2012 Vauxhall Maloo review

* VXR8 pick-up truck driven * Price 51,500 * On sale now...

2012 Vauxhall Maloo review

The Vauxhall Maloo is a performance pick-up truck from Australia, based on the outrageous VXR8 supersaloon.

It's been on sale in Australia since 2007, but now Vauxhall has decided to import it to the UK.

What's the Maloo like to drive?
The Maloo is powered by the same 426bhp 6.2-litre V8 petrol engine as the VXR8, and this helps it blast from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds. That as quick as a BMW M3.

Don't go thinking the Maloo is all brute force and no tact: the 1.8-tonne beast is far more agile than it has any right to be.

Granted, the gearbox is clunky and the steering rather vague around the straight-ahead, but once it's settled in a corner the Maloo grips strongly and stays surprisingly flat and well balanced.

If you get too enthusiastic, the biggest brakes ever fitted to a road-going Vauxhall are there to slow you down, while stability control is on hand to help bring you back from the brink.

The Maloo isn't as noisy as you would think, either. Sure, there's a V8 roar when you put your foot down, but things are fairly well hushed when cruising.

What's the Maloo like inside?
There's a monstrous 1208-litre loadbay at the back. Pop the hard cover and two hydraulic struts hold it up while you load whatever you want on to the flat deck.

To help you load and unload heavy items (and to provide a handy perch) the tailgate folds down, and the whole load area is covered by a plastic insert, so there's no need to worry about scraping the paintwork.

The drawback of the big pick-up area is that you get only two seats, and rear visibility is awful. There are also some fairly questionable plastics in the Maloo's cabin. However, you get plenty of standard equipment, including 20-inch alloys, leather seats, climate control, a USB socket and an EDI (Enhanced Drive Interface) system, which lets you record lap times and G-force readings.

Should I buy a Maloo?
On paper, the Maloo makes even less sense than the VXR8 saloon it's based on. Even if you ignore the 51,500 price, the 21mpg fuel economy, the 320g/km CO2 emissions and the iffy interior, very few drivers in the UK have any need for a pick-up.

That said, the Maloo was never supposed to be sensible. It's surprisingly good fun to drive, and with a choice of 10 lurid paint colours (including Hazard Yellow pictured) it'll get you more looks than just about anything else on the road.

Vauxhall VXR8

What Car? says

Will Nightingale