Sportwagon? Another marketing gimmick?
Somewhat. The final string in Holden’s VE Commodore bow, the long-wheelbase VE estate – wearing the Sportwagon moniker for the first time – aims to change perceptions of the traditional family wagon. So it's out with gaudy cargo carriers and instead, the VE Sportwagon shows off a swooping Chrysler 300C-esque roofline for a sporty look. Holden's boss Chris Gubbey reckoned that ‘practic-al has become practic-cool’. Oh dear.
It does look good though…
It looks very smart, and with a V6-engined Commodore available for less than the equivalent of £18,000 Down Under, and knowing how big the VXR8 is, the Sportwagon will be very good value. Not that the concept was some poverty-spec model. Under the bonnet is a 6.0-litre Corvette engine, although it’s been sent on a 21st century crash diet. Released at a time when Australia’s large-car segment is declining, it’s tuned to run E85 bioethanol and boasts Active Fuel Management. Like Chrysler’s 300C, it shuts down cylinders under light loads to improve fuel economy.
What else should I know about the Sportwagon concept?
It's admirably practical and the tailgate is hinged well into the roofline, making it easy to access the boot - even in smaller parking areas. A higher cargo floor also offers easier loading, as does the 60:40 split-fold rear seat. The concept rides on 20-inch alloys, with a one-off leather interior hue and chrome window tint. It also offers Bluetooth capability and a roof-mounted DVD player. Pricing and specifications are to be announced closer to the Sportwagon’s release in the first half of 2008.