Holden chasing SUV market

By Richard Bosselman on Mon, 16 Oct 2017 | Latest News
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A five-seat medium-sized SUV, Equinox follows the Trax (above) and Trailblazer that are already here.

Sport is still a priority for Holden and Bathurst credibility still counts, yet changing consumer trends that signalled the end for Australian-made six and eight-cylinder performance sedans have also accelerated the intent to hit a different kind of track.

The importance of sports utilities to Holden's future was shared at an event for Equinox, a key car in a model revival and sales lift plan that will deliver five SUVs, four of which have now been identified.

A five-seat medium-sized SUV, Equinox follows the Trax and Trailblazer that are already here and, with a December 1 on-sale date, precedes the Acadia seven-seater - that will replace the Captiva - by a full six months.

Even though it's cited as genuine GM international fare, New Zealand is the 171st country it ships to, from the look of it (there was no driving), Equinox has a blue-collar Chevy air to its shape, fit-out and finish.

But it has undergone a localised tuning programme that covers suspension damper tuning and steering and ESP recalibration.

There are no prices yet, but the specifications will be strong and there's a broad front and four-wheel-drive line with three turbocharged engines - a 127kW/275Nm 1.5-litre petrol, a 2.0-litre (186kW/350Nm) and, from mid-2018, a 102kW/325Nm 1.6-litre diesel. The 1.5 and 1.6 run a six-speed auto; the 2.0-litre has GM's new nine-speed auto. 

Anyway, back to that mystery fifth SUV?

Might it be the Sportswagon Tourer, a taller-standing crossover edition of the next-generation ZB Commodore range on sale from next February?

Local boss Kristian Aquilina reckons this format is a potential hit-maker here.

Derived in look and technical specifications from the Opel Insignia Country Tourer revealed at the recent Frankfurt motor show, the Sportswagon Tourer aimed at the Subaru Outback owner.

Commodore has tried to win over that buyer-type before with the Commodore Adventra wagon of the early 2000s, but Aquilina says not only are sales conditions more conducive now, but the Tourer, which has 20mm more ground clearance than the standard Commodore Sportwagon and is 20mm longer, is better sorted, too.

The variant leverages a number of new technologies, including an advanced twin-clutch torque vectoring system and switchable drive modes with a Sport and off-road optimised option.