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2013 Holden Malibu CD diesel Review

Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2013 Holden Malibu.

2013 Holden Malibu CD diesel review

2013 Holden Malibu CD diesel review.

I’m still not convinced the Malibu is going to be a big seller for Holden, but I do know the diesel variant is the one you should opt for.

I recently drove the 2.4 litre petrol Holden Malibu in upper-spec CDX form (a review you can catch here) and was left reasonably happy with the Malibu package.

The only thing that really let the petrol Malibu down was the fuel consumption – an average of 10.6L/100km in the city and a claimed combined figure of 8.0L/100km is nothing really to write home about.

2013 Holden Malibu CD diesel review

2013 Holden Malibu CD diesel review.

The 2.0 litre diesel however averaged a very impressive 6.7L/100km in the city and the claimed combined figure is just 6.4L/100km!

With a competitive 117kW and an impressive 350Nm the diesel engine provides impressive power and acceleration to match the frugal economy.

Sadly though the engine is let down by the Malibu’s six-speed automatic transmission which is slow to react and at times gets completely lost not knowing what ratio the engine wants or needs.

A complaint I had about the upper-spec CDX was the ride which was let-down by 45 series tyres, the CD comes with 55 series tyres on 17” alloys and this means a much more comfortable ride.

Brakes and handling all get a pass mark on the Malibu.

Other positives include a really good-sized boot, push-button ignition, the MyLink system with touch-screen, modern and easy to read driver info screen, nice interior feature lighting and incrementally adjustable cruise control.

2013 Holden Malibu CD diesel review

2013 Holden Malibu CD diesel review.

Negatives include a slightly dated and cheap interior feel (especially when compared to the new Commodore), no sat-nav (even as an option), small cabin storage areas, only alright legroom front and back and the absence of rear air-conditioning vents.

The driver and front passenger get electronic seat height adjustment but the other seat adjustments are manual.

I was also disappointed that the Malibu’s Bluetooth system wouldn’t sync with my phone and beware, the chrome surround around the transmission selector has a habit of reflecting sunlight directly into your eyes!

All models in the Malibu range come with a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Summing it up – the new Malibu looks pretty good, pricing is competitive and the standard features list is generous.

The diesel engine is impressively frugal and this lifts the Malibu up from being a fairly forgettable vehicle to a car that is genuinely worth considering.

2013 Holden Malibu CD diesel review

2013 Holden Malibu CD diesel review.


Engine: 2.0 litre turbo diesel delivering 117kW and 350Nm

Transmission: Six speed automatic

Safety: Five stars

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km

Origin: South Korea

Price: From $32,490

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