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HSV GXP 2010 Review

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  • subtle styling
  • ride, steering & seats
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  • low front spoiler lip
  • the ageing Commodore dashboard

The Melbourne-based performance car builder has turned back prices nine years with the arrival of the limited-edition GXP sedan and Maloo ute. The ClubSport GXP and Maloo GXP headline the HSV lineup with drive-away pricing of $61,990 for the six-speed manual sedan and $55,990 for the manual ute. Not since 2001 has HSV had an entry model at these prices. Just 400 sedans and 350 utes will be built, with small numbers heading to New Zealand.

Although the cars are based on the high-end Pontiac GXP, which sold for a brief period in the United States, it also shares some ClubSport R8 cues.

HSV executives are mindful that as an entry level car, both the sedan and ute are expected to sell out quickly. However, HSV general manager sales and marketing, Darren Bowler, says it is unlikely the GXP will join the lineup as a mainstream model. "We don't want too many variants in our model range," he says.

But the company's general manager product planning, Tim Jackson, has left the door ajar for a similarly priced entry level model at some time in the future. "We will learn a lot from this exercise - it's been a while since we've been at this pricepoint - and if there is a strong response we'll re-evaluate it."

Bowler is mindful that HSV does not want to repeat the experience of the VL Group A cars of 1988. "We made 500 of those and they sold very quickly," Bowler says. "Then we thought, let's build another 250 and got stuck with stock. We don't want to be in that position again."

HSV managing director, Phil Harding, says the GXP is designed to bring new customers to the brand. Importantly, both cars also adhere to the HSV brand pillars of performance, handling and unique design, he says. "It was always our objective to find a solution for the model that sat below the ClubSport R8," he says. "We received a lot of customer inquiries for a model like that and GXP provided us with that opportunity."

What does it have?

The GXP and ClubSport R8 share some crucial parts, including the 317kW/550Nm 6.2-litre V8 and some interior trim. The 19-inch alloys will be familiar as they were available on the Series I HSV cars. The sedan gets a unique rear bumper with a blacked-out diffuser and quad exhausts with alloy tips. The ute follows a ‘less is more’ treatment with the rear end and looks similar to an SS ute. Instead of the Maloo hardcover tonneau, the GXP ute opts for a soft-cover. Both also gets unique suspension settings, a Brembo brake package, E Series 2 daylight running lights, E Series 2 front bumper and bonnet and mudguard vents. Harding is quick to point out that the GXP is not a result of "left over" components from the Pontiac parts bin.

"There is a great danger that you might refer to this program as inventory user," he says. "It’s absolutely nothing of that sort. And certainly companies these days don't end up with stuff left over; certainly we don't. "In terms of building these cars new parts have had to be ordered."

Driving

If the ClubSport R8 and GTS have too much bling for your liking then the GXP sedan makes a natural, easy choice to move into the HSV arena. The sedan and Maloo ute's other strong argument is pricing. Both are designed with just enough HSV baubles to bring new enthusiasts into the fold and get existing owners back into showrooms. Both the sedan and ute steer, brake and accelerate just like a HSV should but without the "look at me" styling reserved for the GTS and Maloo R8 ute.

That does not mean each car misses out on the nicer visual touches, from the mudguard vents and bonnet vents to the skilfully crafted diffuser treatment on the sedans rear bumper. Inside there are traces of the ClubSport R8 around the cabin, and that's a good thing. However, to keep the price down it misses the competition electronic stability control, extended cruise control and launch control function found on the R8.

The sedan is a smooth operator when it comes to the nip and tuck of every day traffic. The steering is nicely weighted and communicative. For a performance car the ride borders on surreal, even on the bigger tyres. It is firm but compliant and comfy. The GXP's Gen IV V8 is quiet, smooth and will help dispatch slow-coaches easily and without drama. The dulcet tones from the quad exhausts remind you its a bent eight.

The most surprising thing about the Maloo is that it is a ute. You have to keep checking the rear view mirrors because until you drive it, you'll dismiss it as just another ute. It's not. And that's the key to all HSVs. Don't dismiss them as just performance Commodores. There is some serious under-the-skin engineering dedicated to the suspensions, engines and steering to back up the go-fast looks.

HSVs general manager sales and marketing Darren Bowler refers to the GXP as a sleeper. He might be right because if you hang around too long this HSV will rocket out of showrooms.

HSV GXP

Price: $61,990 sedan, $55,990
Features: Leather steering wheel, sports seats, multi-function computer, daylight running lights, HSV bonnet and mudguard vents
Engine: 6.2-litre LS3 Gen IV V8, 317kW/550Nm
Transmission: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic

Pricing Guides

$34,988
Based on 33 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$28,187
Highest Price
$48,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GXP 6.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $30,990 – 34,988 2010 HSV Maloo 2010 GXP Pricing and Specs
R8 6.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $29,983 – 48,990 2010 HSV Maloo 2010 R8 Pricing and Specs
R8 (Dual Fuel) 6.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $26,510 – 32,670 2010 HSV Maloo 2010 R8 (Dual Fuel) Pricing and Specs
R8 20th ANN. (DUAL FUEL) 6.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $28,160 – 33,880 2010 HSV Maloo 2010 R8 20th ANN. (DUAL FUEL) Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$23,990

Lowest price, based on 25 car listings in the last 6 months

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