Holden’s new VF UTE offers serious styling and cut throat pricing
It may well be the final swansong for Holden, but the new VF Ute promises the Aussie buyer more than ever before in terms of safety, style and value.
With a full five-star ANCAP crash safety rating, the Commodore VF Ute steps straight into the market with benefits that can’t be matched by the average Asian designed competition.
According to Holden, the VF Ute delivers more advanced-technology features than any comparable vehicle in Australian automotive history – making it the most technologically advanced car ever created in Australia.
From a safety perspective, the VF Ute comes with a number of advanced driver assistance, safety and user features on an Australian-made car for the first time, adding cutting-edge technology and features while reducing recommended retail prices (RRP) by up to $5,500 across the range.
The range-opening 3.6-litre SIDI V6 automatic Holden Ute has a new RRP of just $32,990, down $2,500, and comes standard with the premium features Holden has introduced across the VF range including Auto Park Assist, front and rear parking sensors, remote vehicle start (automatic models only) and a rear view camera, plus an electric park brake with automatic release, Hill Start Assist and Trailer Sway Control.
VF Ute also comes standard with the class-leading Holden MyLink infotainment system. With an eight-inch, high-resolution colour touch screen, MyLink features enhanced voice recognition, full iPod® integration including Siri Eyes Free integration and embedded app technology including Pandora® and Stitcher SmartRadio™.
Holden executive director of sales and marketing, Philip Brook, said that for performance lovers the Ute has become Holden’s ultimate two-door sports machine, with half of Holden’s Ute customers choosing a V8 model.
“VF Ute offers more of what people want – great performance, luxury features and the latest safety technology – and red hot prices across the range,” he added.
The first sports model in the Ute range is the SV6 manual with an RRP of $32,990. Standard with a manual transmission, SV6 is also powered by the 3.6-litre SIDI V6 with significantly more features and a price rollback of $5,500.
SV6 gains further features over the highly specified range-opening Holden Ute by adding Blind Spot Alert, Reverse Traffic Alert, FE2 sports suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels and chrome exhaust tip, limited slip differential (manual only), exterior sports styling and sports seats, projector headlamps, LED daylight running lights and soft tonneau cover.
With the same features and technology, the SS Ute version spec adds the 6.0-litre Gen IV V8 engine and comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. The new RRP for the manual SS Ute is $38,990, down $3,500 on the previous model.
Mr. Brook said Holden had created a logical walk up for the Ute sport range, from SS to the SS V-Series, which mirrored the sedan and Sportwagon line-up.
“We’ve reduced the new RRP for SS V-Series by $5,000 to $42,490. Which means for just $3,500, customers can add new 19-inch alloys, leather appointed seats, satellite navigation, colour multi-function driver information display and passive entry sensor key technology with push-button start,” he said.
At the top of the performance table sits SS V Redline. Holden has added a significant number of advanced new technological features, yet still reduced the RRP for the manual SS V Redline Ute by $1,500 to $48,490.
In addition to the SS V-Series features, Redline adds Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Head-up Display driver safety technology. Redline also adds the updated sports-tuned FE3 suspension package, Brembo® brakes, forged 19-inch alloys as well as wider rear wheels for extra traction, and “competition mode” with launch control and track settings.
Making the right choice.
The VF Ute range starts off with the standard Ute powered by the 3.6-litre SIDI V6 engine and this contains all the features and benefits mentioned previously.
From a safety perspective, it comes with six airbags (dual front driver and passenger, side impact thorax/pelvis and curtain airbags), ECS, ABS & TCS, dual-zone climate control, Electric Power Steering (EPS), Auto Park Assist, rear-view camera, Front and Rear Park Assist, automatic release electric park brake, Hill Start Assist and Trailer Sway Control.
Move from the standard Ute to the SS and in comes the option of either the 3.6-litre SIDI V6 engine (SV6) or the 6.0-litre Gen IV V8 engine, plus dual-exhaust (SS), front & rear sports fascia, 18-inch alloy wheels, Projector headlamps and LED daylight running lamps, Sportec/cloth sports seats and optional Blind Spot Alert and Reverse Traffic Alert.
Next up the ladder comes the SS V and this features the 6.0-litre Gen IV V8 engine as standard, leather-appointed seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, sensor key technology with push button start, front fog lamps, footwell lamps, and colour digital instrument display – vehicle information menu, trip information menu, fuel economy menu, warning/messages, Satellite Navigation with full colour mapping and live traffic updates, traffic management control and points of interest, and DVD playback (playable when stationary).
As always, personal choice comes down to available finance, and this is where the VF Ute stacks up well. Recommended retail prices of the VF Ute with comparable pricing of the outgoing VE model (excluding dealer delivery and government charges) are as follows:
|Ute (auto only)||$35,490 (Omega)||$32,990||– $2,500|
|SS-V Redline (manual)||$49,990||$48,490||-$1,500|
Automatic transmission adds $2,200 including GST
Prestige paint adds $550 including GST
VF Ute Factory Fit Option Pricing (includes GST)
|Blind Spot Alert and Reverse Traffic Alert (bundled)||$350|
|Soft tonneau cover||$490|
Standard features include Auto Park Assist and a rear-view camera across the range. Other options include rear radar alerts to warn about cross traffic when you’re reversing into a roadway, or to show you what’s in your blind spot, or forward cameras to warn if you start to stray out of your lane, or are in danger of a collision. Also available is a sensor system, which lets you unlock and start the car without having to touch the key.
Auto Park Assist uses ultrasonic sensors, to accurately detect viable parking spaces and determine approach angles to neatly park the vehicle by taking over the steering.
The driver manages throttle, braking and transmission, but, effectively, the vehicle steers itself into any suitable reverse parallel or reverse right angle (90-degree, or perpendicular) parking space.
Advanced parking mode is activated by pressing a control on the centre console, the ultrasonic sensing system then determines if a space is large enough.
The 10-sensor system (six sensors on the front bumper and four on the rear) is facilitated by Commodore’s all-new Electric Power Steering system. It operates at speeds below 10 km/h and can be instantly de-activated if the driver takes over the steering or brakes to a stop.
The Holden Commodore is among the first GM vehicles in the world – and the first large GM car – to offer buyers the benefits of Auto Park Assist.
Head-Up Display projects important cluster information on the windscreen, allowing the driver to view it without looking away from the road.
The transparent, coloured display (Calais V and SS V Redline) features four screens, selectable by the driver, which show information including digital speedometer, tachometer, infotainment and turn-by-turn navigation.
Key information featured in Commodore’s HUD include vehicle speed, tachometer, turn signal indicators, high-beam indicator, selected gear, forward collision alert indicator, turn-by-turn navigation display, audio functions, ambient temperature, phone information, vehicle messages, lateral acceleration and up-shift lights.
The HUD system uses a series of mirrors to display the information on a specific high-technology windscreen. The HUD-enabled windscreen incorporates wedge lamination to provide excellent optic focus for the delivery of clear, sharp images.
Drivers can adjust the brightness and location of the image, or turn it off via a switch located next to the headlamp control.
Front Collision Alert uses a digital camera to help drivers avoid front-end collisions, and, along with Lane Departure Warning, FCA is designed to help minimise the risk of collisions commonly caused by driver error, distraction and drowsiness.
The high-resolution digital camera is mounted on the windscreen ahead of the rear-view mirror. It looks for vehicles ahead and uses the vehicle’s Head-Up Display (HUD) to warn drivers if they are approaching another vehicle too rapidly and a collision appears imminent.
If the HUD function is turned off, the collision warning system will override this setting.
When the system predicts a crash threat, it anticipates hard braking by increasing hydraulic pressure in the brake lines. This helps to reduce response times and decrease stopping distances. It can be adjusted to near, medium and far timing settings using the system’s steering-wheel-mounted control.
The same digital camera used for forward collision alerts, mounted on the windscreen ahead of the rear view mirror, can also help combat driver error, distraction and drowsiness by providing lane departure warnings.
This practical active safety feature helps reduce the risk of collision from drivers straying over lane markings unintentionally or departing a lane without signalling first.
The system’s digital image processor looks for lane markings to provide lane departure alerts at speeds above 56 km/h.
A ‘lanes detected’ icon located in the cluster shines green, when at least one lane marking is detected, to indicate the system is tracking. It will not always track lines on both sides of the lane. If the vehicle drifts out of the lane without turn signal indication, the Lane Departure Warning lamp switches to flashing amber and a warning tone will sound from the affected vehicle side.
A steering-wheel angle sensor is designed to pick up a gradual rate of lane departure and will not react with a warning if the vehicle swerves quickly into an adjoining lane. The Lane Departure System is activated by a control on the steering wheel. It may be deactivated by the driver, according to preference and circumstance.
Blind Spot Alert is a collision-avoidance technology that operates via radar sensors located on both sides of the vehicle’s rear fascia.
The system’s first purpose is to caution drivers when a vehicle enters a specified ‘blind spot’ zone in an adjacent lane. The second imperative is to alert drivers to the danger if an attempt is made to change lanes. The system ‘looks’ for other vehicles in both rear side blind spots and alerts the driver to their presence via cautionary illuminated amber icons in the left or right side external mirror, depending on which side the object is detected.
If the driver indicates to move into that blind zone, the visual alert on the affected side will flash.
Reverse Traffic Alert technology uses the same set of radar sensors that operate the Blind Spot Alert feature. It warns the driver of vehicles approaching behind the vehicle when reversing out of a parking space (including angled parking) or a driveway.
Reverse Traffic Alert senses moving cross traffic – up to 25 metres away on either side of the car – that may not be visible to the driver.
The driver is alerted via warning chimes from a speaker on the affected side of the vehicle, and by a warning symbol and red directional arrow displayed on the centre stack rear-vision camera screen.
When it comes to remote access and engine start, the VF offers a system that uses integrated antennas in the vehicle body that identify a radio pulse generated by the key fob. When the button on the door handle is pressed, the door will automatically unlock to allow access.
When the ignition button (located to the left of the instrument cluster) is pushed, the driver’s key is authenticated. The vehicle immobiliser and electronic steering column lock are automatically released so that the engine can start.
When the driver leaves the vehicle with the sensor key and walks away, the vehicle will lock after eight seconds. If the driver presses the button on the door handle after exiting the vehicle, the vehicle will lock immediately. The system also electronically locks the steering column.
All PEPS-equipped vehicles have an override system – a key insertion point located inside the centre console – in the rare event that a problem with the sensor key signal may occur. An alert will ‘chirp’ if the driver has closed a door with the key left in the vehicle.
A remote vehicle start feature is available on all VF models with automatic transmission. It seamlessly integrates with anti-theft and passive entry systems.
Smart Remote Start operates via key fob activation from as far away as 100 metres. It not only starts the vehicle, but also activates the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, which will operate at the ‘last known’ fan and temperature setting. Remote Start is also able to activate the heated front seats.
Delivery is of the opinion that this feature is actually illegal as it enables a vehicle to be left with the engine running without an occupant. We await clarification on that from GM itself.
When reverse gear is selected, the exterior passenger side rear-view mirror will tilt down automatically to give the driver a better view of the kerb when parking and show any obstructions. After shifting back into park or drive, the mirrors return to the previously adjusted position.
Exterior mirrors are also heated, to provide optimal clarity in cold conditions.
Commodore’s LED Daytime Running Lamps are designed to improve road safety by making the vehicle more conspicuous to other vehicles and to pedestrians.
It’s estimated that up to 45 percent of all accidents occur because of perception and recognition errors such as misjudging another vehicle’s speed or not seeing the other vehicle soon enough. Measures such as Daytime Running Lamps can significantly reduce daytime collision incidence.
Standard across the VF range, the rear-view camera is a practical aid for reversing in tight spots and a great preventative safety feature. When the driver selects reverse gear, colour video of objects in the area directly behind the car is displayed on the large colour touch-screen in the centre console. The rear-vision camera overrides all other screen displays until transmission is moved out of reverse.
Specified on every VF model including the Holden Ute, this popular parking aid uses eight sensors integrated into front and rear fascias, which sequentially send out ultrasonic waves when the vehicle is driven at low speeds.
When an object is detected, warning-chime sounds, varying in intensity according to its proximity. A symbol indicating the position of the object is also displayed in the colour touch screen on the top of the reversing camera image.