Holden is understood to be looking at a variant of the next-generation Commodore Sportwagen that would go head-to-head with the likes of the Subaru Outback in New Zealand and Australia.
The higher-riding version of the all-wheel-drive (AWD) Opel Insignia wagon has already been confirmed for left-hand-drive Europe but not for right-hook (RHD) markets. It is expected to go on sale in Europe a year or so after the standard Insignia wagon, the Sports Tourer.
The United States will follow, where the Opel Sports Tourer will almost certainly be rebadged a Buick and aimed at snowbelt markets. Parent General Motors has already filed trademarks in the US for the names Buick ‘Tourx’ and Buick ‘Regal Tourx’.
RHD versions would wear a Holden badge Downunder, Vauxhall badge in Britain, and perhaps Chevrolet in other markets, if GM approves production.
Holden on both sides of the Tasman is playing down talk of a jacked-up AWD Commodore. Said Holden NZ corporate affairs manager Ed Finn: “It certainly sounds interesting and exciting, but talk of it ever coming here it is pure speculation.”
Meantime, the Insignia Sports Tourer wagon and its sedan/liftback companion will arrive in New Zealand early next year, when the wagon – shown here for the first time – will be renamed the Sportwagon to go with recent Holden badging.
The new carry-all is longer, narrower, and rides on a shorter wheelbase than the current VF II Sportwagon. Access to the tailgate is via sensors activated by a foot gesture; a second swipe beneath the rear bumper closes it.
Despite the extra length, it doesn’t have the luggage capacity. Fold down the second row of seats and the Insignia offers 1640 litres; do the same with the VF II Sportwagon and 2000 litres become available.
Both wagon and liftback will come with turbocharged four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engine options, or a naturally aspirated V6 in premium versions.
Optional also is front-drive or AWD, the AWD system the same ‘Twinster’ design supplied by British company GKN for the go-fast Ford Rocus RS hatchback.
The new Commodore range will pick up advanced technology, including IntelliLux LED matrix headlights, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist with steering correction and lane departure warning, rear-cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, adaptive suspension, and a head-up display.
Other features will include massaging seats, rear one-touch folding seats, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, auto up/down for all windows, and active noise cancellation. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be linked to a 20cm main display.