2012 Chevrolet Malibu Overview
2012 Chevrolet Malibu Overview
The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu is a four-door, five-passenger, midsize sedan playing in a very competitive segment. Chevrolet offers the 2012 Malibu in three trim levels, the base trim LS, the mid-level LT, and the top-of-the-line LTZ trim. In typical Chevrolet fashion, the Malibu can’t do with just three trim levels, so Chevrolet added additional layers of equipment groups which further complicate the buying process. These equipment groups break the LT trim level into a 1LT, 2LT, or 3LT group and the LTZ trim into a 1LZ or 2LZ group. Attractive but now somewhat dated styling, an agreeably balanced ride and handling qualities along with quick acceleration when equipped with the snappy V-6 engine are among the Malibu’s greatest strengths. The 2012 Malibu carries the chassis which was redesigned and launched in 2008, and while it was notable then the segment has shifted enough that the Malibu shows its age.
New for 2012
The Malibu is slated for redesign in 2013 so not much is new for 2012.
- A new Uplevel Package for the base LS trim includes body-side molding, Bluetooth connectivity and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls
- An optional Sunroof and Convenience Package on the 1LT adds a six-way power driver’s seat, remote start, Bluetooth connectivity and a 110-volt outlet
- A sunroof package bundled with premium floor mats and a trunk liner is now available on the 2LT
- Vehicles powered by the V-6 engine add two new equipment groups: 3LT and 2LZ
Chevrolet announced an all-new 2013 Malibu, so the 2012 Malibu exists in unmodified sheetmetal with exterior elements distinguishing the different trim levels. The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu sedan exhibits inflexible and uninspired proportions and body lines, especially when parked adjacent to competitors’ vehicles. Body panel and sheet metal styling is pure Chevrolet, with its wheels pushed to the corners and having a stretched wheelbase the Malibu does look stable and muscular. The design lends itself to supplying generous interior space and the short rear deck opens to reveal a deep and cavernous trunk. LTZ trims look better with front foglights and clear-lens light emitting diode (LED) taillights. LTZ trims also wear dual chrome exhaust outlets.
The entry-level LS trim is equipped with 17-inch steel wheels. The LT trim (divided into 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT) gains 17-inch alloy wheels and body-color outside mirrors and side moldings. The top-of-the-line LTZ trims bring 18-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, heated outside mirrors, a sunroof, and LED taillights.
Interior & Cargo
The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu overuses low-quality interior materials and while it looks pleasing overall, inconsistent use of these materials cheapens the effect. Gauge layout and instrument clusters are surprisingly well placed, and generous use of acoustic dampening material creates a hushed and quiet refuge. Long, narrow dimensions make for reduced shoulder and hip room, especially for rear seat occupants, but those same dimensions create generous leg room for all occupants.
Front seats are supportive and comfortable enough, though narrow dimensions create tight seating for larger adults along the seats’ side bolsters. The rear seat passes as a two-adult seating arrangement, but it lacks a true middle seat and has a tunnel-like passage that essentially splits the rear into two seats; thus, the middle space becomes a child-only seating position. The trunk offers a competitive serving of 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space which is well complemented by the 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks.
The entry-level LS trim includes expected standard features like full power accessories, air-conditioning and various entertainment technologies. The LT trim (divided into 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT) gains steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a USB audio jack. The 2LT and 3LT add upgraded upholstery with additional power driver’s seat adjustments, heated front seats and Bluetooth connectivity. Two handy features also on the 2LT and 3LT are a remote ignition and a rear-seat 110-volt household-style AC power outlet. The LTZ trim includes a sunroof, automatic climate control, leather upholstery and upgraded instruments. LTZ upgrades also include an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an eight-speaker Bose audio system. Chevrolet groups most of these features into option packages that can be added to the lower trim levels. All trims save for the LS can be optioned to include a sunroof.
The 2012 Chevy Malibu equips standard safety features of anti-lock disc brakes, StabiliTrak electronic stability and traction control, and the OnStar telematics system featuring Automatic Crash Response. The Malibu contains six standard airbags: front seat-mounted side airbags, dual-stage driver and front passenger front airbags, and head curtain side-impact airbags.
In National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash testing the Malibu earned a four-star overall rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Malibu its highest rating of “Good” in its frontal-offset and side-impact testing.
The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu comes with a mixed bag of driving characteristics. The long, narrow chassis absorbs all but the harshest road conditions and maintains its composure with moderate steering feedback and a smooth ride when equipped with the larger 18-inch wheels. However, steering is numbed by the electric-assist power steering setup and the Malibu is too heavy to fling itself around bends as well as most competitors.
The LS and most LT trims house a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 169 horsepower and 160 lb-ft of torque and seems underpowered, grainy and overly harsh, especially when compared to its competitors’ turbocharged four-cylinders. EPA rated fuel economy on this setup stands at 22/33 mpg city/highway.
The 3LT and both LTZ trims house a much-improved 3.6-liter, V-6 engine which puts out 252 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 is matched to the same fuel-efficient six-speed automatic transmission but adds available steering-wheel-mounted paddle-shifters for a more engaging drive. EPA rated fuel economy for the V-6 is 17/26 mpg city/highway. As many competitors do not offer a six-cylinder powerplant, the V-6 is the Malibu’s best chance at distinguishing itself in a highly populated and very competitive segment.
Key Competitors of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu
- Toyota Camry
- Ford Fusion
- Hyundai Sonata
- Honda Accord
- Subaru Legacy
- Kia Optima
The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu has 3 models that range from $22,110 - $28,600. The 2012 Malibu is a sedan with front wheel drive that gets between 17 mpg (city) - 26 mpg (highway) fuel efficiency using a 2.4L I4 engine. The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu has a seating capacity of 5/5, wheelbase is 112.3 inches, cargo capacity of 15.10 cu.ft., and ground clearance of N/R inches. Choose one of the trims like the 2012 LS FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 to get specific details on prices, rebates, and warranties.