Holden Captiva 7 Series II 2011 Review

July 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

In the tough economic climate of 2011 carmakers need a full and strong repertoire of models to succeed. Holden knows this fact and has spent the last five years establishing itself as a brand with more to offer than just its Commodore flagship. The Captiva crossover has been key in helping Holden broaden its appeal since its debut in 2006. For 2011, it’s been updated with an extensive facelift and a new engine range, but will these changes tempt buyers away from competition like the Toyota Highlander and the Ford Territory? Recently, Car and SUV was surprised by the improvements and advancements Holden has made to its Series II Cruze small sedan, and was keen to see if it could repeat that success with the Captiva. After a week driving the new 2011 Captiva 7 LX we found the answers.

The 2011 Captiva is again built in two models (five-seat and seven-seat), with the larger Captiva 7 available in three trim levels – SX, CX and LX. Our test subject was the top dog of the pack, a Captiva 7 in highest-spec LX grade.

Visually the new Captiva has been worked over with some major cosmetic changes, particularly at the front. The LX model has a modern and aggressive appeal lead out by a new front grille, projector-style headlamps, wide blackened-out lower air dam and a more sculptured bonnet. The rear end changes are subtler and include new clear taillights and chrome trim with a low silver diffuser and twin tail pipes adding a sporty touch. Completing the top-spec look on the LX are chunky 5-spoke 19-inch alloys, plenty of chrome work and recessed front fog lamps. Overall, the styling updates are very effective in giving the Captiva a purposeful, contemporary look and offering buyers visual reasons to opt for the 2011 model. Continue reading “Holden Captiva 7 Series II 2011 Review” »

Holden Cruze SRi-V Series II 2011 Review

July 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Sequels don’t often live up to expectations but the Series II Holden Cruze might just buck that trend. Like a rock band recording a second album Holden had to get a new take on a now familiar sound. Shifting production of the Cruze from Korea to Australia has given the small sedan a positive new flavour. It’s received cosmetic tweaks revised suspension and in our tested SRi-V variant – a new turbocharged powerplant. Car and SUV spent some time with the Series II Cruze to find out if this sequel tastes sweeter than the original formula.

The Australian sourced Cruze has received some subtle styling tweaks to boost the vehicles appeal to a local palate. The grille and front indicators have been replaced and chrome trim has been used more extensively across the range. Our top-spec SRi-V model has been given the sporty treatment with a full body kit, bootlid spoiler, fog lamps, chrome door handles and 5-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels. The result is a very handsome small sedan with brawny big car styling in a compact body. The coupe-like roofline, broad shoulders and sharp creases work together nicely to give this sporty Cruze genuine road presence. Continue reading “Holden Cruze SRi-V Series II 2011 Review” »

Holden Commodore SV6 2011 Review

February 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It wasn’t that long ago when those who wanted a hard performing large sedan simply had to pony up for the eight-cylinder model. But with continuing advancements in V6 engine technology those days are now history. Case and point is Holden’s recently updated Commodore SV6 that flies the flag for sports style and V6 performance within the wider Commodore range. The SV6 has taken some time to step out of the shadow of the more coveted SS Commodore but with an updated design and impressive fuel economy the SV6 isn’t just making up the numbers — it’s come to play. To find out more Car and SUV got into the driver’s seat of the SV6 to do the sums and work out if six can ever be greater than eight.

Previously, Holden’s sports-focused six-cylinder has been little more than a dress up job with some larger rims and a kit borrowed from the SS. That has changed with the Series II updates and although the styling remains suitably aggressive it’s a new powertrain that has made a big difference. Under the SV6’s bonnet lies Holden’s recently developed 3.6-litre SIDI (Spark Ignition Direct Injection) V6 engine. It’s a smooth and powerful unit that delivers 210kW of power and a full 350Nm compliment of torque. These are impressive figures for a naturally aspirated six and have been made possible by the SIDI system. The engine has fuel injectors in the combustion chamber with a high-pressure fuel rail sending transporting the juice. This creates a stronger detonation helping develop more grunt while improving fuel economy. It’s a modern engine that has significantly reduced emissions over its predecessor and can achieve a 9.8l/100km fuel economy figure with 91RON petrol. Continue reading “Holden Commodore SV6 2011 Review” »

Holden Omega SII Sportwagon 2011 Review

January 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Holden station wagons are known to many Kiwis as the quintessential family hauler, which when mentioned can easily trigger nostalgia and stories of camping trips away. Able to accommodate mum, dad the kids and even the dog there has never been any doubt of the Holden wagons practical value. However, times change and now Holden’s large wagon needs to compete not just against other wagons but also SUVs and crossover vehicles. The only way to stay ahead is to retain the traditional practicality while placing extra focus on aesthetics and fuel economy. The VE Series Commodore Sportwagon has done just that and the base-model Omega has an extra weapon — price. After a mid-cycle refresh the new Series II Omega is looking better than ever but can it put a stop to buyers deserting wagons for crossover vehicles. Car and SUV spent a week playing happy families with the latest Omega Sportwagon to find out.

The new Series II upgrades have been particularly kind to the Omega and while it remains the budget model in the Commodore range the once large gap between itself and the other model variants has closed up. Visually, the Omega is looking sharp, the updates have brought subtle changes to the front end including a larger chrome-rimmed grille and new yet familiar-looking headlights. At the rear, changes include chrome detailing and a revised boot lid with integrated aerodynamic spoiler. You can forget any no frills steel wheels as well because the Omega comes sporting a set of 7-spoke 16-inch alloys. While the alloys don’t quite fill the large guards they add largely to the huge improvement in presentation. Overall, the styling is spot on, the Omega exterior offers no clues to its base-model status, it also has some fine detailing like colour coded caps on the side mirrors and black painted dual exhaust tips. Continue reading “Holden Omega SII Sportwagon 2011 Review” »

Holden reveals new Commodore VE Series II range

September 1st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Holden Australia has just revealed its new Commodore VE Series II vehicle range which comes with various improvements, including an added E85 bio-fuel capability. It’s the first major update to the fourth-generation VE Commodore since its launch back in 2006.

The VE Series II introduces a new flex-fuel capability on its 3.0-litre V6 engine and  6.0-litre V8 mill which allows both to run on E85 bio-ethanol. Aside from the flex-fuel capability the mechanical package remains mostly unchanged. However, the Series II promises to offer improved fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions across the range.

There are a range of interior and exterior styling updates and a new 6.5-inch full colour touch-screen infotainment system called Holden-iQ. This new control system will be standard in all Commodore models (except Ute) and will include Bluetooth connectivity.

In terms of exterior design, it’s a subtle facelift with all models featuring various new front fascias, grilles and headlamps. There’s also an integrated aerodynamic lip and new wheel options.

Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux said that the Series II VE Commodore reflects Holden’s focus on ongoing improvements for the top-selling model.

“Our customers have been telling us they want to see our models refreshed with greater functionality from Omega to Caprice,” Devereux said. “We have listened and responded in a way that continues to position Commodore as the smart choice for Australian motorists.”

Holden will reveal full pricing and availability for the 2011 VE Series Holden Commodore on September 10, when the model officially launches.

For more information on the Commodore Series II range, check out the detailed official press release below, and more images in the gallery. Continue reading “Holden reveals new Commodore VE Series II range” »