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All style: The new Commodore. All style: The new Commodore.
31 July 2013 Posted by 

Commodore moves to greener pastures

By Zain Swaleh, Motoring Writer

THE Holden Commodore is a car that has defined Australian motoring for over half a century. It is as much a part of Australian culture as the Footy, VB or Vegemite.

Thus the release of a new Commodore is an important milestone in the Australian automotive landscape. For years the Commodore has been stuck in the Commodore/Falcon dichotomy, constantly being compared to one another and then to very little else.

However, with the recent news of the Falcon’s demise, the Commodore moves to greener pastures in terms of the cars it has to compete with. Is the new Commodore up to the challenge?

Performance

The Calais model that was tested has a 3.6L V6. The engine in the VF is as powerful as that in the previous model. This 210kw gives the car ample power for acceleration and cruising, with a 0-100 time of around seven seconds. The six-speed gearbox ensures that the car is never struggling and fuel consumption is maximized.

While there is plenty of power, there is a slight delay in its delivery. Nonetheless, with the VF Calais, you get more power and better performance than the VE with improved fuel consumption going from 9.8L/100km to 9.0L/100km.

Interior and technology

Previous Commodores often fell into the trap of having an overly spacious interior. One would often feel lost in the large seats and massive steering wheel.

This issue has been addressed with the VF Commodore. The seats are snug and comfy without being restrictive. The steering wheel is better upholstered and contoured to one’s hand.

Overall the interior is a vast improvement on that of previous Commodores. There is metal finishing and suede upholstery on the dashboard with a minimalisation of cheap-looking materials.

Perhaps the most impressive improvement to the interior of the new Commodore is the MyLink infotainment system.

This system includes everything from Bluetooth integration, voice control, Pandora Internet radio, iPhone Siri integration, and Satellite navigation. What is perhaps the best thing about MyLink is the ease of use.

With some vehicles it can feel as though you need a degree in computer engineering to merely operate its technology. However, I had no difficulty accessing and utilizing all the features of the MyLink system.

Moreover, the sound system is fantastic; but a word of warning, if you turn the bass up too high, you will feel some vibrations in the steering wheel.

The Commodore Calais comes packed with an assortment of other helpful technology such as a rear-view camera, blind spot assist, as well as front and reverse sensors.

Perhaps the most interesting of the new technology in the Calais is the automatic park assist. When activated, the car will detect an appropriate parallel or perpendicular park.

It will then steer for you, only requiring the driver to operate the accelerator and brake. While the first attempt may seem daunting, it works great. Never have I seen such a precise reverse parallel park.

Drive and handling

The VF Calais is a very comfortable place. The comfort of the driver and its passengers has not been sacrificed for sportiness. It glides over bumps without feeling like a boat.

The Calais makes a great compromise between feeling tight and together as well as comfortable. The steering, which is now an Electronic Power Steering system, allows for effortless and easy steering.

In the bends, you don’t feel like you are in a large sedan. The car is planted and has a lot of grip. My only issue with the drive of the Calais is the electronic power steering.

To me, it feels a slight bit indirect as compared to conventional power steering systems. Best of all, this car is rear-wheel drive. These days, not many Rear-Wheel Drive cars are being produced due to production cost issues.

But the fact is they are just better to drive. Rear-wheel drive cars like the Commodore have a better feel, they corner better and they accelerated better.

Safety

The VF Commodore has been awarded a five star ANCAP safety rating. It has an assortment of collision avoidance technology such as blind spot alert and a rear-facing camera. Lane departure warning, forward collision alert come as standard on the Calais V.

Additionally, in the event of a collision there are six-airbags to ensure maximum safety for occupants of the vehicle.

Value

This is where the Commodore truly excels. As aforementioned, we can see that this is a vehicle with a great engine, tons of technology and kit, as well as exceptional driving and safety.

Most other vehicles in the rear wheel drive luxury sedan class such as the BMW 3 series, Mercedes C Class start at around $60,000 and that doesn’t include optional extras.

The Holden Commodore Calais V6 starts at $39,990 excluding dealer delivery.  All the features mentioned in this review and more come as standard. This, in my opinion, is excellent value for money.

The new VF Commodore Calais is an excellent car. It drives well and has plenty of quality “as-standard” technology and features.

Further information or a test drive can be arranged through Castle Hill Holden. Phone 9119 2485.



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