The last Ute thread disappeared when I tried merging new content to it, so here's a fresh new one full of info. Conversions are also included. FOR RELEASE: 2007-08-21 HOLDEN'S ALL NEW VE UTE RAISES THE BAR Sets new standards in performance, safety, comfort and flexibility GM Holden today unveiled its all new VE Ute range - the latest iconic model in a line-up that spans almost 60 years of Australian motoring. VE Ute is Holden's first completely new ute design since the VU series in 2000. It offers more features, more useable interior space, greater storage flexibility and more performance than any of its predecessors. Holden invested an extra $105 million on top of its $1 billion VE Commodore sedan program and carried out more than 650,000kms of reliability testing on the new VE Ute. Launching the new range in Melbourne today, GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Chris Gubbey said almost 60 years of history had established the Holden Ute as a true Australian icon. "The ute's development tells the story of Australia. Today's ute is about working hard, playing hard and enjoying an active lifestyle," Mr Gubbey said. "VE Ute raises the bar in this segment and sets new standards in safety, comfort, flexibility and performance, and all at the great value price you'd expect from Holden." Holden's world-class design and engineering expertise has created a vehicle that successfully integrates sports car performance, ride and handling and workhorse practicality. Sharing the same genetic make-up as the multi-award winning VE Commodore sedan, the all new VE Ute was designed, engineered and built in Australia. It will be the first locally produced ute to offer the acclaimed Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) crash avoidance safety technology standard across the range. High levels of safety carry through to the vehicle's structure which incorporates the same high-strength steels introduced in VE sedan. VE Ute's interior offers increased cabin comfort and significantly increased storage space. The tray has a new cargo liner fitted as standard. Performance is stepped up and there are wider wheel and tyre combinations across all models. A new-to-the-range SS V model marries 270kW (362hp) of V8 power with high-level features. These include 19-inch wheels, dual zone electronic climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, alloy pedals and a premium audio system, setting a new standard in the ute segment. Introduced in July 2006, Holden's VE range has won a host of accolades including Wheels Car of the Year, News Ltd's Car Of The Year, MOTOR's Bang For Your Bucks and Drive.com People's Choice Award. Design Overview Holden designers captured the dual role of today's ute as a practical workhorse with recreational sports car credentials. A priority was to create more practical cabin space and storage flexibility. Like its sedan sibling, VE Ute has authoritative stance and poise. The signature raked bodyside and distinctive flared wheel arches feature prominently. The silhouette features a coupe-like integrated roof-line and retains the classic Holden Ute proportional trait with the tray perfectly balanced above the rear wheels. The clean presentation is aided by the use of a single piece body side outer which runs from the A pillar to the tailgate. The new one-piece side structure delivers significant quality improvements through dimensional stability and repeatability. There are unique wrap-around tail lamps and tailgate hinges are now fully concealed. Dual and quad exhaust systems enhance the VE Ute's sports car appeal. Interior Features VE Ute introduces several design solutions that increase interior storage space, improve rear compartment access and add more convenience features. The cabin interior draws on the award-winning VE sedan, with individual treatments increasing buyer choice. Specific centre stack features, mouldings, displays and illumination colours create maximum differentiation between variants. The aggressive quality standards applied to VE sedan were also applied to ute, with critical areas such as part-to-part fit, material surfaces, storage openings and other treatments reviewed to the tiniest detail. Rear seat access has been opened up with a quick release seat latch now standard. Storage volume behind the seats is now 245 litres (8.7 cu. ft.), a significant increase over VZ Ute's 90 litre (3.2 cu. ft.) space. There are two storage compartments beneath the load floor and all models except Omega and SV6 have dual cargo nets in the rear panel. A new rear centre T-panel provides a striking visual element. Exterior Features While the new ute takes many of its design and styling cues from the successful VE sedan, its body structure has more than 60 unique panels. The rear structure has been significantly reinforced to accommodate the load-carrying capacity and robustness required for a light commercial vehicle. The cargo area is more functional and versatile. A heavy duty moulded cargo liner is now standard fitment. It helps protect the tray space and load materials from damage. Floor corrugations allow water run-off and easy cleaning. The flush-fitting soft tonneau cover (all models except Omega) features Holden's unique 'snap lock' clipping system. The six cargo tie-down hooks have been redesigned for improved functionality. Safety Technology VE Ute incorporates more standard safety features than its predecessor and benefits from the largest crash modelling program Holden has undertaken. The focus was on crash avoidance and providing optimum occupant protection should a crash occur. Safety technologies were benchmarked against the world's leading brands and major engineering programs delivered a stiffer body structure and significantly increased usage of advanced strength steels. Seventy seven per cent of VE Ute's structure is advanced strength steel. Load path strategies established for VE sedan have been adapted for VE Ute with a focus on side and rear impact. Structurally optimised crush zones help absorb crash energy. VE is the first locally produced ute equipped with the acclaimed Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) safety technology standard across the range. This integrates traction control, anti-lock braking systems, electronic brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution to help prevent skidding in critical driving situations by applying corrective braking to different wheels and reducing engine torque. New dual-stage driver and passenger front airbags, which inflate in two stages according to impact severity and respective seating positions, further enhance occupant safety. Other protection features include a steering column ride-down mechanism and breakaway brake pedal. Performance The new VE Ute is all about performance, whether as a day-to-day commercial workhorse or a two-door sports car in its own right. The Omega Ute offers a four-speed automatic transmission paired with Holden's locally built 3.6 litre V6 Alloytec engine, delivering 180kW (241hp) of peak power and 330Nm (243ft-lbs) of peak torque. The six-speed manual Omega has the more powerful High Output V6 Alloytec, delivering peak power of 195kW (261hp) and peak torque of 340Nm (251ft-lbs), with dual exhausts added. SV6 utilises the same combination of High Output V6 engine, six-speed manual transmission and dual exhausts but adds sports suspension. Five-speed automatic transmission with Active Select is optional. The SS and new high-end SS V Ute models are powered by Holden's 6.0 litre Gen IV V8, which delivers 270kW (362hp) of peak power and 530Nm (391ft-lbs) of peak torque. It is matched to a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with Active Select. Wheel and tyre packages are larger across the range. The entry level Omega ute moves from 15-inch to 16-inch steel wheels. At the performance end, SV6 and SS utes move from 17-inch to 18-inch alloys as standard and the new SS V boasts 19-inch alloy wheels. Quad exhausts add to the performance package on SS and SS V models. Ride and handling Holden's chassis engineers have translated the luxury smoothness, great linear handling and steering feel of VE sedan into the ute driving experience. At the same time, they have maintained the ride comfort characteristics and sporting appeal of the successful VZ Ute. The result is a balance between passenger car comfort, sporty handling and the practical requirements of a load-bearing commercial vehicle. Rear suspension was a primary focus for change and the new ute delivers even greater lateral grip and linear response during cornering. VE Ute also benefits from larger fade resistant brakes and larger wheel and tyre packages. Further Feature Highlights All-new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system - 20 fan speeds High quality instrument clusters with larger dials and displays, night mode dash illumination, 16 personalisation options, multifunction driver display All models satellite navigation and telematics capable Blaupunkt audio systems Six disc CD player (SS and SS V) Sports-contoured seats (SS and SS V) Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity Euro-style flat blade wipers Locking fuel filler door One touch lane change indicator LED high-mounted stop lamp (SS and SS V) Dual zone electronic climate control (SS V) Projector headlamps (SS V) Alloy faced pedals (SS V) Accessories include: Super Box Hard tonneau cover Cargo tie-down rails Sports bar Ladder and roof rack Sports decal kit Interior luggage organiser Colour selection A varied and expressive colour palette emphasises ute's sports persona. Three exciting new colours - Atomic, Crunch and K-Pow - are included in a total of nine exterior colour choices. Available on all models Heron White - solid white Phantom - metallic black with silver highlights Redhot - highly chromatic solid red metallic Nickel - mechanical dark silver with coarse metallic highlight *K-Pow - highly chromatic metallic blue with purple undertones Additional colours available on SV6, SS and SSV Ignition - chromatic red orange metallic with fine mica gold highlight *Atomic - metallic green, bright and packed with chroma *Crunch - a green-biased metallic yellow Morpheous - purple metallic * denotes new colours Holden VE Ute Range: Omega (new) - 3.6L V6, peak power 180kW (241hp), peak torque 330Nm (243ft-lbs), four-speed automatic and 3.6L V6 195kW (261hp) peak torque 340Nm (251ft-lbs) six-speed manual; SV6 - 3.6L V6 195kW (261hp) peak torque 340Nm (251ft-lbs) five-speed automatic and six-speed manual; SS - 6.0L V8 270kW (362hp), peak torque 530Nm (391ft-lbs) six-speed automatic and six-speed manual; SS V (new) - 6.0L V8 270kW (362hp), peak torque 530Nm (391ft-lbs) six-speed automatic and six-speed manual; Fuel Economy (based on ADR 81/01) Omega (auto) 11.3 L/km Omega (manual) 11.4 L/km SV6 (auto) 11.6 L/km SV6 (manual) 11.4 L/km SS & SS V (auto) 14.0 L/km SS & SS V (manual) 14.5 L/km THE HOLDEN UTE GETS A NEW HERO WITH ALL NEW SS V Holden today strengthened its position at the premium sports end of the ute market by introducing an all new SS V model to its VE Ute range. Reflecting the trend towards premium performance products, VE SS V Ute offers enthusiasts an exciting level of high-end performance, comfort and style. Features include 19-inch alloy wheels, projector headlamps, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a 150 Watt premium audio system. It is the first locally-built ute to offer the acclaimed accident avoidance system (ESP®) and dual zone electronic climate control as standard. Other highlights include sports car cockpit-style interiors, with new rear T-panel, hero colour-keyed instrument panel and cluster, centre console sports gauges, large colour screen multi function display, full map satellite navigation availability, leather-faced seat trim and sports profile leather wrap steering wheel. Power comes courtesy of Holden's 6.0-litre Generation IV V8 engine which delivers 270kW (362hp) of peak power and peak torque of 530Nm (391ft-lbs), teamed with flagship six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. "We introduced the new V Series on VE sedan as a way of offering customers extra value and features normally only available on special editions," Holden's Executive Director Sales, Marketing and Aftersales, Alan Batey said. "The response from the market was overwhelmingly positive so we've decided to extend the V Series to the ute range. "Sports models traditionally account for the major percentage of Holden's sales in this segment so we have increased our mix for VE from two to three sports variants, starting with the SV6 and moving up through to SS and now the new SS V. "Each model takes a step up in terms of features and performance with the new SS V the ultimate hero of our ute range. "At the same time we've improved our entry level offering for fleets and business customers with the new Omega model. "Omega offers more storage space and flexibility than Holden's previous entry level ute. We have also introduced a range of new standard features including ESP® and dual stage airbags. "Our customers now have more choice, more flexibility and more features as standard. They can find the ideal ute to match their work and lifestyle needs at a value for money price," he said. Omega Ute offers two variants of the advanced 3.6 litre Alloytec engine. The Alloytec V6 teamed with the four-speed automatic delivers peak power of 180kW (241hp) and peak torque of 330Nm (243ft-lbs). The six-speed manual Omega offers the High Output Alloytec engine, delivers peak power of 195kW (261hp), peak torque of 340Nm (251ft-lbs) and has a dual exhaust system. SV6 has the High Output Alloytec V6 matched with five-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch wheels and dual exhausts. Standard features include sports facias and sports suspension. The traditional sports ute, SS, provides the step up to V8 power and performance. Standard features include quad exhausts, Bluetooth phone connectivity and six disc CD player with MP3 compatibility. All models have the option of satellite navigation and all are telematics capable. PRODUCT INFORMATION Development Cost $105.1 million – (on top of $1.03 billion VE Commodore program) Validation Durability 500,830 km Reliability test trips 23,810 km Captive Fleet 130,000 km Total 654,640 test kilometres Added to VE Commodore total of 3.42 million kms = 4,074,640 test kilometres Total dedicated test vehicles 87 Key Dimensions Wheelbase 3009 mm (118.5 in) Front track 1602 mm (63 in) Rear track 1618 mm (63.7 in) Max width (includes mirrors) 2100 mm (82.6 in) Overall length 5055 mm (199 in) Height 1497 mm (59 in) Turning circle 11.7 metres (38.3 ft) Headroom 985 mm (38.7 in) Leg room 1071 mm (42 in) Kerb Mass Omega V6 auto (A/C) 1697 kg (3,741 lbs) Omega V6 manual (A/C) 1711 kg (3,772 lbs) SV6 auto 1740 kg (3,836 lbs) SV6 manual 1735 kg (3,825 lbs) SS V8 auto 1787 kg (3,939 lbs) SS V8 manual 1767 kg (3,895 lbs) SS V V8 auto 1806 kg (3,981 lbs) SS V V8 manual 1786 kg (3,937 lbs) Payload Omega (man) 775 kg (1,708 lbs) Omega (auto) 794 kg (1,750 lbs) SV6 (man) 634 kg (1,397 lbs) SV6 (auto) 633 kg (1,395 lbs) SS (man) 617 kg (1,360 lbs) SS (auto) 597 kg (1,316 lbs) SS V (man) 528 kg (1,164 lbs) SS V (auto) 508 kg (1,120 lbs) Body Structure Primary underbody structure (engine compartment, front floor assembly and rear rails) shared with WM Sedan - additional reinforcements and steel crossmembers support tray floor and accommodate spare wheel. Structure provides more room behind the seats than VZ and increased storage space. Employs cost-effective technology – high strength steels, tailor-welding, ‘walk in’ front end. Composite floor panel reduces mass, streamlines production. More than 60 panels unique to ute - common with VE sedan from B pillar forward. One-piece side structure replaces former multi-piece side. Stiffer base structure gives more ride refinement - sense of safety and solidity. Torsion and bending modes (structural twisting and bending under applied loads) increased significantly over VZ. Trimmed body modes: 22.5 hertz for bending; 27.5 hertz for torsion. Passenger cabin integrity maximised through multiple load paths and use of high-strength steels – 77% of structure is advanced strength steel. Crash requirements drove necessity for stiff joints, which promote better noise and vibration outcomes. Achieving sedan-style noise and vibration targets required intensive analysis and development work. Addition of extensive noise insulation, sealing baffles and absorbent materials ensures more car-like driving experience. Global GM system - Dimensional Technical Specification - used to achieve ‘best of the best’ dimensional quality. All-new tailgate - concealed hinges for more integrated appearance; cargo tie-down hooks redesigned for improved functionality. New pull-bar door handles and improved door swing contribute to lighter door-opening effort. Doors are bolt-on for easier repair. New door seals enable consistency of finish, insulate wind noise and lessen water/dust intrusion. Exterior Systems Moulded cargo area and tailgate liner standard on all models - extra features and flexibility. Improvements to tailored tonneau cover reduce wind thump and resonance at high speed by 50 per cent. Front end module creates a walk-in front end, improving production efficiency, facilitating quality fit and finish. Improved headlamp technology - better lighting for cornering, broader spread, whiter light on low beam, improved high beam performance. Unique wrap-around tail lamps integrated into body side; LED stop lamp located on roof capping (SS and SS V); SS V Ute has projector headlamps. Flat blade wipers improve wipe quality at all speeds, integrated aerofoil blade element reduces wind lift, improves acoustic performance; ‘wet arm’ feature improves cleaning performance. Acoustic windscreen dampens high frequency noise typically transferred through windscreen to cabin. Side channels improve water management. Two rear bumper fascia designs support differentiation between models and exhaust configurations (single and dual). One-piece rocker panel mouldings replace previous two-piece design. Aluminium front bumper beam has computer-tuned crush characteristics. Interior Instrument panel – locked down’ to cross-car beam; strong, rigid component adds extra dimensional stability and integrity, improves steering column stiffness. Further features include a burst-through passenger airbag, redesigned glovebox – almost 50 per cent larger than VZ. Door bins - longer, wider and deeper - accommodate 600ml drink bottle. Carpet - layered with a high-tech acoustic insulation material. Insulator moulded to shape and attached to underside of the engine hood reduces noise from the engine compartment. Large sound-deadening component behind the engine bay; acoustic package between transmission and tunnel also provides thermal barrier. Safety Systems Significant amount of ute safety development program completed virtually - no mule or prototype stages. Side and rear impact was major focus and more than 1500 barrier tests were performed virtually. Five actual barrier crash tests – one frontal, two side and two rear. Use of high strength steel improves structural rigidity, maximises sectional efficiency. Clearly defined load paths minimise passenger compartment intrusions. Side impact load paths - B pillar, instrument panel cross-beam, three floor cross-members, rocker, door intrusion beam, cabin bulkhead/crossmember, structural roof bow. Rear impact - rear longitudinal rail, rocker, side tray reinforcement structure, spare wheel crossmembers, number six crossmember at the rear of the rails. Advanced adaptive occupant restraint system - dual-stage front airbags, front seat pyrotechnic seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters. Driver and front passenger airbags inflate in two stages, according to impact severity and respective seating positions. Further features - ride-down steering column, breakaway pedals, optimised door trim profile. Chassis Dynamics Development - 20-month, 50,000 kilometre ute-specific chassis development program on top of eight-year VE sedan program. Primary focus - rear suspension. Stabiliser bar diameter reduced to 12 mm (from 16 mm on VE sedan). Other changes reduce oversteer during limit handling and improve lane change behaviour. Front suspension tweaks give additional roll understeer. Front stabiliser bar diameter increased to 24mm (from 23 mm on VE sedan), resulting in greater lateral grip and linear response. Linear Control Suspension Front - multi-link strut, with direct acting stabiliser bar. Forward-mounted steering rack and dual lower links with individual ball joints at the outer end. Hydraulically damped bush in the forward end of the tension link for improved ride isolation. Lateral link has a rubber spherical joint, providing lateral stiffness for precise handling. Front geometry features negative scrub radius, short spindle length, high castor and short mechanical trail. Fully adjustable in camber, castor and toe. Benefits include improved road connection; better on-centre steering feel; sharper handling and improved directional stability during manoeuvres such as high-speed lane changes; desensitisation to external influences such as crosswinds and camber changes. Rear - multi-link (four link) independent system with coil-over shock absorbers and decoupled stabiliser bar. Major features include high lateral stiffness for handling and improved longitudinal compliance for ride, with elastic bushes fore and aft. A rubber isolated suspension frame double isolates the vehicle body from road imperfections and drivetrain vibrations. Fully adjustable in camber and toe. Benefits include improved vehicle response; sharper handling; better isolation and ride comfort; reduced sensitivity to payload changes. Omega ─ suspension biased to higher ground clearance. SV6, SS and SS V - sports suspension. Steering system Steering rack is mounted forward of the front axle centreline (rear-mounted on VZ) - retains a variable ratio gear, with 15% change from centre to lock. Steering efforts are lighter and benefits of forward-mounted positioning include a significantly stiffer system which maintains a degree of lateral force toe change, stabilising the vehicle on turn-in. Combined with approximately 10 per cent faster ratio on-centre compared with VZ, provides enhanced steering feel, precision and greater driver connection to the road. Stiffer structural engine sump improves engine beaming stiffness and reduces vibration input to the powertrain mounting system. Steering ratio and valve calibration initially determined by computer analysis. Final tuning completed with a combination of objective measurement and subjective vehicle evaluation. Brakes 16-inch package for V6-powered models. 298mm x 30mm vented front rotors; 302mm x 22mm vented rear rotors. Twin piston compact aluminium calipers (front), single piston aluminium units (rear). 17-inch package for V8 powered models. Shares the same calipers - attachment bracket modified to suit 321mm x 30mm vented front rotors and 324mm x 22mm vented rear rotors. Benefits of the new system include stiffer brake pedal feel, increased fade resistance and improved noise and vibration performance. Brake actuation - performed by a front/rear split 26mm master cylinder with a tandem 8+9-inch vacuum booster. A brake apply sensor on the brake pedal replaces two switches, delivering noiseless operation. Pedal release system helps to reduce lower leg injuries in a frontal impact. Bosch Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) - compares vehicle movement with the steering wheel to determine if the vehicle is moving in the intended direction. If skidding appears imminent, ESP applies brake pressure to individual wheels as appropriate and if necessary reduces engine power. Traction Control System (TCS) recognises rear wheel slippage and adjusts drive and brake force accordingly. Reduces wheel spin when accelerating on wet or icy roads and in ‘split’ conditions, e.g. when vehicle has two wheels on bitumen and two on a gravel verge. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) detects wheel lock-up under hard braking and reduces brake pressure at the affected wheel, improving braking efficiency and assisting the driver to maintain steering control so the vehicle remains directionally stable. Electronic Brake Assist (EBA) maximises braking pressure to optimise performance in emergency braking situations. Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) regulates the brake force applied to each wheel to ensure optimal balance between front and rear brakes, which helps to minimise stopping distances. Wheels and tyres Omega: 16-inch x 7-inch steel wheels; 225/60 R16 102H tyres. SV6, SS and SS V wheels and tyres match VE sedan counterparts: 18-inch x 8-inch alloy wheels; 245/45 R18 96V tyres (SV6, SS) 19-inch x 8-inch alloy wheels; 245/40 R19 94W tyres (SS V) Tyre pressure - increased to 250kpa (from 200-220kpa) – or 36psi. Engine cradle - design delivers a stiffer, stronger structure for improved handling and noise and vibration performance. The frame adds torsional and bending stiffness to the front structure and contributes to improved overall crash performance. Rear differential Features include double isolation ─ isolation from the rear suspension frame by rubber bushes at three points and isolation from the body at four points ─ gear set and bearing improvements. Multi-plate clutch limited slip differential system allows more progressive breakaway characteristics, vehicle tuning for maximum grip out of corners and improved durability. Powertrain V6 Engines Improvements over VZ: • more aggressive pedal map for livelier more responsive launch feel; • variable intake manifold helps increase peak power and torque across rev range; • inverted tooth chain design and re-tuned harmonic balancer reduce drive noise; • diecast oil pan further isolates the driver from powertrain noise and vibration; • Bosch E77 engine control system with digital engine sensors for crank and camshaft positions; front and rear oxygen sensors for better cold start and cold running performance; • New engine cover with acoustic insulation for further noise reduction. Lightweight all-alloy Alloytec V6 operates with advanced double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. A combination of high feature technologies allows it to extract more power from less fuel, with fewer emissions. The variable intake manifold facilitates maximum torque at low to medium engine speeds and increases power at high speed. Equipped with variable cam phasing on exhaust as well as inlet camshafts for increased efficiency. Electronically controlled and hydraulically actuated, continuously variable cam phasing brings outstanding camshaft operational flexibility, permitting variability of valve timing to maximise performance, fuel economy and emissions control. V6 Transmissions Four-speed 4L60E automatic The 4L60E four-speed automatic transmission (Omega) is mated to the 180kW Alloytec V6 engine. This transmission has been developed over time to an increasingly high level of refinement and has been extensively recalibrated. Five-speed 5L40E automatic with Active Select Optional on SV6 - Active Select with tap up/ tap down control located on the shifter. Retains performance mode liftfoot, which detects sporty driving and holds gears rather than allow upshifts. A powertrain braking feature recognises long downgrades and selects a lower gear. Six-speed Aisin AY6 manual Standard on SV6 and Omega (195 kW Alloytec). Refinements over VZ include isolated shift assembly that reduces transmission noise, improves comfort with less vibration through the gear knob. Reduction in gear lever length provides a sportier shift feel, clutch pedal travel is reduced by 15 per cent with a new clutch pedal ratio. An over-centre assist spring reduces clutch effort and provides sportier feel. V8 Engine Refinements for VE include: • Increased power and torque. • Single-piece engine cover with acoustic insulation. • Larger capacity oil pan - increases service interval from 10,000km to 15,000km. • Performance-oriented calibration and a high-flow exhaust for improved launch feel. • Design changes to exhaust manifolds support Euro 3 emission requirements. V8 teamed with six-speed manual transmission. Optional six-speed automatic transmission with Active Select Calibration changes to V8 pedal map have resulted in a smoother ramp-in of torque during acceleration, meaning more progressive power delivery and improved driveability. V8 Transmissions Six-speed 6L80E automatic with Active Select Optional on SS and SS V - delivers world-class shift quality. A wide 6:1 gear ratio spread allows a steep first gear for launch acceleration and a very tall overdrive top gear for low rpm highway cruising. Fifth gear is also an overdrive gear. It has a rigid aluminium case for low noise transfer to the vehicle and high torque capacity. Features clutch-to-clutch shifting. For most gear changes, the clutch is engaged in one gear at exactly the time it is released in another, optimising performance. Second gear has a free-wheeling action; second gear clutch engages while the first gear clutch spins freely, allowing greater smoothness at lower speeds. Features performance mode liftfoot and powertrain braking. Six-speed Tremec T-56 manual Improvements over VZ include shorter gear ratios for improved launch feel, better acceleration and improved overtaking performance in fifth gear. There is increased synchroniser capacity in all gears and linear bearings replace bushes on shift rods inside the transmissions. Shift efforts are reduced (around 30 per cent less effort) and shifts are faster. A fully isolated remote shifter (VZ semi-direct) reduces noise into the cabin and allows less vibration through the gear knob. Shorter shift travel at the gear knob enhances ergonomics and provides a sporty shift feel. Clutch pedal travel is reduced, pedal peak effort is reduced by 20 per cent. ‘Power’ button Models equipped with 5-speed and 6-speed auto transmissions with Active Select no longer have a console ‘Power’ button to change the transmission shift map to a sportier mode. This is now achieved by moving the Auto lever sideways across into the ‘Tap’ gate. If the lever is then moved forward or back it will activate the tap up/tap down functionality. If the lever is simply moved across into the tap gate and left untouched, it will still shift automatically but will be in Sports mode. In addition, to alert the driver that Sports mode has been selected, the transmission will downshift one gear in anticipation of the driver requesting a more responsive reaction. Omega utes with four-speed automatic transmission retain the ‘Power’ button on the console. Driveline and differential The straight propshaft geometry reduces driveline angles, providing improvements in noise and vibration. Lighter ZF double-isolated differential provides increased torque capacity and improved efficiency. A premium transmission fluid improves oil stability and durability, leading to better shift consistency. HVAC System All new VE HVAC system is the product of a six year development program. Total dedicated test kilometres: 220,000. (VE/WM/Ute combined). The new HVAC module is smaller and lighter than the VZ unit. Compact design allowed more efficient packaging. System meets stringent global performance targets - operates from minus 20°C to 50°C ambient temperature and higher. Fully electric operation (vacuum-controlled in VZ). Delivers quieter mode changes and increased reliability. Controls integrated in radio head unit. Electronic climate control display (SS V) part of integrated multi-function display. Linear controls - a selection of 20 fan speeds ─ infinite speeds when in Auto mode. Electronic variable displacement, clutchless air-conditioning compressor enables real world fuel consumption savings and provides optimum refrigerant flow for any conditions. Features include: • Seamless operation. Infinitely variable displacement, ramps up or down as required; can ramp almost immediately from zero to full displacement in high cooling demand situations. • Refrigerant charge reduced by 27% – should reduce recharge service costs and environmentally beneficial. • Slimline washers and mini-block fittings improve durability, reducing chance of refrigerant leakage. • Straight airflow path from evaporator reduces noise, increases airflow and provides dual zone performance improvements. More even distribution of airflow through the new ducting layout optimised by virtual analysis using computational fluid dynamics. Nine ducts in the Omega Ute compared with five in the base VZ. Side window demist has individual ducts - improved window clearing. Heating and demisting performance in cold conditions improved; airflow to defrost/demist mode increased 38%. Heating warm-up rate is improved. While in foot mode, demist operation improved with ‘bleed’ of some air directed to outer dash vents, windscreen and side windows. Powertrain Cooling New Condenser Radiator Fan Module - mounting system improves isolation from body structure. Power steering cooler integrated into the condenser - 20% reduction in fluid temperatures during power steering abuse testing. Downflow radiator design allows better core face exposure to the airstream. Twin puller fans improve coverage of the radiator core (70% versus VZ 55%) - increases cooling efficiency and improves high speed performance. Three fan speeds on Alloytec V6 models (two in VZ). V8-powered models retain two fan speeds. Electrical GM Local Area Network (GMLAN) This GM global system underpins all VE electrical functions and acts as the communication link between all electrical modules. Due to body style, routing of VE Ute wiring is significantly different from VE sedan from the front windscreen rearwards. Improvements to wiring harness designs have helped to increase production efficiency – VE Ute is faster to build than VZ. VE has up to 21 electrical modules (base VZ Ute nine) depending on specification. Omega has 18, compared with VZ base model’s nine. Communication speed - increased from VZ (8 kilobits per second to 33 kilobits per second on VE) – resulting in a faster and more reliable flow of information. GMLAN benefits include: • Improvements in speed, quality of communication, reliability of electrical components and feature functionality. • Reduced wiring. Communication to the instrument cluster is fed by one wire, compared with 17 in VZ. More efficient servicing through more rapid problem diagnosis. Improved electrical architecture allows simple dealer fit of items such as telematics and navigation. Clusters Primary driver interface is the steering wheel controls and cluster; secondary interface is the centre console. Larger dials, displays and fonts. Different cluster illuminations depending on model. Night mode dash illumination – minimal functions, such as speedo, remain lit. Full illumination turns back on automatically if a warning occurs. Sixteen personalisation options and functions are accessible whenever the vehicle is stationary. Includes driver’s door only unlock/both doors unlock; select horn chirp when locking; setting pre-determined time for exterior lighting to remain on after exiting vehicle, etc. Audio All Blaupunkt audio units have phone input, auxiliary audio jack, a help button built into text screens, integrated HVAC controls, hazard switch and dynamic distortion limiting. All models telematics capable. Diversity system provides improved FM reception in multi-pathing conditions. A centre rear roof-mounted diversity antenna replaces the previous power mast. It reduces wind noise and is less prone to accidental breakage. Positioning away from the engine further contributes to outstanding AM/FM reception. Navigation – optional integrated turn-by-turn or full map (SS V) navigation. Help function - built into text screens explains features at the touch of a button. Bluetooth phone interface is operated via a single steering wheel switch, interacts with the audio system for mute, volume and tone control. Microphone housed in overhead console. Lane change indicator function – a touch of the stalk produces three flashes. Fuel gauge accuracy is improved through extensive testing and development and the combination of a new saddle fuel tank design, two fuel sensor devices and totally new software. Remote key VE Ute has a fixed shaft or a flip key, depending on model. All have replaceable batteries and battery life is expected to be around five years. A panic button on the back of both keys allows drivers to activate the horn and flash indicators if required. Many people will use this feature simply to locate their parked vehicle. A transponder embedded into the key head acts as an immobiliser, significantly improving immobiliser reliability. Validation VE Ute benefited from the most extensive validation activity Holden has ever carried out. A specialist stand-alone validation unit formed specifically for VE programs facilitated a considerable increase in validation activities and sharpened the focus on vehicle testing. Tests included the full gamut of durability schedules, including general, rough track structural, corrosion testing, long-term reliability and trailer tow.