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by Brett Davis

Holden has just released the 2011 Holden Commodore VE Series II which is Australia’s first car that offers flex-fuel technology. Both ordinary petrol and premium petrol can be used or E85 fuel, available at selected service stations.

E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent oil-based fuel. The good thing about E85 is it is more environmentally friendly and is able to burn slower, eliminating engine-killing detonation whilst enhancing performance, when compared to normal unleaded petrol. For most motorists, using E85 doesn’t really mean all that much, but the trend to use such a fuel has the potential to overtake and replace standard and premium petrol we’ve become used to. So having a car compatible and ready for this change can only be a good thing.

Anyway. The new Holden Commodore offers other improvements as well. It features cosmetic revisions, mainly to the front and rear bumper bars. There’s also a range of new technologies applied to the interior to enhance passive comfort and Holden’s 3.0-litre and 3.6-litre V6 engines have also been re-engineered and now produce less emissions and are more fuel efficient than the previous variants. Improvements also stand for 6.0-litre V8 engine models.

Although the Commodore Series II doesn’t look all that new from the outside – hence Series II – the guys at Holden have redesigned the front and rear to appear slightly more aggressive and more aero-friendly. There’s also a new grille and headlights and all sedan models are fitted with a rear lip spoiler mounted on the boot deck, for that aerodynamic touch.

Inside, there’s a new centre stack fascia with new illuminations and colours, new mouldings around the air vents and controls, and then there’s the ever-presence of Holden’s iQ display system. This is a 6.5 inch touch-screen moulded into the top centre of the dash, now standard on all models, even the base Omega. Also standard across the range is dual-zone climate control air-conditioning.

Other standard features inside include Bluetooth connectivity, iPod and MP3 compatibility and memory USB stick ports. This is all navigable through the 6.5 inch iQ screen. This screen also displays satellite navigation information – standard on SS-V, Calais-V and Caprice models.

Engine-wise, Holden’s 3.0-litre SIDI V6 has been made 2 percent more fuel efficient, now consuming 9.1L/100km in the Australian Design Rules official test. The 3.6-litre SIDI has also been made 3 percent more fuel efficient, while the 6.0-litre V8 models see fuel economy improvements of 6 percent. All V6 models now receive 4 stars in the Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide, too.

The 3.0-litre SIDI V6 and 6.0-litre V8 engines are the ones compatible with E85 fuel. The flex-fuel system allows the car to use organically-developed ethanol fuel at the standardised 85 percent ratio. Using this fuel is said to reduce CO2 emissions coming out from the tailpipe by as much as 40 percent. And it doesn’t matter if you top the car up on regular unleaded or premium unleaded either, the engine and its software will figure it all; there’s no need to ‘switch’ from fuel to fuel.

Mike Devereux, Holden chairman and managing director, said in a recent report,

“We have placed an enormous emphasis on developing technology that can be used in today’s vehicles to make driving better for the environment. That has included leading the way for Australian produced cars with bio-ethanol, providing motorists with a cleaner fuel alternative when filling up their car.”

Visit your local Holden dealer to check it all out. The car was launched just yesterday in Melbourne.




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