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Next Car understands the Federal Government LPG rebate of $2,000 is available on this model for qualifying private buyers (this is a limited time offer and there are conditions that apply).

ROAD TEST:   Holden Commodore Omega

(VE series with dual-fuel)

by Ken Walker

19th August, 2009

Home > Road Tests > Holden

Dual fuel is not a new concept nor a stretch of the technological imagination. Although Holden have shown the way forward with a factory built production vehicle, with a sequential injection system that leaves a rival car company behind in the fumes. Holden has installed an LPG system to their V6 Alloytech engine whilst on the production line as an option to further enhance fuel economy. This is, indeed, a huge step forward in going "eco-friendly".

As a long time favourite “repmobile”, Holden has advanced the saleability of the Commodore. The long distance company representative can now run his/her company car on LPG and still have 73 litres of ULP as a back-up fuel supply. The LPG storage tank is approximately 80 litres. There has been instances of solely LPG fuelled cars not being able to refuel in some country locations and have had to make a return journey on the back of a tow truck. How embarrassing is that? But it shouldn't happen in the VE Commodore with dual-fuel.

Next Car, on this occasion, road tests a dual fuel Holden Commodore Omega Sedan. During a run up the F3 Freeway on LP gas convinced us that the performance did not suffer in any way. Powered by Holden’s 3.6 litre V6 LPG Alloytech engine producing 175 kW (at 6,000 rpm) of power, a loss of just 5 kW over the solely petrol engine. This, though, is not distinguishable on any of the hills. The LPG Omega produces 325 Nm of torque at 2,600 rpm. The V6 LPG engine is a little different to the petrol only version, as it has ultra durable Stellite valves and valve seats to resist LPG’s reduced lubricant properties. Other differences are an LPG vapour filter that requires replacement at every 15,000 km and a liquid filter at every 120,000 km. Minor, but important for the smooth running of a dual fuel powered vehicle. The LPG fuel tank is mounted in the boot between the wheel arches (see the image below). An LPG badge is fitted to the boot lid and lower portion of the front guards. Of course, the mandatory reflective red LPG signs are installed on the number plates. Fuel usage, calculated using ADR 81/01 is quoted by Holden as being: LPG 16 L/100 km and ULP 11.7 L/100 km. We travelled 771 kms and the vehicle was left with about 10 litre of LPG and 30 litres of ULP which we considered reasonable for a mix of city/country driving. (copyright image)

Like most vehicles fitted with LPG/petrol, this package always starts on petrol regardless of the fuel selected. In the Omega the fuel selector switch is located in the centre console in lieu of the ashtray/cigarette lighter (good move Holden). A 2 way rocker switch changes the fuel source. A green light (obvious choice) indicates LPG fuel and it is also the fuel gauge. Four green bars indicate a full fuel cell (tank). Fewer bars indicate less gas remains. A red light indicates that the engine is running on petrol. The source of the fuel supply is controlled by the flick of the switch. Changing the fuel source does not produce any 'coughs' from the engine.

Apart from the minor external differences mentioned above, our test package was standard Omega in every other aspect. From the four speed automatic transmission and 16” alloy wheels (steel rim spare) it was very much the well known ‘Commodore’. An ANCAP 5 star rating for crash worthiness is now part of the Holden Commodore sedan's make-up. Standard equipment includes front, side and curtain SRS airbags and power disc brakes on all four wheels. With ABS, EBD, ESC, EBA and traction control, the Omega is certainly well equipped with safety features. Also included are trip computer, air conditioning, cruise control, single disc 6 speaker CD audio system with auxiliary input jack, illuminated audio/trip computer controls on the reach/rake adjustable steering wheel, an auto "on" headlight feature (at sunset) and a 4 way electric adjustment of the driver’s seat, with lumbar support. Holden has, long ago, caught up with imported motor vehicles (on levels of standard features) as it was either that or fall off the planet. Road speed sensitive variable intermittent wipers keep the windscreen clear during inclement weather.

Interior comfort is good for 5 adults, even better with 4 as the rear centre arm rest can be utilised with its all important cup holders. Leg room is very good and the occupants enjoy a comfortable seating position. Easy access/egress from the wide opening doors is a strong feature. Bottle storage is available in the door pockets. There are covered vanity mirrors on the interior sun visors.

The LPG Omega runs on the same platform, with the same suspension as the Commodore Omega sedan with a direct acting stabiliser bar and coil springs at the front. Whilst down the back-end there is a multi-link independent rear suspension with coil springs and a stabiliser bar. This system works work and eliminates most of the body roll when driven in normal conditions (not as a getaway vehicle). Steering is variable ratio rack and pinion.

Towing options are varied for the package depending on which tow bar is fitted. There are 3 available and towing capacities vary with the tow bars. The maximum towing capacity for a braked trailer is 2,100 kg.

Overall, we view the Holden Commodore Omega LPG (dual fuel) as a good value vehicle. To simplify the acquisition of an LPG fuelled car, the factory fitted LPG system eliminates the need for a 'conversion' like those of the past.


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