2014 Holden Malibu Review: Living with the car
- Doors and seats
- Engine power
- Ancap Security
James Ward spends the week on the road in the middle of the road – in the midsize Holden Malibu CDX
- This seems good
- great value
- huge boot
- No navigation option
- lacks a bit of character
Before last year, if you had told me about a Malibu, in terms of a car (rather than a place, a surfboard, a boat or a rum of questionable quality), I would only have thought of the 1964 Chevrolet Malibu Convertible by Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction.
Remember the Red Cruiser that was unceremoniously locked down (some say by Bruce Willis’ character, Butch) and crashed into a house during the âAdrenaline Needleâ emergency scene? “Do you still have your Malibu?” Â»Asks Lanceâ¦
It’s a name now in its eighth generation and 51st year in the United States. A car known to be good enough to be good enough. It’s a car we would all have seen a thousand times as a generic cross-country vehicle on a TV show or as an âaverageâ option on an American rental car brochure.
New to Australia in 2013, the Holden malibu was our first official taste of the nameplate, and I spent the week with one of them to see what it really looked like.
Style is certainly a highlight, with the Malibu sporting a modern and dare I say beautiful appearance. Our test car was the top-of-the-line CDX in Ironite – a purplish gray-green color that looks a lot smarter than it looks. With chrome accents around the window frames and fog light bezels, LED taillights inspired by the new Chevrolet Camaro, and sleek 18-inch polished-face alloy wheels, the Malibu exudes that laid-back class only Americans seem to do.
Inside, there’s more chrome, leather, blue lights, and a large seven-inch touchscreen. Again, it feels classy and is comfortable and roomy. There’s even a sneaky storage bin behind the screen – something I’ve never seen before.
On screen, the Malibu, like many current Holdens, features the MyLink system. This gives a built-in bluetooth phone and sound as well as access to internet streaming music services (although for those features you need a cable – it doesn’t work with bluetooth). It’s not a bad system but there is one serious omission – no navigation. Not as an app, not as an option. In 2014, for a car with a color touchscreen built into the interior of the car, this is pretty poor.
I spent my week in town doing my usual daily commutes, running to school and various errands. Well, the Malibu was a pretty nice place. It did well on bumpy and uneven roads, it felt good on the freeway, and was generally fairly calm and harmless. I didn’t feel the urge to push it hard around corners or change gears manually (with the silly Playstation-style knobs above the gear knob), I just drove it – and I started to wonder why there weren’t more of these on the road.
Holden’s midsize sedans have always been orphans. During Commodore’s Queen Elizabeth-like reign as Australia’s favorite big car, we saw Torana, Camira, Apollo, Vectra and Epica try their hand at second rung.
Many of them have inherited a global automotive platform that, as a GM subsidiary, Holden is to include in the Australian lineup. To their credit, Holden always uses their engineering excellence to improve ride and handling characteristics to better adapt to Australian conditions. But how are buyers supposed to connect with a model line that changes names every few years?
To mine, the Vectra was really the last one with any character. I don’t even remember the Epica and now that too has been replaced.
In reality, the Malibu could stand on its own, but when handed the mid-size stick to it, it’s harder to tell, especially since the Cruze and Commodore are both excellent. cars.
Get a good deal today
Interested in this car? Provide your contact details and we’ll put you in touch with a member of the Drive team.
Plus, it’s not quite the Goldilocks equation to be exactly in the middle, Malibu’s size differences are very specific. Here’s how it fits …
The Malibu is bigger than a Cruze but smaller than a Commodore, which seems logical, but the Holden siblings are hardly at the extreme of their class size and so any difference is measured in small percentages. .
For example, if you need room for your luggage but rarely travel with more than two people, the Malibu has the biggest trunk of the trio (545L vs. 496L from Commodore). If rear passengers are the key to your purchasing decisions, the Malibu offers just 29mm more rear legroom than the Cruze, but 63mm less than the Commodore.
In fact, the Malibu is only 82mm shorter than a Commodore – that’s less than the length of your credit card. It’s actually longer than the mid-90s VR / VS Commodore.
Where the Malibu’s mid-size benchmarks work is with price. With a list price for the CD of just over $ 28,000 (and as of this writing, a Holden promotion is offering it at $ 27,990 by car), it sits almost in the middle of the lesser Cruze. expensive ($ 19,990) and the cheapest Commodore ($ 36,990).
Plus, at under $ 30,000, it’s $ 2,000 to $ 3,000 cheaper than entry points for mid-sized competitors of the Camry, i40, Mazda6 and Mondeo. You can debate dynamics and quality until the cows come home, but you can’t debate price; and it resonates with a lot of buyers.
Overall, the Malibu makes sense on paper. It’s a nice, well-equipped car for a reasonable price. It ticks the box for security, economy and home ownership support.
No, it’s not that exciting. No, it’s not the best in anything – except that huge boot. That’s a solid C + in a B class – and that’s more than enough to be successful. If you need a car as a car, and every dollar counts, then the Malibu is definitely worth a visit … and few pop culture icons have driven the Camry, then consider it your own Royale with Cheese.
2014 Holden Malibu Review: Living with the car
Learn more about James Ward