Recently my workplace replaced the 2009 Impala I had been driving with a 2012 Malibu. The exterior design looks more modern than the Impala, but the ride is much more stiff. The steering is very light, reminding me a little of the Buick my grandparents had in the 80s. The build quality seems good--solid Ka-thunk when doors close. Interior graphics for the trip computer and clock seem dated. The power adjustment for lumbar support is a nice touch. In 1500 miles of mostly highway driving the car has been getting 22.5 MPG with E85, which is required by my workplace.
I greatly enjoy the shiftable "M" mode of the transmission, which makes the car feel more sporty by letting you crank up the RPMs prior to shifting. The exterior styling seems nice. The 4-cylinder engine has been surprisingly powerful. I like the straghtforward, easy-to-use layout of interior dials and controls. Trip computer/info and reset buttons are easy to use.
Rear visibility is a challenge with the high trunklid. Headreast angle seems too far forward, resulting in craning one's neck forward. The two-tone dash and shiny chrome interior trim create an annoying reflection on the windshield and driver's side window in sunny weather. Cupholder location is a little awkward. Interior relies heavily on cheap-feeling plastic. E85 is required by my workplace, and other Malibus in the fleet have had fuel system problems (filter or pump failure). The driver's seat could use some type of seat cushion angle adjustment. Ride is a bit noisy and rough over expansion joints and bumps easily found on Michigan highways. Cruise control buttons are small.
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.