LPG wonder. The only difference is the tell-tale click.
With Holden introducing an LPG option across the Commodore range, the company is able to flex its green credentials and possibly cash in on a fluctuating petrol price.
The chance of saving on fuel will especially appeal to those looking at the Sportwagon variants where carting bulky loads and/or a family is a must.
Otherwise sitting in the cavernous interior can make a person feel really quite lonely without something to fill the warehouse-like space.
The size is quite deceptive as the Sportwagon is only is only a couple of millimetres longer than the sedan version which means parking is easy, especially with the sensors and an optional camera.
However it’s the engine which is the big story here.
The 3.6-litre V6 engine uses vapour injection which is better suited to Australia’s hotter conditions than liquid injection.
Holden said the vapour injection is also better suited to the variety of grades of LPG available around the country.
The engine replaces the old dual fuel LPG version and fractionally improves on power and torque which may be negligible but it does provide a smooth and steady drive with 180kW of power and 320Nm of torque.
The Berlina version handled much sharper than I expected and does not lack power – more than enough for the average car load of kids and stuff and there are no problems about getting a bit of speed up.
You would be hard pressed to pick it as an LPG engine save for the little tell-tale click as you turn the ignition key.
With a transmission choice limited to a six-speed automatic this is all about the simple drive of piling in people and luggage and taking off.
Holden’s figures of getting 700km from a single tank is easily achievable and the average fuel consumption rate of 12.3 litres per 100km which would definitely be on the high side for petrol but is an excellent figure for LPG.
The smooth drive also extends to comfort levels and all the room means there is plenty of space to go around for passengers and the rear seats fold down snugly should you need even more space.
The Berlina has a few nifty extras although the trip computer’s warnings of traffic light cameras and railway crossings can get a bit much.
Driving parallel to a railway line can lead to an incessant series of beeps letting you know you have just driven past another crossing which is a little unnecessary. I’ve usually found I can spot crossings by looking for the long metal tracks on the ground, especially if they happen a big train hurtling along.
The computer does have some handy functions however and the audio system is a doddle to navigate which is quite a feat considering the number of input options available (including a CD ripping feature which lets you create your own library of favourite albums).
As practical vehicles go there is a lot to love.
Fast facts: Berlina Sportwagon LPG
Engine: 3.6 litre V6 vapour injection
Power: 180kW (@6000rpm)
Torque: 320Nm (200rpm)
Fuel economy: 12.3 litres per 100km
Pricing: $45,490 (plus usual costs)
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