2012 Chevrolet Malibu Review and Road Test

If you bought a Chevrolet Malibu before 2008, chances are you did so for practical rather than emotional reasons. It’s highly unlikely that the Malibu of that era evoked any kind of emotion beyond a certain sense of security because you knew what you were getting: value, reliability, and of course, it was a delicate decision. Today, Malibu is still a delicate decision, it just isn’t that boring. In 2008, the Malibu was completely redesigned to be much more visually appealing, as well as a number of technical improvements. It was so good at the time that it was awarded the best North American car of the year award. But that was in 2008, the question a car buyer asks in 2012 is; How does it stack up now?

Inside, the Malibu is attractive to the eye. The dash has a nice flow that leads to the center console. The materials are soft to the touch and seem well put together. The manual controls for heating and ventilation along with the generic GM stereo unit seem a bit dated, but they are functional and easy to use. The door switching equipment might also need an update. The seats are comfortable and look great when equipped with the leather and suede option. Head and leg room is good for taller people and everything can be adjusted for almost any size of driver. The rear seats have plenty of legroom, but they are not class leaders. For safety, the Malibu has head and chest curtain airbags, as well as standard ones on the steering wheel and dash in front of the passenger. Overall, the interior of the Malibu is nice, but not the best on the market.

On the road, the Malibu offers a good ride that you would expect from a more expensive car. This is partly due to the fact that the Malibu has one of the longest wheelbases in its class at 112 “. This allows the car to resist potholes very smoothly. You will also be surprised at how quiet the interior is. GM It has laminated the windshield and front side windows to reduce noise coming from the outside.The car feels solid over most potholes, without rattling like many GM sedans that preceded it.

Most Malibu are bought with the 4-cylinder 2.4L engine with 169 horsepower due to fuel prices. The engine is good enough when connected to the 6-speed automatic transmission. Originally the 4 cylinder came hooked up to a really horrible 4 speed automatic that was bad on fuel and worse on acceleration. Whether in the city or on the highway, the 4-cylinder 6-speed combination offers good fuel economy. The optional 3.6L V6 engine with 252 horsepower is considerably faster than the 4-cylinder. In fact, it is quite fun to drive. However, the V6 is too thirsty for fuel to appeal to travelers who normally buy midsize cars. V6 sales in this segment have fallen to such a low level that they seem to be gradually disappearing. The Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima have dropped the V6 option from their model lines, opting instead for a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo engine. GM has its own 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo that should make its way into the next-gen Malibu.

Steering is lazy and unresponsive, but again, this isn’t marketed as a sports sedan. Handling is reasonably good with little body roll. When pushed hard around corners, the conservative Malibu feels reluctant, but it doesn’t make him feel like he’s about to lose control. Buyers looking for a sporty drive will want to consider the Buick Regal or the Honda Accord.

The exterior styling is quite nice and it looks like a more expensive car when you look at it. There are many wheel options. Any buyer with a modicum of taste will want to do their best to avoid the tacky “chrome-plated” wheel option. Simply put, it is a chrome plastic finish pressed onto a standard alloy wheel. The result is a wheel with a rim that hangs the better part of an inch above the edge of the rim. Not only does it look bad, but it is prone to scraping on curbs.

The bottom line: The Malibu isn’t the best in its class, but it’s one of the best options. At its new low price point, it’s a good buy.

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