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Car reviews - Holden - Adventra - range

The Car

Holden logo11 Feb 2005

Holden’s first overhaul of its slow-selling Adventra crossover has been launched, and will roll into dealerships from April armed with a first keenly-priced V6-powered direct rival for Ford’s popular Territory SUV.

As part of an expanded VZ all-wheel drive range that also includes all-paw V6 Crewman and V6 One Tonner models, the first Adventra V6 brings with it everything the current, V8-only Adventra range does not: frugal fuel consumption, a five-speed auto, advanced safety features and a $40,990 starting price.

It represents the first change to Holden’s revolutionary Adventra model, which introduced Holden’s impressive new Cross Trac AWD system and high-riding suspension in a new-look, VYII-series Commodore wagon-based model in October 2003.

But Holden’s lack of a more appropriate V6 version within its introductory Adventra range, which comprised two 5.7-litre V8-only variants initially priced above $50,000, kept sales to a trickle – despite a subsequent (and embarrassing) $4000 price reduction.

The resulting 2500 Adventra sales in 2004 was well short of Holden’s 4800 target, and even further short of the sales success posted by Ford’s Territory, which attracted 13,583 new customers in the six months following its June 2004 release and will next year become Australia’s most popular SUV.

The Aussie SUV market increased 15 per cent last year, with the biggest growth occurring in the medium segment thanks largely to Territory, plus Toyota’s Kluger and its more hard-core 4WD stalwart sibling, the Prado.

Ford’s $500 million investment in its purpose-built crossover also represents four times the amount Holden spent to develop Adventra, which cost $125 million in tandem with the original Crewman Cross 8. The latest VZ iteration of Adventra cost $18 million to develop, while the other VZ AWD commercials cost $12 million.

But, thanks to Holden’s all-new 24-valve 3.6-litre Alloytec V6, which replaced the 12-valve pushrod cast-iron 3.8-litre Ecotec V6 in Commodore last August, Holden finally has the V6 version it needs to make Adventra competitive in the bustling medium SUV market.

Most significantly, it means entry-level Adventra pricing now undercuts Territory AWD by $2000. Rear-drive Territory TX pricing opens at $38,990, but the Territory TX AWD is priced at $42,990.

All VZ Adventra V6s, including the base (Commodore Acclaim-specification) SX6, are powered by the top-shelf 190kW/340Nm version of Holden’s 3.6-litre Alloytec V6, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, representing 8kW more peak power than Territory’s 182kW 4.0-litre straight six, but 40Nm less peak torque. However, Territory is also almost 200kg heavier (TX AWD 2085kg v SX6 1895kg).

Other vital Adventra V6 statistics include a wading depth of 300mm, approach angle of 19.9 degrees, departure angle of 20.6 degrees, breakover angle of 19.5 degrees and a Territory-beating 200mm of ground clearance.

Matching Territory, all V6 Adventras feature the Bosch 8.0 electronic stability control introduced in selected VZ sedans last year, plus hill descent control (optional on the base Territory for $865).

Territory TX also misses out on standard SX6 fare like 17-inch alloys and rear park assist, while Adventra SX6 also includes corner braking control, electronic brake assist, electronic throttle control, power windows/mirrors, trip computer, twin front/side airbags, auto headlights, a CD player, cargo blind, roof racks and remote tailgate operation.

And while Adventra V6 offers a five-speed auto to Territory’s similarly-exclusive four-speed, customers must step up to the mid-level $46,990 Adventra CX6 to gain a the Active Select sequential manual gearshift mode (in the Holden’s case via steering wheel-mounted buttons).

The 1910kg CX6 is $2200 more expensive than Territory TS ($44,790) but undercuts the TS AWD ($48,790) by $1800. On top of the entry-level SX6 specification and remote gearshift function, it adds climate control, six-CD audio, multi-mode trip computer, four-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather trim, chromed projector headlights, satin chrome highlights, front reading lights, dash-top storage and integrated rear storage.

At the top of the V6 Adventra range is the 1965kg, $52,990 Calais-spec LX6, which is priced $3700 above Territory Ghia ($49,290) but a crucial $300 below the flagship Territory Ghia AWD ($53,290). Third row seating remains a $2000 option for Adventra, while it costs $1500 in Territory.

LX6 adds level ride suspension, fog lights, sunroof, premium 10-speaker sound, sports front seats with eight-way power adjustment, leather and suede trim, dual-zone climate control, active head restraints, sports gauges, heated mirrors with memory, stainless steel sill plates, first aid kit, roof-mounted luggage carrier, cargo and tie-down safety nets and Priority Key.

Alongside the three-model V6 Adventra range, Holden has discontinued the $48,990 VYII CX8, reducing its V8 inventory to just one model - the $56,990, 1985kg LX8, which now features the same 250kW/470Nm 5.7-litre V8 and upgraded 4L60 four-speed auto from VZ Commodore SS (up from 235kW/460Nm) and a similar specification level to LX6.

A more utilitarian version, dubbed SX8 and developed for fleet customers including the police, will not be available to the public.

A manual transmission will not be offered with any VZ AWD model and the more expensive Adventra LX8, which offers the same 2100kg maximum towing capacity as Adventra V6 models, is unavailable with stability control, hill descent control or the V6 models’ five-speed auto.

So keen is VZ Adventra’s entry-level pricing that Holden admits it has the potential to cannibalise mid-spec VZ passenger vehicles such as Berlina sedan and wagon.

Like all VZ commercials, Berlina is offered only with a revised version of Holden’s 4L60 four-speed auto and the basic 175kW/320Nm Alloytec V6 - despite having a higher pricetag than the 190kW/five-speed auto-equipped Adventra SX6.

Despite this, Holden appears determined not to fall short of its Adventra sales target this time around, and has forecast just 4500 Adventra sales this year – less than the 2004 target – despite the sharp new price-point for its V6.

Did you know?

Holden's VZ Adventra LX8 is expected to account for just 20 per cent of sales

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