Say g'day to the Maloo, Holden Special Vehicle's third version of the performance pickup. This is the first one in Europe, but more could follow. Why? Because Vauxhall - Holden's Brit cousin - will happily import one for you, changing only the badge. So it forms an official part of the Vauxhall range, available through dealerships rather than back-street importers.
Like its predecessor, it's based on the VXR8 saloon and comes with the same 6.2-litre, 425bhp V8. It does 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds and onwards to a limited 155mph. Got your attention? Good. This time around there are some styling changes including a new ‘shockwave grille' and LED strip lights, a reshaped rear light arrangement, a refreshed cabin with standard leather seats, and a new driver info system with a digital stopwatch to time how long it takes to burn through a set of tyres.
The ride is a touch harder than the saloon, and although it weighs the same there's less weight directly over the back axle. But the rear tyres keep well in touch with the road, thanks in part to a fairly sophisticated traction control system plus a proper limited-slip diff (as per the four-door). This facelifted version even has launch control. Light steering plus disappointingly muted engine noise make it feel very car-like, and barring a muscley gearchange, it's easy to forget you're in something with a huge V8 and the shape of a bungalow. This facelifted version even has launch control.
But hang on. This is a pickup, with a 1208-litre load space and way more if you remove the rear deck. You also get a longer load bay than in a Toyota Hilux - enough for seven pigs - though admittedly, you also have less room for humans up front. Vauxhall says the Maloo is designed as a working machine, and should you use it as such, the taxman will classify it as a commercial vehicle. Which means you get your 20 per cent VAT back. And so the price drops from £51,500 to just over £40k. For a 425bhp truck with an engine from a Corvette and more bootspace than most estate cars.
So it's mad, but not quite ready for the asylum. Maybe some louder pipes would undo the sanity. And give those pigs a nice smoky flavour.
6162cc, V8, RWD, 425bhp, 405lb ft, 21mpg, 320g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 4.9secs, 155mph, 1831kg