Vauxhall VXR8 Maloo
Sector: Pickup Price: £51,000 Fuel: 20.9mpg CO2: 320g/km
For those of you not familiar with the Maloo, allow me to introduce one of Australia’s finest imports. A Holden Ute, fitted with the 6.2-litre V8 from a Corvette and with a chassis tuned by Holden Specialist Vehicles. And yes, you can buy it in the UK.
By now you’ve probably dismissed this as an idiotic purchase, but don’t be so quick. I think this is one of the most sensible two-seat performance cars money can buy.
Let’s get the emotional appeal bit out of the way first. There’s 425bhp on tap, so throttle inputs result in instant forward thrust at any revs, propelling the car towards the horizon with delirious urgency accompanied by the never-boring rumble of that gargantuan V8. Overtaking on country lanes? No problem. Towing? No sweat.
So it’s thirsty, then? Well, the Maloo is basically a VXR8 pickup truck, and the saloon claimed top honours for beating its factory efficiency figures at last year’s MPG Marathon event. Drive it gently, which you can do with 405lb.ft available, and it needn’t give your bank account too much of a kicking.
With all the weight up front and nothing over the driven wheels, you may also expect it doesn’t go around corners. But it does, and you can even take on sharp corners without crawling around slowly. Holden has fitted nice big side windows for you to look out of while you do so.
And, unlike most two-seat sports cars, this is exceptionally practical. The cabin is the front end of a VXR8’s, offering D-segment comfort, and to use the classic motoring journalist sports car spiel, you won’t struggle to fit your golf clubs in the back. Or your friend’s golf clubs. Or his friend’s.
Best of all, though, is the exclusivity you’ll enjoy. Budget this much for an M3 and you’ll join a crowd. Spend the same on a Maloo, and you’ll be one of around six UK motorists to do so. Hypercar exclusivity at a fraction of the price means on top of its other benefits this a bargain, too.
Of course there are no sensible reasons to buy a Maloo. That’s not really the point, though. Anyone with even the faintest interest in cars should love this simply for existing, despite the tide moving the opposite way. If you can find an excuse to buy one, you’ll be glad you did.