Vauxhall Maloo pick-up
Pick-up review: DAVID WILKINS
What is it?
The Vauxhall Maloo is the latest in a long line of imported high-performance Australian Holdens rebadged as Vauxhalls. After the Monaro coupé and the VXR8 saloon, the Maloo is a pick-up, or as the Australians have it, a ‘ute’, which is short for utility vehicle.
The Maloo shares with its predecessors the appealing recipe of an American V8 engine combined with a rear-wheel drive chassis but whereas the first Monaro was a bit of a bargain with a sub-£30K starting price, shifting exchange rates mean that Vauxhall now has to charge more than £50,000 for its latest hot Holden, which it expects to sell only in limited numbers. There’s a choice of six-speed manuals or automatics.
It certainly makes an entertainingly different pick-up from the standard Nissan Navarra or Mitsubishi L200 – at a price, of course.
- The Maloo is like nothing else on the road – Vauxhall calls it the only performance pick-up on sale in the UK, a description that rather undersells its dramatic appearance and electrifying levels of thrust
- The Maloo’s performance comes from an appealingly traditional American GM V8 that delivers a whopping 431 horsepower with a terrific burble that stands out all the more in an age of down-sizing in which even many high-performance cars have to make do with dull-sounding small engines
- The Maloo is nothing like as crude as you’d expect an Australian pick-up to be – its drivetrain and suspension have been fettled with performance parts, and the cabin is surprisingly well trimmed as well
- Equipment includes Bluetooth, a rear reversing camera, eight-way adjustable leather seats, USB input, MP3 hard drive, 20-inch alloy wheels and a tyre-pressure monitoring system
- The rear flatbed offers a generous 1,208-litre cargo area and has a well-designed remote-lockable top – even if very few buyers are going to use the Maloo as a load-lugger
- Although it is imported from Holden, the Maloo still enjoys Vauxhall’s lifetime warranty package, although this is not transferable when the car is sold on
- The Maloo delivers only 21mpg in the official combined cycle test; there’s no other way to put it – it’s a gas guzzler
- CO2 emissions of 320g/km and Group 50 insurance also make the Maloo a business-unfriendly proposition
- Previous rebadged Holdens sold here as Vauxhalls have had a big price advantage over European performance cars but a strong Australian dollar means the Maloo costs as much as some highly rated models from the German premium brands
- While the Maloo provides a much more polished drive than you might expect, it still lacks sophistication compared with fast European cars if you’re thinking of substituting
- A limited dealer network – only five dealers are authorised to sell the Maloo and only a further 25 can carry out servicing
Business Vans Verdict
The Vauxhall Maloo is a fundamentally likable machine – and a lot of fun too. For most buyers, though, that won’t be enough to offset its high price or its poor fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, all of which will punch a big hole in your pocket.
Against that is the fact you could run this pick-up through your business and only pay £50 a month company van tax if you’re rated at 20%.
And with fuel consumption like the Maloo’s, it still would make sense to take free fuel – and pay the £9 a month benefit in kind on the free fuel (20% tax payer).
So you could have a lot of fun with this if you’re a builder, carpenter, tradesman or the like – if you feel extrovert enough!
And that’s because the Vauxhall Maloo stands out like nothing else on the road. For a small minority of hardened fans that might just be enough – although the Maloo won’t enjoy the broader appeal of the Monaro and VXR8 unless and until shifting exchange rates allow much keener pricing.
So great fun – but at a big price.
Vauxhall Maloo – the low-down
|On the road price:||£ 51,500|
|Benefit in kind 2011/12 to 2013/14:||£3,000, £3,000, £3,000|
|Engine:||6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 petrol|
|0-62mph/top speed:||4.9 secs/155mph (limited)|