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2012 Chevrolet Malibu

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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 New for 2012

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
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 585 Ratings for the 2008 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Worst performing vehicle i have ever owned

By on Monday, June 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 134,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
4/10

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

"Worst performing vehicle I have ever owned. Absolutely zero acceleration of the line and takes forever to get up to highway speed. Definitely an issue that Chevrolet needs to address for future vehicles."

4 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Good car but has its issues

By on Friday, June 3, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Exterior styling, nice sound system, quiet ride"

Cons: "Engine problems at 50k miles, plastic interior"

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

"I bought my 2011 Malibu LS new and I've had it for almost 5 years now. It's a good ride and I get compliments on it from friends and family about how nice it looks and how great the ride is. I drive around town mostly but every month or so I drive up to Chicago to visit family and friends. I get about 28 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in town. Both numbers are lower than the EPA estimates but still pretty good. I have driven this car on a couple long road trips with no issue. The interior is a little too plastic but well designed. At around 40k miles my car started to shake when I drove between 40-60 mph. I had no idea what could be the case but I read that many people with Malibus were having similar problems. I got new tires since my factory installed Firestone ones were going bad (they sucked to begin with). The tires have fixed my issue with the shaking. Then at 48k miles my check engine light came on. I thought this was due to my gas cap not being on tight (happened to me couple other times) so I made sure the cap was on tight. After a week the light didn't go away. I decided to drive to Chicago (about 250 miles from where I live) to visit my parents. My dad ran a diagnostic and the problems popping up just couldn't make sense. The codes stated that I could have a major issue but my dad is a mechanic and he said that at under 50K miles these issues are almost impossible AND I just drove 250 miles to see him. So I came back home (drove another 250 miles) and my dad told me to get the car looked at just in case... I took my car to a mechanic in my town and he told me the guides to my timing chain had broke and my timing chain had about 2 inches just GONE. The broken pieces had got into my solenoids and sensor so those were now broken too. The mechanic couldn't believe I was still able to drive the car. I then had the mechanic put my engine back together and I took the car to a Chevy dealer to see if my Powertrain Warranty would cover this. Luckily my problems were under warranty and I got about $2500 worth of problems fixed at no cost to me. Overall the car has been good to me and even when it should not have been able to drive it STILL drove me wherever I needed to go. I take good care of it and get the oil changed and my tires balanced and rotated regularly. My goal is to keep this car for another 10 years or until I reach 200K miles, whichever comes first."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

What a lemon, I will not buy another Chevy product

By on Friday, April 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "none"

Cons: "Not dependable"

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

"Bought new in 2009. Waterpump did not even make it through warrenty before it went out. Alternator went out with less than 80,000 on it, Now transmition out with less than 90000. You buy one of these be sure to have a phone # for a wreaker handy."

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

1 Owner, 2012 Chevy Malibu 2LT with low miles.

By on Saturday, March 12, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

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

"Excellent condition, No accidents, oil changed regularly with synthetic oil. Includes blue tooth phone connect, A/C power outlet, XM Radio, and all power options."

1 person out of 5 found this review helpful

Better have a large wallet, mechanical issues

By on Sunday, December 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Riders good"

Cons: "Not a well built car mechanical."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"At under 50000 miles, it had to have a torque converter, battery, $275.00 for a blinker on the front. Now $600.00 switch to control the vents and it isn't covered under the extended warranty. At 52000 miles . Bad on gas consumption."

12 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Great car for the money!

By on Saturday, December 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great family car, & sporty looking in Red!"

Cons: "Gas Mileage around town is below average for a 4 c"

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

"Car is enjoyable to drive. Gas mileage is a little below average. 30 on trip, 24 around town. Plenty of room inside & trunk space is above average."

7 people out of 18 found this review helpful

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