The Holden Malibu mid-sized sedan has launched locally, priced from $28,490 plus on-road costs.
Two grades – $28,490 Malibu CD and $31,990 Malibu CDX – come standard with a 123kW/225Nm 2.4-litre four cylinder petrol engine. For a $4000 premium, each grade can be optioned with a 117kW/350Nm 2.0-litre common rail turbo-diesel four cylinder engine.
Both engines team exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission, but where the petrol claims 8.0L/100km combined, the diesel is rated at just 6.4L/100km (or 6.5L/100km for the CDX).
Standard on the Holden Malibu CD are 17-inch alloy wheels, climate control, rear-view camera, rear park assist, auto on/off headlights, power height-adjustable driver’s seat, cruise control, ISOFIX child seat anchor points, and nine-speaker audio with seven-inch colour touchscreen and Holden’s MyLink app/phone connectivity.
For the $3500 premium, the Holden Malibu CDX adds 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate, rain-sensing wipers, front foglights, LED rear lights, and eight-way power-adjustable heated seats with full leather, including on the steering wheel and gearshifter.
Although the Malibu has already received a facelift in the US, where it has been on sale for 18 months but has since received a lukewarm response, neither the engine, refinement or styling differences apply to the Holden-badged version on sale today.
Two Australians were, however, involved in the pre-facelift Chevrolet Malibu design we get locally – Justin Thompson, who worked on Holden Monaro and VY Commodore exterior design, before leading Malibu exterior design, then returning to style VF Commodore; and Chinese-born but Australian-raised Yan-hong Huang, who created the aXcess Australia concept car in 1998 before turning her attention to several Buicks and then the Malibu interior design.
“There are … some fairly deliberate similarities between Malibu and the new VF Commodore,” says Thompson.
“The rear end of Malibu was actually the first iteration of VF styling as we began to work on the VE replacement in the late 2000s. We also ensured that the unique front end fasica for the Holden version fitted with the broader portfolio.
“Having worked on the Malibu several years ago, it’s great to finally see it on Australian roads.”
The Holden Malibu is based on General Motors’ Epsilon II platform, which was developed primarily by Opel in Germany for the Opel Insignia and Saab 9-5.
Although the US-built Malibu has recently received major suspension and refinement changes to accompany the styling tweaks, Holden versions, which come from Korea, are claimed to have extensive Australian tuning.
Responsible for developing the local tune was Holden Vehicle Dynamics Specialist Engineer, Michael Barber, who tuned both the MY14 Cruze and FE1 suspension for the VF Commodore.
Barber claims that right-hand-drive tyres were designed specifically for our market – 17-inch Kumho for CD, and for CDX the same Bridgestone Potenza 18-inch tyre fitted to VF Commodore SV6 and SS – while the suspension was tuned at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria.
“We’ve been successful in creating a really adept cruiser that is as at home in an urban environment as it is on rolling B-roads or an interstate highway,” claims Barber.
Holden also calibrated the automatic transmission tune, with throttle and pedal mapping designed to enhance driveability, particularly on hills. The calibration, for petrol Malibu only, has since been adopted in Europe, the Middle East and Korea.
The Holden Malibu measures 4865mm long, 1855mm tall and 1465mm wide, with a 2775mm wheelbase. Compared with a Camry, it measures 50mm longer, 30mm wider and is 5mm taller. The VF Commodore, meanwhile, is only 6mm taller, and although it is 82mm longer and 43mm wider, the bigger Holden gets a smaller boot – only 495L compared with the ‘mid-sized’ Malibu’s 545L.
Capped price servicing is available for up to three years or 60,000km, with every 12 month or 15,000km interval costing $185 for petrol models, or $335 for diesels.
Holden Malibu manufacturer’s list prices: