What the hell is a Maloo?
A Ute. And if you’ve never been to Australia then you’ve missed out. Imagine a BMW 5-series-sized car with a huge pick-up style boot, but quite utilitarian and you’re nearly there. Utes are the Aussie answer to the American pick-up, and (like the Yanks) they have an affinity for high-performance versions. The latest is the new Maloo R8, which comes with big wheels and a bodykit. Oh, and a 6.0-litre Corvette engine…
So what exactly is the Maloo R8?
It’s essentially the Vauxhall VXR8 (which in turn starts life as a HSV ClubSport R8) with a tray. HSV’s Scott Grant calls it ‘a two-door coupe with a bloody big boot!’ Adding to the ‘weekday workhorse, weekend warrior’ marketing campaign of the VE Ute range, the Maloo offers a sheet-moulded custom rear tray, differentiating it from the regular Holden VE offerings, plus an automatic release hard-tonneau, rear parking sensors and an AP Racing 4-piston brake package.
And this Corvette engine?
That Mexican-built LS2 6.0-litre V8 is mated to a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, producing 412bhp and 406lb ft. Such figures are why V8 Ute racing is such fun: there’s almost no weight over the rear axle. Expect 0-60mph times just shy of six seconds and a quarter mile in the 13-second range. There are also 19-inch alloys housing 365mm front discs (350 on the rear), while an AU$2000 (£890) performance pack offers more sporting seats and the same 20-inch wheels you can get on the supercharged VXR8.
The spec sounds impressive, but are these things actually any good?
HSV claims that the Maloo offers ‘the dynamics of a sedan with the performance of two-door sportscar’. They would say that, but such hot utes are a staple part of HSV’s line-up. The company has put the Maloo through its most comprehensive testing programme ever, even taking it as far afield as Sweden. In Australia the Maloo R8 costs AU$59,990, or a paltry £26,662. Rather good value we think, but unfortunately we Poms won’t be getting it any time soon.