From £51,5008

The Vauxhall Maloo is very clearly a product of its origins. Take a tour around HSV's factory in Clayton, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, and you'll note how it looks more like a workshop than a factory.In all but the rarest limited-edition cases, HSVs are delivered to Clayton from the Holden factory already sporting the requisite powertrain and most of their interior accoutrements.

The HSV plant then performs the job of redressing them. Steel wheels and standard bumpers come off and on go HSV-specific ones, while springs and dampers are changed and HSV exhausts are fitted. In a few cases, the cars get Chevrolet badges and are exported to the Middle East. In fewer cases still, they get exported to the UK, where they're badged as Vauxhalls.

The rear top deck wants a hearty shove to close properly

All current HSVs are of the same ilk, which means V8 variants of the Commodore and its platform derivatives, all rear drive and with MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear.

Some get magnetic dampers but the Maloo does not, riding instead on passive springs and dampers. With a six-speed manual transmission and hydraulic power steering, it's mechanically straightforward but not necessarily any the worse for it. Especially given it has a 425bhp LS3-series V8 under the bonnet. (The standard Holden Ute donor vehicle, by the way, has either a 3.0 or 3.6-litre V6, or a 6.0-litre V8.)

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The Maloo is a strict two-seater, although there's quite a lot of room for oddment storage behind the seats. And rather a lot more room again underneath the standard hard tonneau cover over the load bay.

That said, it's hard to imagine too many of the 50 or so British Maloo buyers using it as a utility vehicle as they might in its homeland. There isn't much call for £51,500 pick-ups in the UK, which makes finding rivals for it rather difficult. The overriding mantra of all Autocar road tests is: How fit is this car for its purpose? In the Maloo's case, you have to wonder what, exactly, its purpose is.

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Explore the Vauxhall range

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