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The Mercury Cars Guide : September 12th 2009
8--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, September 12, 2009 Commodore goes on economy drive AS large car sales continue to fall, GM Holden has produced what it hopes is a life-support sys- tem for at least one member of what was once the most vibrant segment in Austra- lia's new car market. Holden's answer to the malaise that has afflicted the Commodore and its ilk (an- nual sales for the segment have fallen by more than 100,000 in the past decade) is the promise of better perfor- mance and economy from a pair of hi-tech engines. ''With my marketing hat still on, it is a happy day when the engineers can come to you with the offer of better performance and bet- ter fuel economy . . . that is win-win,'' GM Holden's new chairman and managing di- rector Alan Batey says. ''I really believe people still want the size of a Commodore, but they also want the economic advan- tages they perceive in small- er engines and cars. This technology offers an answer for those customers.'' For the first time, Holden will offer a pair of V6 engines coupled to a new six-speed automatic in its locally man- ufactured models with the 3-litre finding a home in the Omega and Berlina sedan and sportwagon models while the rest of the Commo- dore range will come with the 3.6-litre. Prices will rise by $700 for the 3-litre models but remain unchanged for all 3.6-litre models. Both engines feature spark ignition direct injec- tion (SIDI), delivering a claimed improvement in fuel economy of up to 13 per cent better economy and up to 14 per cent lower CO2 emis- sions. Official figures for the Omega 3-litre are 9.3 litres per 100km, down from 10.7L/100km in the super- ceded model, while the SV6 ute promises the biggest im- provement for the 3.6-litre --- down 13 per cent to 10.L/100km. The second half of the ''magic'' equation is that the power output from the 3.6 is up 15kW to 210kW, with the 3-litre developing 190kW. Holden claims savings of up to $325 a year are possible for an average driver travel- ling 20,000km a year, while fleet buyers --- one of the key targets for the 3-litre car --- could double that. While the direct-injection technology is at the heart of the economy drive, there are a swag of other modifica- tions that go to improving the Commodore's day-to-day efficiency. A new low rolling resis- tance tyre from Bridgestone is standard on all 16 and 17-inch rims, while new tyre compounds result in a weight saving of about 2kg a corner; idle speed for the 3.6 has been reduced by 50rpm below that of the standard Alloytec engine; a lighter high-efficiency alternator re- duces generator loading; regulated voltage control al- lows greater use of the bat- tery through closer monitor- ing of charge and lowering demand on the generator; and deceleration fuel cut, where fuel is sequentially cut off to each cylinder when the car is coasting and then reinstated when required. What it all adds up to on the road is the potential, if the driver applies a little application and concentra- tion, for appreciable savings without going to unrealistic lengths. On the launch drive --- albeit with targeted applica- tion in a fuel efficiency com- petition --- the SIDI Commo- dore (this, according to Holden, is not a VEII) re- turned some quite remark- able figures. The 3L claimed a 6.4L/100km efficiency in a 100km run at an average speed of 72km/h, while the 3.6 was capable of well below any official sticker figure with a best of 7.2 under similar conditions. They were not entirely real world but neither were they achieved with aircondi- tioning off, side mirrors folded and engine switched off on downhill cruises. Apart from what's going on under the skin, there is precious little about the model year 2010 Commodore that will set it apart from its less efficient forebears. A couple of SIDI badges and that's your lot. The biggest endorsement of Holden's strategy is the manner in which the 3-litre cars perform. Apart from a little less urgency under the right foot --- and if you are driving the smaller engine in search of efficiency that shouldn't be an issue --- there is little to set the cars apart from the rest of the range. The new six-speed gearbox has been calibrated to pro- vide a perfectly adequate launch feel and near-to seamless changes. Across the Commodore range, one of the engineering targets was improved noise and vi- bration. While it is not earth- shattering, there are definite steps in the right direction. The use of the new low-RR tyres instigated a change to the rear suspension with cross axis ball joints in- stalled, improving stability and on-centre feel. The sus- pension changes have also been implemented on mod- els that come standard with 18 and 19-inch rims for which the new tyres are not available. The most immediately no- ticeable difference between the 3-litre and 3.6-litre cars is in the steering and front-end feel, where the reduced en- gine mass and smaller, more highly inflated tyre package give a more nimble impres- sion. KEVIN HEPWORTH PERFORMANCE: Nissan Murano Z51 available at DJ Nissan. new cars DJ Nissan THE all new Nissan Murano pro- vides all-wheel-drive performance and agility. Full leather interior, 18-inch alloy wheels, Bi-Xenon headlamps and a start/stop button. Also features Nissan's award win- ning V6 motor and X-Tronic CVT automatic. DJ will Sell their 2009 demonstra- tor today for $47,990 drive away. Co-Op Toyota CO-OP has a special offer for Septem- ber on their Toyota Camry Altise. The $29,990 price tag buys a 2.4-litre automatic with reverse cam- era, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear spoil- er, Bluetooth and metallic paint. Motors Citroen SPECIAL offers on the Citroen C3 range this week can save thousands. There is a 2009 C3 Exclusive with a 1.6-litre petrol engine and four-speed automatic transmission for $23,990 drive away and a diesel model with a five-speed manual gearbox at the same price --- save over $3300. The C3 Exclusive diesel has a combined city & highway fuel con- sumption of 4.4 litres per 100km making it one of the most economical vehicles in Australia. DJ Kia WHEEL Deal of the day at Kia is a Sportage LX manual for $22,990. It is economical with a 2.0-litre engine and feature-packed including power steering, air conditioning, dual airbags, ABS braking and elec- tronic brakeforce distribution, cruise control, power windows, re- mote central locking and immobilis- er. Tilford TILFORD have a limited number of Transit Van LWB demonstration vehicles to clear. Each sports a 2.4-litre turbo diesel engine with six-speed manual trans- mission, and all have low millage. Features include air conditioning, ABS, airbags, remote locking and cargo area lining. And they have over nine cubic metres of load space. Normal retail price is well over $47,000, until sold out this group is priced at $37,888 drive away. Performance Subaru THE best deal at Performance Sub- aru today is an Impreza RX sedan demonstration vehicle. This automatic normally sells for $32,500 --- now $29,965 drive away. Features include airbags, ABS, all wheel drive, stability control, five- star ANCAP safety rating, alloys, fog lights, cruise control, six stack CD player, air conditioning, electric windows and mirrors. DJ Mazda TODAY is M-Day, DJ Mazda's one day once a year sale. Fantastic deals and special offers on Mazda2, Mazda3 and Mazda6 as well as the sporty MX5, roomy CX7 and the hardworking BT-50 range. DJ Mitsubishi ONE silver Colt ES five-speed man- ual is ready for immediate delivery at $16,490 drive away. It has got air conditioning, ABS, alloys, power windows, dual airbags, a 5/10 warranty plus five year- 130,000km roadside assistance. Motors Holden THE Holden company demonstrator clearance is on now. Motors has deals like an Epica CDX diesel sedan with automatic transmission and black paint for $26,990, which is a huge saving of $7322 from the RRP. Motors Hummer BUILT to go anywhere, the H3 Hummer Adventure is powerful and affordable. Available for immediate delivery is a silver H3 with black leather trim. It sports a 3.7-litre five-cylinder petrol engine with 180kW of power and 328Nm of torque. Priced at $61,780 drive-away. Motors Saab MOST people who buy a Saab are astute when it comes to value for money, and Motors is offering a superb vehicle at a bargain price, a 9-3 Combi station wagon for $43,980. This ex-demonstrator has a 1.9-litre Tid diesel engine, 110kW of power and a stunning 320Nm of torque, driven through a six-speed automatic gearbox. Snow silver in colour with beige leather trim, and has travelled 622km.
September 5th 2009
September 19th 2009