Holden Berlina Sportswagon LPG Road Test
Review by Tristan Tancredi - 7 November 2012
Ever thought of buying a large family wagon but the thought of high running costs outweighed the benefits of solid performance? Think again. The Holden Commodore LPG range should change that attitude... and fast!
Not only do you get huge amounts of space and serious on-road performance, but the on-roads costs of the Berlina Sportswagon are similar to that of a small car. Surely it must be a joke?
The Holden Berlina Sportswagon LPG is no joke. Rocking a 3.6L Vapour Injection LPG V6 engine, the Holden is very generous to the hip pocket. But does this come at the cost of high on-road performance? Let's find out..
The Holden Berlina Sportswagon has very distinct and clear on-road handling. Steering through windy outer Melbourne suburbia and the Holden Sportswagon stuck to the road and created a very accurate driving experience.
There is a slight delay when hitting the brake pedal, so to ensure you come to a complete stop, a heavy foot is required (a perfect workout for the calves).
Slamming the accelerator to the floor from a standing start and this Commodore takes a few seconds to get the LPG engine firing. Once up and going, the vehicle is far from sluggish.
Utilising a 6-Speed Automatic transmission, the V6 LPG engine chews through about 9.2L per 100kms. Considering the cost difference for LPG the savings at the bowser are evident. Holden claim that you can get 700 kms per full tank. We can vouch for that only if you drive sensibly (which we suggest you do!)
Above all else, the Holden Berlina Sportswagon is a fun, dynamic and responsive vehicle. A great family car.
The Berlina Sportswagon comes fitted with with a 3.0L SIDI Direct Injection V6 Engine or a 3.6L Vapour Injection LPG V6. It was the latter which we put to the test. So how does the 3.6L Vapour Injection LPG Engine stack up?
Holden have purposely designed and built an engine specifically catered to run on LPG. Available across a range of Holden vehicles the LPG V6 engine increases fuel efficiency whilst maintaining the performance we have come to love from Holden.
The LPG engine inside the Berlina delivers maximum power of 180kW at 6000rpm and maximum torque of 320Nm at 2000rpm. At no stage throughout testing did the 3.6L engine feel under any stress.
Very little engine noise presents itself within the cabin. At various times there will be a brief delay when the transmission is gearing up, thus creating a rise in engine noise, this however is barely noticeable (Especially when under heavy acceleration).
With the sales of mini to mid-sized SUV's on the continual incline, it was a refreshing change to buckle down in a Sportswagon. A modern, stylish Sportswagon that is.
The Berlina maintains a modern and practical "everyday use" exterior look. It lacks the excessively detailed side skirts and fog lights of the SSV Z-Series Sportswagon and brings it's own identity to the mix.
The Berlina Sportswagon forgoes the "look at me" factor by ditching the accentuated style lines and opting for a more mainstream, clean and shall we say, standard look.
Notable exterior features of the Berlina Sportswagon include front fog lights, bold front fascia and grille and 17" alloy wheels.
The 2012 Holden Sportswagon was rewarded a 5-star rating by independent testing performed by ANCAP.
Safety is now the Crux of motoring marketing. If the car ain't safe, DON'T BUY IT. Thankfully, most new cars are awarded the maximum safety score of 5 stars. The Holden Sportswagon is no exception.
The Berlina Sportswagon comes standard with a host of safety features including dual-stage front airbags and curtain airbags for both the driver and front passenger, as well as side impact airbags.
Other notable safety features include; Electronic Stability Control, ABS, Electronic Brake Assist and front and rear crumple zones. One disappointing aspect is the lack of a standard spare wheel (optional). A repair kit comes standard.
When thinking of the Berlina Sportswagon, think one thing: Space! There is enough space to not only travel in comfort but to stretch out and catch a good nights rest.
The Cloth seat trim seating is boosted with Sportec Bolsters to add that little bit of extra back support (Adjustable lumbar support is also available for the driver). The seating is spacious, comfortable and the front seats are quite wide. The driver is positioned neatly in conjuction to the front dash with all controls easily accessible.
For the driver there is a Trip Computer that indicates fuel usage, average speed, distance times and so on and so forth. In the centre console sits a touch screen Holden IQ System. This 6.5" screen incorporates Navigation software, Rear Vision Camera (optional) and all radio and multimedia settings.
The set-up of the 6.5" display is quite tricky to navigate via touch. For example, picking a radio station isn't as simple as A, B, C. It requires a bit of practice and patience.
Oh, and what's the deal with the handbrake? Not only does it look like it belongs aboard the cockpit of a Qantas 747, it is ridiculously hard to release. Too often we were squeezing the button until our blistered hands could no longer take the pain. OK, that's a slight exaggeration, but the handbrake is by no means practical.
Overall, the cabin is a peaceful, comfortable and spacious place to be. Plenty of storage compartments, a heap of storage capacity (895L cargo space) and Dual Zone Electronic Climate Control all combine to make the inside of the Berlina a well designed, modern and comfortable Sportswagon.
If you are looking to buck the SUV trend and go in the market for a Wagon, look no further then the Holden Berlina Sportswagon.
A very capable and responsive family sports wagon, the LPG V6 variant is a fuel efficient alternative granted to save you money at the bowsers, whilst at the same time not losing any ground in the performance stakes.
With a poor resale value, the starting price of $47,990 is quite expensive. Take one for a test drive anyway!
* Prices are manufacturer list prices only, for the drive away price please contact your local authorised Holden dealer.
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