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Going to California: Holden Malibu

Holden has always had a contender for each of the categories that make up the Australian automotive landscape; some work (Commodore, Barina) and some don’t (Epica, Viva). Since the, well, epic failure of the Epica, the red lion’s presence in the medium car segment has been lacking. Cue, the Malibu.

It’s a physically large car, not far off Commodore size at 4865mm long, 1855mm wide and 1465mm wide and will come with a choice of two engines; a 2.4L petrol with 123kW/225Nm of torque or a 2.0L diesel (117kW/350Nm) with no choice for transmission holden-malibu-w3but a six speed auto, with gear ratios adjusted to suit the different engine characteristics, with towing capacity at 1200kgs. There’ll be two trim levels and keeping with the majority of the Holden family nomenclature will be called CD and CDX. In reality there’s very little to differentiate between the two, with LED tail lights, some leather trim, fog lamps and rain sensing wipers the main standouts however the CD will get electrically assisting steering while the CDX gets hydraulic. The CD will roll on 16 inch wheels with the CDX getting 17s. As expected, safety is not compromised, with the usual suite of passive and active electronic aids, such as curtain airbags and traction control plus the new MyLink integrated entertainment system.

Under the long and shapely bonnet, the 2.4L aluminuim block gets noise reduction engineering and oil cooling jets on the pistons to aid in longevity whilst the German sourced diesel is refined and quiet, with a particulate filter standard to reduce emissions. Although a world car, the Malibu copped a substantial amount of Australian input, to deal with the variable quality roads (suspension) and driving requirements (engine and gearbox mapping) plus specifying tyres for our right hand drive environment. Even in the styling, Australia’s own had significant input, with Michael Simcoe (the Monaro from the early noughties) overseeing the project, including the fact that the Malibu’s rear end styling was originally slated to be used on the forthcoming VF Commodore.

Prices will start from $28490 plus ORCs for the CD up to $35990 plus ORCs for the CDX diesel; with deliveries to Holden showrooms due to roll out by month’s end, this could be a worthy contender in the medium car segment, up against the Camry, Mazda6 and, Kia Optima, Hyundai i40 and Mondeo.

Go here for more info:
or here for Paul Gover’s review: