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Sydney show: Hollywood Hummer destined for Oz

No-so hefty Hummer: The H3 is aimed at the Toyota LandCruiser.

Hummer joins Astra TwinTop convertible in ever-expanding Holden portfolio

26 Oct 2006

IT is official: GM Holden used this morning's Sydney motor show opening to confirm it will introduce America's legendary Hummer brand into Australia by mid-2007.

Holden's executive director of sales, marketing and aftersales, Alan Batey, pulled the covers off Hummer's smallest model, the H3 wagon, which will single-handedly represent the GM-owned US brand here for the time being.

Powered by a 3.7-litre in-line five-cylinder DOHC petrol engine with variable valve timing, mated to either five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions, the H3 delivers 180kW at 5600rpm and 328Nm of torque at 4600rpm to all four wheels via a permanent electronic AWD system.

Stability control, traction control and side curtain airbags will be standard. Apart from the petrol 3.7-litre, a diesel engine is also believed to be in the pipeline.

Holden is quick to point out the H3 is shorter – and has a tighter turning circle at 11.3m than – Ford's Territory.

Although converted examples of the H3 and its larger Hummer stablemates have long been available here unofficially, Australia will be among the first right-hand drive nations in the world to receive the brand from GM's dedicated RHD production plant at Elizabeth, South Africa.

Pricing, full specifications and distribution details will be available at launch, but Holden says H3 will be priced to compete with similarly sized (large) SUVs such as Toyota's top-selling LandCruiser.

Among its off-road capabilities, the H3 can ford 407mm of water at 32km/h or 610mm streams at an 8 km/h pace, 407mm vertical steps and rocks, and make its way through deep sand and race over sandy surfaces.

The H3 has 216mm ground clearance and maximum break-over angle of 23.5 degrees, which make it possible to clear large obstacles in off-road driving.

Serious off-road performance is aided by the maximum approach angle of 37.5 degrees and maximum departure angle of 34.6 degrees.

59 center imageLeft: Astra TwinTop.

According to US EPA city/highway measurements, converted to metric, the H3 achieves fuel economy 15.6L/100km/11.7L/100km for the manual and 15.6L/100km/12.3L/100km for the automatic.

Fuel efficiency testing under the relevant Australian Design Rule will be carried out in due course.

Holden also announced pricing and specifications for its redesigned Astra TwinTop coupe-convertible, which goes on sale in December at $45,490 for the six-speed manual and $47,490 for the five-speed automatic.

Aimed directly at Ford’s Focus coupe-convertible, which also made its production debut in Sydney, the new Astra CC is powered by a 110kW/215Nm 2.2-litre direct-injection four-cylinder Ecotec engine, making it the first Astra to offer direct fuel injection.

A bigger brother to the XC Tigra (known as the Corsa TwinTop in Europe), the four-seater AH Astra TwinTop features a three-piece retractable hard top that opens in 30 seconds by remote control and offers 205 litres of luggage space (440 with the roof closed).

ESP stability control, 17-inch alloy wheels, twin front and side airbags, leather-faced seats, a six-CD sound system and rear parking sensors are standard. Metallic paint is a $360 option.

Adding yet more incremental sales for Holden's second biggest-selling model behind Commodore will be a new pair of SRi-badged Astra hatches, also revealed in Sydney today.

Powered by the same engine as the TwinTop, the three-door Astra SRi coupe will be available from December, priced at $30,490 ($32,490 auto), while the five-door Astra SRi hatch carries a price of $29,990 ($31,990 auto).

Standard equipment and options echo that of the TwinTop, apart from a "sports chassis pack", lower sports bodykit and a rear roof spoiler.

Launched last month and already on sale, Holden's VE Commodore sedan and WM Statesman/Caprice models also made their Australian motor show debut today, as did the Opel Antara-based Captiva Maxx variant (an example of the lesser Captiva variants appeared at this year’s Melbourne motor show).

Since last week, the VE Commodore, and the continuing VZ Commodore Executive wagon, Acclaim wagon and Holden Ute, have been the beneficiaries of GMH's new dual-fuel Alloytec 3.6-litre V6 engine.

Available on the VE Omega, Berlina and Commodore V-Series special edition models, the dual-fuel option costs $3900 and delivers peak power of 175kW at 6000rpm (petrol 180kW at 6000rpm) and peak torque is 325Nm at 2600rpm (petrol 330Nm at 2600 rpm). This compares to Ford's dedicated E-Gas Falcon output of 156kW at 5000rpm and 370Nm at 2750rpm.

One model that was missing from Holden's bumper Sydney show exhibit was the GM Daewoo-built Epica, which was expected to fight Camry in the mid-size sedan segment from late this year.

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