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Pros & Cons

  • Attractive interior design
  • Composed handling
  • Poor fuel economy with available V6




Critics' Rating: 9.1
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.3
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Overview

Test drivers said the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu’s base four-cylinder engine delivers adequate acceleration. If you want something that feels a bit more powerful, there’s an available V6, which reviewers said produces stronger acceleration in town and on the highway. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models. The four-cylinder Malibu gets an EPA-estimated 22/33 mpg city/highway, which is slightly above-average for the class, while the V6 model gets 17/26 mpg, which is low for a six-cylinder affordable midsize car. Critics said that models with 17-inch wheels have a smooth ride and absorb most road imperfections, but they wrote that the ride is much harsher in models with 18-inch wheels. Test drivers say the Malibu offers balanced handing, as well as responsive steering and strong brakes.

Critics agreed that the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu’s interior is attractive and user-friendly, and features large knobs and buttons for audio and climate controls, easy-to-read gauges and high-quality materials. They said the front seats are very spacious and pretty comfortable. They added that the rear seats are comfortable and offer decent legroom, though a few reviewers pointed out that some competitors’ rear seats are larger. At 15.1 cubic feet, the Malibu’s trunk size is good for the class. Standard features include a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio and OnStar. Available features include Bluetooth phone connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a USB port, a sunroof, remote start, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a Bose stereo system and automatic climate control.

Other Cars to Consider

Test drivers wrote that the 2012 Ford Fusion corners well and has a smooth ride on rough pavement. The Fusion’s tasteful interior design and high-quality interior materials also appealed to critics. When it was new, the Fusion was available with many features that weren’t available in the Malibu, including a rearview camera, rear parking sensors and a blind spot monitoring system.

The 2012 Honda Accord has three available engines, including a powerful V6 that achieves 20/30 mpg city/highway. Reviewers said the Accord’s agile handling makes it fun to drive, and they liked its roomy front and back seats.

Compare the Malibu, Fusion and Accord »

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