OneGeezer saidI’m going cheap this time for a work car. Plus I drive so much back here that fuel economy is a factor. I was going to do the 2012 Focus, but then I saw this and now I’m not so sure.
The 2012 Focus is a brand-new car, it's reliability unknown. Fords have done really well in recent years among US brands for reliability, I believe the top-rated as a corporate average. Their Fusion has done extremely well, in both gas & hybrid versions, perhaps a tad smaller than the Malibu but very close.
I really pay attention to reliability ratings, since all the slick styling in the world becomes meaningless to me if the damn thing won't run right, and is always in the shop. Our 2008 is a humble little Focus, though I offered my partner a Lincoln. He refused, insisted on a small 4-cylinder for his local city car, and he loves Fords, didn't want anything foreign. OK, a gift is worthless if it's not what the person really wants, so a Focus he got.
It's now 3 years old, and NOTHING has gone wrong with it. Zero, zip, zilch, nada. It only sees the dealer for routine service. Still looks in good shape, doesn't feel worn out & tired, holding up very nicely for a very inexpensive car. But who knows with the 2012 Focus? I usually avoid a car's very first year in production, which would include the Malibu. Some first-year GM products have been notorious, Chryslers even worse.