Aside from the United States, Australia has been considered one of the last bastions of the big rear wheel drive V8 sedan as a mainstream product. Like the U.S. for many years, successive models have gotten heavier, more powerful and thirstier. That situation appears to be changing, though, as GM's Australian branch, Holden, is actually reducing the power output of the base engine in the Commodore specifically to reduce fuel consumption. The base 2.8L V6 is going from 241 hp to 235 hp starting in November. That change should increase fuel mileage from 21.6 mpg to 22.2 mpg, a whopping 2.8 percent. OK, that isn't much but every little bit helps. It's estimated that drivers who accumulate 12,000 miles a year will save about $60 in fuel costs. Buyers who opt for the LPG-fueled version of the Commodore will see a more substantial improvement of 8.6 percent. What the Commodore really needs is a diet and something more substantial like a change to using a turbocharged four cylinder engine, or even a direct injected version of the V6. The 2.8L is a smaller displacement version of the 3.6L V6 that GM uses in a wide variety of U.S. models. A direct injected 3.0L has been rumored to be coming in 2009 that will match the performance of the current non-DI 3.6 with significantly better fuel efficiency.


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