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by Tim Beissmann

The 2012 Holden Commodore will benefit from improved fuel efficiency for some automatic models, flex-fuel capability across the range, and some subtle design and equipment enhancements when it goes on sale in Australia from the middle of this month.

The fuel efficiency gains range from one to three per cent across the range of Commodore sedan, Sportwagon, Ute and Caprice vehicles equipped with the brand’s V6 engines and six-speed automatic transmission.

While the improvements are marginal, they achieve a major milestone from an image perspective for the brand, with the 3.0-litre Holden Commodore Omega sedan and Sportwagon and the Berlina sedan sliding from 9.1 litres/100km to 8.9 litres/100km on the combined cycle.

Importantly, the fuel consumption reductions mean the entry-level Commodore is now 1.0 litre/100km more efficient than the comparative Ford Falcon XT and the Toyota Aurion AT-X (both 9.9 litres/100km), and only 0.1 litres/100km shy of the outgoing Toyota Camry (8.8 litres/100km).

2012 Holden Commodore fuel efficiency improvements (all models not mentioned carry over figures from 2011 model year):

  • Omega/Berlina sedan 3.0 SIDI – 8.9 litres/100km (from 9.1)
  • SV6 sedan 3.6 SIDI – 9.5 litres/100km (from 9.8)
  • Calais/Calais V sedan 3.6 SIDI – 9.5 litres/100km (from 9.8)
  • Omega Sportwagon 3.0 SIDI – 8.9 litres/100km (from 9.2)
  • Berlina Sportwagon 3.0 SIDI – 9.2 litres/100km (from 9.4)
  • Calais/Calais V Sportwagon 3.6 SIDI – 9.8 litres/100km (from 9.9)
  • SV6 Ute 3.6 SIDI – 9.8 litres/100km (from 9.9)
  • Caprice 3.6 SIDI – 9.8 litres/100km (from 9.9)

As a result, the increased efficiency has also led to similar improvements in the Commodore’s CO2 emissions, ranging from one to 3.5 per cent reductions for the above models. The Omega Sportwagon enjoys the largest improvement, falling from 218g/km to 210g/km on the combined cycle.

Holden says the savings are the result of its ongoing work in vehicle mass reduction, along with upgrades to the six-speed automatic transmission to reduce mechanical losses. The 3.0 SIDI V6 variants also benefit from a new torque converter, while the air conditioning system has been re-engineered to be more efficient and draw less operating power.

Holden also confirmed the larger 3.6 SIDI V6 engine is now flex-fuel compatible, meaning every model in the new 2012 Commodore range can be powered by bio-ethanol/E85, which is a fuel blend comprising 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent petrol.

Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mike Devereux, said running a Commodore on bio-ethanol/E85 had the potential to reduce ‘well-to-wheel’ CO2 emissions by as much as 40 per cent compared with petrol.

Mr Devereux confirmed Holden would introduce a new range of dedicated LPG-powered models early in 2012 in an attempt to further reduce the Commodore’s emissions and running costs, and to offer competition to the new Ford Falcon EcoLPi.

“Alternative fuels like bio-ethanol and LPG offer great potential for Australia through reduced CO2 emissions, regional development and energy independence,” he said.

“Bringing more dedicated LPG and flex-fuel vehicles to market will help drive demand for these Australian-made fuels and demystify and make people aware of the benefits they offer.”

Mr Devereux said Holden was currently working on new features for future Commodores, including weight-saving aluminium body panels and electronic power steering.

Holden says the 2012 Holden Commodore model year update will also bring with it some “subtle design enhancements and other features”, which are set to be revealed in the coming days before the start of production. Stay tuned.

(Note: 2011 Holden Commodore pictured)




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