November 6th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham
Three friends and I headed to Hamilton and one of our road trip topics was riddles. You can cover some distance figuring out some serious conundrums and it’s better than playing I spy.
The situation the Commodore SS finds itself in is a conundrum, too. To all intents and purposes it’s a dinosaur; a heavy, front-engined, rear-wheel-drive V8 that doesn’t pretend that it will go off-road.
Taking a look at the supposedly more highly evolved competition you see entire genera of vehicles like compact SUVs and crossovers – they’re new and trendy. They’re ‘evolved’. We appear to have moved on from the 1980s and people don’t want big four-door sedans.
People are wrong. The Commodore is every bit as safe as an SUV with its 5-star ANCAP crash rating, it handles better due to its lower centre of gravity, for the performance it has comparable fuel economy with SUVs of similar acceleration, and at $61,490 you can’t get a ‘performance’ SUV. It’s not going to fit as much luggage, but it does come with a large boot that’s enough for four people’s gear (495 litres).
The Holden will park itself in parallel or right angle parks using Automatic Park Assist. You just need to control the throttle, brake and transmission. If you’re reversing out of a right angle park, the Reverse Traffic Alert warns you if a vehicle is approaching in your blind spots. And speaking of blind spots, when you are driving along, the Commodore constantly scans them and warns you using an orange light in each wing mirror if another vehicle might be in a place where you can’t easily see it. Continue reading “Holden Commodore SS 2013 Review” »
May 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Holden’s much hyped and anticipated Cruze hatch has just entered its testing stage before the model is introduced later this year. In a statement Holden has announced the news and released two new photos of the upcoming five-door hatchback which was designed at Holden’s Port Melbourne studio.
General Motors previewed the Cruze hatch in Chevrolet form (for global markets) early last year and then the production model made its world premiere at this year’s Geneva Salon.
Holden is still to release full technical details on the Cruze hatch, but it’s very likely the hatchback’s engine range will mirror that of the Cruze II sedan. The model pictured in the official photographs is equipped with a diesel engine, possibly the same 2.0-litre turbo diesel currently offered in the update four-door Cruze. Continue reading “Holden commences local testing of Cruze hatch” »
April 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Holden’s ute is celebrating its 60th anniversary and to mark the occasion the Thunder Ute is back for the Aussie market.
This new VE Series II take on the previously popular special edition looks sharp with some light cosmetic additions and is set to go on sale across Australia from next week.
The Thunder Ute will be available in SV6 and SS trim with plenty of extra kit included. Special features in both models include 19-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation, leather seat bolsters and special-edition Thunder badging inside and out.
“It is a really bold, tough looking ute which we think will appeal to many of our traditional sports ute buyers,” Holden Australia Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales John Elsworth said.
In terms of powertrains there is no additional grunt over the standard models with Thunder ute offered with Holden’s 210kW/350Nm 3.6 litre SIDI petrol V6 and 270kW/530Nm 6.0 litre petrol V8. Continue reading “Holden marks ute 60th anniversary with Thunder Edition” »
April 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
When the Pontiac brand was killed off in the States so was the Holden Commodore, but at that time financially desperate General Motors had little idea of the following that the Commodore/Pontiac G8 already had.
Now, after serious demand, the Commodore will likely return to the U.S market badged as a Chevrolet SS sedan. There is also a chance that the Commodore’s ute and wagon form will also be sold in the states, but they remain unapproved at this stage. The Commodore ute would likely receive the El Camino moniker and the long back car would keep the SportWagon name.
If the Commodores do make it to the States in Chevy trim it won’t likely be until early 2013 as GM is waiting for the next-generation “VF” Commodore to be developed by Holden. GM will be most interested in performance models for the American market so expect Holden’s exports to be mostly V8 powered. Continue reading “Holden Commodore ready for next O.E in American market” »
March 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
It’s been rumoured for some time now and in Singapore a cosmetic version was released (pictured), but the sports-focused Cruze SS could be closer to reality than ever before.
Holden looks set to take the reins on building a higher-performance Cruze with the SS name plate already being mentioned. While nothing is certain at this stage if Holden gets to work on a Cruze SS it could be on the road in just one year.
Currently, Holden has been developing a revised suspension and steering setup for the Cruze. There is also talk that the 1.6-litre turbo engine found in the Astra in Europe is a possibility for the Cruze as well.
But it’s another possible engine option that has performance car fans excited – the 208kW 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder from the Opel OPC Concept shown at last year’s Paris Auto Show.
Holden’s ultimate plan for the Cruze is to eventually compete directly with the Mazda3’s range, with sport and standard powertrains, hatch and sedan bodystyles, and a range of trim levels. That plan won’t be possible in all markets, but Holden’s powertrain and suspension work could prove very valuable for GM.
If the Holden Cruze SS does make it to production don’t expect it any sooner than the end of the year. Till then check back for more info as it becomes available.
January 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Chevrolet has revealed the special-edition Camaro Convertible which will serve as the official pace car of the 2011 Indianapolis 500. The retro inspired Camaro is the 22nd Chevrolet chosen to pace the Indy 500 and is the seventh Camaro. Their will be 50 Indianapolis 500 Festival Committee cars built and they will all be styled after the iconic 1969 pace car – replicas of which have become among the most popular Camaros in the collector world.
The pace car, along with the matching festival cars, features a Summit White exterior accented with orange stripes and door graphics. The interior is trimmed in orange leather, including front seat headrests embossed with the Indy 500 logo, along with white door panels and instrument panel trim. The instrument panel trim features extensions of the orange exterior stripes.
The pace car, along with the matching replicas are all based on the SS model and are equipped with a 400-horsepower V8 engine.
“’It’s an honor for Chevrolet to pace the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, especially during this landmark year,” said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. “This is also a great opportunity for us to build on Camaro’s strong momentum, while supporting an important charity.”
Continue reading “Chevrolet Camaro convertible revealed as 2011 Indy 500 pace car” »
December 21st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
The new Chevrolet Camaro is on the verge of its European launch and to help gain interest in the iconic American machine GM has teamed up with tuning firm Irmscher to release a limited production version of its i42 Camaro study.
First shown at the Essen Motor Show the i42 Camaro was built by Irmscher with help from Auto Magnus und Velocity Performance Parts. The special edition is based on the Camaro SS with its 6.2-litre V8 engine, but the i42 has a range of upgrades, the most important being the addition of a supercharger and a new custom exhaust system. The modifications increase power output to 509-horsepower and enables the i42 Camaro a 0-100km/h sprint time of about 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 275 km/h.
The brakes have also been upgraded and now use 380 mm front discs with 6 piston calipers and 355 mm rear discs with 4 piston calipers. There’s an adjustable sports suspension and the car now rides on new 22-inch alloy wheels with a unique black and silver design. The look is suitably finished with black racing stripes and matching “Since 68” logos.
Depending on optional equipment the Irmscher i42 Camaro will be sold in Germany from â‚¬49,000.
November 12th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
While their rugby may of turned to jelly that’s still not going to stop the men of South Africa from enjoying hairy-chested V8 sports utes. One of the meanest ute machines to be conceived over there is a high-powered version of what we call the Holden SS Ute but is badged in S.A as the Chevy Ute SS.
Turning the screws is South African tuner LupiniPower which has pumped up this Chevy pickup to an output of 399 kW with 799 Nm of twist from the supercharged 6.0 litre V8 power plant. Performance is very impressive with the 0 to 100 km/h sprint taking just 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 282 km/h.
LupiniPower also provides a suspension ‘tweak’ for better handling and race-spec front disc brakes and calipers. Packing the guards are 20-inch alloy wheels, with 8.5 x 20-inch rims at the front and 10 x 20-inch at the back, wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE050 ultra-high performance tyres. A full Bilstein suspension and a limited-slip differential for can be fitted as an option.
All this power and those fancy Chevy badges don’t come cheap and the tuner’s all-inclusive price for the SportUte SS is $117,000 NZD. Continue reading “South African tuner builds high-power Holden/Chevy ute” »