LPG wins over the economists

Hoiden’s LPG Berlina re­ally needs a higher pro­file, re­ports CHRIS RI­LEY

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

THIS week we turn the spot­light on the Holden Com­modore Berlina and ask the ques­tions to which you want an­swers. But there’s only one ques­tion that re­ally needs an­swer­ing: “Would you buy one?”.

What is it?

Good ques­tion. Never re­ally GOT the Berlina and it is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly ir­rel­e­vant. It sits be­tween the Omega and Calais, but the en­try Omega is so well equipped these days why bother?

How much?

The petrol one is $43,490 and the LPG model is $45,990 (but re­mem­ber you get a $2000 re­bate back from the gov­ern­ment for be­ing gas). Omega LPG is $42,490.

What are com­peti­tors?

Fal­con of course. But we reckon its great­est threat lies in the SV6 which looks so much bet­ter and is only $300 more (I know which one we’d buy).

What’s un­der the bon­net?

Ded­i­cated 3.6-litre LPG engine. Make that vapour-in­jec­tion gas engine, with 180kW of power and 320Nm of torque (petrol 210kW/350Nm).

How does it go?

Well enough. But it’s all about the cost of run­ning, with LPG only around 60 cents a litre at the time of writ­ing. We put $20 in to top it off and it half filled the tank. Se­ri­ously, you’ve got to like that?

Is it eco­nom­i­cal?

It’s rated at 11.8 litres/100km. The tank is sup­posed to hold 84.4 litres which gives it a max­i­mum range of 715km. We got 701km out of a sin­gle tank at 12.2 ac­cord­ing to the trip com­puter. Talk about a close shave.

Is it green?

Berlina gets 4.5 out of five stars from the gov­ern­ment’s Green Ve­hi­cle Guide with CO2 emis­sions of 189g/km. A

Prius, by the way, gets five stars.

Is it safe?

Yep. There’s a full five stars for safety, with six airbags, sta­bil­ity and trac­tion con­trol and anti-lock brakes with brake as­sist and brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion.

Is it com­fort­able?

Com­fort is one of the Com­modore’s fortes. It’s big and arm­chair com­fort­able. Easy to get in and out of and easy to drive.

What’s it like to drive?

It’s not go­ing to set the world on fire but like we said it’s all about econ­omy. If you want or need a large car but don’t want to foot the bill for driv­ing one, then LPG could be right for you. It’s cheap and it’s read­ily avail­able – even in the coun­try – but re­mem­ber these days you can’t put petrol in it if you can’t find any.

Is it value for money?

You don’t get auto wipers, twin ex­hausts or a rear spoiler. But for the ex­tra money you get larger 17-inch al­loys, fog lights, leather-clad steer­ing wheel, a trip com­puter with more fea­tures, rear park as­sist, a flash drive for au­dio stor­age, bol­stered seats and a cen­tre arm rest in the back.

Would we buy one?

Nah. We’d fork out the $300 ex­tra bucks for the SV6 (wouldn’t you?).

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