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First look: HSV’s beaut XUV ute

Versatile: HSV says its Avalanche XUV ute adds cargo carrying ability to the Avalanche SUV’s portfolio.

HSV reveals a Crewman-based twin-cab ute set to wow the Melbourne show crowd

24 Feb 2004

HOLDEN Special Vehicles will use the Melbourne motor show to unveil its take on the twin-cab Crewman Cross8 utility, along with the latest iterations of its range-topping GTS sedan and coupe.

Claimed to add cargo-carrying capability to the recently released HSV Avalanche wagon’s arsenal, the all-wheel drive four-door ute will become available from mid-March at a price expected to be close to $70,000, making it Australia’s most expensive locally-built ute.

Launching in Melbourne alongside Holden’s own SST step-side ute concept and an even bigger surprise from Fishermens Bend, Avalanche XUV will line up alongside Maloo as the second utility in HSV’s range. The pair of all-wheel drive Avalanche models will be joined in May by a third AWD HSV, the Coupe4.

XUV (for X-treme Utility Vehicle) employs the same HSV-enhanced 5.7-litre LS1 V8 as its Avalanche and Coupe4 cousins, producing 270kW at 5700rpm and 475Nm of torque at 4000rpm.

HSV estimates a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 6.5 seconds standing 400-metre sprints of 14.6 seconds, making XUV “the undisputed number one in the crew-cab performance stakes”.

Like the Holden Crewman Cross8 upon which it’s based (there will be no rear-drive Crewman-based HSV), XUV transmits its drive through a GM 4L65E automatic transmission to all four wheels via the same Cross Trac AWD system as found in Holden’s Adventra.

Supporting XUV’s intended towing role is an HSV Performance Braking System comprising AP Racing ventilated and grooved 336mm front discs with HSV-embossed, HRT-red twin-piston front callipers, plus 315mm ventilated and grooved rear rotors.

XUV’s spring-strut front suspension is shared with Avalanche, as are the specifically developed 245/45-section 18-inch Bridgestone S-O3 directional tyres.

But it eschews the wagon’s independent rear suspension for a Cross8-based leaf-sprung live rear axle, which HSV says is better suited to the heavy-duty applications in which it’s likely to be used. Ground clearance is a useful 200mm.

Like Crewman models, XUV’s cargo tray measures 1463mm long by 1438mm wide, while maximum towing capacity is 2100kg when fitted with the appropriate towing package. All up, XUV is 5.3 metres long with a huge 12.4 metre turning circle.

Specification will be similar to that of the $73,900 Avalanche wagon, the five-seater cabin offering a choice of three standard leather trim options - Anthracite, Red Hot and Ochre – plus HSV sports front seats (with four-way power adjustment for the driver and two-way power for the passenger).

Other standard Avalanche XUV features that cost extra in Holden’s $51,990 Crewman Cross8 include climate control air-conditioning and a Blaupunkt six-CD audio system, while XUV also shares Avalanche wagon’s unique HSV Instruments, steering wheel, alloy pedals, sports binnacle, active front head restraints and both front and front side airbags.

Designed, like Avalanche wagon, by the new head of HSV design Julian Quincey, XUV features many of the five-door’s off-road styling themes (including its 18-inch alloys), but adds items such as a “faster” rear pillar and an HSV “signature” number plate surround in the tailgate.

Just as Avalanche adds colour-coded bumpers to the Adventra equation, so too does XUV to the basic Crewman Cross package.

“I think with this style of vehicle the tougher and more robust it looks the more accepted it becomes”,said Mr Quincey. “We achieved the rugged look by using chunky bumpers and wheel arches and we made a feature of the driving lights by adding bezels to them to emphasise the vehicle’s tough capable all-wheel drive image.” XUV will be available in Phantom Black, Turbine Grey, Heron White and three HSV exclusive colours - HSV Racing Green, HSV Ultra Violet 2 and HSV Sting Red. Options will include Xenon driving lights, a new HSV tyre pressure monitoring system, HSV glass panel sunroof, HSV-embossed cargo liner and unique XUV lockable hard tonneau cover.

HSV says XUV will appeal to tradesman and primary producers looking for a workhorse cum leisure machine for carrying boy’s toys and towing boats, as well as to companies wanting the ultimate image vehicle to promote a business or lifestyle.

“XUV buyers will be out there, wherever out there is for them”, said HSV general manager Chris Payne. “They work hard and are into sports, boating, etcetera and they’re looking for a car with an image like nothing else – and boy do they get it with XUV.” HSV estimates it will sell about 250 XUVs in Australia per year, about the same number as Avalanche wagons.

Check out www.goauto.com.au from Melbourne motor show opening day this Friday to read about the latest surprises from Holden, Ford and Toyota.

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