2012 Chevrolet Malibu Review
The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is a good family sedan, but it falls in a highly competitive class, which doesn’t really let it stand out from the pack. Until the redesigned 2013 Malibu arrives, other affordable midsize cars offer more features for less money.
Even though the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is a solid choice for a midsize sedan shopper, there are better options from rivals. Test drivers report that the 2012 Malibu’s styling is dated, while cars like the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata are turning heads. They offer more features, like standard Bluetooth, better fuel economy and more style for a lower price. If you like Chevrolet and need an affordable midsize sedan, test drivers suggests waiting for the redesigned 2013 Malibu and Malibu ECO to hit the market in 2012.
In almost every category, reviewers say the 2012 Chevy Malibu falls in the middle of the class. Navigation isn’t available at all on the Malibu, while it’s optional on most cars in the segment. Most reviewers are disappointed with the Malibu’s underpowered base four-cylinder engine, and with no turbo four-cylinder option, buyers have to upgrade to the V6 to get more power. On the other hand, almost all test drivers say that the Malibu’s four-cylinder engine is quiet and smooth.
Test drivers especially like the Malibu’s spacious trunk space, intuitive interior design and powerful V6 engine option. They particularly dislike its underpowered base four-cylinder engine, snug, somewhat uncomfortable rear seats and a few cheap interior materials.
Other Cars to Consider
The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is getting behind the times. If you can’t wait for the 2013 Malibu to go on sale, you should check out the 2012 Hyundai Sonata. Its bold styling, value for the money and good fuel economy make it a popular sedan in the class. Even the Sonata’s engine power and driving dynamics are well-liked by reviewers. The 2012 Malibu’s base four-cylinder engine is less powerful than the 2012 Sonata’s base four-cylinder. The 2012 Sonata also gets better fuel economy.
Another car to consider is the Ford Fusion. The Fusion is a continual class leader for its upscale interior and powerful engines. Reviewers also say the Fusion is fun to drive. They like its crisp handling, smooth acceleration and optional all-wheel drive. The four-cylinder 2012 Fusion also gets slight better fuel economy and has slightly more horsepower than the base Malibu.
Unless Chevrolet drops the price of the 2012 Malibu from the 2011 model’s $21,975 starting price, both the 2012 Fusion and Sonata are also less expensive. Both the Ford and Hyundai start at less than $20,000.
Chevy Malibu: The Details
The 2012 Malibu is available in three trim levels (LS, LT and LTZ) with a choice of a four- and six-cylinder engine and a standard six-speed automatic transmission. The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is nearly identical to the 2011 model. See the full list of 2012 Chevrolet Malibu specs.
Since a redesigned 2013 Malibu is on its way to dealerships in the near future, you may want to hold off on buying the 2012 version. But if you want to get a good deal, wait until the 2013 goes on sale and buy a 2012 or 2011 model. Be sure to check for current Chevy deals that may be available on a new Malibu. Since the new 2013 Malibu is on the horizon, the wait for it will be shorter than you think.
New-for-2012 features include an optional upgrade package on the LS trim, featuring Bluetooth, floor mats, steering wheel audio controls, side body molding and a spare tire. The 1LT trim can be upgraded with an optional sunroof, power-adjustable driver’s seat, remote start, Bluetooth and 110-volt three-prong outlet.
- "Malibu stands out for its refined powertrains, smart interior design, and value pricing." -- Consumer Guide
- "Considering the number of superior midsize sedans on the market and the fact that an all-new Malibu is just around the corner, the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is hard to recommend." -- Edmunds
- "Sleek sheetmetal, a decent interior, and compelling dynamics give the Malibu plenty of ammunition with which to battle the entrenched segment leaders." -- Car and Driver
- "The Chevy Malibu stands up well when held against the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord gold standards. Choosing among them largely comes down to nitpicking, splitting hairs and personal preference." -- New Car Test Drive