2012 Chevrolet Malibu

MSRP $22,110 - $30,200

Ranked #3 in Sedan

8.2

Overall Rating

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2012 Chevrolet Malibu Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 2, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The mid-size sedans are hugely popular amongst growing families. They are big and spacious, very practical in terms of cargo space, and offer effective powertrain offerings, some even brawny enough to exhilarate the drivers. And the same segment is crowded with a long list of choices where brands keep updating their mid-size sedans to be the leaders when it comes to selling. One of such names is the Chevrolet Malibu, a beloved American mid-size sedan nameplate that also earned the prestigious North American Car of the Year award.

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Pros

Available V6 engine

Relaxed driving dynamics

Cons

Impotent standard powertrain

Cheap materials used inside the cabin

Dismal fuel economy

What's New?

Since the Malibu is set to be redesigned in 2013, the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is just a carried-over model from the previous year. 


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$28600

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

145 cu.in.

horsepower

169 hp @ 6400 rpm

torque

160 lb.-ft. @ 4500 rpm

transmission

6 speed automatic w/OD and auto manual

chassis

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

dimensions

wheelbase

112.3 in.

length

191.8 in.

width

70.3 in.

height

57.1 in.

curb weight

3649 lbs.

ground clearance

6 in.

capacity

passenger volume

97.7 cu ft.

cargo volume

15.1 cu ft.

towing capacity

1000 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

9.7 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

16.8 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

22/27/33 mpg

highway range

528 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 100,000 mi.

corrosion warranty

6 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

LS$22,110 onwards

LT$23,470 onwards

LTZ$28,600 onwards

Colors and Styles

2012 Chevrolet Malibu in Black Granite Metallic color
Black Granite Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Feature

6.0

Features

9.0

Engine and Performance

7.0

Fuel Economy

9.0

Interior

8.0

Exterior

9.0

Safety

9.0

Competition

8.0

8.2

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

8.2

Overall Rating


For 2012, the Chevrolet Malibu remains unchanged, for the fact that it is awaited to undergo a complete redesign the following year. Yet, it remains an idle pick in the segment, owing to an efficient powertrain, commodious interiors, and attractive styling. There’s an optional V6 engine available for those who would love to escape the daily routine and have a few moments of adrenaline rush. But rivals like Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima won’t let the Chevy Malibu breathe in leisure. Let’s compare the rivals against the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu and introspect on whether it’s worth buying, or is it smart to wait for the overhauled 2013 model year.


9.0/10
Features

7.0/10
Engine and Performance

9.0/10
Fuel Economy

8.0/10
Interior

9.0/10
Exterior

9.0/10
Safety


2012 Chevrolet Malibu Features

9.0/10

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is available in three different trims, which are further divided into sub-levels. The LS trim starts the lineup with an attractive price tag of $22,110. While the most expensive Malibu model, LTZ is priced at $30,200. As standard, it gets features like tilt and telescopic steering wheel, driver power lumbar control, Remote Keyless Entry, Defogger, rear-window electric and 3-spoke Steering wheel, with mounted cruise controls. Even the base trim offers a lot of impressive features.

Trims

LS w/1LS

LT w/1LT

LT w/2LT

LT w/3LT

LTZ w/1LZ

LTZ w/2LZ

MSRP

$22,110

$23,470

$26,300

$28,300

$28,600

$30,200

Key Features

17-inch steel wheels

17-inch alloy wheels

Adds to 1LT

Adds to 1LT

18-inch alloy wheels

Adds to LTZ

 

Cloth upholstery

Body-colored outside mirrors and side moldings

Upgraded upholstery

Heated front seats

Foglamps

LED headlights

 

Partial-power driver seat 

Steering-wheel mounted audio controls

Remote ignition

Bluetooth

Heated outside mirrors

Leather upholstery

 

60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks

Cruise control

Additional power driver seat adjustments

Rear-seat 110-volt household-style AC power outlet.

Defogger, rear-window electric

8-speaker Bose audio system

 

Cruise control

Cloth upholstery

Remote Keyless Entry

Titanium with Dark Titanium interior accents

driver 8-way power seats

Automatic climate control

 

OnStar

   

TAPshift manual shift control on shift knob

 

heated driver and front passenger

We Recommend

The LT w/3LT appears to be the sweet spot in the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu lineup. It adds upgraded upholstery inside the cabin along with a power-adjustable driver's seat and heated front seats, Titanium with Dark Titanium interior accents, an infotainment system integrated with Bluetooth connectivity, and TAPshift manual shift control on the shift knob. You get a lot of spot-on features for a price that won't burn a hole in your pocket.

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Engine and Performance

7.0/10

The 2012 Chevy Malibu comes with a 2.4L Inline-4 engine as standard that produces 169-hp and 160 lb-ft of torque. The engine comes mated to a 6-speed automatic unit that puts the power to the front wheels. The engine doesn’t accelerate at blistering rates or cruise at high speed. The 4-pot banger cranks out ample power to make the Malibu move around the town and travel between cities. For more power, an available 3.6L V6 offers 252-hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. 

Upgrading to the brawnier V6 engine results in a massive shrink in 0-60 mph sprint time. The Inline-4 engine manages to touch 60-mph in 9.3-seconds while the V6 sheds the same time to 6.7-seconds. The V6 is strictly limited to LT and LTZ models but is worth the upgrade. The Malibu can’t be expected to be sporty or nimble, but the V6 does make it more steady than the standard block. The steering is light, the ride quality is smooth, but it lacks athleticism.

Model

2012 Chevrolet Malibu 

2012 Honda Accord 

2012 Hyundai Sonata 

2012 Kia Optima LX

MSRP

$22,110

$21,480

$19,795

$21,000

Engine

2.4-liter inline-4

2.4-liter inline-4

2.4-liter inline-4

2.4 L Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-speed shiftable automatic

5-speed Manual

6-speed Manual

6-speed shiftable automatic

Power (hp @ RPM)

169 @ 6400

177 @ 6500

198 @ 6300

200 @ 6300

Torque (lb-ft @ RPM)

160 @ 4500

161 @ 4300

184 @ 4250

186 @ 4250

0-60 mph (sec)

9.3

8.2

8.3

8.3

Quarter-mile (sec)

16.8

N/A

16

16.3

Top Speed (mph)

126

N/A

N/A

152

The Malibu with the standard 4-cylinder engine is the least potent mid-size sedan in the rivalry. The Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima offer handsome power figures, while there are unmentioned rivals like Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion that offer sportier and nimble handling. But with the optional V6, the Malibu gains muscle and swiftness, but still lacks any thrill behind the wheels. The Kia Optima offers the most horsepower for the least dollars.

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Fuel Economy

9.0/10

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu comes with a standard 4-cylinder engine that does a great job in maintaining an efficient economy. The Malibu can deliver an impressive 26 MPG combined and paired with a 16-gallon fuel tank, it’s good to go places but not as good as its competition. The optional V6 is more muscular but also loves to guzzle fuel at faster rates and delivers 20 MPG combined. 

Model

2012 Chevrolet Malibu 

2012 Honda Accord 

2012 Hyundai Sonata 

2012 Kia Optima LX

MPG (City)

22

23

24

24

MPG (Highway)

33

34

35

35

MPG (Combined)

26

27

28

28

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

16 gal.

18.5 gal.

18.5 gal.

18.5

Range (City/Highway/Combined) (Miles)

352/528/416

425.5/629/500

444/647/518

444/629/499

Despite being less potent in terms of power, the standard Inline-4 block of the Malibu fails to impress with fuel economy too, as the rivals are still ahead in the game. The V6 motor does give a more brawny character, but again, it sacrifices the economy on its way to being more powerful. The Hyundai Sonata is a real champ in the lot, offering the best figures followed by the Kia Optima that isn’t too far behind.

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Interior

8.0/10

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu has been an exciting product from the GM family. The mid-size sedan was largely admired due to its subtle interiors. The Malibu never claims to be luxurious, but the minimal design language makes it both stylish and functional. The front seats are the most comfortable spot in the cabin, owing to well-bolstered seats. The lateral support is lacking, but high-quality materials make the cabin look decent. The dash design is clean but there’s heavy use of cheap plastics which is a huge turn-off. The dual-tone interior styling makes the cabin look more lively and cherishable. 

The rear seats are relaxing and supportive and offer impressive legroom. Three adults can fit in the rear seats, but the one seated in the middle won’t be too comfortable, especially for longer stretches. Cloth upholstery prevails in the lower trim, but buyers looking for something extravagant could have the cabin with leather upholstery in the LTZ trims. There are several storage spaces inside the cabin and the Malibu also boasts a spacious 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk. The 60/40 split-folding seats fold down to add more usable space to push bigger luggage. 

Model

2012 Chevrolet Malibu 

2012 Honda Accord 

2012 Hyundai Sonata 

2012 Kia Optima LX

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

39.4/55.9/42.2

41.4/58.2/42.5

40/57.9/45.5

40.0/57.2/45.5

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.2/53.9/37.9

38.5/56.4/37.2

37.8/56.7/34.6

37.6/55.7/34.7

Cargo Capacity (cubic feet)

15.1

14.7

16.4

15.4

The Malibu offers a roomy cabin, but it feels cramped when three adults try to fit in the back, the shoulder room is down as compared to other rivals. On the other hand, the Honda Accord comes with the largest cabin on offer. In terms of cargo space, the Hyundai Sonata leads the competition by offering a cargo capacity of 15.1 cubic feet.Some of the interior highlights are:

  • Cloth upholstery
  • A partial power driver seat
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks
  • Keyless entry
  • Automatic climate control

How intuitive is the 2012 Chevrolet Malibus infotainment unit?

The most basic version of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu features a 6-speaker sound system with CD/MP3 stereo. It isn’t the most advanced system, but apt for long journeys to tune into some melodies. It is followed by satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack for the base LS trim. Opting for LT trim would add Bluetooth and a rear-seat 110-volt household-style AC power outlet. The latter comes in very handy with kids in the rear seat, powering their devices. The range-topping Malibu LTZ features a premium 8-speaker Bose audio system for an impeccable blast of bass and treble. Some highlights of the infotainment system are:

  • 6-speaker sound system with CD/MP3 stereo (Standard)
  • Satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack
  • Bluetooth connectivity (LT trim)
  • 8-speaker Bose audio system (LTZ trim)

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Exterior

9.0/10

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu remains unchanged and carries over the same appealing attire since the last redesign. The midsize sedan is very subtle and neat, but also quite handsome. The front fascia features a split-grille with the brand’s bow-tie emblem embossed in the center. The sleek headlights offer a serious face to the Malibu. The side stance has a bodyline running along the stretch. 

Towards the rear, the Chevy Malibu looks relatively narrow. Speaking of exterior dimensions, this sedan finds a sweet spot in proportions, it measures a length of 191.8 inches, a width of 70.3 inches, and also the shortest car of the lot measuring only 57.1 inches. Moving on to the wheelbase, it measures a length of 112.3 inches which appears to be the longest in its competition.

Model

2012 Chevrolet Malibu 

2012 Honda Accord 

2012 Hyundai Sonata 

2012 Kia Optima LX

Curb Weight (lbs)

3432 lbs.

3217 lbs.

3161 lbs.

3223

Length (in)

191.8 in.

194.9 in.

189.8 in.

190.7

Width (in)

70.3 in.

72.7 in.

72.2 in.

72.1

Height (in)

57.1 in.

58.1 in.

57.9 in.

57.3

Ground Clearance (in)

N/A

N/A

5.5

5.3

Wheelbase (in)

112.3 in.

110.2 in.

110 in.

110.1

The Malibu weighs 3432 lbs which is more than most of its rivals, despite a smaller body size than the Honda Accord. However, the low-ground clearance of Kia Optima provides a hunkered-down stance, while it stands out with its minimalistic yet classy design. The Honda Accord happens to be the longest car measuring a length of 194.9 inches. The exterior highlight of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu includes:

  • 17-inch steel wheels
  • Automatic headlights
  • 17-inch alloy wheels(LT trim)
  • Body-color outside mirrors and side moldings
  • 18-inch alloy wheels(LTZ trim)
  • Foglamps
  • Heated outside mirrors
  • Sunroof
  • LED taillights

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Safety

9.0/10

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu holds up as a reliable and robust midsize sedan. The sturdy structure can protect the occupants in case of a crash. And for the same reason, Malibu has earned a laudable 4-star safety rating from the NHTSA. The IIHS has tagged the midsize sedan with its highest rating of "Good" as the Malibu performed splendidly in frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests. Besides the standard safety aids, every Malibu features GM’s OnStar emergency telematics system. In an event of a crash, the system alerts the emergency services. The midsize Malibu features safety aids like:

  • Antilock disc brakes (ABS)
  • Stability and traction control
  • Front-seat side-impact airbags
  • Side curtain airbags
  • OnStar telematics system

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Final Verdict

To conclude, the Chevrolet Malibu is still a worthy pick in the segment for the price. The standard engine setup is sluggish but efficient. However, buyers can also opt for the brawnier V6 block. Moreover, the relaxed driving dynamics and smooth ride quality makes the Malibu a perfect family sedan. The interiors are subtle, while the upper trims garnish it to look upscale and modern. The infotainment is not the most equipped but the upper trims offer better goodies. In terms of safety, the Malibu can be trusted owing to decent safety ratings. All in all, the Malibu won't disappoint you if you choose to park one in your garage.

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