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 bought my 2012 Chevy Malibu LS new in 2012 due to us losing a company car, and we went cheap on the trim. I have 2 children (under 5), and I can't say that I'm all that impressed with my Malibu, especially when comparing it to my wife's 2009 Ford Fusion SEL. The Malibu's 2.4L engine is very underpowered for a sedan. The transmission has never downshifted smoothly when approaching a light/stop sign (I'm assuming GM programmed the transmission this way to improve fuel economy). The fuel economy isn't as advertised (especially around town). We've had 3 recalls on the car, and for only having 39,500 miles, there are more squeaks and rattles than my wife's Fusion. The brakes and tires have worn very quickly. My friend has complained about the same issue with the same car. The throttle hesitates, and it seems the torque converter has a difficult time applying power to the wheels at lower RPMs. The paint scratches very easy, and the trunk opening is so small. We cannot the same types of items in my Malibu as we can in the Fusion (stroller, infant's swing, etc). On the positive side, we haven't had any major issues with it so far, and it is a very comfortable car to drive. The cabin is very quiet, and the car is easy on the eyes. The car is good in the snow, and the Bluetooth technology works great. The car warms up quickly in the winter. It is probably a nice vehicle for a single driver, but for a family it doesn't quite get the job done. I wouldn't recommend buying this vehicle.
Bought my Malibu used but it rides like a brand new car. On a scale of 1-10 I'm at a 9.75. I love the smooth ride it provides along with the great look it has. I bought the top of the line one with chrome 16 inch wheels, chrome door handles, low profile tires, leather/suede interior power everything. Love that it sits low to the ground giving you almost a sports car feel with the feels of a luxury car. Great gas mileage, not to mention it rides great in the snow. Definitely love this car. It is my 4th chevy I've owned and is my all time favorite.
PROS - Fun to drive (acceleration, handling, seat comfort); I like the power moon roof. Quiet ride and nice, roomy trunk. CONS - Tilt steering wheel is too low (even when it and the seats are adjusted). Mileage on my Buick LeSabre is better than this Malibu. Finally, the trunk release works, but the lifters do not lift, opening it unlike any other car I've ever had.
We're off to a good start. The car looks nice standing still and has a moon roof that adds to the look. It's a unique off white color outside and has a leather with suede look seat. Soon after buying this we drove 1400 miles over a weekend with four adults. Both front and back seats were comfortable. The headrests in front and the seat belts are some of the most comfortable we've ever had. Front seats also recline for naps on those trips. Acceleration is good, and this car will roll along for hours at high, interstate speeds with indifference to winds. The car is very quiet also. The large trunk is very nice as well.