2012 Chevrolet Malibu Performance

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Performance
Comfort and refinement are clearly priorities over outright performance in the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu, but most families won't be disappointed with the fundamentals here. The 2012 Malibu handles well enough in everyday driving, and its available V-6 delivers strong acceleration.

Models with the standard four-cylinder engine in the Malibu--a 2.4-liter, making 169 horsepower--have adequate power for most needs. It's by no means quick, but it's one of the more refined base engines, and the standard six-speed automatic transmission is a willing companion. The 3.6-liter V-6 that's included in new 3LT and 2LZ equipment groups for 2012 delivers a lot more torque, with plenty of power for confident passing with a full load. 

But even with the V-6, the Malibu doesn't even try to play the part of a performance machine. V-6 models do however come with hydraulic power steering that we've found to have much better feedback than the fuel-saving electric system in four-cylinder models. Across pretty much the entire lineup, the suspension is tuned more for comfort than performance, to varying levels; handling is predictable and confident enough, but not as crisp and responsive as the Ford Fusion or Nissan Altima. 

Driving enjoyment really isn't part of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu's mission--although those with few performance expectations could be pleasantly surprised.

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