By now, we all know and respect the likes of the Chevrolet Camaro and upcoming Caprice PPV, let alone the late, but still epic Pontiac G8. However, these models were not entirely engineered by the fine folks at GM North America. These latest installments into American muscle would not have been around if it weren’t for Australia’s Holden, The General’s brand Down Under.
It was the engineers within Holden that developed the Zeta platform, the rear-wheel-drive architecture that underpins the North American performance machines mentioned above. Under Holden, the models from which their American cousins are based off – namely the G8 and Caprice PPV – go by a different name: the VE Series, also traditionally known as the Commodore. Presently, all variants of Australia’s best selling model are receiving updates inside and out. Say hello to the Holden VE Series II.
Across the board, all of the new models will feature an all-new infotainment system, dubbed Holden-iQ. What’s more, the 3.0L V6 and 6.0L V8 engine offerings are now more fuel efficient and are capable of running on E85 bio-ethanol. All eight VE Series II models will also receive minor styling updates.
The Holden iQ
The smartest part about the iQ feature isn’t the name, it’s the simplicity: the program funnels all audio, Bluetooth and navigation functions into a single 6.5-inch touchscreen interface. The monitor also serves as a backup camera, which is available on all models except the Ute. The iQ is capable of playing music through an MP3 player such as an iPod, or even music stored on a flash drive by simply plugging the devices into a USB port located within the center console. Secondly, music from up to 15 CDs can be ripped and stored on an internal flash-drive. Welcome to the 21st century.
Flex-Fuel And Improved Gas Mileage
Though only minor, the fuel efficiency stretches out to reach single-digit percent improvements from the Series I model, mostly thanks to more aerodynamic body work. That’s not much, but the bigger news is that of the 3.0 liter V6 and 6.0 liter V8 are gaining flex-fuel capability. This means that the engines can run on E85 bio-ethanol, E10, any form of basic unleaded fuel, or a mixture of any of the choices. The movement towards alternative fuel awards the Series II a four-star rating in Australia’s Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide.
Each VE Series model received a visual update in one form or another. This includes the roomy Omega and Berlina, as well as the Commodore SSV and the Ute offerings of the variants with the premium Calais line topping out the range. To read more about the VE Series II visual highlights, as well as the fuel upgrades, click below for the presser. Beware though, as everything is in Metric… so for you damn Yanks who are reading this, you may need to break out your favorite conversion calculator.