The 2007 Australian International Motor Show is underway, and the second debut we're bringing you from the show floor is the Holden VE Commodore Sportwagon. The new wagon from Holden is the latest addition to the VE range of rear-wheel drive sedans. In a nod the cheese, Holden's Chairman and Managing Director Chris Grubbey said, "Holden's new VE Sportwagon turns practi-'cal' into practi-'cool." Corny, yes, but actually he's right on the money. Technically the VE Commodore Sportwagon on display in Sydney is a concept, but Holden says it's basically what Australians will be able to buy in the first half of 2008.
Check out more info and the official press release from Holden after the jump and our gallery of exclusive live shots and official images in the gallery below.
Live photos ©2007 Siddharth Raja / Weblogs, Inc.
The VE Commodore Sportwagon wears the additional sheetmetal of a wagon very well, but Holden also infused it with some good features. The rear hatch cuts far back into the roof, for instance, which means the hatch can be opened in tighter spaces and loading larger items should be easier. The rear seats split 60:40 and a cargo cover in the back for keeping items from the view of peeking passerbys.
The "concept" on display in Australia also includes 20-inch alloy wheels, chrome trim and a unique interior color combo that may not be available on the production model, but its roof-mounted DVD player, Bluetooth compatibility and parking assist systems will be. The show car is also powered by a Flex Fuel V8 with Active Fuel Management or cylinder deactivation technology.
How does the Holden VE Commodore stack up to sport wagons we're offered in the U.S. like the Dodge Magnum? We'd say pretty well and would love to see a G8 Sportwagon or, dare we say it, a Chevy Impala Wagon based on the VE Commodore platform.
Unfortunately, details on pricing and powertrain options won't be available until closer to the VE Commodore Sportwagon's on-sale date.
Holden's New Sportwagon Puts Excitement Back Into Practicality
Sleek new sporty look for popular wagon
GM Holden's sleek new VE Commodore Sportwagon made its world debut today at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.
The new family vehicle takes VE Commodore's award-winning sporty design and engineering advances and integrates them into a stylish and practical wagon.
The result is a desirable and functional addition to the VE range, offering a new level of comfort, safety and styling in a Holden wagon.
GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Chris Gubbey said, "The new VE Commodore Sportwagon puts the excitement back into practicality. This is a car for families with a 'get-up-and-go' attitude.
"The generous interior space, combined with sleeker, sportier styling, makes this a wagon that people will want to own as a year-round family car, or for family and business use.
"Holden's new VE Sportwagon turns practi-'cal' into practi-'cool'," said Gubbey.
The VE Commodore Sportwagon unveiled in Sydney today is a production-based concept vehicle. It is the first glimpse of the planned production model scheduled to hit Holden showrooms in the first half of 2008.
The vehicle draws on VE sedan at the front with a sleek and sporty silhouette at the back and is built on the same VE wheelbase. It is the third VE derivative after sedan and the newly released ute range.
At the rear, Holden's designers have cleverly created a wider opening by positioning the tailgate hinge well forward into the roof line. This has created a more vertical opening movement for the tailgate and reduces opening space required around the car.
The higher cargo floor makes loading easier and a flexible cargo cover provides extra security for items stored in the back.
VE Sportwagon seats five adults in comfort and a 60:40 split in the rear seating row can be folded flat for storing larger items.
The motor show display model includes a roof mounted DVD player, Bluetooth capability, multi-function driver information display system and zone-based front and rear park assist systems - all currently standard on the VE Calais V-Series sedan. Features on the vehicle unique to the motor show include 20-inch alloy wheels, chrome window trim and unique interior colour combination.
VE Commodore Sportwagon's pricing, model line-up and powertrain combinations will be confirmed closer to the on-sale date, but expect to see a similar type of strategy to VE sedan, with entry level cars, sports models and luxury models ranging up to the luxurious VE Calais V-Series.
Leading safety technology features such as ESP® will be standard across the range.
Holden's Executive Director Sales, Marketing and Aftersales, Alan Batey, said, "Sportwagon breaks the mould for Holden wagons. It's got great style, performance and practicality for families, businesses or both.
"Customers will get a car that's equally at home as a working tool or a desirable family car - with all the storage advantages that come with a wagon.
"We've added important safety features such as ESP® as standard, and more luxury versions will be incorporated into the range to further increase its appeal to families.
"This is a vehicle that people will desire for its looks as well as its convenience over a sedan or an SUV," he said.
The concept model on display at the Australian International Motor Show also incorporates a V8 engine featuring Active Fuel Management (AFM) and E85 flex fuel capability. Active Fuel Management allows cylinders to turn off under light load conditions to improve fuel economy.
The engine on show runs the same spark ignition, with fuelling matched to the same equivalence ratio as Holden's current production V8 engine. It is designed to match the power and torque outputs of its petrol equivalent. The use of AFM and E85 technologies in this motor show vehicle aims to highlight General Motors' capabilities in new propulsion advances.
Chris Gubbey explains, "Showcasing an E85 fuel system in this vehicle makes a powerful statement about Holden and GM's commitment to developing alternative energy sources that reduce our dependence on petroleum-based products.
"It also demonstrates that drivers of alternative fuel vehicles don't have to sacrifice performance.
"Our sister brand Saab has led the way in promoting bio fuel technology to advance the public, political and commercial debate in this area. We want to add our voice to that debate whilst simultaneously looking at ways to further reduce fuel consumption in our existing engines."
The current VE sedan range of vehicles on sale in Australia are all E10 compatible with Holden's V6 engine built in Melbourne also converted to E24 in Commodores exported to Brazil.
In 2007 Holden added two new diesel engines to its product line up with the new 3.0 litre VCDi common rail turbo diesel for the Rodeo and Captiva's 2.0 litre common rail turbo diesel. This adds to the diesel options already offered in the Astra range.