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Tourer turns attitudes

Holden Special Vehicles says the driving experience of the Tourer is virtually identical to the sedan.

HSV says you can forget those old ideas about wagons.

The first serious station wagon in Holden Special Vehicles' history has just joined the muscle-car family.

There have been HSV wagons in the past, from slow sellers in the '90s to the unloved Avalanche all-wheel drive, but nothing like the newcomer called Tourer.

It is a direct result of the change of direction on Commodore wagons, with the Sportwagon soon to arrive at GM Holden showrooms.

The short-wheelbase wagon, aimed more at lifestyle buyers than traditional families, was quickly targeted for a HSV makeover.

It will join the V-Series sedan line-up, and will be among the first to benefit from the tickled-up LS3 V8 engine producing 317kW.

HSV chief Scott Grant reacts angrily to any suggestion that the newcomer is just a high-powered people-mover.

“We're not doing a station wagon, we're doing a Tourer. It's a sexy car, it's not a station wagon,” Grant says.

“We've done some evaluation with our powertrain in that body and the driving experience is virtually identical to the sedan.

“There is nothing else like it on the market. It has sex appeal, as well as versatility.”

Details of the HSV Tourer were revealed this week in Perth at a press preview of the company's latest LS3 sedan models.

HSV will bring the wagon to market quickly — quick enough to possibly beat Holden's own Sportwagon launch — because it shares the body kit with the new LS3 sedan.

The Tourer is based on the Clubsport R8, but — aside from the HSV nose and an as-yet-unfinished tail treatment — the wagon is a refleshed Sportwagon with the LS3 mechanical package. It should be in showrooms by October.

Grant says the Tourer will have the same price hike above a sedan as the Sportwagon has over a regular four-door Commodore, which means $1000.

That price increment will appeal to buyers who want a high-performance five-seater.

“For us, it's a totally different proposition. We'll tease the market and see how it goes. It really has some potential.

“The total package will allow us to carve a niche in the market. There is nothing like it out there. There is an opportunity,” Grant says.

And there is no pressure of sales targets.

“It is part of the LS3 freshen, and that is very much an enhancement and a running change. Other than the powertrain, the car is identical to an LS2,” Grant says.

“We're hoping to build 100-plus. But … because the specification is virtually identical to the R8, we don't have any exposure,” he says.