Holden's take on Australia's cheap fuel - LPG.
- 2009 Holden Commodore Omega LPG Ute; 3.6-litre, six-cylinder, dual fuel; four-speed automatic; utility - $36,890*
- Metallic Paint $500 (Fitted - Nitrate Metallic); Six CD Stacker $595;
LPG integration; value for money; styling
By Paul Maric
While some tradesmen buy utilities to portray an image and to serve next to no function, HSV Maloo anyone, Holden and Ford still sell ‘grass roots’ utilities that serve both form and function.
I jumped behind the wheel of the base spec Holden Omega Ute, this one had a slight twist though, it was powered by Liquid Petroleum Gas – better known as LPG.
Inside the cabin, you’ll be hard pressed to spot any differences between the LPG powered Omega Ute and the dedicated petrol powered Omega Ute.
The in dash fuel gauge reads the amount of petrol available, while a little switch with LEDs next to the rubbish compartment controls the LPG system.
Holden’s LPG ute is a dual fuel arrangement – in comparison to the system Ford uses which is dedicated LPG, and as such, the vehicle still requires unleaded fuel to start and warm up the engine, hence the requirement for the petrol tank and petrol fuel gauge.
After starting, the system will automatically seamlessly switch to LPG (if selected) once it’s at operating temperature.
Holden took their designers and engineers to task with the VE Ute, giving it more room behind the driver and passenger seats and increasing the airy feel of the cabin.
The end result is a an impressive 220-litres of storage space behind the seats, leaving enough room to store odds and ends when you have a passenger on board – a common deficiency for single cab utes.
There’s plenty of plastic around the cabin though. It’s not hard to tell that you’re driving a base model and as such you miss out on some creature comforts like automatic climate control, six-stack CD player, alloy wheels and the like.
The steering wheel also feels exceptionally nasty. It’s made out of what appears to be a rubbery plastic which could whither away in the heat of a summer’s day.
On the flip side though, the interior is rugged and built for use, meaning that it should stand the test of time, especially for hard working tradies who depend on their utilities.
I guess you’re wondering where the LPG tank lives. Unfortunately the downside to vehicles fitted with LPG is that they require room to store the tank. In Holden’s case the 73-litre LPG tank lives between the cabin and the tray. The end result is the tray losing storage space due to the protruding LPG tank.
The plastic cover over the tank does a good job of concealing the 73-litre tank. But, a loose cover that obscures the emergency stop dials wouldn’t go back on once it was taken off. As a result it remained off, exposing the system to water until the vehicle was returned.
It was a bit disappointing to see the lack of a lock on the tray. It could be opened and closed irrespective of the vehicle’s lock status. So even if you were to fit a cargo cover, would be thieves could still take as they pleased from the tray.
While LPG has its advantages, the drive certainly wasn’t one of them.
The engine sounds much like any other Omega engine, but is totally let down by a four-speed gearbox that feels reminiscent of yesteryear. The gearbox results in slow acceleration and a total lack of response from the normally spritely engine.
Producing 175kW and 318Nm of torque, the combination is enough to keep most punters happy, but had yours truly a bit disappointed.
Holden engineers have perfected the ride quality though. The Omega Ute rides and handles just like its sedan counterpart, soaking up bumps in the road with great ease. You'd be hard pressed to notice any difference between the sedan and ute when it comes to handling and ride.
The official fuel consumption figure of the LPG powered Omega Ute is 15.1-litres/100km, but I achieved around 16.0-litres/100km on test.
Cargo capacity is reduced by 109kg due to the LPG tank, taking it down to 700kg. The braked towing capacity of 1600kg remains though.
The Holden Commodore range starts at $33,490, while the LPG Omega demands a $3400 premium. Buyers can also claim a $2000 rebate from the Federal Government to alleviate the extra cost of the system, effectively reducing the premium to $1400.
Holden’s take on the LPG work vehicle has proven to be a success and I like what they’ve done.
It most certainly won’t go anywhere in a hurry and isn’t loaded to the hilt with features, but performs as every tradesman would expect it to – well, at least it will for those tradesmen who don’t insist on having a V8 and losing their cargo capacity by lowering their ute and fitting it with flash wheels.
The Holden Commodore Omega LPG Ute is priced well and looks pretty good too in my opinion. If you’re a sensible tradie looking for an LPG utility and have Holden running through your veins, there’s no better option in my opinion.
EDIT: Images of tray added below.
CarAdvice Overall Rating:
How does it Look:
How does it Go:
- Engine: 3565cc V6
- Power: 175kW @ 6500rpm
- Torque: 318Nm @ 2400rpm
- Induction: Naturally aspirated
- Transmission: Four-speed automatic
- Driven Wheels: Rear
- Brakes: Four-wheel discs
- Top Speed: N/A
- 0-100km/h: N/A
- CO2 Emissions: 244g/km
- Fuel Consumption: 15.1-litres/100km (ADR combined)
- Fuel Consumption: 16.0-litres/100km (as tested)
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 73-litres
- Fuel Type: Unleaded and Liquid Petroleum Gas
- ANCAP Rating: Four star
- Airbags: Driver and passenger
- Safety: ABS brakes with EBD and BA. ESP.
- Spare Wheel: Full-size steel wheel
- Suspension: Independent front and rear
- Cargo Capacity: 700kg
- Tow Capacity: 1600kg (braked)
- Turning Circle: 11.3-metres
- Warranty: Three-year/100,000km
- Weight: 1745kg
- Wheels: 16-inch steel with 225/60R16 tyres