$7,341 - $9,582

2012 Chevrolet Malibu Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu was new.


Interior: 8.0

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu's cabin is built around a two-cockpit design theme that coddles the driver and front passenger. Some writers say it isn't as kind to its rear passengers. There is plenty of space, but the rear seats don't win the same praise as the front seats do. Heavy sound insulation makes the interior quiet, and many like the layout of controls. Still, some reviews say the Malibu's interior materials don't live up to what the competition is offering at a lower price.

  • "While the interior of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu looks good, the overall effect is cheapened somewhat by the use of low-quality materials in a few places." -- Edmunds
  • "A total knock-out inside." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The interior is one of the best-looking, most comfortable, most ergonomically sensible in the business." -- The Washington Post
  • "The interior is quite nice, though opinions were split on the two-tone treatment." -- AutoWeek
  • "The interior design is ... well executed - a flowing instrument panel features gauges and controls that are easy to decipher and use. Most interior plastics have a rich graining and are soft to the touch." -- Car and Driver


Most reviewers find the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu has front seats that are comfortable and supportive. Though the rear offers class-competitive space, the back seats don't win the same praise for comfort.

  • "The rear seat is passable for a couple of adults, but it's a snug fit for three people or even a pair of larger folks compared to some other midsize sedans." -- Edmunds
  • "Quite roomy and fairly comfortable, though the seat cushion is low and a bit soft." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Although leather is optional, the base fabric seats feel expensive and look durable." -- Car and Driver
  • "The front bucket seats are somewhere between sumptuous and luscious in the way they look and the way they sit, very comfortable and supportive." -- New Car Test Drive

Interior Features

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu wins points for its attractive dashboard design. Most reviewers find its controls simple to use and its feature list competitive. But some reviewers note cheap plastics and thin cushioning in places. The 2012 Malibu's interior is considered a vast improvement over past Malibu's interiors, but it's still not among the best interiors in the class. If you want a better interior, check out the Ford Fusion. Not only does its interior feature nicer materials, as well as more options, but the Fusion also starts at about $2,000 less than the Malibu.

Bluetooth is available as an option on LS and 1LT models and is standard on the LTZ trim. For 2012, Chevrolet added the optional LS uplevel package, which includes body-side molding, Bluetooth, steering wheel audio controls, floor mats and a spare tire. Also available as an optional feature is the sunroof and convenience package for the 1LT model, and it includes a sunroof, power six-way driver’s seat, remote start, Bluetooth and 110V three-prong outlet. One thing to note is that the Malibu does not have a navigation system, even as an option, though Chevy says its OnStar turn-by-turn directions offer the same functionality.

  • "Soft-touch surfaces are found throughout, though the padding is surprisingly thin - or nonexistent - in areas such as the door tops and armrests where elbows may rest." -- Consumer Guide
  • "A lot of the touch surfaces still feel plastic-y - the GM-issue window switches and wands - but that's the price you pay for the price you pay." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "The paddle shifter took some getting used to, however. It's not nearly as intuitive as it is for other cars (a small thumb button for upshifts, large behind-the-wheel flanges for downshifts), but it works, even if the radio occasionally gets muted when you reach for a higher gear (the upshift button is located too near the steering-wheel-mounted radio controls)." -- AutoWeek
  • "Big knobs and buttons and an elegant design make operating audio and climate functions easy. In fact, we found it easier and less confusing to make adjustments in the Malibu than in a comparably equipped (non-navi) Honda Accord ... the Chevrolet has the audio controls at the top, better because people tend to fiddle with their stereos more than their temperature controls." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "All trims also feature an impressively quiet ride, thanks to extensive sound insulation and acoustic-laminated front windows." -- Edmunds


The 2012 Chevy Malibu's trunk is large and easy to access, besting many of its peers'. There's 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space. That's less than the 16.5 cubic feet of space offered in the Ford Fusion but just slightly more than the 15 cubic feet of space in the Toyota Camry.

  • "The trunk has a large portal and is supported by strut-type hinges that don't dip into the cargo area. Also, the pass through revealed by the standard split-folding rear seat backs is much larger than in many rivals, and though the seat backs don't fold flat, they have mar-resistant hard-rubber backs." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Out back, the trunk offers a healthy 15.1 cubic feet of cargo room that's made more flexible by the 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks. That said, the space here is shallow and the opening is on the small side, making loading and unloading larger objects a bit challenging." -- Edmunds

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