The Malibu sedan marked Chevrolet’s strengthened focus on the midsize passenger car segment, and the honors it has collected since its 2008 model year launch – including North American Car of the Year, Consumer’s Digest Best Buy and IIHS Top Safety Pick – confirm it’s a worthy competitor. The Malibu’s continued popularity among consumers is the real prize, however, as Malibu sales continue to rise by double digits.
For 2012, the Chevrolet Malibu is offered in three well-equipped trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ – all with a standard, fuel-efficient, four-cylinder 2.4L Ecotec engine and six-speed transmission that deliver 33 mpg highway. A 252-horsepower 3.6L V-6 is the standard engine on new 3LT and 2LZ equipment groups.
Malibu was originally launched on a promise to offer consumers more-than-expected features for their money. Standard on all Malibu models are four-wheel anti-lock brakes; StabiliTrak electronic stability control; six standard air bags; AM/FM stereo with CD player and MP3 playback; SiriusXM Satellite Radio with trial subscription; OnStar 9.0 with six months of Directions and Connections service and Turn-by-Turn Navigation; power height driver seat adjuster with power lumbar; Remote Keyless Entry and cruise control.
- The Malibu features a strong stance and bold proportions that reinforce its substantial feel.
- The Malibu exterior has clean, pure lines and wheels pushed to the corners, as well as a visually lower, yet longer, greenhouse and a shorter deck.
- Clean and elegant body sides are interrupted only by distinctive, wheel-oriented forms that suggest an aggressive, stable stance. A rear profile with Corvette cues evokes Chevrolet’s performance heritage.
- The interior’s attention to detail matches the Malibu’s exterior, with an ergonomic design using premium materials that convey quality and value.
- An integrated, flowing instrument panel features a Chevrolet-signature dual-cockpit design, with prominent gauges backlit in blue, and metallic or wood grain accents.
Malibu interior – standard and available features
- Malibu LS: Custom cloth front bucket seats, 60/40 split-folding rear, manual fore/aft adjustment AM/FM stereo with CD player, MP3 playback and six speakers; SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with trial subscription); OnStar 9.0 with six months of Directions and Connections service and Turn-by-Turn Navigation; driver seat manual fore/aft adjuster, power driver seat height adjuster with power lumbar; Remote Keyless Entry and cruise control. Available uplevel LS package includes, Bluetooth phone connectivity, floor mats, steering wheel audio controls and compact spare tire and jack assembly.
- Malibu 1LT adds steering wheel-mounted audio controls, USB port, ambient lighting on front interior door handles, carpeted front and rear floor mats. Available Sunroof and Convenience Package includes power tilt/sliding sunroof, power six-way driver’s seat, remote start, Bluetooth phone connectivity and 110V three-prong outlet.
- Malibu 2LT/3LT add UltraLux reclining, heated, six-way power driver and front passenger seats; remote vehicle start; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Bluetooth connectivity for phone and rear power center with 110V three-prong outlet. Available Sunroof Package includes power tilt/sliding sunroof, premium floor mats and trunk mat, inside auto-dimming rearview mirrors, power express down/up windows
- The premium Malibu LTZ adds leather-appointed front heated seats with eight-way power driver seat and six-way power passenger seat; eight-speaker Bose premium audio system; automatic climate control; premium carpeted front, rear and trunk mats and power sunroof.
- Other available dealer-installed equipment includes remote start (LS and 1LT), and cargo nets, a Convenience Package (cargo organizer) and Protection Package (all-weather floor mats and splash guards) for all models.
Chassis and suspension
Malibu is designed to show that even a family-oriented midsize sedan can deliver driving satisfaction.
- A long, 112.3-inch (2,852 mm) wheelbase and wheels-at-the corner stance enable precise, responsive ride and handling characteristics.
- The balanced, four-wheel independent suspension system features a MacPherson strut front suspension design and multi-link rear suspension.
- Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control system uses sophisticated vehicle sensors tied to the anti-lock braking system to help the driver maintain control during certain maneuvers, especially ones of an emergency nature.
- The brake assistance feature provides full braking power when a panic-braking event is detected. This can reduce the braking distance, providing more control in helping to avoid a crash.
- Steering response is precise and immediate, thanks to tuned steering systems designed for each model. Malibu models equipped with the 2.4L engine use a variable electric power-assist steering system, while V-6 models employ a hydraulic-assisted steering system.
- A family of 17- and 18-inch wheels is all tailored to provide a tight wheel-to-body relationship.
Efficient, proven powertrains
- The standard engine on the Malibu is a fuel-efficient, 169-horsepower (126 kW) four-cylinder 2.4L four-cylinder Ecotec engine with EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway.
- The engine on the available 3LT and 2LZ models is 3.6L V-6 VVT – a sophisticated, all-aluminum DOHC engine that uses continuously variable valve technology to produce 252 horsepower (188 kW) while delivering EPA-estimated fuel economy of 17 mpg city and 26 mpg in highway driving.
- Standard six-speed transmissions enable a strong balance between performance and fuel efficiency. They also feature TAPshift, which enables the driver to shift manually through the gears.
- All Malibu powertrains are backed by GM’s five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the best and most comprehensive in the industry.
Safety and crash-avoidance features
The Malibu enhances its popularity as a family sedan with standard and available features that help protect occupants before, during and after a crash. They include:
- Six standard air bags: Dual-stage driver and front passenger frontal air bags, front seat-mounted thorax protection side air bags and head curtain side-impact air bags for front and rear outboard seats, including the GM Passenger Sensing System.
- Standard four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, traction control and panic braking assist
- Three-point lap and shoulder belts in all seating positions with front safety belt pretensioners and rear LATCH child safety seat anchors.
- Safety cage construction with strategic use of high-strength steel for structural integrity helps protect occupants; magnesium cross-car beams help improve protection in side-impact crashes.
- Tire pressure monitoring system.
- Standard OnStar Automatic Crash Response.
Malibu is the only model in the segment to provide OnStar, which uses GPS and cellular technology to automatically call for help in the event of moderate to severe crash, provide route guidance or remote vehicle diagnostics. OnStar subscribers also can use the service to be Good Samaritans by sending help to other motorists, and to call for help in other non-crash emergencies.
- OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada.
- Services include Stolen Vehicle Location and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown that help recover vehicles and help prevent potentially dangerous car chases involving stolen vehicles.
- Six months of free OnStar Directions and Connections service with Turn-by-Turn Navigation for easier route guidance. The feature is easy to use because an advisor sends all directions to the car, without the need to stop. Turn-by-Turn can be cost-effective, since map updates and aftermarket navigation systems are not needed.