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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

Okay, so the Vauxhall Maloo is a utilitarian pick-up truck that can squeeze 1208 litres into its cargo bay.

It also just happens to be capable of squealing its way to 60mph in (a traction-limited) 5.3sec, to 100mph in 11.8sec and of covering a standing quarter mile in 13.7sec. For the record, that makes it as quick as a 2006 Jaguar XKR.

The LS3 mixes relatively new tech, in the form of variable valve timing, with old-school pushrods.

Fourth gear is best. You can select it below 20mph, as we did on MIRA's mile-long horizontal straight, then plant your foot into the carpet and leave it there.

The Maloo sucked through every 20mph acceleration increment from 20mph onwards at between 4.0 and 4.6sec, all the way to 120mph, before acceleration tailed off slightly and we had to get back on the brakes at a touch under 140mph. All within a mile.

Opt for acceleration that requires gearchanges and you'll find that the lever requires a positive shove, as does the clutch. The throttle weight is meaty and the brakes have good initial bite from a pedal that needs a respectable push.

Curiously, the 6.2-litre GM engine isn't among the most vocal of modern V8s. At idle it emits a muted woofle and eventually, on full throttle and at high revs, it displays some proper growl. But through medium revs and with medium throttle inputs, the Maloo's motor isn't as outwardly angry as, say, an AMG Mercedes engine.

It does have a lovely throttle response, mind: linear and progressive, and with ample torque at all times. It's big hearted and honest.

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The 1855kg Maloo stops pretty well, too. It'll brake to zero from 70mph in just 45.7 metres and from 60mph to rest in 2.52sec. They began to fade after about four laps of our test track, but there's no embarrassment in that.