Malibu, Holden’s 2013 replacement for its Epica mid-sized sedan, is available in two specification levels, CD and CDX, with either a 2.4-litre, DOHC petrol engine or – for a $4000 premium – optional 2.0-litre, common rail turbo-diesel.
A six-speed automatic transmission with Active Select is standard across the range. With 350Nm of torque peaking at just 1750rpm, there’s plenty of pulling power and, against the similar-sized Nissan Altima, Hyundai i40 and Kia Optima, the Malibu proved to be quickest from 0-60km/h and equal quickest from 0-80. It particularly excelled in roll-on acceleration, besting its petrol-driven rivals from 50-80km/h and 60-100.
Holden specifically developed a right-hand-drive 17” tyre for the CD and produced a new suspension set-up with a unique damper tune to ‘Australian-ise’ Malibu. It would appear a success, as our test car revealed a compliant ride and handling manners that would satisfy most buyers in this segment.
The interior is well styled and comfortable with plenty of head and leg room up front, though rear passengers could do with more leg room and their own aircon vents. At 545 litres, boot space tops plenty of the competition.
The standard equipment inventory is extensive, and those who are tech savvy will appreciate Holden’s MyLink infotainment bundle.