2010 HSV Maloo GXP & Holden Commodore SS V-Series Ute Review

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Special editions are always fun and these two are no exception.

Different styling, Maloo now more functional, value for money.
Automatic gearbox, Maloo tyre width.

CarAdvice Rating (Maloo and SS V-Series Special Edition Ute):

At a premium of $1500, the Special Edition SS Commodores sold out within weeks of going on sale.

It wasn’t surprising that not long after, Holden announced that the Special Edition SS Commodore would become a permanent fixture in the VE Holden Commodore range.

The Special Edition SS Commodore picks up the Pontiac G8 front end, which includes a set of twin nostrils on the bonnet. Sedan variants of the Special Edition SS Commodore also collect a boot lid spoiler, opposed to the raised effort fitted to the regular SS Commodore.

HSV followed Holden’s suit soon after, introducing the limited edition HSV GXP. Limited to just 400 Clubsport sedans and 350 Maloo utes, the GXP receives HSV’s 317kW 6.2-litre LS3 V8 and a unique suspension tune, but misses out on 275mm wide rear tyres, instead receiving the SS Commodore’s 245mm rear tyres.

While opinions are divided regarding the new front end on the Special Edition SS Commodore, most people seem to think it gives the car a renewed tough stance and makes it stand out from the crowd.

Behind the wheel, the Special Edition SS V-Series Ute drives exactly the same as its non special edition model.

The HSV Maloo GXP on the other hand picks up four-pot Brembo brakes for the front, with single-pot Brembo brakes for the rear. The other major change (aside from the styling) is the width of the rear tyres.

All other V8 HSV models feature 275mm wide rear tyres, the GXP specification HSV is stuck with 245mm wide rear tyres (the same as those fitted to the SS-V Commodore).

While the tyre width isn’t an issue in the 270kW SS V-Series Commodore, it starts becoming a problem in the 317kW, LS3 monster. Full throttle tramps off the start line are now met with aggressive wheel spin, likewise with power down out of corners.

Let’s forget about tyre width for a moment, though. The Maloo GXP has now become a fully functional Ute – on steroids. The Maloo GXP loses its sibling’s chiselled tray hard top. Instead collecting a soft tonneau cover with a clever side clip system.

The Maloo GXP was put through its paces as a work vehicle with a load of excess rubbish from a renovation that needed moving to the transfer station. While the tray’s plastic material scratches and scuffs easily, the tailgate sits flush with the tray when opened and provides for a great sliding panel.

Sturdy tie-down points ensure that larger objects can be held down with confidence.

Inside the cabin and behind the wheel of HSV’s latest entry level model, drivers will find it a familiar place. Setup almost identically to the regular HSV Maloo, it features dual-zone climate control, sports seats and sports steering wheel.

The Maloo GXP is also impressively decked out with side and curtain airbags, in addition to a specially tuned Electronic Stability Program (ESP), all lending to the Maloo’s five-star safety rating, a commendable feat for a commercial vehicle.

Despite the vehicle’s traction issues off the line and out of corners, the Maloo GXP still drives like a traditional HSV. A throaty V8 bellow streams from the quad exhaust pipes, while potent braking power is available from the Brembo anchors.

Under the bonnet is a 6.2-litre V8 engine that produces a hefty 317kW and 550Nm of torque. Combined average fuel consumption is 14.3L/100km, with around 14L/100km achieved on test courtesy of a high percentage of highway kays.

Our test vehicle was fitted with HSV’s six-speed automatic gearbox. Unfortunately the gearbox does the HSV no justice with confused and indecisive gear shifts. In sport mode the gearbox is far more responsive and accurate, indicating a sportier tune would help make the Maloo GXP drive better than it currently does in automatic form.

Sharp handling is courtesy of a unique suspension tune that gives the Maloo GXP an edge over its Commodore SS V-Series Ute sibling. For a Ute, the Maloo GXP handles exceptionally well, with independent rear suspension and a Limited Slip Differential (LSD) helping retain maximum traction to the road.

The GXP range of HSVs starts from $53,990 for the Maloo, with the Clubsport priced from $61,990. The prices are almost $10,000 and $7,000 cheaper than their respective non-GXP variants, representing a huge price saving.

The Special Edition Commodore range on the other hand retails for an additional $1,500, making the Special Edition SS V-Series Ute $48,990.

As numbers are limited, it would be worth enquiring about the new GXP models as soon as possible. They offer excellent bang for your buck and in the case of the Maloo GXP, an added layer of function to its current style offering.

Ratings:

CarAdvice Overall Rating (Maloo and SS V-Series Special Edition Ute):
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