2012 Toyota Camry vs. 2012 Chevrolet Malibu: Which One Should I Buy?

Mid-size sedans are the perfect family vehicle; offering just enough space for you and a few kids, but not so much that a small family will feel lost in them. This class of vehicles is slightly larger than a compact car, but not large enough to be classified as a full-size vehicle, either. They come from a variety of different manufacturers and are offered in myriad price ranges, but most are reasonably priced.

The Malibu represents GM’s best-executed products in the range, with smooth performance and a spacious cabin as well as a handsome silhouette. The Toyota Camry is one of the more conservative-looking mid-size sedans but it retains the Toyota comfort, value and frugality in this latest offering.

chevrolet malibu 2012
2012 Chevrolet Malibu

Design

Overall, the Toyota Camry is elegant yet straightforward, with a segment-leading 10 airbags, and Bluetooth connectivity is one of the tech toys included in all models. The Malibu boasts a surprisingly underplayed look with a smooth powertrain. However, the Camry has a few design flaws: the rear seatback doesn’t fold flat, and the front seats do not have a strong side support.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy for the Malibu and the Camry are very comparable; with the Camry offering just a few more miles per gallon both in the city and on the interstate. The Camry’s fuel tank is one gallon larger; when combined with the better gas mileage you’ll get quite a ways further down the road before filling up with the Camry than with the Malibu.

Safety Ratings

When you start looking at safety ratings, that’s when you’re really going to see the Camry shine. There are only a few stars lost overall for the full list of crash test ratings, while the Malibu lost points on the frontal barrier crash rating for the passenger, side barrier and the side barrier rating for the driver. Both vehicles went down a star on the rollover rating. The Camry has an extra airbag, which can help protect passengers in the case of a wreck.

Extra Features

The Malibu has a few features standard that the Camry doesn’t even offer—things like the keyless entry and power seats on the Malibu LT. The Malibu also offers OnStar roadside assistance system, which is not offered on any version of the Camry.

Both mid-size vehicles are solid buys, with the Camry offering slightly higher crash test ratings and the Malibu providing better features.


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Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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