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HSV station wagon third time lucky

Heartland demand: the HSV Tourer - a rear-wheel-drive V8 wagon - will be on the road in September.

THE next car from Holden Special Vehicles will be a wagon. The coming HSV Tourer is claimed to have better acceleration and a better overall

balance than the car's bestseller, the R8 ClubSport.

“It is marginally quicker than the sedan,” HSV managing director Scott Grant says.

“You lose nothing in the drive. It's for people who still want the driving characteristic of a HSV, but need the versatility and load-carrying ability of the wagon.”

Grant reveals there was internal conflict over the Tourer, and whether HSV should produce a wagon after the relative failure of the last mainstream model in 1998 with the VT and all-wheel-drive Avalanche in 2003.

“We've had mixed results, and there was a big debate about whether we would do it. The major positive aspect of the program came when we saw the shape of the Holden wagon. It's something we can really work with.”

The HSV Tourer will be on the road in September and, like the Holden Sportwagon, will have a $1000 price premium over the equivalent sedan. That means $65,990 with the same specification as the ClubSport, and leather and 20-inch wheels as options.

The Tourer plan comes as HSV looks to protect its future in the face of falling demand for locally made cars and the impact of rising fuel prices on V8 engine sales globally.

“We sell about 4000 cars in Australia. With environmental pressures, gas prices and the rest, it will drop to about 3000 a year,” Grant says. “Demand might soften, but it won't ever go away. There is a heartland demand for rear-wheel-drive V8s in this country.”