The HSV Avalanche set a totally new benchmark for the performance all-wheel drive wagon segment but for some people even its extraordinary specifications aren't enough.
revel in the awesome HSV-enhanced engine performance and superb
handling, they enjoy the high level of standard luxury appointments
and they count the traction of all-wheel drive as a must but, when
it comes to cargo carrying, only a ute-back will do.
The release of HSV’s Avalanche XUV (X-treme
Utility Vehicle) not only expands the company’s burgeoning
portfolio of models incorporating advanced all-wheel drive technology,
it also delivers that technology in a vehicle offering a more rugged
load area that’s totally separated from the passenger compartment.
Utility style vehicles are a perennial favourite
in Australia – the strong sales of HSV’s own Maloo gives
an excellent indication – but XUV adds another dimension by
incorporating four doors, five seats and AWD capabilities, all underpinned
by HSV’s performance vehicle philosophy. Indeed, given its
wide-ranging talents and car-based design, as opposed to commercial
vehicle derivatives, it’s difficult to come up with any direct
competitors – a familiar scenario with many HSV models!
XUV is certain
to appeal to a broad cross-section of customers in search of a uniquely
sporting driving experience in a vehicle layout that also fits perfectly
with their chosen lifestyle. A good example can be found in tradesmen
and primary producers looking for a vehicle that performs equally
well in both work and leisure situations. Indeed, the XUV could
well be the ultimate ‘image’ vehicle to promote a business
Boat owners in particular will see plenty of advantages.
With the power and all-wheel drive traction of an XUV they can tow,
launch and retrieve their boat with ease while the separate utility
area gives them a convenient place to stow wet equipment, etc. and
whenever they’re behind the wheel they get to enjoy the traditional
HSV driving excitement.
For lovers of extreme sports (jet skis, dirt bikes,
mountain bikes, etc), the XUV is the ideal vehicle to get them,
their mates and their equipment into the remote locations they covet.
In short, XUV makes the perfect accompaniment to ‘boy’s
buyers will be out there, wherever out there is for them”,
says HSV General Manager, Chris Payne. “They work hard and
are into sports, boating, etc. and they’re looking for a car
with an image like nothing else – and boy do they get it with
Overall styling is individual and aggressive with
strong off-road overtones. In that respect it shares design elements
with the ruggedly sophisticated Avalanche wagon, including the 18-inch
alloy wheel design.
“I think with this style of vehicle the tougher
and more robust it looks the more accepted it becomes”, says
HSV’s new Head of Design, Julian Quincey, the man responsible
for the styling of both XUV and Avalanche.
“We achieved the rugged look by using chunky
bumpers and wheel arches and we made a feature of the driving lights
by adding bezels to them to emphasise the vehicle’s tough
capable All Wheel Drive image. Visually the sailplane does a fine
job of integrating the ute back into a more integrated silhouette
and the faster rear pillar line gives the vehicle a sportier image”
the car there’s consistent design language in the form of
indented motifs – in the front bumper, the rear facia, the
sill mouldings, on the alloy wheels and it’s even repeated
on the (optional) hard tonneau cover.”
“At the backend we use a HSV ‘signature’
number plate surround in the tailgate for a unique HSV appearance
and to enable us to use a sophisticated colour insert on the rear
bumper facia. The body coloured wheel arches and body accent colours
do a fine job of identifying XUV as very much a premium product.”
XUV is available in a wide range of exterior colours,
including Phantom Black, Turbine Grey, Heron White and three HSV
exclusive colours, HSV Racing Green, HSV Ultra Violet 2 and HSV
XUV’s cargo tray measures 1463mm long by
1438mm wide and a lockable hard tonneau cover is optional. Maximum
towing capacity is 2100 kg when fitted with the appropriate towing
Inside the cabin there is seating for five and,
as with Avalanche wagon, the emphasis is very much on luxury appointments
and traditional HSV sporting highlights. Plush leather upholstery
is standard – available in a choice of Anthracite, Red Hot
and Ochre – as are HSV Sports Seats with four-way power adjustment
for the driver’s and two-way power adjustment for front passenger.
The cabin environment can be adjusted via climate
control air-conditioning and in-car entertainment is taken care
of with a Blaupunkt audio system complete with in-dash six-disc
CD changer. HSV’s unique instruments and steering wheel are
joined by alloy pedals and a centre mounted sports binnacle. A full
complement of front and side airbags are standard, as are whiplash
reducing Active Front Head Restraints.
Under the skin
XUV shares much of its proven mechanical hardware with its Avalanche
wagon sibling. Up front is the familiar HSV enhanced 5.7litre LS1
V8 generating 270kW @ 5700rpm and 475Nm @ 4000rpm – impressive
figures previously unheard of in this style of vehicle. With an
estimated 0 to 100kph acceleration time of just 6.5 seconds and
a standing 400 metre time of 14.6 seconds the XUV is the undisputed
number one in the crewcab performance stakes.
The engine drives through a 4L65E automatic transmission
to all four wheels via the critically acclaimed Cross Trac all-wheel
drive system which has been calibrated to suit Australian driving
conditions. It’s a combination that makes for an effortless
towing vehicle with awesome traction on virtually any road surface
and is perfect for devouring long distances in comfort.
In contrast to most commercial vehicle derived
competitors, XUV boasts first class braking capabilities –
a particularly important factor when towing heavy boats, etc. The
HSV Performance Braking System comprises AP Racing ventilated and
grooved 336mm front discs, with HSV embossed twin piston front callipers
in HRT Red, and 315mm ventilated and grooved rear rotors.
Like all HSV’s, XUV is a driver’s car
first and foremost. The strut front suspension is shared with Avalanche
wagon, as are the specifically developed 245x45 R18 Bridgestone
S-O3 directional tyres that are unique in construction and size
and form part of the excellent on-road handling package. What’s
more, they provide very impressive grip in most off road conditions
and offer a higher resistance to punctures through a stiffer, more
robust sidewall design.
At the rear the XUV differs from its wagon stable
mate by incorporating leaf springs and a live rear axle –
a configuration that’s better suited to the more heavy duty
applications in which this model is likely to be used. By utilising
modern suspension tuning techniques HSV engineers have delivered
a typical HSV ‘fun to drive’ dynamic package that will
see XUV carve through bends like no other vehicle of its ilk. In
addition, the bonus of XUV’s long travel suspension is not
only a useful standard ground clearance of 200mm but also an exceptional
ride quality for this style of vehicle
XUV buyers can choose from a list of appealing
options, including Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) driving
lights, the new HSV Tyre Pressure Monitoring (TPM) system, an HSV
glass panel sunroof, an HSV embossed cargo liner and HSV unique
XUV hard tonneau cover.
The launch of XUV reinforces HSV’s status
as the ‘coolest’ of the niche car makers amongst young
buyers. Roy Morgan data indicates that an astounding 70% of people
who aspire to own an HSV or have one on their shopping list, are
under the age of thirty.
XUV will be
available from mid March. Pricing is yet to be confirmed but is
expected to be in the high $60K region.