When it comes to pickup trucks, the U.S. is arguably the world’s largest consumer. However, North America misses one of the coolest commercial vehicles in the world: the Holden Ute. Also available in supercharged guise as the Maloo R8 LSA in Australia, the Ute has long been a forbidden fruit in America, despite rumors that GM may import it as a rebadged Chevrolet El Camino. And, with Holden set to cease all manufacturing in 2016, the Ute will pass into the history books without setting wheels in the U.S. Not the same can be said about the U.K. though, which just received a batch of Maloo LSAs wearing the local Vauxhall badge.
The Ute isn’t actually new on British roads. Enthusiasts already had access to a version powered by the V-8 LS3, but that engine is now being replaced by a more potent LSA, which first debuted in the U.K. in the VXR8 GTS sedan.
But the Maloo LSA is about more than just a powerful drivetrain. The two-door utility also benefits from new styling upgrades and new standard equipment. Pricing is similar to the VXR8 GTS, which makes it pretty affordable for a performance car. And, although it’s among the most expensive commercial vehicles available in the U.K., it’s definitely the fastest and the most powerful. Keep reading to find out more.
Continue reading to learn more about the Vauxhall Maloo LSA.
Even when he’s on holiday, Chris Harris still can’t resist the intoxicating allure of getting behind the wheel of a car, especially a car with the kind of quirky package that the HSV Maloo GTS offers. Actually, “quirky” isn’t even an appropriate word to describe Australia’s famous super ute. The Maloo GTS is a "firecracker with a flatbed." During his recent vacation in Australia, Harris managed to get his hands on one after getting coaxed by Australia’s Wheels magazine, and like he always does, Harris didn’t hesitate putting the Maloo GTS’ four wheels to the ground.
Essentially, the Maloo, as Harris describes it, is a combination of a coupe and a utility vehicle, or a “ute” as what a lot of Australians call it. The odd combination may be curious to people from other parts of the world, but utes are especially common in Australia and there’s no ute that’s faster and more powerful that the Maloo GTS. Harris experienced the full thrill of driving the amalgamation and the British auto journalist even spent time smoking its tires around the track, which is quite a sight if you haven’t seen a pickup with a sports car front end do tire-melting donuts.
In the end, Harris nailed it when he called the Maloo GTS an ingenious creation by HSV. You probably won’t see anything else quite like it, unless of course some of Europe’s biggest brands decide to jump on the “super ute” bandwagon.
The U.S. auto industry have given us some of the most incredible automobiles over the last 100 hundred years. Starting with the Ford Model T, the first vehicle mass-produced on moving assembly lines, and ending with the aluminum-bodied, 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck, America has made a name for itself as one of the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers. Before the Great Depression, the U.S. produced over 90 percent of the vehicles sold globally, and after World War II it was responsible for 75 percent of the world’s production. That’s no longer the case in 2014, when China manufactures nearly 20 million vehicle a year, more than both the U.S. and Japan.
Sure, these numbers don’t mean U.S. manufacturers have lost their touch. Just look at the new Mustang and Corvette Z06, and you’ll notice the brilliant engineering and the passion are still there. However, it’s common knowledge that global production works on different standards which restrict the availability of certain models in certain markets. It works both ways. Europe, for instance, can’t have many of the vehicles sold in the U.S., while Americans can’t buy cars made by a variety of European brands. Ironically, North American manufacturers have launched a bevy of nameplates that can’t be had in the U.S. And while most of them wouldn’t stir any interest on these shores, some vehicles have caused great frustration to the American enthusiast.
I’m going to talk about the latter. The cool cars we can’t buy and drive over various production or import issues, or even the manufacturer’s lack of interest in the U.S. market. Take a look at my choices below and tell me what you guys think. I narrowed the list down to 10 vehicles, so feel free to let me know which ones you think I should have included in the comments box.
Click past the jump to read more about the cool cars we can’t buy in the U.S.
Holden has official re-released the Holden Thunder Ute, which we all assume will eventually makes its way to the U.S. as the resurrection of the El Camino. With its reintroduction, Holden needed a new advertising campaign. With an advertising campaign comes the need for a new slogan, and “The Ute, Americans are begging us to let ’em use it’” is just too long.
Well, Holden turned to its fans to come up with the new slogan, via everyone’s favorite medium, Facebook. Fortunately, those Aussie blokes are rather creative, as they came up with the slogan “No backseat drivers.” That makes perfect sense, as the Thunder Ute has only two seats and a truck bed. It would have been a little more difficult had GM chosen to go the Subaru Brat route and put two seats in the bed. Then, you technical would have backseat drivers. You can even see the new ad slogan in use in the above Thunder Ute commercial.
For a refresher, the Ute Thunder comes standard with a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 standard and has an optional 360-horsepowerpower 6.0-liter V-8. It also has a special charcoal-colored 19-inch rims and a slew of other standard features.
Now the only question remaining is when will GM officially start “leaking” information about the Thunder Ute coming to the U.S. as the El Camino? We are willing to put a dollar on it being here within five years. Then again, it was rumored to be returning with the previous Ute rendition, so we could be in for just a bunch of teasing and jealousy.
GM Holden will unveil its new value-packed VE Ute 60th Anniversary Special Editionat the National 4x4 Show in Brisbane this week.
Adding to an already impressive list of standard features including ESP® and 18-inch alloy wheels, the VE Ute 60th Anniversary Special Edition boasts over $2,000# of extra value, including leather faced seats and alloy foot pedals.
Based on the popular SV6 model in Holden’s award winning VE Ute range, the VE Ute 60th Anniversary Special Edition includes the following additional features: