Holden Malibu CDX 2014 second review

Holden Malibu CDX 2014 second review

holden-malibu-cdx-2014-front-quarter

Our previous Malibu CDX arrived at Car and SUV test headquarters last August. Eight months on we’re revisiting it to see if we’re still as impressed.

holden-malibu-cdx-2014-sideThe Malibu is a large car masquerading as a medium-sized car in that it’s not as big as a Commodore therefore Holden doesn’t call it a large car. But it is roomy and comfortable enough for five adults.

The Malibu is Holden’s fleet offering. When companies want a large, comfortable car for reps, they’re looking to four-cylinder and diesel options, and that cuts the Commodore out of the equation. Holden needed to enter the holden-malibu-cdx-2014-rear-quarterring with the Mazda6, Honda Accord, Ford Mondeo and Toyota Camry.

The Malibu’s 2-litre turbodiesel slurps just 6.5l of diesel per 100km on the combined cycle, so if you are doing a long highway trip, its 73-litre tank will probably outlast your bladder, giving you well over 1000km to play with. It does highway cruising very well. There are no sporting holden-malibu-cdx-2014-front-interiorpretensions, but it’s no slouch, either. The diesel engine is a little coarse if you run it through to its maximum revs, but most are in this price range.holden-malibu-cdx-2014-dials

In comparison with the competition, Holden offers a matrix showing the Malibu’s features against the Camry GL, Hyundai i45 and Mondeo LX. It is a clear winner on rear camera and parking sensors, push button start and keyless entry/exit, and colour touch screen. Only the Camry also has automatic headlamps. Holden touts its 9-speaker audio system and built-in apps, but I don’t rate the sound of this system and I usually just stream audio via Bluetooth.

holden-malibu-cdx-2014-taillightsThe electric park brake saves room around the gearstick allowing for a dual cup-holder. You can take control of the gears using a +/- button on the top of the gearstick. This is not particularly intuitive.

Styling at the rear is distinctive and Camaro-like with the box-style quad taillights. At the front it looks decidedly more like the Commodore and Cruze. A strong tilt forwards in the stance leads to a pleasing line from the flanks, along the window and into a crease that flows across its haunches to highlight the taillights. Our test car is light blue this time, and I personally prefer the white version we had before.

There’s more Camaro styling on the inside with the square instrument surrounds for the speedo and rev counter. The 7-inch MyLink touchscreen is the main dashboard feature and is the portal into the entertainment and vehicle features. As with every MyLink system I’ve ever driven it does sometimes struggle to connect with my iPhone 5.

Rear legroom is more than adequate, but not range-leading. There’s a deep boot, too.

The obligatory 5-star crash test rating, plus electronic stability control, other safety features and wide 245/45R18 tyres means confident but comfortable handling.

The Malibu still exudes value at more than its sticker price. At $45,900 this is the bargain large(ish) car of the pack when you look at the features. Fleet buyers will be pleased with the size, ride and fuel economy.

Price: $45,900

Pros

 

  • Interesting looks
  • Excellent price
  • Feels like a coherent package

Cons

Speaker system isn’t the greatest

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