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2013 Holden Malibu CDX petrol Review

Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2013 Holden Malibu.

Holden Malibu review

2013 Holden Malibu CDX petrol review.

In the market for a medium sized car? Well you have an abundance of choice!

Holden has also entered a new contender into the segment in the form of the South Korean sourced Malibu. Priced from $28,490, and with a choice of 2.4L petrol or 2.0L turbo diesel engines, the Malibu is offered in two specification levels.

My first experience in the new offering was the upper-spec Holden Malibu CDX, powered by the petrol engine.

At first glance the Malibu looks pretty good, some nice chrome work at the front, simple yet attractive contours and a distinctive tail-end set the Malibu apart from its mid-sized rivals.

It’s deceptively large as well, in fact the Malibu is really not that much smaller than the Commodore and from most angles, if you squint, it could be confused for the larger model.

For the record the dimensions show the Malibu is just 82mm shorter and 43mm narrower than the Commodore, while the Malibu roof-line is just 6mm below its bigger sister.

The CDX Malibu picks up attractive 18” alloy wheels as standard and these lift-up the overall look of the new Holden too.

The 2.4L petrol delivers 123kW and 225Nm and while it’s certainly not an engine that’s going to get the pulse racing, it does account for itself pretty well.

Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission as standard the power deliver is genuinely smooth and quite respectable, if not just a little dull. The transmission also takes a moment or two to respond when overtaking effort is required and the engine does get a touch noisy when asked to do some hard work.

Fuel consumption in the petrol variant is only OK – I managed an average of 10.6L/100km in city driving, the official figure is a combined 8.0L/100km.

Beyond that the Malibu handles pretty well, steering is a touch firm but quite sharp, the ride is nothing to write home about unfortunately (it’s not helped by 45 series tyres), those tyres can also be fairly noisy on some road surfaces.

From the driver’s seat visibility is pretty good when looking forward and to the side, large C pillars however can create large blind spots to the rear, less than generously sized wing-mirrors don’t help in this regard.

Inside the cabin the new Malibu generally gets a tick of approval from me. The seats are firm and a bit flat, but comfortable enough thanks mainly to generously-sized bases. I was pleased to see both front seats in the CDX are electronically controlled and also heated.

Legroom front and back is probably not as good as you might expect.

The biggest let-down inside the Malibu though is the centre control panel for the stereo and climate settings – it has a dated and cheap feel about it, this is particularly noticeable after spending time in the ultra-impressive new Commodore cabin last week.

The arm rests could also be a bit softer.

On a more positive note the Malibu has the impressive MyLink infotainment system with reversing camera, unfortunately satellite navigation isn’t available even as an optional extra.

I did like the hidden storage compartment that can be found behind the touchscreen though, clever!

Other positives inside the Malibu cabin include auto headlights, electronic park brake, push button ignition and really clear and attractive gauges and driver info screen.

The Malibu also boasts quite a generously sized boot and you can be reassured in knowing the new Holden offers a full five start ANCAP safety rating.

Summing it up – the new Malibu represents the best of the South Korean Holden imports. It looks terrific but sadly the petrol engine is fairly dull and a little thirstier than it probably should be.

The pricing though is sharp and with nice external styling the Malibu should find plenty of homes.


Engine: 2.4 litre petrol delivering 123kW and 225Nm

Transmission: Six speed auto

Safety: Five stars

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000kms

Origin: South Korea

Price: From $31,990

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