We tend to like the driving dynamics of the V6 models more than the 4-cylinder cars due to the conventional hydraulic power steering setup. The 4-cylinder Malibu uses a fuel-save electric-assist power steering setup that feels a bit detached and lacks good on-center feel. GM's fuel-efficient 6-speed automatic is a welcome addition to the Malibu lineup and offers paddle shifters for more spirited driving.

Remote Starting
Available on 1LT models and standard on 2LT and LTZ, this terrific feature lets you start the engine and warm or cool the interior from a distance, with the car still locked, well before departing.

Turn-by-Turn Navigation
A GM OnStar feature, this service provides precise verbal directions through the car's audio system without the need to program in a destination.

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Details
Interior

Although in its final year in this form, the 2012 Chevy Malibu sedan's interior doesn't look old or dated. The smart "dual-cockpit" instrument panel is made of quality plastics that fit together well. Upper-trim models feature two available 2-tone trim combinations-Ebony and Brick, and Cocoa and Cashmere-with metallic-look or wood-grain accents. Cool blue backlighting illuminates the Malibu's gauge cluster, while warmer ambient lighting resides in the foot wells and in the LED overhead pin lighting that projects onto the center console. Abundant storage space is provided throughout the 2012 Chevy Malibu's interior, most notably in the deep center console bin and in the covered storage bin atop the dash. Helpful for laptop or video-game use is the available 110-volt AC power outlet. As for interior space, the Malibu provides excellent legroom for tall passengers, although the headroom for such folk is far better up front than in the rear seat.

Exterior

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu sedan displays taut proportions, finely tailored sheet metal and definitive style that is pure Chevrolet. With its wheels pushed to the furthest corners, the Chevy Malibu presents an image of stability and strength; the design also stretches the car's wheelbase to its maximum limit creating a larger and roomy interior. The Malibu's short deck lid opens to reveal a larger and deep trunk, with a low lift-over height for easy loading. In LTZ form, the Malibu sedan is even more distinctive with front foglights and clear-lens LED taillights. V6 models are easily distinguished by their twin chrome exhaust outlets.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu sedan's comprehensive list of standard safety features includes 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control, StabiliTrak stability control, front seatbelt pretensioners, OnStar 9.0 and six air bags: dual-stage front, front seat-mounted thorax (side) and 2-row head-curtain bags. Also standard are a 6-speed TAPshift automatic transmission, 17-inch painted steel wheels, XM Satellite Radio and (surprisingly) a choice of interiors that includes 2-tone trim combinations. The range-topping LTZ offers front foglights, 18-inch aluminum wheels, dual chrome exhausts and clear-lens LED taillights.

Optional Equipment

2012 Chevrolet Malibu sedan option and equipment packages include such features as power-adjustable pedals, up-level interiors, leather seats, power sunroof, Bose audio, Bluetooth, power equipment groups and a premium audio system. A touch-screen GPS navigation system is not available (partially because the center stack design doesn't provide room for a screen), but Turn-by-Turn verbal directions can be easier to use (you call in destinations to an OnStar operator rather than program them in) and you may not miss the screen.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu sedan offers a choice of a standard 169-horsepower 2.4-liter Ecotec four, or a 252-horsepower 3.6-liter V6; both engines feature dual-overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing. Chevrolet's fuel-efficient 6-speed automatic is standard across the line, and features a manual shift mode to aid when passing or merging. The 2012 Malibu does not offer a manual transmission option.



2.4-liter 4-cylinder
169 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
160 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/33 , 15/23 (E85)

3.6-liter V6
252 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
251 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26

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2012 Chevrolet Malibu Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 521 Ratings for the 2008 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

great car overall, strong running V-6

By on Thursday, July 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Well built, good handling, great running car. Jury still out on transmission, un-happy with shift feel, dealer says normal. I like a transmission with good shift feel. Feels confused at times as to what gear it wants to be in. Overall, solid car, good quality."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Economical Family/Work Car

By on Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sporty, Economical, Comfortable"

Cons: "Can't think of any"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

2012 Chev Malibu LT

"This car is a 2012 Malibu LT and a great vehicle. I am wanting to get back into an SUV, is the only reason I am wanting to sell. Everything has been well taken care of, maintenance, tires, body and interior. Great gas mileage etc. All new matching tires! Tinted windows. Extra hookups for back seat passengers for electronic devices. Electrical plugin as well."

2012 Chev Malibu LT

Wonderful car but does not hold value

By on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Cons: "Does not hold trade in value"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I bought my 2012 Chevy Malibu brand new and have loved it ever since. Gas mileage is wonderful. It's the perfect size sedan for my small family. Very stylish and sporty looking. The only downfall is that it started losing value as soon as I drove it off the lot. Now, 2 years later, it is only worth 1/2 of the purchase price. Therefore, if I ever decided to trade it in, I would take a large financial hit."

Chevy malibu hybrid

By on Friday, July 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handles very well very smooth ride"

Cons: "Too much electronics (computers)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"One of the most comfortable cars I've owned. The little 4 cylinder engine is enough for it to get up and go. the highway mileage is phenomenal for the size of the car. I'm 6'2" and this is the only car that the seat isn't all the way back. The telescopic steering wheel is great. The room this vehicle has is almost comparable to a 70's Cadillac almost. It has a huge trunk and spacious interior."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

It's a great and very reliable, comfortable ride.

By on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,800

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great car and I like it much more than the Impala"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"When driving on highway I set on cruse control and the MPG is so good. I have a need for a pick up at this stage of my life, or I would hold on to this car. It rides real smooth and I haven't had any problems at all. It's been serviced every 3000 miles. Currently has 24850 miles on the car. The color is pearl, and some folks call it metallic white. Very nice paint and great wheels. No dings or dents, as I always parked in away from others, and it's in the garage when it isn't in use. It's style is LTZ which has a lot of options. Interior is leather with a beautiful walnut wood trim."

Except for steering noise has been a very good car

By on Sunday, June 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "mpg, comfort, quiet, dependable."

Cons: "noise in steering."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Bought one of the first "new" malibus. Noticed a clunking noise as I was driving it home for the first time. Took it in and they "fixed" it. The noise came back. The dealership "fixed" it two more times and it continued to come back. The last time I took it in (still under warranty) I was simply told that "all malibus do that" as if it was ok because they all are messed up. This turned out to be the same problem I had with my GMC pickup. The steering column develops a slack in it and while it is not a safety issue it is very annoying and speaks to GM's failure to build a quality vehicle that they will make right if it has something wrong. Long story short, every time I drive it, especially on cold days when the noise id particularly bad the car (and truck) sing me a song that goes something like this ... Never again, never again, I'll never buy a GM again. The pickup was new in 2004 and stickered for 41k and the malibu was 28k. For that kind of money GM should make it right. At the right price a used malibu would be a good car but just know that they "all do that"."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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