Holden Barina Sedan 2012 Review

February 29th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

We reviewed the hatchback Barina back in December, so what’s the big deal with the new sedan version? Well, the big deal is the voluminous boot. It’s large enough for you to take up a career as a mafia hitman and not bother driving to the woods between targets. In fact, at a whopping 502 litres, it’s bigger than a Commodore’s boot by six litres.

Despite its new-found booty, it’s manoeuvrable, and easy to judge the corners. I had a gig at Cornwall Park on a very sunny day and I managed to park the Barina in a space 12 inches longer than the car (if that), even without parking sensors. The omission of parking sensors is annoying, though. All cars should have them these days.

Quite often when you take a hatchback and stick on a boot the result looks like you’ve taken the cutest little Maltese cross and strapped a beer fridge to its backside. This isn’t the case with the Barina. Aside from looking a little blunt at the front end, the lines work really well, with the rear window segueing nicely into the boot lid. The strong crease in the flank and the line across the boot combine with the stubby nose to give a sense of forward motion when standing still. The naked headlights give the Barina a styling edge and the whole aura of the car has gone from a definitely Continue reading “Holden Barina Sedan 2012 Review” »

Production Commences on All-New Dedicated LPG Commodore

February 29th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Production commenced yesterday on the all-new dedicated LPG Commodore at Holden’s Vehicle Operations in Elizabeth, South Australia.

The new LPG system will be available in models across Commodore variants for New Zealand customers including Sedan, Sportwagon and Caprice.

Plant Launch Operations Manager, Tony Sylvester said the introduction of the new LPG Commodore to the plant required a number of operational and technical enhancements that were integrated into the build process to accommodate the new model and technology.

“A number of changes across the site were made with the introduction of this model including unique body panels, changes to the facia assemblies moulded in our Plastics operations and a completely new fuel system put into place in General Assembly,” he said.

Previously the LPG fitment of the dual fuel vehicles was completed off line however, the introduction of the dedicated LPG system now required the capability to fuel vehicles with LPG during the build process to enable the car to be driven off the end of the line.

Holden has taken an innovative approach to overcome the cost and complexity of adding an additional fuel line into the plant. Holden Engineers have worked with the tank supplier to come up with the solution of providing pre-fuelled tanks which are then installed as part of the build process on the Chassis Line.

“By having the LPG tanks pre-fuelled when supplied has eliminated the need to install an LPG fuel line in the plant resulting in reduced costs for the program, increased productivity and has ensured that the introduction of the new model into the plant is smooth as possible,” Mr Sylvester said.

Holden’s Ecoline was launched in 2008 in order to create better fuel efficiencies for today and next generation fuel advances for tomorrow that are not only better for the environment and affordable for the typical family but also to provide greater options from the Holden brand.

Four years later, Holden’s philosophy has not changed and the all-new dedicated LPG system perfectly epitomises the future-friendly strategy.

The dedicated LPG fuel system joins the line-up of Ecoline badged models currently produced at the Elizabeth plant that includes E85 capability across all Commodore and Caprice models, Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI) on V6 models, Active Fuel Management (AFM) on automatic V8 models and a 2.0-litre diesel offering for the Cruze sedan and hatch.

“Whether it is performance, economy or size as the main driver for the customer’s purchase we have the flexibility and skill at our South Australian facility to build a variety of combinations to meet their needs,” Mr Sylvester said.

New Zealand technology company, Propane Performance Industries, has been working closely with Holden over the past two years to prepare for the launch of LPG Commodore and CEO Andrew Rodwell said it has been an exciting time.

“We have developed a great working relationship with Holden and we feel proud to have been a part of this incredible innovation and being able to provide our services to such an iconic car company,” Mr Rodwell said.

The introduction of the dedicated LPG Commodore is the latest model launch for Holden Vehicle Operations that in the last 12 months has seen the launch of the locally made Cruze sedan and hatch line-up, model year enhancements to the Commodore and the introduction of the Chevrolet Police car program.

The all-new dedicated LPG range will be available in dealerships from next month.

Holden Barina 2012 Review

December 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Barina just got meaner. All poetic attempts aside, the new face of Holden’s Barina leads its sportier pretences, and it works. In our review of the previous Barina Spark we noted ‘brave and modern exterior design.’ Reading between the lines, this means that the design could have left some of you a tad cold, and to be honest, it did have a mish-mash of lines.

The meaner Barina, though, has no such trouble. The design is much more purposeful and coherent. From the new exposed angular headlights and creased flanks to the wheel arches that accentuate the tasteful alloys, the Barina has an attitude that moves it away from the feminine and into neutral territory. Yes, you can still drive this if you are female of any age, but it’s masculine enough, too.

The external design features rear door handles situated just behind the rear window. All doors open freely and getting in and out of the Barina is easy. Continue reading “Holden Barina 2012 Review” »

HDT builds Peter Brock tribute Commodore

October 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

While not as famous as HSV the Holden Dealer Team (HDT) will be familiar to many Holden enthusiasts. HDT was the go-to tuning division for Holden in the 1980s and was run by Kiwi race legend Peter Brock – the nine-time Bathurst 1000 winner.

The wheels came off the partnership partly because of Brock’s belief in a component called the “Energy Polarizer”, which he began fitting to special performance Holden Commodores being built by HDT during the 1980s.

The Energy Polarizer was a largely unproven device said to align the various energies of the car to give it a boost in performance. It never really became an accepted performance modification.

Sadly, Brock died while driving in a rally in Australia on September 8, 2006.

Now as a contemporary tribute to Brock and his motorsport legacy, the crew at HDT have built a limited run of retro-styled Holden Commodore sedans designed to reflect the performance models launched during the Brock days. HDT have named these cars the Heritage Series and have design cues taken from the legendary VL Group A Commodore. Continue reading “HDT builds Peter Brock tribute Commodore” »

2012 Isuzu D-Max ute revealed in Thailand

October 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Isuzu has revealed its 2012 D-Max ute at an event in Thailand before it goes on sale in selected markets from later this year.

The reveal follows the unveiling last week of the 2012 Holden/Chevrolet Colorado on which it is based.

The new D-Max shares the basics of its ladder-chassis platform and mechanical components with the 2012 Colorado but Isuzu’s ute gets a unique appearance. It will be distinguished by unique upswept headlights and a more conventional three-bar grille design.

In the cabin the D-Max will be almost identical to the Colorado with it’s dashboard, control stack and steering wheel all matching up with Holden’s next ute.

While full details for the new D-Max haven’t been revealed just yet, Isuzu has confirmed that a choice of two 2.5 litre diesel engines will be offered. Expect outputs of 85kW with 350Nm of torque for the lower spec diesel mill and 110kW with 470Nm for the higher spec model. There will also be an upgraded version of Isuzu’s 3.0 litre diesel which delivers 130kW and 380Nm of torque. Continue reading “2012 Isuzu D-Max ute revealed in Thailand” »

New 2012 Holden Colorado revealed in production Chevrolet form

October 6th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

General Motors has revealed the production version of its 2012 Chevrolet Colorado which will be rebadged as the Holden Colorado when it arrives in NZ next year.

The new Colorado was unveiled in Thailand where it will enter the local market shortly. Holden hasn’t officially announced a schedule for its entry into the Australian and NZ markets.

According to GM, the Colorado is the end result of a vehicle program that began five years ago and cost $2 billion USD. It will be offered globally with a total of 26 variants, two diesel engines, two- and four-wheel-drive layouts, different ride heights, wide and narrow body styles and various cab options.

Engine options will include two Duramax four-cylinder diesel engines. One will be a 2.5 litre motor and the other a larger 2.8 litre unit. The 2.5 litre mill produces 110kW and 350Nm of torque, the 2.8 litre turbodiesel pumps out 132kW and 470Nm of torque when mated to the six-speed auto box. In five-speed manual form the engine is tuned to output 440Nm of torque. For now there is no word on any petrol-powered variants. Continue reading “New 2012 Holden Colorado revealed in production Chevrolet form” »

Holden Cruze hatch arriving in NZ with five-star safety

October 6th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Holden’s Cruze hatchback will be arriving here in NZ shortly and will arrive with the highest possible five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Launching in November, the GM Holden designed and built Cruze hatch maintains the same safety standards set by the Series II Cruze sedan, which went on sale here earlier this year.

Like the sedan, the hatch receives the maximum safety rating thanks to a range of active and passive safety features included as standard.

Six airbags including driver and front passenger, front side impact and side curtain airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock braking system, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control and a collapsible pedal assembly system all come as standard kit.

The entire Cruze range benefits from a robust body structure and a advanced chassis system, which delivers accident avoidance capabilities. There’s also energy-absorbing load paths that protect the passenger safety cell and offer optimum protection in the event of a collision. Continue reading “Holden Cruze hatch arriving in NZ with five-star safety” »

New 2012 Holden Barina scores 5-Star safety rating

September 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The upcoming 2012 Holden Barina hatch has been awarded a maximum five-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

The new hatch is set to go on sale later this year, with a long list of standard safety features which will make it one of the safer options in the segment. Safety features on the all-new car include driver, front passenger, front side and curtain airbags, dual front seatbelt pretensioners, seatbelt reminders, Electronic Stability Control, a collapsible pedal release system and head restraints for all seats.

Holden New Zealand Managing Director, Jeff Murray, said the result proved that when it comes to buying a small car you don’t need to compromise on safety. “We are very happy with this result, it absolutely reflects the commitment Holden has made to ensuring the Barina is one of the safest small cars on the road,” Murray said. “Now a large number of safety features are accessible to all Holden customers, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be dependent upon budget or car size.” Continue reading “New 2012 Holden Barina scores 5-Star safety rating” »