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Sydney show: VE wagon tarts up family transport

Curve ball: The Sportwagon's curvaceous styling looks certain to reduce cargo capacity over its boxier predecessor.

Holden's all-new Sportwagon is the sexiest station wagon ever built in Australia

11 Oct 2007

ITS sleek new lines may have broken cover on the internet six weeks ago but GM Holden still managed to extract maximum exposure for its redesigned Commodore wagon at the Australian International Motor Show opening in Sydney this morning.

Officially dubbed the VE Commodore Sportwagon and due for release in the first half of next year (probably around Melbourne motor show time), the third and final VE derivative’s surprise world debut confirms Holden’s next-generation homegrown wagon will follow the VE Ute further down the lifestyle route.

Holden describes the stylish Sydney show car as a production-based concept car that heralds a new level of comfort, safety and styling in a Holden wagon. It is claimed to “put excitement back into practicality” and to appeal to both family and business buyers.

But the new wagon’s much rounder rear-end and confirmation it is based on the VE sedan’s (short) wheelbase means it is unlikely to match the current Commodore wagon’s fleet-oriented cargo capacity.

13 center imageHolden has, however, confirmed the VE wagon features a larger rear opening by hinging the tailgate further forward into the roof line, while ease of loading is aided by a higher load floor and a flexible cargo covers improves security.

In what appears to disprove reports it would offer the option of seven seats, Holden says the VE Sportwagon seats five adults in comfort and features a 60/40-split and flat-folding rear seat to accommodate longer or larger cargo.

Apart from featuring Calais V-Series equipment like a roof-mounted DVD player, Bluetooth capability, multi-function driver information display and front/rear parking sensors, the show car rides on 20-inch alloys and features unique chrome window trims and a unique interior colour combination.

As expected, Holden says the Commodore Sportwagon’s pricing, engine and model line-up will echo that of the VE sedan, meaning there will be entry-level, sports and luxury variants on offer, culminating in the flagship VE Calais V-Series Sportwagon. As with the VE sedan and ute, ESP stability control will be standard across the range.

Interestingly, however, the V8-powered Sydney concept was also chosen to showcase GM’s Active Fuel Management (AFM) and E85 “flex fuel” capability – technologies that are already available in the US. The former improves fuel consumption by disabling cylinders in light load conditions, while the latter allows the use of ethanol blended fuel (in this case 15 per cent – more than the E10 fuel Holden’s VE sedan can cope with) without sacrificing performance.

"Holden's new VE Sportwagon turns practi-cal into practi-cool," said GM Holden chairman and managing director Chris Gubbey. "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." While the Sportwagon was its headline act in Sydney, Holden’s stand also comprised 21 other vehicles including the special-edition Calais V-Series International sedan due in showrooms by late November. Available in both V6 and V8 auto guises, its extras include 19-inch SuperSport alloy wheels, unique interior trim, chrome-surround exterior door handles, colour satellite-navigation and alloy-faced pedals.

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