BREAKING the "vanilla" mould is one of the key targets for the new Holden Malibu.
Admitting this won't be a Toyota Camry killer, the lion badge is confident the Malibu will attract buyers with its groovy lines and features not traditionally seen in the mid-size segment for this price.
The four-door sedan is about to arrive in Holden showrooms, sandwiched between the just released VF Commodore and small Cruze (also re-launched in February this year).
With a simple line-up formula of four models with two trim levels, Holden has positioned itself well to pick up private buyers along with the lucrative fleet market courtesy of two fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines.
And with a base model starting under $30 grand the Malibu is sure to raise some eyebrows.
While it's not Australian built, the "global" GM car has received suspension and tuning changes specific for our roads.
The result is a good all-rounder which will please many shopping in this segment. It's not a performance machine, but both the diesel and petrol are strong enough in metropolitan and country conditions while the steering has reasonable feel.
Like the locally produced Cruze and Commodore, Holden has built the Malibu on a solid foundation of features.
Standard kit includes 17-inch alloys, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, an attractive 17cm colour touch-screen that incorporates apps for streaming music and podcasts, rear view camera and back parking sensors, electric park brake, nine speaker stereo with USB and MP3 player input, cruise control as well as 60-40 split fold rear seats (unlike the Commodore).
That all comes on the CD entry level grade.
Those wanting more kit can step up to the CDX for an additional $3500 and get leather trim, 18-inch alloys, dual zone climate controlled air con, eight-way adjustable front heated seats, auto wipers and LED brake tail lamps.
Interior space is reasonable, with enough real estate to comfortably accommodate four adults.
Model: Holden Malibu.
Details: Four-door five-seat mid-size front-wheel drive sedan.
Engines: 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 123kW @ 5800rpm and peak torque of 225Nm @ 4600rpm; 2.0-litre turbo diesel 117kW @ 4000rpm and 350Nm @ 1750Nm.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic.
Consumption: Petrol - 8.0 litres/100km; Diesel CD 6.4L/100m, CDX 6.5L/100km.
CO2: Petrol 192g/km; Diesel - CD 170g/km, CDX 172g/km.
Bottom line: Petrol - CD $28,490, CDX $31,990. Diesel - CD $32,490, CDX Diesel $35,990
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