Back in February, automotivenews.co.nz had this story: ‘Holden is understood to be looking at a variant of the next-generation Commodore Sportwagon that would go head-to-head with the likes of the all-wheel-drive Subaru Outback in New Zealand and Australia.’
Holden NZ’s corporate affairs manager Ed Finn responded: “It certainly sounds interesting and exciting, but talk of it ever coming here it is pure speculation”.
That ‘speculation’ ended in April, when Holden NZ managing director Kristian Aquilina confirmed the higher-riding car would be called the Tourer when it joins the new-generation Commodore line-up here next year.
“Tourer gives the (Holden) range a new level of appeal, combining New Zealanders’ love of SUVs with the practicality of a wagon and the driving appeal of a sedan,” said Aquilina.
This week he went further: “The Tourer is well-tailored to what Kiwis want. It’s a great way to think about Commodore differently.” The Commodore range includes four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines and a top-end V6 petrol.
Aquilina was speaking at the preview in Auckland of the Equinox SUV, the US-built replacement for the Captiva. Equinox will go on sale here a month before Christmas. Its arrival was forecast on these pages exactly 12 months ago this week.
The Equinox range is made up of seven models – three front-wheel drives and four all-wheel drives – five of which run either 1.5-litre or 2.0-litre petrol engines. No word on pricing yet.
The petrol line-up will be available at launch; the 1.6-litre diesel unit for both FWD and AWD models early next year. The premium engine is the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol, which delivers 186kW/350Nm.
The three FWD models are badged LS, LS+, LT; two AWDs wear the LTZ badge and two the top-end LTZ-V. Aquilina said the Equinox range is an opportunity for Holden to take leadership of the mid-size SUV segment.
“The medium SUV segment is the largest and fastest growing part of the new vehicle market, accounting for almost 17 per cent of sales at the end of August,” he said.
“Holden is now in a position to debut an all-new nameplate into this important part of the market and take the fight to established players.”
The Equinox will arrive on December 1, the Astra Sportwagon on November 1. The Sportwagon is the third model in the Astra range, following the earlier arrival here of the award-winning hatchback (2016 European Car of the Year) and sedan.
There are two Sportwagon models, the LS at $35,990 and the higher-specification LT at $39,990. Engine across the Astra range is a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol unit.
Lay down the second row of seats and Sportwagon provides 1600 litres of cargo space. Safety systems include emergency braking and a collision mitigating alert.
The three Astra models, Equinox, and the Commodore range will all benefit from Holden’s new customer care plan. So will the roughly 20 new models due before 2020.
The new three-year programme begins on October 1 and covers free warranty, free servicing, free roadside assistance, and free warrant of fitness.