The build-up to the arrival of Holden's amazing new plug-in hybrid, the Volt, has been going on for so long the launch of the car this week was almost an anti-climax.More Volt:
In the previous six months we have been told the price, had a small but tantalising drive and been drip-fed all the details of a car that could potentially revolutionise our thinking on electric vehicles (EVs).
All that is left now is to wait and see if it strikes a chord with Australian car buyers.
So far the take-up of this new technology has been slow, with the price and range the two biggest factors holding buyers back.
While Holden has not been able to address the price issue - at $59,990 the Volt is more expensive than all its EV competitors, though it also has more features - but it has eliminated the second concern.
Its range anxiety-busting drivetrain can boost its 87km electric-only distance to more than 600km using a 1.4-litre petrol generator, which means families can consider the Volt as their primary vehicle - a role no other EV on the Australian market can fill.
Its size, about the same as the popular Cruze sedan, also means it will comfortably accommodate a family of four (the rear seat is only designed for two passengers) and its long list of standard driving aids and features will also make it attractive to family buyers who like a car with a few extra niceties.
Some of the driver and safety aids include lane departure warning and forward collision alert, which warns the driver if he or she is getting too close to the vehicle in front, the full complement of electronic stability and braking systems, automatic projector headlights, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, eight airbags and all-round seatbelt reminders.
There is also a driver-activated audible alert for pedestrians when the car is running silently on electricity.
Luxury features include a six-speaker Bose premium audio system that is claimed to consume 50 per cent less energy than similar systems.
Operated through a seven-inch colour touch-screen, the infotainment system includes satellite navigation, a DVD player, 30GB hard drive for music storage, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB socket for connecting an iPod or MP3 player.
The main screen can be configured to display energy flow and driving efficiency information plus configurable charging options.
A digital instrument panel - another seven-inch screen - provides myriad data, including fuel consumption, electric, petrol and total driving range, feedback on driving habits, a trip computer, tyre pressure monitoring and a speedometer.
The interior has two-tone leather upholstery, front seat heaters, climate control, self-dimming mirrors and cruise control plus a height and reach adjustable steering wheel.
The Volt is offered in five colours - white, black, silver, green and red - and runs on 17-inch alloys.
It also comes with an integrated rear spoiler, LED daytime running lights and door mirrors with integrated turn indicators.
The first four scheduled services are capped at $185 each.
In WA it will be available at seven Holden dealerships - Brian Gardner Cannington, Phoenix Wanneroo, City Motors Perth, Melville, Rockingham, Shacks Fremantle and Bunbury.Some of the driver and safety aids include lane departure warning and forward collision alert.
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