Holden has today revealed the 2011 VE Commodore Series II, the first major update to the fourth-generation VE Commodore since its launch in 2006.
The VE Series II comes with updated styling, a revised interior with an all-new touch-screen display system and, under the bonnet, a two-percent improvement in fuel economy for Holden's 3.0 litre SIDI V6.
Perhaps most importantly, VE Series II Commodore models powered by the 3.0 litre SIDI V6 and the Gen IV 6.0 litre V8 benefit from 'flex fuel' compatibility, allowing motorists to fill up with either regular petrol or E85 bio-ethanol fuel.
Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux said that the Series II VE Commodore reflects Holden’s focus on ongoing improvements for the top-selling model.
“Our customers have been telling us they want to see our models refreshed with greater functionality from Omega to Caprice," Devereux said.
“We have listened and responded in a way that continues to position Commodore as the smart choice for Australian motorists.”
Styling updates to the Commodore range in 2011 range from subtle to unmistakable. Across the Commodore range, the lower edge of the headlights now kicks up slightly toward the grille, softening the face of the big Holden.
As with the first incarnation of the VE, grille and front bumper styling varies across the range. The face of the entry-level Omega model gets a bolder and squarer appearance, while the Berlina adds a new Cruze-like grille and new fog-lamp surrounds.
The Calais builds on Berlina features with a new front fascia and larger grille, framed with a prominent chrome header.
The SV6 and SS both get an updated sports front fascia, again with a new and larger grille.
Full range of VE Series II Commodore exterior updates
- Entirely new front fascia with a bolder, squarer appearance and new lower outboard inserts
- New larger grille, with a bright chrome detail surround and new hexagonal mesh inner
- Revised headlamp shape with new lens and bright bezel
- Decklid with integrated aero lip detailing
Builds on Omega features with:
- New grille with prominent bright chrome crossbar
- New unique fog lamp surrounds
- New 17-inch, ten-spoke machine-faced alloy wheels
Builds on Berlina features with:
- New front fascia and unique grille with prominent chrome header (attached to engine hood)
- New larger grille has full chrome surround, hexagonal mesh inner
- Lower fascia has full width bright detail
- Revised shape projector headlamps feature new black and bright bezel
- Full length bright chrome moulding on lower doors
- New 18-inch ten-spoke machined alloy wheels
Builds on Calais features with:
- New bigger 19-inch twin five spoke machined alloy wheels
Commodore SV6 and SS
- Exclusive sports front fascia, set apart by a new, larger grille
- Bolder, more muscular look accentuated by aggressive lower air intake
- Revised headlamp shape with new black bezel detail
- Integrated aero decklid lip detailing complements sports rear spoiler
- New 18-inch twin five-spoke machined alloy wheels
Commodore SS V-Series
Builds on SV6 and SS features with:
- Revised shape projector headlamps feature new black and bright bezel (same as Calais)
- New twin five-spoke 19-inch machined alloy wheels
The interior of the VE Series II Commodore is both familiar and new. While the steering wheel design remains unchanged, the seats for all models except for the entry-level Omega benefit from a new trim design and Sportec bolsters. All models across the range get an updated dash design.
For the Omega through to the Calais V-Series, the dash sees a new centre stack with a 6.5-inch display, along with a new centre console surround, a full-width decorative appliqué and completely redesigned heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) controls.
The SV6, SS and SS-V performance sedans get unique high-mounted circular air vents atop the centre stack, with other updates listed below:
Commodore SV6 and SS
- New SS-style sports front seats for SV6 with deep bolsters and body-hugging contours
- High-mounted circular interior air vents.
- New sports centre stack with 6.5-inch full colour touch screen
- New sports IP decorative appliqué
- New ‘white on Razor Grey’ instrument cluster illumination for improved readability on SV6
- New ‘white on red’ instrument cluster illumination for improved readability on SS
- Gloss black instrument cluster surround
- Razor grey finish ‘wrap-around’ linear treatment on lower IP. Extends from IP into the door handle surround and through the console
Commodore SS V-Series
Builds on SV6 and SS interior features with:
- Red finish ‘wrap-around’ linear treatment on lower IP. Extends from the IP into door handle surround and through the console.
In what might be a world-first in its segment and price range, every model in the VE Series II Holden Commodore line-up benefits from the addition of Holden-iQ, a new 6.5-inch full-colour touch-screen display.
Depending on the model, the Holden-iQ system offers controls for music, telephone and satellite navigation. Holden says the display of its Holden-iQ system has been benchmarked against high-end multimedia products such as computers, phones and video games.
Music can be played via an iPod, memory stick, CD or through a paired mobile phone over a Bluetooth connection. USB devices and iPods plug into dedicated sockets located inside the centre console, and all music file playback from compatible devices is controlled via the touch screen.
There is also a ‘virtual changer’ CD storage system (not available with Omega), replacing the mechanical stacker system from previous models with the capacity to 'rip' and store up to 15 CDs on internal memory.
The system supports CDDA, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3 and WMA playback. DVD systems, where fitted, also display on the Holden-iQ touch screen.
New Bluetooth connectivity synchronises a compatible phone’s address book and recent call history, displaying the information on the touch screen. Outbound calls can be made via the contact list or a dedicated touch-screen keypad.
The Holden-iQ navigation system, standard on SS V-Series, Calais V-Series and Caprice models, features a full-colour mapping system, live traffic alerts, speed advisory and 'point of interest' functions. Voice guidance is integrated into the vehicle’s audio system.
On those same models (except Ute) the touch screen also features a reversing camera display which is activated whenever reverse gear is selected, the display operating in tandem with audible park assist and works to show any obstacles directly behind the vehicle.
Standard safety features remain unchanged, the full Commodore sedan and Ute range carrying a 5-Star ANCAP crash safety rating.
The mechanical package of the VE Series II Commodore range is largely the same as that introduced with last year's introduction of the SIDI direc-injected V6 engines, but for one significant addition: flex-fuel capability.
With flex-fuel capability, Series II models powered by Holden’s 3.0 litre SIDI V6 and 6.0 litre V8 engines can run on bio-ethanol (E85), E10, unleaded, premium or any combination between.
Holden has declined to say how much fuel economy changes when running the E85-compatible engines on bioethanol, however with less energy density in ethanol more fuel will have to be burned to produce the same amount of power as petrol.
Consequently the value argument for ethanol is diminished, but there are environmental benefits in the form of reduced carbon emissions and the ability to generate ethanol from waste matter.
Aerodynamic improvements come in the form of the revised front bumper, new sideskirts and smooth undertrays on all models bar the Omega and utes. The sedan's revised rear decklid also improves aerodynamic slipperiness, while Omega and Berlina models get low rolling resistance tyres.
Fuel economy when using petrol rises 2 percent for the 3.0 V6, while the non-E85 compatible 3.6 V6 delivers efficiency gains between 1 and four percent. The 6.0 V8 is 12 percent more efficient when paired with a manual transmission, but only 4 percent when equipped with an auto.
The Omega Ute finally receives the 3.0 SIDI V6 used by the sedan and Sportwagon range, and sees overall economy jump 12 percent compared to the old port-injected V6.
Manual-equipped SS models also emit 12 percent less CO2 than their predecessors.
Bio-ethanol, is a fuel consisting of up to 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent petrol. To ensure availability of the bio-ethanol fuel for Series II vehicles, Holden has entered into a partnership with fuel retailer Caltex, which will sell the fuel under the Bio E-Flex brand name.
Caltex will have Bio E-Flex available in 31 service stations in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra by the end of October, increasing to 100 metropolitan and regional locations in 2011.
“The new fuel provides motorists with a genuine alternative at the bowser, as 90 per cent of Series II flex-fuel vehicle owners will live within 10 kilometres of a Caltex Bio E-Flex pump,” Holden Energy and Environment Director Richard Marshall said.
Mr Marshall said Australia’s current ethanol supply was produced from the by-products created during the industrial production of wheat and sugar, as well as sorghum.
As a part of a new consortium Holden is also investigating the viability of establishing Australia’s first second-generation ethanol plant which would produce ethanol from household and other waste. The consortium includes the Victorian Government, Caltex, Veolia, Mitsui and Coskata.
Holden has not mentioned any significant changes in power output or suspension tune, however full details of the VE Series II's mechanical package will be available after the range launches on September 10.
Holden will reveal full pricing and availability for the 2011 VE Series Holden Commodore on September 10, when the model officially launches, however the VE range's pricing is expected to remain static, with the Caprice set to experience a small price drop.