Buying Guide

2012 Chevrolet Malibu

Fair Market Price $9,686 LS Sedan
Motor Trend Rating


22 City / 33 Hwy

Safety (IIHS):

Best Pick

Horse Power:

169 @ 6400

Sum Up


The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu holds in own in a world dominated by finely tuned, engineered competition. While it isn’t necessarily the flashiest model available in its class, it still holds plenty of the spotlight. This midsized sedan offers understated exterior body design paired with simple, attractive, easy to use controls and gauges in the cabin. Seating in the Malibu is well designed and provides plenty of padding. Additionally, driving this sedan offers up plenty of speed and power, especially in the V-6 powertrain models. The ride quality is comfortable and it’s very quiet in the cabin, giving passengers a certain luxury feel in an otherwise economy model.

While it is overall a good car, the Malibu is losing some of its shine to other less expensive and better equipped models. It loses out in the safety, convenience, and size categories to other well known options.

New For 2012

There are very changes to the Chevy Malibu for the 2012 model year. The most exciting thing to note is some changes to the available options packages.


The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is a midsized sedan offered in three trim levels broken into several sub levels. The three main trim levels include the LS, LT, and the LTZ. In the lower trim levels, the 2012 Malibu is equipped with 17 inch steel wheels. Up the chain, the higher trim level is equipped with 18 alloy wheels. There is nothing wrong with the Chevrolet Malibu when it comes to looks. This car gives every appearance of being a strong, reliable sedan. The front end is wide with the grille featuring the Chevy emblem in the center. The grille is split horizontally for a unique design. The headlights sit high back on the front fenders and are somewhat rectangular in shape. There aren’t a lot of lines in the exterior metal work of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. Instead it relies more on its basic, flowing design to get the job done. This car isn’t going to be the most impressive to look at, but it does offer solid construction.

Interior & Cargo

Inside the cabin of the 2012 Chevy Malibu most passengers will find the seats comfortable enough. Both rows of seating are supportive and well padded. The front seats feature side bolsters that may be something of a challenge for broader people. In the back seat, there is enough room for two adults. Trying to fit three in the rear of the cabin isn’t going to be an easy task considering the Malibu falls in to the midsized sedan category.

There is ample space in the cargo area however. The Malibu is equipped with 15.1 cubic feet of space. Folding down the 60/40 split rear seats offers more flexibility for hauling things as well. The trunk opening is on the smallish side and the design is narrow however.

Overall the Malibu sports an attractive interior design. Unfortunately, some of the materials used are low quality and detract quite a bit from the interior. The dash gauges and controls are easy to see and use. This model has the acoustic insulation to keep the noise in the cabin low.


This sedan is equipped with a nice list of standard safety features designed to ensure the security of the passengers. Each of the models offers anti-lock brakes as well as traction and stability control. Furthermore, the Malibu also features front seat side impact airbags and side curtain airbags. The famous OnStar system is standard on this model as well. It is responsible for controlling several safety features including emergency contact notification in the event of an accident.

In crash testing, the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu received four out of five stars in the government testing, four stars for frontal crash protection and five for overall side impact. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety gave the Malibu its highest rating of “good” in both frontal and side impact collisions.

Driving Experience

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is equipped with two engine choices depending on the trim level. The LS is equipped with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. This version sends the power to the front-wheel drive. This powertrain delivers 169 hp and 160 lb-ft of torque. The fuel economy for this model is estimated around 22/33 mpg city/highway.

The LT and the LTZ models are available with a 3.6-liter, V-6 engine paired with the same six-speed automatic transmission set up as the four-cylinder powertrain. As one of the fastest V-6 options in the category, this engine gives up 252 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. This version of the Malibu was clocked at reaching 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. The estimated fuel economy for this model is 17/26 mpg city/highway.

Key Competitors For The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu

  • Ford Fusion
  • Honda Accord sedan
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Nissan Altima
  • Toyota Camry

Get a Free Quote

Compare dealer clearance prices and save.