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Holden plans to supersize SUV range

Furthermore: Holden's planned Acadia could be one of four large SUVs under the lion brand by 2020.

Opel’s planned flagship SUV set to top Holden’s burgeoning SUV range

Holden logo2 Nov 2016

By RON HAMMERTON

HOLDEN could go into the next decade armed with as many as four large SUVs, topped by an unnamed German-built flagship due about 2019.

GoAuto understands the Opel-developed SUV that was mooted by General Motors chiefs two years ago is still in favour at Holden, even though the Australian branch of GM will have at least two other large SUVs – the recently facelifted and renamed Trailblazer (nee Colorado 7) and upcoming American-built Acadia that is due to be added to the range about 2018.

As well, European journalists are reporting that GM Europe is preparing a Subaru Outback-style all-wheel-drive crossover version of the next Insignia wagon – apparently called Insignia Country Tourer in its British Vauxhall guise – that also looks a likely starter in Holden’s new Insignia-based Commodore range that arrives in Australian in February 2018.

GoAuto understands that the “Country Tourer” and the all-new large flagship SUV are separate vehicles, although both are likely to sit on GM’s latest E2 front/all-wheel-drive architecture and will be made at the same plant in Germany.

Assuming both of these German-sourced all-wheel-drive wagons make it to Australia, Holden will enter next decade with a range of six SUVs to take on the likes of Toyota whose SUV line-up will number six models with the arrival of the new baby of the range, the C-HR, in the first quarter of 2017.

Holden’s current SUV range kicks off with the small Korean-built Trax, moves up to the mid-sized Captiva 7 and is topped by the large Thai-built, Colorado-based Trailblazer.

The Trailblazer got the ball rolling on Holden’s SUV revolution when it arrived in September. The facelifted Trax is next up, getting a new look and other tweaks in early 2017.

These will be joined by the Chevrolet-sourced Equinox medium SUV that replaces the five-seat Captiva 5 in the second half of 2017.

The large Acadia – a petrol-engine seven-seater sold in North America by GMC – replaces the ancient Captiva 7 sometime in 2018.

Timing for the German-built flagship SUV is uncertain, except that GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra said when announcing production plans for the new vehicle in late-2014 that it would come before the end of the decade.

Committing €245 million ($A355m) to Opel’s Russelsheim plant outside Frankfurt to prepare for the new vehicle, Ms Barra described the SUV as “Opel’s second flagship” alongside Insignia.

Holden insiders have told GoAuto that this vehicle remains on the Holden wishlist, even though it will make the SUV range appear a bit top heavy.

The company will argue that each of the vehicles fills a different niche, as they do at Toyota which has four large SUVs (Prado, Kluger, LandCruiser and Fortuner).

The Trailblazer, for example, is a serious, diesel-powered off-roader with a tough ladder chassis drawn from the Colorado, while the petrol-only Acadia is more of a seven-seat urban wagon in the style of Toyota’s Kluger or Mazda’s CX-9.

How the German flagship SUV sits against these models is unclear, but it is likely to be a sports-luxury SUV in the style of the Audi Q5, Range Rover Evoque or new Jaguar F-Pace.

If so, the recently announced “Twinster” torque vectoring technology destined for AWD V6 versions of the new Commodore will be a central feature of this vehicle.

It might also likely offer diesel – something the Acadia cannot. As well, GoAuto understands it will offer three rows of seats – something a potential Insignia/Commodore Country Tourer high-rider based on the standard wagon could not.

Like Subaru and its Outback and Volkswagen with its Passat Alltrack, this wagon would cover a similar niche to Holden’s now defunct Adventra which appealed to families with a need for a light offroad-capable station wagon.

The Country Tourer came to light after British journalists were given a test drive of next-generation Insignia prototypes at the Millbrook proving ground in England last week.

Australian journalists were also given a taste of the Commodore version in its liftback Sportback guise at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground last week.

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