The closure of Holden in Australia has been a drawn-out affair, and yet the decision by General Motors to shut the company down still feels as shocking and undeserved to many of us as the day the news broke on CarAdvice.
As the ink dries on agreements made between Detroit lawyers and dealership owners, we day-dream as to what the Holden model range might have looked like if things had gone a little differently in recent years. If the Holden brand hadn't been given up on, if both overseas and local bosses had injected a little more support and imagination, and sales had maintained at least some of the momentum the company had enjoyed in decades past.
Yes, this is an exercise in fantasy. What we've done here is cherry-picked from the left-hand-drive General Motors range across the globe – cost and practicality be damned – and asked what might have been. In this imagined 2021 Holden line-up, we've filled the most popular segments with some fresh faces and familiar names.
Thanks to CarAdvice contributor Alex Misoyannis for many of these images.
Holden Barina City
The nameplate may be old, but the thinking is new. Based on the Chevrolet Bolt, this fully electric hatch provides around 416km of range – well beyond what most people need each day – and would be a viable alternative in the coming wave of electric vehicles.
The Barina City is a modern take on the light car segment, and designed for the majority of Australians who live in a capital city.
The sub-seven-second 0–100km/h time may not be blisteringly fast, but the 150kW electric motor gives more performance than is needed in town, while fast-charging allows 160km of range in around 30 minutes.
This is the next step up in the electric vehicle line-up, offering buyers a practical solution to plug-in hybrid vehicle ownership. As a right-hand-drive version of the Buick Velite 6, the Astra wagon uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to an electric motor, and powered by a 9.5kWh battery pack.
The car can be driven in fully electric mode in the city, while the petrol engine gives the vehicle a total range of 780km. The Astra is a smart and practical small wagon best suited for small families and company fleets.
Based on the Chevrolet Trailblazer, the Holden Frontera is a small SUV aimed at younger folk, offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 10 airbags, and all-wheel-drive traction. The 1.3-litre turbo engine and nine-speed automatic ain't quick by any standard, but competes in the same realm as the Toyota C-HR and Kia Seltos.
But what it lacks in power it makes up for in space, with the Frontera's boxy design allowing plenty of options for transporting people and things. This is an SUV for the outdoors that would make Subaru sweat.
There's no doubt that Australians love their utes, and the Holden Colorado was a serious contender in this segment for many years. This new model is based on the Chevrolet Colorado, and while it shares the same name as the Holden ute previously sold here, it is a different vehicle with a distinctly American flavour.
With the popularity of pick-ups growing in Australia, this chunkier Colorado could hit the sweet spot for ute buyers, offering an alternative to the Japanese dual-cab utes currently in the market. The 3.6-litre petrol V6 puts out 230kW/500Nm, while a 2.8-litre turbo diesel Duramax offers 135kW/500Nm. Available in either two-wheel or four-wheel drive, and with two-door extra-cab or dual-cab bodies.
The first Acadia from Holden felt like it was taken away as quickly as it was announced, giving us a taste of a new direction from Holden – and we liked it. This updated Acadia is a seven-seater SUV based on the Buick Enclave II, competing with the likes of the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, but with a bolder, more upmarket disposition.
The 3.6-litre V6 provides a healthy 230kW of power, and is coupled to a nine-speed automatic with all-wheel drive. Plenty of space, lots of USB chargers, and even wireless charging for smartphones is available to first-row occupants. The Acadia provides buyers with a mature, full-sized SUV.
No model line-up from Holden is complete without a full-size sedan. It might not be our beloved, home-grown Commodore, but this Holden Lumina can take its place and carry the torch with its head held high.
As a right-hand-drive Buick LaCrosse, the Lumina is offered with a choice of either a 3.6-litre V6 or a 2.5-litre hybrid four-cylinder – the latter designed to take the fight to the Toyota Camry Hybrid. With plenty of space, a comfortable ride, and enough poke to perform its daily duties, the Lumina fills the space between the VF Commodore and WN Statesman, but steers away from the misunderstood ZB Commodore.
The Lumina isn't pretending to be a Commodore, but buyers will be comfortable and familiar behind the wheel.
The Holden Monterey is a luxurious seven-seater SUV based on the Cadillac XT6. Also fitted with the 3.6-litre V6 offered in the Acadia and Lumina, the Monterey is a larger, premium SUV for more discerning buyers.
As Holden's flagship passenger model, this is a luxury vehicle for those who want to steer away from the oh-so-common German brands, but with the easy-to-use layout you can expect from a General Motors product. A family hauler for those who need the space and comfort of a LandCruiser, but don't need the off-road capability.
Every brand needs a hero, and the Corvette is just the car to inspire the next generation of young Holden fans. With a mid-mounted 6.2-litre V8 producing a whopping 364kW and 630Nm, this American supercar does the 0–100km/h sprint in a touch over three seconds.
The Corvette will always be a Chevrolet, but that doesn't stop it from being the blue-collar sports car in Holden's imagined 2021 line-up.
Have we missed anything, or is there anything you'd like to see gracing a parallel universe Holden dealer? Let us know in the comments below.