1 Oct 2007
Holden Special Vehicles celebrated its 20th anniversary by launching the third generation of one of its longest-running brand names – the Maloo – claiming it to be the first ute built in Australia with more than 300kW.
It is powered by the same 6.0-litre Chevvy LS2 Gen 4 engine as the rest of HSV’s sedan range (ClubSport R8, GTS, Senator Signature and Grange), which means it has 307kW at 6000rpm and 550Nm at 5100rpm provided you fill it with premium unleaded petrol.
A sheet-moulded compound (SMC) tailgate contributes to the Maloo’s eye-catching looks. The wild bodykit includes overlapping tail-lights and distinctive side skirt “intakes” inspired by the car that started it all for HSV back in 1987, the Group A Walkinshaw Commodore.
Other ute firsts for the Maloo included reverse parking sensors (appropriate, given the restricted rear vision) and a power-operated hard tonneau that can be operated by the key remote control, allowing easier access to the rear tray.
Riding on a 94mm-longer wheelbase than the sedan, the Maloo has the same 1600kg towing capacity but the cargo volume expands from 496 litres in the sedan’s boot to 1208 litres under the ute’s tonneau cover.
In terms of specifications, the Maloo R8 is almost identical to the HSV ClubSport R8 sedan (which costs about $1000 more) but, like the regular VE Holden Ute, the Maloo misses out on side and side curtain airbags.
Otherwise, it’s all familiar HSV stuff – 307kW engine, six-speed manual gearbox, progressive rate suspension, AP brakes with four-piston calipers and interior goodies like sports seats (with suede bolsters) and instrument cluster, leather steering wheel and gearknob, and alloy-faced pedals and kick panels.
Wheels are 8.0 inches wide at the front (with 245/40-section tyres) and 9.5-inch at the rear (275/35 tyres), with a full-size spare front wheel mounted under the tray in a special container designed to protect the wheel from stone damage.
If size counts, the HSV range has a large advantage over its rival at the Blue Oval.
The hot Holden division already had a pretty handy 6.0-litre V8, but in late 2008 it now had something even bigger.
It is the 6.2-litre LS3 V8 which also serves in the Mighty Chevrolet Corvette.
This potent unit is all-aluminium, but still uses pushrods. That doesn’t stop it producing 317kW of power and 550Nm of torque.
The 6.2-litre V8 now serves in most models across the HSV range, barring the W427 and the Astra, including the Clubsport R8 and R8 Tourer, GTS, Senator Signature, Grange and Maloo R8.
It comes standard with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
Apart from the new heart, the cars are the same as they were before the upgrade, with specification levels and other mechanical details remaining the same.