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2012 Chevrolet Malibu

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starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Combined MPG


Seating capacity

191.8” x 57.1”


Front-wheel drive



The good:

  • Ride quality
  • Decent handling
  • Crash-test ratings
  • Easy controls

The bad:

  • Weak four-cylinder
  • So-so cabin materials
  • Rear visibility
  • Small trunk opening
  • Turning circle

6 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • 3LT

  • 1LT

  • 2LT

  • LS


  • LT


  • LTZ


Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2012 Chevrolet Malibu trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best Sedans for 2024

Notable features

  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Standard six-speed automatic transmission
  • Standard OnStar navigation service
  • Three sets of child-seat anchors

2012 Chevrolet Malibu review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview

Available in LS, LT and top-of-the-line LTZ trim levels, the five-seat Malibu is Chevrolet’s entry in the important midsize sedan segment. Its competitors include the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry. A redesigned Malibu is scheduled to debut for the 2013 model year.

New for 2012
There are no significant changes for the 2012 model year.

The Malibu features a prominent two-bar grille and squared-off rear. A glass sunroof is optional. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 17-inch wheels; optional 18-inch rims
  • V-6 models have dual chrome exhaust outlets
  • Available remote start

A variety of two-tone interior themes are available to accent the dashboard, center control panel, door trim and seats. The instruments have blue backlighting, and a 110-volt household power outlet is available. A premium Bose stereo is optional. Interior features include:

  • Laminated glass to reduce cabin noise
  • Metallic accents
  • 60/40-split folding rear seat in all trim levels   
  • Standard satellite radio with a three-month trial subscription included
  • Standard cloth seats; leather upholstery optional
  • Available Bluetooth connectivity
  • Available steering-wheel audio controls

Under the Hood
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. Both engines team with a six-speed automatic transmission. Buyers get a significant horsepower gain by stepping up to the optional V-6. Mechanical features include:

  • 169-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 160 pounds-feet of torque
  • 252-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 with 251 pounds-feet of torque
  • Six-speed automatic with manual shift control
  • Standard variable electric power-assist steering

An electronic stability system is standard. Standard OnStar features automatic crash notification, remote diagnostics, a monthly status report and Turn-by-Turn Navigation with a six-month trial plan. Additional safety features include:

  • Standard side-impact airbags for the front seats
  • Standard side curtain airbags for both rows of seats
  • Standard four-wheel-disc antilock brakes

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.2
  • Interior 4.1
  • Performance 3.9
  • Value 4.1
  • Exterior 4.3
  • Reliability 4.2
Write a review

Most recent consumer reviews


I find this to be a dangerous vehicle please read

Not unlike many many Malibu's, very very serious transmission problem. That immediately stops you from driving and costs THOUSANDS of Dollars (plan on $5K+) to fix and Chevy knows about it and WON'T RECALL!! IT SHOULD BE RECALLED!! It's dangerous!! I would never have bought this car had someone left this review. I'll never buy another Chevy again because of this model and the shotty engine Chevy glued together. SHAME ON YOU GM/CHEVY!!!! This car is gonna get someone killed if it hasn't already!!!! For the good it does ride comfortably while it does run, trunk is roomy, and it does pretty good on gas.

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.0
  • Interior 4.0
  • Performance 3.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Exterior 3.0
  • Reliability 1.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Transporting family
  • Does not recommend this car
11 people out of 12 found this review helpful. Did you?
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My plight personally

Very mechanically reliable but the head lights keep burning out and it's just irritating since the bumper has to come apart to fix it every week or two. Be sides that and the sound from running the ac unit which sounds terrible idling loudly . Very happy with car mechanically .

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.0
  • Interior 3.0
  • Performance 4.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Exterior 3.0
  • Reliability 3.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Commuting
  • Does recommend this car
9 people out of 10 found this review helpful. Did you?
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Malibu. Sometimes Transportation

The reason that you cannot and should not believe the good reviews for ANY GM car is because the people who bought GM in 2009 are investing companies who also own the magazine companies. This car has horrible basic reliability issue throughout. It starts and runs sporadically. GM knows and DOES NOTHING.....

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.0
  • Interior 1.0
  • Performance 1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Exterior 2.0
  • Reliability 1.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Commuting
  • Does not recommend this car
30 people out of 35 found this review helpful. Did you?
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See all 141 consumer reviews


Based on the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
Combined side rating rear seat
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
Overall rating
Overall side crash rating
Risk of rollover
Rollover rating
Side barrier rating
Side barrier rating driver
Side barrier rating passenger rear seat
Side pole rating driver front seat


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Chevrolet
New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
36 months/100,000 miles
60 months/100,000 miles
Hybrid electric
96 months/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance
60 months/100,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)
6 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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