November 6th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham
Three friends and I headed to Hamilton and one of our road trip topics was riddles. You can cover some distance figuring out some serious conundrums and it’s better than playing I spy.
The situation the Commodore SS finds itself in is a conundrum, too. To all intents and purposes it’s a dinosaur; a heavy, front-engined, rear-wheel-drive V8 that doesn’t pretend that it will go off-road.
Taking a look at the supposedly more highly evolved competition you see entire genera of vehicles like compact SUVs and crossovers – they’re new and trendy. They’re ‘evolved’. We appear to have moved on from the 1980s and people don’t want big four-door sedans.
People are wrong. The Commodore is every bit as safe as an SUV with its 5-star ANCAP crash rating, it handles better due to its lower centre of gravity, for the performance it has comparable fuel economy with SUVs of similar acceleration, and at $61,490 you can’t get a ‘performance’ SUV. It’s not going to fit as much luggage, but it does come with a large boot that’s enough for four people’s gear (495 litres).
The Holden will park itself in parallel or right angle parks using Automatic Park Assist. You just need to control the throttle, brake and transmission. If you’re reversing out of a right angle park, the Reverse Traffic Alert warns you if a vehicle is approaching in your blind spots. And speaking of blind spots, when you are driving along, the Commodore constantly scans them and warns you using an orange light in each wing mirror if another vehicle might be in a place where you can’t easily see it. Continue reading “Holden Commodore SS 2013 Review” »
September 27th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham
When there are 120kph winds forecast and you need to get across a mountain range, what car will you turn to? You definitely wouldn’t want to be driving one of those ‘popular’ SUVs because you’d be knocked around like Mohammed Ali was using you for sparring practice.
You also don’t want something small and light. No, you want something powerful, sleek and solid, like a BMW M6 or Audi R8. Or, if you only have $55,000 to spare rather than $250,000, this Holden Commodore SV6 will do quite nicely, too.
On that night I traversed the Kaweka Range from Taupo to Napier, the trees were bending like peasants would bow to an Emperor, and there was already significant foliage littering the road. Heavy rain was forecast and I’d brought the journey forward to avoid the likelihood of a slip. The big Commodore took a beating but rarely missed a beat. Sometimes the gusts were strong enough to push it a third of the way across the lane but, in general, it held onto the road admirably.
In fact, there was more grip than I expected, even for a heavy car in the wet. When I applied too much power, the traction control reined the back end in. With the limited slip differential, grip out of all types of corners was fantastic. Add to the LSD electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), and sports suspension and it creates a formidable handling package.
Other electronics include trailer sway control, and hill hold control. There was more grip from the 245/45R18 tyres than you’d need to explore under most circumstances Continue reading “Holden Commodore SV6 2013 Review” »
August 10th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham
The weight and thickness of the boot floor gives away that this Commodore can carry a serious amount of kit. Fold the rear seats flat and there’s enough room for a mosh pit of meerkats. I’d tell you exactly how much but Holden’s flash new website makes it really difficult to find any meaningful data (even though it looks nice).
Suffice to say that, if you were having problems attracting enough meerkats to fill it, you could use the space for something more productive. I assisted someone moving on the weekend using the Commodore’s capacious boot to cram a large number of items in. So far so good if you’re into carrying lots of gear.
To haul that gear you’ll need a strong engine and the Commodore Evoke comes with a 3-litre SIDI V6 bolted to a six-speed automatic transmission. It feels like a good gearbox and engine. You get 185kW and 290Nm, but the Holden is on the heavy side and it feels a bit restrained; like it’s being held back. The flip side is that there’s an aura and sense of solidity and, as I’ve said before, with a Commodore you do feel like it is enveloping you slightly while you are driving it, which further adds to the impressions of being protected by the car.
It handles well given its size, and rides comfortably on the 16-inch wheels. Holden has introduced a suite of major changes that improve refinement over the previous model. Noise, vibration and harshness levels are low at speed, and at idle the engine is barely noticeable. Put your foot down and the transmission takes on an almost supercharger-like whine. Even though there’s traction control, it’s completely unobtrusive in the dry.
Overall, even though this is the base model with its Continue reading “Holden Commodore VF Evoke Sportwagon 2013 Review” »
February 13th, 2013 by darren
This is a car which is having its lunch partly eaten by SUVs and not really for any good reason. Recently Holden and Ford announced they would be phasing out their most popular large passengers cars in 2016: the Commodore and Falcon will be retired (at least in the form we know them).
Having spent a fairly enjoyable week with the Commodore, it irks me that one of the main reasons that it’s not selling so well any more is that Continue reading “Holden Commodore SV6 Sportwagon Z Series 2013 Review” »
January 29th, 2013 by darren
Even legends have to go. Such is the lessons we have learned this January from the rapidly changing Australian market. Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore, two of the country’s favourite cars, are both preparing to go out of production before the end of 2016.
Commodore’s 2016 final stop was announced at the Detroit Motor Show by Holden’s Chairman, Mike Devereux, while Ford’s plans to cut down the Falcon’s production on the same year, as well as the possibility to Continue reading “Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore: it’s the end of the road” »
June 26th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham
Sales of large petrol sedans are under pressure with people moving to smaller vehicles and diesels. However, these petrol-powered cars still have their place in the fleet and for the family and the Commodore Omega Series II keeps the segment competitive with some improved fuel economy and an appealing feature set for under fifty grand.
The Omega sits in the comfort end of the Commodore range. You can expect easy cruising with a torquey 3-litre direct injection six-cylinder motor, a six-speed automatic gearbox and compliant tyres wrapped around 16-inch alloys. There’s nothing Continue reading “Holden Commodore Omega Series II 2012 Review” »
October 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
While not as famous as HSV the Holden Dealer Team (HDT) will be familiar to many Holden enthusiasts. HDT was the go-to tuning division for Holden in the 1980s and was run by Kiwi race legend Peter Brock – the nine-time Bathurst 1000 winner.
The wheels came off the partnership partly because of Brock’s belief in a component called the “Energy Polarizer”, which he began fitting to special performance Holden Commodores being built by HDT during the 1980s.
The Energy Polarizer was a largely unproven device said to align the various energies of the car to give it a boost in performance. It never really became an accepted performance modification.
Sadly, Brock died while driving in a rally in Australia on September 8, 2006.
Now as a contemporary tribute to Brock and his motorsport legacy, the crew at HDT have built a limited run of retro-styled Holden Commodore sedans designed to reflect the performance models launched during the Brock days. HDT have named these cars the Heritage Series and have design cues taken from the legendary VL Group A Commodore. Continue reading “HDT builds Peter Brock tribute Commodore” »
September 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Holden’s engineering team is busy developing the next-generation Commodore dubbed VF, but with this new model still two to three years away, there’s plenty of time for more tweaking of the current VE model.
For the 2012 model year, the Commodore will receive two new colours, modest exterior and interior enhancements, plus the inclsion of the track-inspired FE3 sports suspension on Redline variants.
Selected models receive chrome accents to highlight the Series II front fascia, while Omega is fitted with new 16-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels. A new lip spoiler enhances the styling of the luxury focused Calais V. The SS V-Series Redline Edition gets new forged and polished 19-inch alloy wheels plus painted rear brake calipers.
In the cabin, there’s silver stitching on the optional Onyx and Razor leather interior trim while the Redhot trim also receives some treatment. The iQ multimedia system has been updated to be compatible with the latest smartphones.
Holden’s colour and trim team has introduced two new exterior colors named Perfect Blue and Chlorophyll. The new blue hue pays homage to Australian motorsport icon Peter Brock and his famous Formula Blue HDT Group A VK SS Commodore that was launched back in 1985. Continue reading “2012 Holden Commodore updated with new features and colours” »