The Holden Commodore SS-V is the best reason I can think of to not buy an SUV. I can drive up kerbs (carefully) in the SS-V, just like the requirements of 99% of SUV owners. I can tow 2100kg on a braked trailer (100kg more than a Hyundai Santa Fe). I can fit 486 litres of air in the boot, which is 83 more than a Mazda CX-5, and if I buy the Sportwagon version of the Commodore, there’s a frankly ridiculous 2000 litres of space with the rear seats folded down. That’s bigger than a long wheelbase Mitsubishi Pajero with its seats down, and there’s no way you can chuck a Pajero around in the corners like you can this Commodore. Continue reading “Holden: 2014 VF Commodore SS-V Redline review” »
The power was out because we had a proper storm. Proper storms are always good for debris-strewn photos, and that’s what you’ve got: the brilliant red of the Evoke against the green and brown of a billion leaves and twiglets strewn over West Auckland’s usually grey tarmac. Continue reading “Holden: 2014 VF Commodore VF Evoke sedan review” »
Every time I read Calais, I immediately think Dover. They were the two ports at either end of the ferry across the English Channel to France, until it was superseded by the Channel Tunnel, which was wholly more efficient (than the ferry, that is, not France…although France has a reputation of being inefficient).
I wonder whether that’s how the Holden Calais-V feels: usurped by changing technology and a move towards smaller, more efficient cars. It would be wrong, though. There’s something noble about being on the waves, using brute force against the elements. Continue reading “Holden: 2014 Calais-V Sportwagon review” »
It was almost ironic that the day I was due to return the SS V Redline back to the dealership, a recall for a potential seat belt fault was issued by Holden. It didn’t for a moment phase me or take the shine off what is a very competent and capable car. Continue reading “Holden: 2014 VF Commodore SS V Redline review” »
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” »
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” »
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” »
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” »