The HSV Maloo performance coupe utilities or ‘utes' as they are known Down Under, have always held a special place in our hearts. Based on the Holden Ute (remember the famous Thunderstruck advert?), these unique unadulterated machines with roaring V8s under the hood still haven't grown tired of leaving several sports cars in the dust when shown a good stretch of tarmac and a green light. So much so that the Maloo, Aboriginal for ‘thunder', is currently the fastest production pickup in the world.
Sadly, local petrolheads are counting down the days of cruising downtown in these growling, almost maniacal expressions of Australian performance engineering prowess. That's because the Aussie auto industry is unfortunately in tatters, with Holden set to close shop in 2017–the company is in the process of delivering its last hurrahs to its rock-loving, underdog-supporting, beer-downing, thong-wearing following in the country.
The story continues in the next slide.
HSV has obviously decided to go out all pistons firing, and the latest from their stables is the brawny result of that much-respected gusto: the 2015 HSV GTS Maloo. The limited-to-250-units ute is, or should we say, was available (all examples are sold out now) in two striking colours: Some Like It Hot (the name of the "rich red") and Jungle Green. Both hues highlight the super-aggressive lines of the GTS Maloo rather nicely, and you know the pickup means raw pace from first glance on.
A 6.2-litre, supercharged engine from a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 that produces 577 horsepower and 740 Nm points to the GTS being capable of serious performance, though HSV has zipped it about actual figures. No acceleration or top speed times have been revealed so far, but we do know the super-ute gets a six-speed manual (yes!) or automatic transmission that sends power to the rear with some trick drivetrain gadgetry like a limited-slip differential and a torque vectoring system, claimed to be a global first for a utility.
Right, so we know this is one beast under that extensively sculpted bonnet. But the external features of the GTS Maloo scream aggression as well, with several square feet of black honeycomb to draw in enough cooling for the engine and premium six-piston, forged-calliper braking package. The ute gets a body kit, a twin-hump hard tonneau, and ‘LSA' and ‘GTS' badging for the rear that is complemented by a gaping quad-exhaust system.
Drivers in the Onyx or ‘Red Hot' leather upholstered cabin can play around with settings for the ESC (Electronic Stability Control), the Traction Control and Launch Control to get the br-ute to uniquely respond to their inputs. There's fancy safety tech as well to help the over-enthused avoid the ditch on the side of the road, like a Heads Up Display, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning.
It's great to see the Aussies still producing vehicles like the GTS Maloo–they are playing the automobile market like they play their cricket: aggressively. Far better for the world to remember a company that went out with a bang, rather than pant its way to the finish line with lack-lustre products that have been hastily put together with leftovers from the assembly line. Let's not forget, the HSV GTS Maloo was a couple of years in the making, in order to tuck in that mammoth V8 and get all the technology working like it should. Hats off HSV, this one's fair dinkum...