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by Tim Beissmann

The Holden Volt will be priced from $59,990 when it goes on sale in Australia later this year, making the five-door four-seat hatchback $8450 more expensive than its key alternative-energy rival, the recently launched all-electric Nissan Leaf.

To offset its premium pricing, the Cruze-sized extended-range electric Volt will feature a comprehensive standard equipment list, including innovative safety systems and high-tech infotainment features not found in the similarly priced luxury Caprice.

Forward collision alert and lane departure warning – both firsts for Holden – headline the Volt’s advanced safety package.

Forward collision alert employs sensors on the windscreen to warn drivers with an audible alarm if they are travelling too close to the vehicle in front, while lane departure warning uses a windscreen-based camera to detect if the driver swerves or veers out of a marked lane without indicating.

The Volt also features eight airbags (dual front, side, curtain, and knee bags), electronic stability control, and a rear-view camera displayed through the dash-mounted seven-inch touch screen.

The full-colour LCD screen also displays the Volt’s satellite navigation, DVD playback, Bluetooth with voice recognition, and USB connectivity with iPod integration. A 30GB hard drive allows owners to store their own music on-board and play it back through the Volt’s six-speaker premium Bose audio system with amplifier and subwoofer.

Other standard features inside the cabin include cruise control, climate control, electrochromatic rear-view mirror, keyless entry and push-button start, and leather upholstery with heated front sports seats.

Outside, the Volt scores 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, mirror-mounted indicators, front and rear parking sensors, and a charge cord set. It can be ordered in five different colours: White Diamond, Nitrate Silver, Urban Fresh, Crystal Claret, and Black.

The Holden Volt features a lithium-ion battery pack and an electric drive unit that give the hatchback a pure electric driving range of up to 87km. A 1.4-litre petrol engine acts as a generator to extend the Volt’s range. It recharges the battery to continue powering the electric motor, giving the Volt a potential range of more 600km depending on conditions.

Three driving modes can be selected: Normal, Sport and Hold. Sport mode is designed to maximise driving enjoyment by sharpening response times and feedback, while Hold mode conserves power in the battery and maintains an electric charge from the petrol generator.

Every one of the 161 components of the Volt’s lithium-ion battery, its charging and thermal-management systems and components of its electric drive system are covered by an eight-year/160,000km warranty, which is transferable to other vehicle owners.

Holden has also revealed capped price servicing of $185 for the first four scheduled log book services for the first three years or 60,000km – whichever comes first.

The Volt is available to order now from Holden’s 49 approved Volt dealerships, with customers expected to take delivery of the first cars from November.