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Holden Malibu CD petrol 2013 review

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  • Smaller than Commodore, bigger than Cruze
  • Extensive local development input
  • Huge boot


  • US-sourced name
  • Rear legroom marginal
  • Turbodiesel lag

Funny name for a car -- Malibu -- because it's a surfboard and/or a beach north of Los Angeles. But, hey, it doesn't matter because the new medium-size Holden is a surprisingly good thing in petrol and diesel and in either grade: CD and CDX. Much better than expected.

Malibu comes out of Korea from what was formerly Daewoo until GM 'nicked' the company for not much money a few years ago now. It has given the American giant access to some pretty hot automotive items including this one.


They fettled Malibu right here in Oz with specific suspension, steering and tyre specs as well as styling preferences dictated by GM and probably Holden designers. Korea is right up there in terms of automotive manufacturing, exemplified by the rash of excellent products from Hyundai and Kia to name two of the biggies. Malibu is on par with its direct Korean competitors - Hyundai's i45 and i40 and the Kia Optima.

Price and Features

And the pricing is sharp starting at $28,490 for the CD petrol auto, which comes with a stack of goodies like reverse camera, rear park assist, push button start, wheel audio controls (and cruise), Bluetooth phone and audio auto headlights, power front seats, electric park brake climate control and multi-function display.

The CDX adds leather 18-inch alloys, eight way electric front seat adjust, rain sensing wipers, dual zone climate and exterior enhancements including additional chrome hardware. Both have the excellent MyLink infotainment system and large colour screen.


Both engines and both grades have a six-speed auto only with sequential shift mode. We got to drive the petrol and auto Malibu recently and prefer the 2.4-litre petrol over the 2.0-litre diesel. The petrol is good for 123kW/225Nm output and 8.0-litres/100km while the diesel (same engine as in Cruze diesel) is good for 117kW/350Nm and 6.4-litres/100km.


Malibu has a five star safety rating with all that brings and is a five seater sedan with a large boot and optional spare.


It has a sporty ride with the edge going to the petrol model which has electric power steering, while the diesel has hydraulic steering. The petrol engine is economical and sings sweetly, revving out willingly and smoothly thanks in part to the locally calibrated six-speed auto. The diesel is not as smooth but has more torque and uses less fuel though it costs more in both grades.

Both offer good performance certainly enough to satisfy most drivers. Another strong suit of the car is it's ride/handling which rates right up there in terms of practicality/comfort/handling. Holden engineers do a great job in this particular regard. It's an easy and comfortable car to drive and not too big.

We like the look of Malibu and suggest it's almost on par with the new Commodore with which it can be (fleetingly) mistaken. We could level few if any complaints at Malibu. It's as good as anything in this class and is pitched at an affordable price with generous kit, attractive styling and pleasing engine performance.

Read the full 2013 Holden Malibu review

Holden Malibu 2013: CD

Safety Rating
Engine Type Inline 4, 2.4L
Fuel Type Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency 8.0L/100km (combined)
Seating 5
Price From $7,150 - $10,120


You could shop Malibu against Commodore though that is sacrilege if you think all cars should be made here.

Pricing Guides

Based on 36 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months.

Range and Specs

Vehicle Specs Price*
CD 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SPEED AUTOMATIC $7,370 - $10,450
CD 2.4L, Unleaded Petrol, 6 SPEED AUTOMATIC $7,150 - $10,120
CDX 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SPEED AUTOMATIC $8,250 - $11,550
See all 2013 Holden Malibu in the Range
*Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
Peter Barnwell
Peter Barnwell is a former CarsGuide contributor and News Corp Australia Editor. During his decades of experience as an automotive expert, he has specialised in writing about performance vehicles.
About Author
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication. Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.
Pricing Guide
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data.
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2013 Holden Malibu
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