2012 Chevrolet Malibu

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Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    21-27 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    169-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

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

Notable Features of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu

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

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Overview

By Cars.com Editors
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.

Exterior
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


Interior
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 ste...

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.

Exterior
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


Interior
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


Safety
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

Latest 2012 Malibu Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.4)
Performance
(4.1)
Interior Design
(4.3)
Comfort
(4.3)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.3)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Great car for the money.

by Steve from Norfolk, Va. on August 15, 2018

This car was a replacement for a 96 Honda Accord. Very satisfied with my purchase. Also the dealership took care of two issues after the purchase. Read full review

(5.0)

The Malibu is a most reliable Car, 2nd to my 1998

by Dan da Man from Oak Creek, WI on June 9, 2018

This has been an excellent car for me during the last six years. I have the LTZ model of the Malibu and enjoy all the comfort and security of this Auto. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu currently has 3 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 Chevrolet Malibu LS

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
acceptable
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 100,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Chevrolet

Program Benefits

Two Factory-Backed Warranties, CPO Scheduled Maintenance Program, Vehicle Inspection & Reconditioning, 3-Day/150-Mile Vehicle Exchange Program, 24/7 Roadside Assistance and Courtesy Transportation, OnStar & SiriusXM Satellite Radio Trial Offers, and a Carfax Vehicle History Report

  • Limited Warranty

    Two Factory-Backed Warranties

    6-Year/100,000-Mile, Powertrain Limited Warranty and a 12- Month/12,000-Miles, Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty, both with $0 deductible
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 75,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 172-Point Inspection & Reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Malibu received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker