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The Mercury Cars Guide : September 18th 2010
4--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, September 18, 2010 HOLDEN Commodore VE II Beauty that's more than skin deep IN PASSING The updated VE Commodore's changes are worthy tweaks despite being hard to see, writes PAUL GOVER CHANGES: The Holden Commodore VEII Calais V. THERE is more to the latest Commodore than bio-ethanol in the tank. The car is a worthwhile improvement. The cabin is lighter and nicer, and has the excellent Holden iQ system, there is some minor cosmetic tweaking and improvements to driveability and refinement, and there is the Redline punch at the top end. A first look at the VEII is not particularly inspiring but when you drive it you can see and feel the sort of work that makes any car more enjoyable. There is also the promise of improved economy when running on unleaded fuel. GM Holden denies it has gone soft on the VEII by avoiding costly sheetmetal changes, and also trumpets its leadership on E85 fuel and a partnership with Caltex that should bring the fuel to most Australians from 2011. ''This is a typical four-year update. You don't normally touch the sheetmetal at this stage,'' Holden chairman Mike Devereux says. ''We're very proud and happy of the work we've done.'' value No one can complain about a major upgrade with no price rise. Holden has deliberately held the price line with the VEII as it pushes the value bonus in the car, starting with the iQ system. It's even held the Redline Series package at a reasonable $2500, which is good value just for the upgraded Brembo brakes. technology The E85 engine work is much more than just switching to a different pump at the petrol station. There are sensors and fuel lines, different engine components and the huge work on tuning and durability testing. Holden admits its three- litre six and six-litre V8 lose around 25 per cent on economy and range --- the 3.6 does not go E85 until next year --- but says bio-ethanol has more punch in every litre, bringing improved torque in the rev range of everyday driving. The unleaded effort yields a V6 economy boost of 2.8 per cent with 6.0 per cent on the V8, using everything from plastic aero panels under the car to a new bootlid with a small spoiler, a clutched aircon compressor and a reduction in engine idle speed on the 3.6 V6. Inside, the technology is all about Holden iQ. It incorporates everything from satnav with real-time traffic alerts --- free for the life of the vehicle, although owners will pay for updated maps --- to a hard-drive sound system that can rip and store up to 15 CDs. It's a touch-screen system that is linked to Bluetooth and steps up for SS/Calais/ Caprice with voice guidance, intuitive controls and a live speed limit alert system. design Holden fans will notice the changes to the exterior but the VEII blends into traffic, unless the car is painted in this year's hero colour --- an electric yellow called Hazard. The detail runs to a new front fascia, grille and headlamps but the only sheetmetal change is the new boot. All models above Berlina do get new alloys. It's a different story inside, where --- although the cheapie window switches survive in the console --- the centre of the dash is all new. The iQ system sits higher than the previous sound systems, the aircon controls are new, there are lighter colours and the general effect is more open and modern. safety There's nothing to report but that's fine as the Commodore is already a five-star ANCAP winner. Big changes will not happen until the next total overhaul of the car, as Volvo- style predictive safety systems will need a wiring and computer upgrade. driving Holden fills all the tanks at the VEII press preview with E85, not that anyone can tell. Perhaps there is a little more mid-range punch around town and for overtaking. The big tick goes to the dash changes and the iQ system, which will bring people into Holden showrooms. And the E85 --- with the promise of a 34c-a-litre advantage over premium unleaded --- could be the clincher. The giant display for the iQ system is great and so is the sound quality and the ability to store your own music. As I spend more time in the VEII, and switch into the Calais and SS, there are signs of considerable work on driving refinement. There is less mid-range boom, a new smoothness in the V8 from 2000 revs, and a nicer feel over bumps and in tight corners. small torque Holden Commodore VEII PRICE: from $39,990 (Omega sedan) to $69,990 (Caprice V-Series) ENGINE: 3.6-litre V6, 6.0-litre V8 OUTPUT: 190kw/6700 revs, 290Nm/2900 revs (V6), 260-270kW/5700revs, 617-630Nm/4400 revs ECONOMY: from 9.1L/100km CO2 EMISSIONS: from 216g/km RIVALS: Ford Falcon (from $40,290) Toyota Aurion (from $35,990) Nissan Maxima (from $33,990) VERDICT: A worthwhile improvement to Australia s favourite car WE LIKE Holden iQ Price line Bio-ethanol WE DON'T LIKE Reduced range on E85 No real visual change 3.6 V6 lags on changes 8/10 A BETTER WAY TO BUY A CAR Jill Coyle Sales Executive, AutoRent Hertz 2004 Toyota Hilux Ute 2007 Holden Commodore Omega Sedans 2004 Toyota Hi-Ace Commuter Bus 2006 Ford Falcon XT Sedan 2007 Hyundai Sonata SLX Sedans 2008 Honda Jazz GD Hatch Flat tray ute with drop down sides. 2.7L EFI 5 speed manual, a/ cond, p/steer, CD player, seats 3. Approx 79,600 km. Warranty Stability + Traction Control, cruise ctrl, airbags, antilock brakes, CD player, electric driver s seat, MP3. 3.5L auto. Warranty. Colour choice. (Spoilers an extra $600). 5 spd manual. Seats 12 (14), p/steer, air cond, central locking, approx 98263 km. 1 year warranty. 4.0L auto, cruise ctrol, air cond, airbags, pwr windows, keyless entry + immob, reverse parking sensors, CD/ radio, tint windows, tow bar. 1 year warr. Auto, 4 cyl, 2.4L , 6 airbags, ABS, cruise ctrl, Audio/MP3, CD player/radio/cassette, pwr windows, air cond with pollen filter, immob + alarm, superb velour seats, beautiful ambience, Approx 2 year warranty. Fuel efficient 4 cyl auto 7sp 1.5L, Gear shift paddles behind steering wheel & on floor, air cond, ABS, 12V sockets aux, airbags, CD player, immob, air cond + more. 1 owner, low km. Warranty $13990 $17990 $22790 $12800 $15490 Just From Just Just Just 1 ONLY REDUCED REDUCED REDUCED REDUCED VALUED TRADE IN SALE SALE SALE SALE SALE SALE $13990 From All prices include GST. Vehicles for illustration purposes only. Ask for full warranty conditions. Price does not include 3% State Government Stamp Duty and $24.45 transfer of registration applies. No fee is charged for delivery OPEN SAT & SUN 9-5 FINANCE AVAILABLE O N S T - NS O HOBART nr Bat r t Harrington St 6237 1199 2000152-100918
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