BOUYED by the fact it not only outsold Ford’s Falcon Ute last month but also 4x2 versions of Toyota’s all-conquering HiLux, Holden has now applied a $2000 base price increase for its Commodore-based Ute.
Due to go on sale later this month as part of the upgraded VE Commodore Series II range, the facelifted Ute line-up now opens at $35,490 (plus on-road costs) for the entry-level automatic Omega Ute.
The Omega Ute is the only model in the Series II mid-life makeover to get a price increase and widens the gap between the Holden ute and its closest rival to $4095, with the most affordable (tray-back) Falcon Ute remaining at $31,395.
Left: Holden SV6 Ute Series II.
Holden says the six per cent Omega Ute price hike reflects the standard fitment of the more powerful and efficient 3.0-litre direct-injection SIDI V6 that has powered the rest of the Commodore range since the MY10 upgrade in September last year.
The new engine increases peak power from 180kW to 190kW, although maximum torque is down from 330Nm to 290Nm.
Buyers of Holden’s base Ute previously had to make do with the superseded 3.6-litre Alloytec V6 that powered the original VE Commodore from 2006.
The upgraded Ute also benefits from the Omega sedan and wagon’s six-speed automatic transmission, replacing an archaic four-speed self-shifter.
As a result, average fuel consumption reduces by some 12 per cent, from 10.9 to 9.6L/100km. At the other end of the scale, the Ute SS and SS-V manual's fuel economy also improves by 12 per cent, from 14 to 12.3L/100km.
In between, fuel consumption reductions range between two per cent for the SV6 auto to four per cent for the SV6 manual and SS/V autos, while the Omega LPG Ute is unchanged at 13.4L/100km.
Despite gaining a new look, revised interior (with standard Holden-iQ touch-screen infotainment system), additional features on some models and the fitment of E85 ethanol-compatible 3.0-litre V6 and 6.0-litre V8 models, Holden has kept pricing firm on all other Ute variants.
That means the auto-only 3.6-litre Omega LPG Ute continues to cost $36,890 while the 3.6-litre SIDI V6-powered SV6, which adds alloy wheels and a unique front bumper as well as other cosmetic enhancements, remains the cheapest manual-equipped Holden Ute at $38,490. The automatic version adds a further $1000.
Similarly, the SS Ute manual continues to cost $4000 more than the SV6 price at $42,490, while the more upmarket SS V-Series Ute remains priced at $47,490, with a six-speed auto adding $2000 to both models.
“One of the updates for Series II is that the 3.0-litre SIDI V6 is now available on the Omega Ute, so it doesn’t matter if you drive that great Aussie workhorse or the Calais V – you’re going to get great fuel economy,” said GM Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux.
The Falcon Ute, which joined its most direct rival by being awarded a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating in June this year, narrowly outsold Holden’s Ute by just 74 vehicles last year, but so far this year the Commodore-based load-lugger is almost 2000 sales ahead.
With 1220 sales in August, it also proved more popular than both the HiLux 4x2 (1108 sales) and Falcon Ute (876).