Get on the gas with Holden’s LPG SV6

Week two of A Wheel Thing’s “The Month of Holden” was spent in the loving embrace of the Holden SV6 on LPG. Although, ostensibly, the same powerplant as the one in the Omega, it felt a touch more peppy, responsive than the Sportwagon although noticeably less zippy than the standard 3.6L, mainly due to the reduction in torque from the LPG engine. The caveat here is that at freeway speeds, the difference, although noticeable, wouldn’t be a deal breaker IF you hadn’t driven the normally fuelled engine….(http://www.holden.com.au/vehicles/commodore/efficiency)

The single exhaust dulled the enjoyable rasp the petrol 3.6L can emit through the duel pipe system and I have to say looks a little odd when one is so used to seeing the stereo chrome tips. As expected, the ride differs nought from the petrol, being a great mix of firm and compliant, with no jarring or major road noise transmitted to the cabin. The interior with the series two updates in the VE from some time back now, still looks ok but is starting to look its age. The leather seating is comfortable and supportive, contrasting with the grey plastic strip highlights. The dash design is ergonomic and the touch screen with hard drive based features does the job but there’s a sense that the design is being left behind (as mentioned in the Omega Sportwagon review). One minor and somewhat curious quibble is with the key; it’s a “standard” key in that it’s not a folding style. One hopes this is addressed across the board with the VF update as keys and smartphone screens are not a happy couple if kept confined in the same pocket.

Economy, again, wasn’t that bad, with around 12L/100kms for, in this case, many suburban driving runs including a sprint to Wentworth Falls, in the upper section of the lower Blue Mountains. Just a few kilometres east of Katoomba, the road through was blocked on the day thanks to an unseasonal snowfall. It was somewhat awe-inspiring and uncomfortable to see the exterior temperature read just one degree…

The exterior is still handsome with the SV6 enhancements, however the rear wing, long a source of minor frustration, does block rear view enough for some cars to be semi-visible at a certain distance and near nigh impossible to see if they’ve indicated as they suddenly appear inches from the rear deck. Again, boot space is compromised by the relocation of the spare tyre which, oddly does have a positive, in that you don’t need to unload a boot full of shopping to lift the panel that hides the spare…

With no end in sight to the alleged gouging being perpetrated by petrol companies, with (at the time of writing) E10 well in excess of what it should be, even with the inflated price of LPG, the argument for using an “alternative” fuel is starting to get stronger and with the LPG models GENERALLY only $1000 more (after the government rebate), the cost to run versus the need to refuel a little more often puts the LPG range right at the forefront of sensibility.

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