Holden Malibu CDX 2013 Review

August 23rd, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Pleasantly surprised is what I was when I finally got in the Malibu. I had just been too busy to refresh myself with what the Malibu is all about and in my mind I was thinking is was (but hoping it wouldn’t be) a direct replacement for the decidedly average Epica. The Epica was quite a dreary car that we tested back in 2008 and the Malibu is anything but.

holden-malibu-cdx-2013-rqTaking a walk around the outside, there are some long lines that make this car look sleek. A rebadged Chevrolet Malibu, Holden bills it as a mid-sized car, but it gives the impression of being a large car. It’s also got that slight nose forward stance that delivers a bit of a sporty aura, and you can add those square afterburner taillights (á la Camaro) in to the design mix and you’ve got a rear end that’s visually distinct. There’s even a hint of BMW at the rear if you look from the side.

holden-malibu-cdx-2013-dashboardOn the inside, the 7-inch MyLink touchscreen dominates the dashboard. The MyLink system comes with Bluetooth connectivity and built-in app technology – think streaming radio, for example – and the screen doubles as the display for the reversing camera and general vehicle controls. The screen itself conceals a convenient cubby hole for a bit of extra dashboard storage.

Storage in the boot is 545l. The boot is long and not that deep, and perhaps slightly compromised by the 73-litre fuel tank (usually you’d get 60-65 litres in a mid-sized car). The long boot eats into the rear legroom. Rear legroom is not cramped, but it’s not as good as, say, a Honda Accord.

Continue reading “Holden Malibu CDX 2013 Review” »

Holden Commodore VF Evoke Sportwagon 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).

holden-commodore-evoke-2013-rqSuffice 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.

holden-commodore-evoke-2013-sTo 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.

holden-commodore-evoke-2013-interiorIt 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” »

Holden Captiva 5 LTZ 2013 – Review

June 28th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Taking the Captiva 5 immediately after the Holden Cruze I was surprised at the difference in interior trim. The Captiva’s screens and controls look like they’re a few years older than the Cruze’s; does the rest of the car feel dated? Let’s find out.

holden-captiva-5-ltz-2013-rqTaking the Captiva up north to Tutukaka its on-road manners were quietly confident. Cornering and braking were Continue reading “Holden Captiva 5 LTZ 2013 – Review” »

Holden Cruze SRi Hatchback 2013 – Review

June 25th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

The only way to arrive at Fieldays is via jet boat or helicopter. It avoids the 20-minute queue into the car park and the resulting walk from several leagues away. We opted for the jet boat – a seven-minute blast along the Waikato with a wind chill of, well, frosty.

holden-cruze-sri-2013-rqDespite the exhilaration and the paltry price of $20 return, it made me appreciate sitting in the Holden Cruze’s cosseting warmth as the outside temperature registered a number low enough that children of this age measure it in quarters Continue reading “Holden Cruze SRi Hatchback 2013 – Review” »

Holden Cruze CD Sportwagon 2013 Review

March 18th, 2013 by darren

holden-cruze-sportwagon-fq

The Cruze Sportwagon has the Holden corporate nose, but it’s nowhere near as aggressive as a Commodore. Its 16-inch steel wheels and hubcaps, and safe styling make it blend in to the crowd; the perfect fleet car. From the front and side it looks quite sleek; from the back it looks a little dull.

holden-cruze-sportwagon-sHowever, I prefer its look over the Toyota Corolla wagon which has a weird confluence of lines between the lights, front bumper and wheel arches that occasionally makes it look like Continue reading “Holden Cruze CD Sportwagon 2013 Review” »

Holden Commodore SV6 Sportwagon Z Series 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” »

Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore: it’s the end of the road

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” »

Holden Volt 2012 Review

January 29th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Here is the bridge to the full EV (electric vehicle). It’s a sensible option that gives you up to 80km of highway cruising using fully electric motoring, but with a petrol engine that will back you up another 450-500km if you need the extended range.

200kg of batteries provides the motive urge: 114kW comes from two electric motors, one of which charges the batteries when you’re decelerating.

At the best part of 1800kg I expected the Volt to handle Continue reading “Holden Volt 2012 Review” »