Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Enlightening is the New Embiggening

Bigger, faster, stronger. These were the hallmarks of the new car model; model after model after model. Is it climate change that has now seemingly put a stop to the old school mantra of progress, or, just the shrinking of wallets? Either way, Australia's supposed dinosaurs are still leading the way in efficiency. Yes, you read that right. 

In possibly the most redundant statement of all time, the release of a new version of whatever, is always heralded with the proclamation of "BEST EVER". 'They' have been saying it for years and it was easy to do so because progress was always measured in the same way. Shampoo usually has 50% more essential shinnervesance, and beauty cream reduces lines in 12% more self assessed participants. With respect to cars, it has always been the aforementioned size, speed and strength. 

With the impending arrival of the New VF Commodore, you can expect more of the same, with regard to proclamations of succession and progress, but the reworked car will be no larger than it's predecessor. In fact, through the use of aluminium and other modern engineering wizadry, it will shed the combined weight of my wife, a carton of Crown Lager and a decent family roast. (Call it 70kgs if you must).

So how does this relate to real life? Well if the Commodore were on The Biggest Loser, 70kgs would present  a total weight loss of 4%.... keeping the Commodore above the yellow line and excluding it from elimination..... . Okay, not the best example. Let's have a look at how it looks against some of the competition.

Currently the Holden Omega Sedan has an ADR rated fuel consumption of 8.9L/100kms. That puts it ahead of the Toyota Aurion and Honda Accord V6, but on par with the 2.0T Jaguar XJ ($68,990). 

"How can that be?" I hear you ask. The base model Commodore is as efficient as a Base model Jaguar? Surely not. It is because the Jaguar is getting a little on the porky side. At 1745kgs, it will soon be around 200kgs heavier than the VF Commodore, which is me, my wife and the aforementioned sundries, but exchanging the roast for a side of lamb.

Even BMW with their smaller previous generation 530i would be bested by Holden's soon to be be replaced base model when it comes to economy. Mercedes Benz E350 was also less efficient up until mid 2011 with the arrival of their Blue Efficiency variant which retailed for over $130,000. And of course the Euros all require either 95 or 98 RON. 

So what options are there, besides smelly diesels, that will cost you less than 6 figures? An option from the blue corner, of course. 

Right now, Ford have the Ecoboost Falcon that has a combined ADR figure of 8.1 L/100kms. That's better than the current E350 Blue Efficiency  model from Mercedes Benz, and, it can be had for less than $38kAUD. In fact it is even cheaper than it's Euro stable mate Taurus... er Mondeo, which incidentally also costs more to service and is smaller, and is poxy front wheel drive. 

The new VF Commodore is already being built and will be released in June. Key improvements will be in interior design and technology, efficiency through weight reduction, and, very competitive pricing. Hopefully people will forget their prejudices and see for themselves if Holden have honed in on the decreed preferences of the market. It will no doubt be, the best ever.

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