The base model ClubSport and Maloo join the Holden Special Vehicles' lineup to lead a new value drive and start celebrations for the brand's 25th birthday.
Prices have been pegged at $58,990 for the Maloo ute and $64,990 for the ClubSport, with no loss of punch from their 6.2-litre V8 engines. The only thing missing, compared with the R8 version of the ClubSport, is HSV's high-tech Enhanced Driver Interface system. But the cars do get a new 20-inch alloy wheel called Pentagon.
The born-again ClubSport is much the same as the short-run GXP Commodore but, says HSV managing director Phil Harding, this time it's a "real HSV, all the way around". "We brought the ClubSport back as a GXP a couple of years ago and there was a desire to bring it back in a more solid way. It satisfies a need," Harding tells Carsguide. "It won't be significant volume, but it helps bring people to the marque. It's for the sort of guy who perhaps had an HSV but fell off the ladder and wants to come back."
He admits the pricing is an important reason for the ClubSport and Maloo tweaking, but says HSV is happy with its sales despite the large-car downturn that has hit the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon. "The biggest change to get to a ClubSport from the R8 is the loss of the EDI system. It helps us get down to a price poiint. With the Luxury Car Tax, once you take something out it has an added effect.
"As for sales, we're about where we wanted to be at this time of the year. We're not panicking and we're doing alright." The new starter car comes as HSV goes public with a range update called MY12.5, although there will be other significant 25th anniversary action. "There is nothing that's public yet. Watch this space," Harding says to deflect any extra questions.
The 12.5 changes are very minor, although the ClubSport R8, Maloo R8 and ClubSport Tourer R8 pick up a power boost to 325 kiloWatts in addition to the 20-inch alloys and leather seat trim. Power in the Senator Signature also improves to 325kW, together with optional 20-inch forged alloys and `Vector' hood scoops and side vents. The 25th anniversay is refected in a special `start-up' screen in the infotainment system, build plate, internal identification and sill plates.