Full details of the forthcoming Holden VE Commodore wagon have leaked days before its official reveal at the 2007 Sydney motor show. And it confirms Drive.com.au's August report that Holden has sexed up the VE Commodore wagon, making it more of a Euro-chic sports wagon than the fleet-friendly load lugger it used to be.
Holden also believes that reinventing the Sportwagon as a more affordable alternative to European wagons from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz will draw more buyers to the brand.
Officially, the VE-based Commodore wagon Holden will display at the Sydney motor show is a concept only, but, as the leaked pictures show, the Commodore Sportwagon is production ready. Expect only the 20-inch wheels to be dropped for the production model, which goes on sale early in 2008.
For the first time, the wagon will be built on the shorter of the Holden Commodore's two platforms. This should allow Holden the necessary scope to improve the Sportwagon's dynamic abilities to better match its name.
A full range of models will be offered, starting with the Omega – which will no doubt do the majority of the fleet business – through to the mid-level Berlina and topped by the luxury Calais and Calais V. Holden will also offer a full range of sporting models – SV6, SS and SS-V – for the first time (Commodore SS wagons have been available in the past, but never a range like this).
Each Commodore Sportwagon model will mirror the equipment and safety levels of the equivalent sedan. Pricing has not been disclosed, but the wagon is likely to carry a $2000 premium over the sedan, which starts around $35,000.
The change in focus for the Commodore wagon from fleet-machine to stylish family wagon necessitated changes to the wagon's load area. The tailgate's hinges have been pushed further back into the roof to allow a wider opening, and to make loading easier. It's not known whether Holden has lifted the aircraft-style runners/adjustable luggage tie-down system from Saab, another GM-owned brand.
Engines for the rear-wheel-drive Sportwagon are also lifted straight from the VE Commodore sedan. The Omega and Berlina Sportwagon will have a 180kW version of the 3.6-litre six-cylinder engine, offered with a four-speed automatic transmission. The Calais and SV6 models will get the same engine in a higher-performance 195kW, and teamed with a five-speed automatic gearbox.
Calais and Calais V buyers will be able to option the 270kW, 6.0-litre V8 engine that is standard in SS and SS-V sports models. All V8s will be available with a six-speed automatic transmission; S and SS-V buyers will have to pay extra to upgrade from the standard six-speed manual.
Holden Commodore Sportwagon models will also benefit from recent tweaks to the Holden line-up, including a six-speed transmission for V8 models that deletes the transmission's sport/power button for a more user-friendly shift-to-the-side power mode.