2012 Chevrolet Malibu


Ranked #4 in Midsize Sedan

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Starting MSRP 

$22,110 - $30,200

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Key Spec of 2012 Chevrolet Malibu
fuel economy


fuel type

Regular Unleaded


169 hp @ 6400 rpm

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

ProsConsWhat's New

Available V6 engine

Underwhelming standard powertrain

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

Relaxed driving dynamics

Lower fuel economy

Fit and Finish

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: September 6, 2022

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is here with minimal changes in terms of optional packages. With an expected all-new 2013 Chevy Malibu just around the corner, Chevrolet has not made any changes to the lineup or powertrain options. Chevy’s midsize sedan starts at an msrp of $22,110, making it one of the affordable options in the segment. The current model year continues to offer good build quality and a decent list of features. Even the interior appointments and exterior design are to the point and no extra flair is added. The 2.4-liter and 3.6-liter engines do their duties under the hood, offering 169 hp and 252 hp respectively. 

2012 Chevrolet Malibu For Sale

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu can be best described as a ‘good and no-nonsense car’.The midsize sedan segment is already crowded with many options and Malibu intends to sell well. With different trim configurations, two engine options, decent interior space and good specifications, the Malibu 2012 should perform well in the market. The starting price of the 2012 model is $22,110 and goes up to $30,200 for the top trim. If you are looking for a used 2012 Malibu then you can find one at an affordable price. However, the final sale price of the car will depend on mileage, condition and number of owners. 

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Buying Advice 

The 2012 Chevy Malibu can be a good choice if not the best in the segment. It offers decent legroom across both the rows and even the exterior dimensions are pretty well-balanced. With the total number of recalls limited to three and 827 complaints registered with the NHTSA, the reliability issues are not hazardous. Also, the NHTSA has given it a four-star safety rating and the base engine delivers an EPA-estimated gas mileage of 26 mpg combined. So, the 2012 model year is a mixed bag for us. We would recommend 2019 and above model years for latest tech, styling and good reliability. 

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Latest Updates

  • May' 18, 2022 : The Cheapest Chevrolet Cars To Look Out For In 2022 Read More »
  • Apr' 12, 2022 : Most Fuel Efficient Midsize Cars On Sale In The US Read More »
  • Feb' 9, 2022 : Chevrolet Stops Taking New Order For 2022 Malibu Read More »
2012 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2012 Chevy Malibu offers good interior space but lacks adequate cargo space. Even the fuel economy is not class-leading and less as compared with its rivals. The performance from the base engine is underwhelming, while the bigger V6 engine would suffice to the needs of enthusiasts. However, performance comes at the cost of lower gas mileage. The competitors like Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima pose a serious threat to the humble Malibu. Let’s see how Chevy’s midsize sedan fares against its rivals in our in-depth review.

Over All Rating


Out of 10

Notable Rankings

#4 in Midsize Sedan

#6 in Sedan

Pictures & Videos


LS$22,110 onwards

  • 17-inch steel Wheels
  • ABS and driveline Traction control
  • Cloth Seat trim
  • Driver Lumbar support
  • Front manual air conditioning
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Seek-Scan Radio
  • Siriusxm AM/FM/Satellite

LT$23,470 onwards

  • 18-inch aluminum Wheels

LTZ$28,600 onwards

  • Auto dimming rearview mirrors
  • Automatic climate control
  • Fog lamps
  • Sunroof

Used 2012 Chevrolet Malibu For Sale

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Colors and Styles

2012 Chevrolet Malibu in Black Granite Metallic color
Black Granite Metallic

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying 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

The 2012 Chevy Malibu is a decent offering with respect to pricing, specs, dimensions and styling. However, to be honest, it fades in comparison to its more capable rivals. The exterior styling is smooth and subtle and so is the performance with the base engine. In the J.D. Power Consumer Rating, the 2012 Chevy Malibu has scored an overall 83 out of 100 which can be termed as ‘Great: For quality and reliability, the score is 89 out of 100 which is great as well. 

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Review

In the driving experience and resale, the Malibu 2012 scored 77/100 and 78/100 which can be termed as ‘Average’. The overall safety score of four-star from the NHTSA is good but not great. Even the fuel economy is less than the competition. The Malibu shines at rear seat legroom and quality of materials along with fit and finish inside. The two engine options are refined and the NVH levels inside the cabin are decent too

Buying Advice

Considering price and list of features, we consider the LT trims to be good value for money. Even in the LT trims, the 2LT trim, with a starting price tag of $26,300, makes most sense to us, if you are not for extra performance. If performance is your game then you should opt for the 3LT trim with a 3.6-liter V6 engine. The 2LT trim offers multiple features like 17-inch chrome tech aluminum wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, bluetooth connectivity, auto-dimming rear view mirror, remote vehicle starter


It's one of GM's best-executed products of the past few years, and even in its final year on sale, the 2012 Chevy Malibu still ranks highly for its spacious cabin, smooth performance and handsome silhouette- The Car Connection 

The 2012 Chevy Malibu is available in three main trim configurations: LS, LT and LTZ. The LT is further divided into 1LT, 2LT and 3LT. Similarly, the LTZ trims are further divided into 1LZ and 2LZ trims. The starting price of the LS trim is $22,110 and it goes up to $30,200 for the LTZ w/2LZ trim. The division of trims is based on a list of features and choice of powertrain. The base LS trim is quite basic and we would recommend it only for fleet usage. The 1LT offers some key features like 17-inch wheels, stability control system with traction control, Onstar directions and connections with turn-by-turn navigation, power-adjustable outside mirrors, and CD/MP3 Player with AM/FM stereo. 

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Features

The 1LT trim adds 17-inch bright aluminum wheels, steering wheel mounted audio/cruise control, body color power-adjustable outside mirrors, and chrome door handles. The 2LT/3LT trim offers 17-inch chrome tech aluminum wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, bluetooth connectivity, auto-dimming rear view mirror, remote vehicle starter system, and UltraLux seating with heated front seats and 6-way driver-adjustable driver’s seat. The top-tier LTZ trim offers 18-inch aluminum wheels, silver-finish front grille with chrome surrounds, leather-appointed seats, heated front seats and power-adjustable front seats. 


LS w/1LS

LT w/1LT

LT w/2LT

LT w/3LT










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


LED headlights


Partial-power driver seat 

Steering-wheel mounted audio controls

Remote ignition


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




TAPshift manual shift control on shift knob


heated driver and front passenger

The power/tilt-sliding sunroof, automatic climate control and 8-speaker premium Bose audio system is also standard with the LTZ trims. The LS Uplevel Package adds much needed technical features like bluetooth and steering-mounted controls to the LS trim. The Driver Convenience Package is for the 1LT trim and it adds features like power-adjustable seats and remote vehicle starter system. The Sunroof and Convenience Package is for 1LT trim and adds sunroof, power-adjustable driver’s seat and bluetooth connectivity. The Sunroof Package is for the 2LT/3LT package, adding power sunroof, premium carpenter front and rear floor mats.

Engine and Performance

The Malibu is available with a four-cylinder or V-6 engine, both of which use variable valve timing to optimize performance and fuel efficiency- Cars.com

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. Also, front wheel drive is the only drivetrain option and all wheel drive is not available even as an option.

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Engine

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 8.8-seconds and complete a quarter-mile run in 16.9 seconds. The more powerful V6 engine sheds the same time to 6.4 seconds and completes a quarter-mile run in 15 seconds. However, the V6 is strictly limited to LT and LTZ models but is worth the upgrade. We would suggest the V6-engine for more performance-oriented drivers.

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Performance 

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. All the trims come with a comfy suspension setup and ride quality won’t be an issue over rough patches of roads. The V6-equipped trims get a hydraulic power steering instead of an electronic power steering. As expected, the hydraulic power steering is much better. Overall, the handling is good but improvement is welcome.


2012 Chevrolet Malibu 

2012 Honda Accord 

2012 Hyundai Sonata 

2012 Kia Optima 







2.4-liter inline-4

2.4-liter inline-4

2.4-liter inline-4

2.4 L Inline-4







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)





Quarter-mile (sec)





Top Speed (mph)





The Malibu with the standard 4-cylinder engine is the least potent mid-size sedan in the comparison. The Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima offer decent 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, while the Honda Accord offers the best 0 to 60 time, followed by the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and Chevrolet Malibu. 

Fuel Economy

The four-cylinder version of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is quite efficient and green, considering its interior space and comfort- The Car Connection

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu offers an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22/33/26 miles per gallon in the city, on the highways and in combined driving conditions. Surely, the gas mileage is on the lower side as compared to its rivals. When equipped with the more powerful V6 engine, the 2012 Malibu offers 17/26/20 mpg in city/highway/combined driving conditions. All the trims come with a 16.0-gallon fuel tank. With the smaller engine, the Malibu offers 416 miles in combined conditions. With the V6 engine, the range decreases to 320 miles only.


2012 Chevrolet Malibu 

2012 Honda Accord 

2012 Hyundai Sonata 

2012 Kia Optima 

MPG (City)





MPG (Highway)





MPG (Combined)





Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

16 gal.

18.5 gal.

18.5 gal.


Range (City/Highway/Combined) (Miles)





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 and Kia Optima are real champs in the lot, offering the best figures followed by the Honda Accord that isn’t too far behind. The Chevrolet Malibu comes last in terms of fuel economy and driving range as well. 


A variety of two-tone interior themes are available to accent the dashboard, center control panel, door trim and seats- Cars.com 

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. Inside, 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 rear seats are relaxing and supportive and offer impressive legroom. 

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Interior 

Accommodating three adults in the rear seats won’t be much of a problem, but the one seated in the middle won’t be too comfortable, especially for longer stretches. The dual-tone interior styling makes the cabin look more lively and cherishable. Chevrolet offers custom cloth, UltraLux and Leather appointments, accentuating the cabin. The custom cloth upholstery is offered in Ebony, Cocoa/Cashmere and Titanium color options. The UltraLux upholstery is offered in Ebony, Cashmere and Titanium color options. The leather upholstery is offered in Ebony and Cocoa/Cashmere colors only. 

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Seating

The Chevy Malibu offers 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space and it’s lesser in comparison to its rivals. However, the 60/40 split-folding seats fold down to add more usable space to push bigger luggage. Some interior features like single zone manual climate control, sliding armrest and dual storage compartments, rear window defogger, remote keyless entry, and tilt and telescopic steering wheel are standard. Some other features like auto-dimming rear view mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, remote vehicle starter system, heated front seats, sunroof, automatic climate control are offered with the 2LT/3LT and LTZ trims.


2012 Chevrolet Malibu 

2012 Honda Accord 

2012 Hyundai Sonata 

2012 Kia Optima 

Seating Capacity





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





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





Cargo Capacity (cubic feet)





The Malibu offers a roomy cabin with decent interior dimensions, but it feels cramped when three adults try to fit in the back. Even the shoulder room is less as compared to other rivals. On the other hand, the Honda Accord comes with a more spacious cabin. A wider shoulder room offers better comfort for rear passengers. In terms of cargo space, the Hyundai Sonata leads the competition by offering a cargo capacity of 16.4 cubic feet, followed by Kia Optima, Chevrolet Malibu and Honda Accord. 

2012 Chevy Malibu infotainment system

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 of the key interior and infotainment features of the 2012 Malibu are: 

  • Leather upholstery
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks
  • Keyless entry
  • Automatic climate control
  • 6-speaker sound system with CD/MP3 stereo (Standard)
  • SiriusXM satellite radio and AUX jack
  • Bluetooth connectivity (LT trim)
  • 8-speaker Bose audio system (LTZ trim)

Inside and out, the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is conservatively styled yet handsome- The Car Connection 

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. The wheel sizes vary from 17-inch to 19-inch, depending on the trim configurations. 

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Exterior Dimensions

Some exterior features like acoustic-laminated and light tinted glass, black grille insert with chrome surround, halogen headlamps with automatic control, and power-adjustable exterior mirrors are standard, while higher trims offer fog lamps, LED tail lamps, silver grille insert with chrome surround, body-color, and heated and powered exterior mirrors. Chevrolet offers a wide range of exterior colors, including Black Granite Metallic, Imperial Blue Metallic, Crystal Red Tintcoat,Mocha Steel Metallic, Gold Mist Metallic, Dark Gray Metallic, Silver Ice Metallic, White Diamond Tricoat and Summit White.


2012 Chevrolet Malibu 

2012 Honda Accord 

2012 Hyundai Sonata 

2012 Kia Optima LX

Curb Weight (lbs)

3432 lbs.

3217 lbs.

3161 lbs.


Length (in)

191.8 in.

194.9 in.

189.8 in.


Width (in)

70.3 in.

72.7 in.

72.2 in.


Height (in)

57.1 in.

58.1 in.

57.9 in.


Ground Clearance (in)





Wheelbase (in)

112.3 in.

110.2 in.

110 in.


The Malibu's curb weight is 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 Chevy Malibu sits on a longer wheelbase, offering better rear seat legroom and enhanced stability at higher speeds. It is followed by the Honda Accord, Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata. 

Some of the key exterior features of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu are: 

  • 17-inch to 19-inch wheels. 
  • Automatic headlights
  • Body-color outside mirrors and side moldings
  • Foglamps
  • Heated outside mirrors
  • Sunroof
  • LED taillights

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.

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Crash Tests (IIHS)

Some of the key safety features of the 2012 Malibu are: 

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

2012 Chevrolet Malibu vs 2012 Honda Accord 

The Honda Accord in one of the leading sedans in the market. Offering better fuel economy and range than the Malibu, the Honda Accord offers better comfort as well. The Honda Accord offers better comfort as well. However, the Chevrolet Malibu offers better rear seat legroom, cargo capacity and sits on a longer wheelbase. The Honda Accord also offers slighty better performance than the Malibu. Our choice woild be the Honda Accord. 

2012 Honda Accord 

2012 Chevrolet Malibu vs 2012 Hyundai Sonata

The Hyundai Sonata is more capable than the Malibu in terms of outright performance. The Hyundai Sonata offers better gas mileage than the Malibu. Even the cargo capacity is on the higher side as compared to the Malibu. Howver, the Malibu offers better rear seat legroom and sits on a longer wheelbase than the Sonata. Even the interior of the Sonata feels more modern if not equally well-built as the Malibu. The starting price of the Hyundai Sonata is lesser than the Chevrolet Malibu. 

2012 Hyundai Sonata

2012 Chevrolet Malibu vs 2012 Kia Optima

The Kia Optima is closely related to the Hyundai Sonata. The Kia Optima offers better performance than the Chevrolet Malibu. Even the fuel economy and cargo capacity is better than the Malibu. Owing to a larger gas tank size, the Kia Optima offers better drivign range as well. The Malibu offers better rear seat legroom and sits on a longer wheelbase. In terms of exterior design, the Kia Optima looks sleek and modern than the Chevy Malibu.

2012 Kia Optima 


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 but we would recommend looking at other sedans before making a decision. 


vehicle bio
base price


body style

4dr Sedan

engine type

217 cu in

horse power

252 hp @ 6300 rpm


251 lb.-ft. @ 3200 rpm


6-Speed Automatic w/Overdrive


191.8 in


112.3 in


70.3 in

curb weight

3649 lbs


57.1 in

passenger volume

97.7 cu ft

cargo volume

15.1 cu ft

passenger capacity

5 Seats

fuel economy

17/20/26 mpg

highway range

416.00 mi

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

Chevrolet Malibu 5 year Cost To Own

Cash Price(MSRP)
5 Year Cost To Own
Total 5 year Cost To Own -  $41,062
Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5total
Financing Interest$1,531$1,265$900$618$242$4,556
Taxes and Fees$2,120$148$180$120$154$2,722
Total Cost-To-Own$15,521$6,213$5,952$6,600$6,776$41,062
Read more about Cost-To-Own »

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