PICK-UPS are big business in Australia, all One of the most popular is the Holden ute, which parent company General Motors has been building in one form or another since the fifties. It comes with a variety of different engines, but most intriguing is the 537bhp 6.2-titre V8 in the Maloo LSA, which is now available in UK showrooms badged as a Vauxhall in VXR8 guise. It also delivers 671 Nm of torque, and will cover 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and hit 155mph. These stats cement the Maloo’s place as the fastest commercial vehicle on the planet – and it doesn’t take long to see why.
On start-up, there’s no diesel clatter. Instead, you get a burbling V8 soundtrack not dissimilar to an AMG-tuned Mercedes. Pleasingly, our car had the six-speed manual box, although an auto is a £1,700 option. Unlike conventional pick-ups, the Maloo is rear-wheel drive only and can prove a handful in the wet. There’s no weight over the back axle, which can mate it rather lively. Act too hastily on the exit of a corner and the tail will push wide, with the traction control light flickering in desperation as the systems try to contain all that power.
That huge lump of torque means you needn’t switch ratios unnecessarily, though, with the LSA picking up speed from low revs. But that’s where the fun ends. Plumbing such a huge engine into any car or truck is going to result in high fuel bills. Vauxhall claims 18.5mpg-and while we managed 27.5m pg in this year’s MPG Marathon (Issue 1,446), it’s unlikely you’ll see more than 200 miles from a tank. Much of the interior is lifted from other Vauxhalls, with a set-up similar to the outgoing Insignia’s. The graphics are dated, and it’s the only model in the brange not available with the OnStar concierge service.