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Holden Commodore versus Ford Falcon – a decades-old stoush ends here.

On the day of the Holden VF Commodore launch it was announced that the Ford Falcon would be killed off when the Australian manufacturing operations wind down in October 2016. This seemingly straightforward comparison test between two old foes suddenly asked for a new angle.

But by the time the blue Holden VF Commodore SV6 and lime Ford Falcon XR6 had bustled west of the Sydney CBD, ascended and descended the Blue Mountains, then hit the craggy roads of the NSW western plains, the cars had demanded the angle be changed again.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-22

There would be no sorrow over the loss of an Aussie icon (yes, there will be an updated Falcon next year, but this is the final generation), or musings about the lack of consistent government policy and intelligent debate in the media regarding local industry. The end game will simply be a 1000km thrash on roads for which these two broad-shouldered, six-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive sedans were designed.

SV6 and XR6 were chosen because the entry-level sports grades are the most popular with private buyers. The Commodore and Falcon may no longer be the two most popular cars by a country mile, but their womb-like cabins will still be home to thousands of families around the country.

Holden only had a six-speed manual SV6 available – ours was one of the first 24 cars to run down the production line – but we spent plenty of time in the more popular V6 automatic, in Calais V guise, around the same time as this test.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-23

The Holden VF Commodore SV6 manual is $6800 cheaper than before, at $35,990, and 30kg lighter, at 1688kg.

Its 3.6-litre direct-injected V6 (below) still produces 210kW of power and 350Nm of torque, but the maximum kilowatts now arrive 300rpm higher in the rev range (at 6700rpm) and peak Newton metres are delivered 100rpm lower (at 2800rpm).

The VF SV6 is now claimed to be 7.2 per cent more fuel efficient than VE Series II SV6, with 9.0L/100km combined consumption.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-41

Technically the Ford Falcon XR6 costs $39,990 with a manual, or $40,990 with the six-speed automatic tested here. An optional ($4500) Luxury Pack also added 19-inch alloy wheels, leather trim inserts, satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control and a reverse camera.

Nobody, of course, pays retail for a Falcon, and the XR6 manual is currently being offered for $34,990 driveaway.

Compared with its V6 rival, the venerable 4.0-litre straight six-cylinder engine (below) makes a lesser 195kW at a lower 6000rpm, but a heftier 391Nm at 3250rpm. At 1710kg, the XR6 is 22kg heavier, the Falcon body itself being 8mm longer, but also 30mm thinner and the roofline 9mm lower than the Commodore.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-43

Since the arrival of the VE Commodore in 2006, and the FG Falcon in 2008, there’s been a simple answer to question of which model was best – if you wanted a standard six-cylinder, buy the Ford, if you wanted a performance model, choose the V8 Holden.

The Holden ‘Alloytec’ or ‘HFV6’ has never been a sweet engine. It is a technically contemporary engine, with an aluminium block, dual overhead camshafts and variable valve and cam timing. But the 3.6-litre and particularly the entry 3.0-litre struggle to provide the low-down torque characteristics for which the previous 3.8-litre iron-block pushrod lump was known.

The newer V6 also sounds thrashy at the upper end of the rev range, right where it needs to be to perform – witness the 6700rpm power peak.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-27

With the VF Commodore, however, the decade-old engine feels transformed. Holden worked on increasing firewall insulation – adding what it calls ‘good mass’ – and it has worked.

All the harsh low-frequency noises have been eliminated to allow only the meat of the revving engine into the cabin. There’s a newfound growl that, while not the most exciting noise, is more pleasurable and refined.

Reduced kerb weight and a slightly altered torque curve allows the V6 to feel more effortless down low, too. The SV6 is tractable at 1000rpm, and pulls from 2000rpm.  It is also quicker and keener to rev. Finally, the 3.6-litre genuinely feels like a sweet, sporting engine.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-30

The manual transmission lets the side down slightly.

It doesn’t suit the engine’s characteristics, with too-wide spacing between gears – it has a wider spread than the manual in the torquier V8! – translating in tight corners to the engine either bumping its limiter in second, or way outside its power band in third.

Experience with the revised automatic reveals that the more popular transmission option is the superior one; the overhauled Sport mode holds gears promptly and shifts back gears when braking.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-33

As ever, the Ford 4.0-litre is a big torquer and a lazy performer, but in a good way. It flattens hills on light throttle at low revs, or extends to 6000rpm with plenty of punch. It’s smoother than the Holden V6, but louder.

The arrival of the turbo four-cylinder engine in Falcon has also exposed other refinement shortfalls. Where the 2.0-litre is silent at idle and revs quickly to redline, the 4.0-litre streams plenty of vibrations through the steering wheel at idle, is grumbly on light throttle and slower to rev.

Although the German-made ZF six-speed automatic continues to be an intuitive, slick partner to the engine in normal duties, its Performance mode is far too relaxed for hard driving. For the first time since the gearbox was introduced in Falcon a decade ago, it is beaten by a GM automatic.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-34

Both engines and transmissions shrug off the urban grind, Sydney’s motorway ring road, and the slog over the Blue Mountains as big sixes should, barely needing throttle or revs, and being completely unobtrusive. On the freeway, the Falcon trip computer reads 8.4L/100km.

Heavy rain makes the Bells Line of Road a greasy affair, but the twisty descent into Lithgow – where every second car is still a Holden or Ford – serves as a reminder of the FG-series Falcon’s strengths.

Its steering is still wonderfully meaty and communicative. The sports suspension just ties the Falcon down enough compared with the regular models, yet doesn’t ruin the ride quality. Even on aggressive 35-aspect 19-inch wheels the suspension skims over small imperfections and doesn’t jar over larger ones.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-15

Long-radius left and right bends prove a test of grip levels. Feed in throttle and the Falcon will just edge sideways, its electronic stability control proving masterful, being subtle when the driver’s inputs are subtle and permitting a fair amount of slip.

Over the blind crests and deep undulations of the Rydal Sodwalls Tarana Road – connecting that trio of towns – the Falcon reveals a slight lack of body control that could only be considered so if the excellent regular ride was ignored. But the ESC still flashes when the body flusters. Arguably, though, the Falcon XR6 strikes the most cohesive ride and handling balance of the range.

The five-year-old FG remains a terrific touring car.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-20

It’s only after swapping into the VF Commodore SV6 that the newer car’s claimed advancements truly feel like quantum leaps.

The Holden is always hewn into the tarmac, never once hinting at float and troubling its stability control. Yet it is also markedly quieter and calmer on country roads. The biggest areas where the Commodore doesn’t feel truly premium is with its coarse-chip road noise, and on smooth bitumen there is some wind rush around the doorsills. But it is so much quieter compared with the Ford.

As wonderfully sorted as the Falcon suspension is, it’s both floatier and harsher than the Commodore’s. The VF has an uncanny ability to soak up the worst of country roads while remaining glued to the surface.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-3

It feels lighter on its feet, and that lightness extends to the steering, which is so good it makes the Ford’s feel needlessly heavy. The SV6 steering has much sharper turn-in than before, complementing its pointier front end. Where the FG XR6 feels heavier, softer, but still comfortable, the VF SV6 feels light, tight, sharp … and still terrifically comfortable.

It is 150km between Oberon, near the iconic Bathurst in NSW’s mid-west, and Goulburn, the major stop on the Hume Highway. This is where the VF Commodore hammers home its lead.

The road passes grey gums, straight for miles if not for the odd long-radius curve here or there. Around the middle, at the Abercrombie National Park, hairpins flick tight around the mountain, before the road dances across ridgelines, intersected by tight left- and right-handers.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-6

Ever since we tried the Falcon four-cylinder, and were blown away by its light-feeling front end and staggeringly sturdy turn-in, the Falcon six-cylinder has especially felt a bit blunt. It hangs on well in sweepers, and still feels well balanced, but it leaves us longing for an XR4 Turbo that will probably never appear…

With no four cylinder in the range, the Commodore SV6 has the sharper front end compared with its V8 range siblings. The VF still isn’t what you’d call hot-hatch agile, but it shrinks around its driver, is predictable at its limit and nicely adjustable beyond it.

Its stability control calibration feels more reactive than before, however. Where previously the VE allowed some throttle steer out of tight hairpins, the VF ESC cuts power early, making the limited-slip differential of the SV6 largely redundant.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-16

Flick the electronics and the dynamics remain as rewarding as ever. Holden claims 60 per cent of chassis components have been changed, including casting the front control arms and suspension knuckles out of aluminium to contribute to a 6kg weight saving per front corner.

But in reality, the handling feels little different to that of a VE it supersedes. The VE was the model to really take Commodore handling into 21st century and the VF benefits from most of the original big work.

It’s the VF Commodore, however, that takes the nameplate into the 21st century in terms of interior design and technology.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-53

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-61
Above: Holden Commodore SV6 dash layout.

In throwing away every bit of the cabin except the roof grab handles, centre console lid and rear air vents, Holden has also made the Commodore feel like a semi-premium and thoroughly modern offering.

The carbonfibre-look trim applied on the doors and dash of the SV6 (and SS) looks both cool and high quality. The smaller steering wheel is nice to hold. The climate controls are intuitive and glow a soft white light, to match the soft lighting inside each cabin door handle. Even the red-backed gauges match the colour on the standard eight-inch touchscreen, which is a high-resolution and highly intuitive unit.

The rear seat of the Commodore is extremely wide and roomy, with a supportive and comfortable bench. It is a proper five seater. As with the Falcon, however, there are no rear headrests, while the Commodore only gets a centre ski-port, not split-fold backrest capability. Those seeking practicality can choose the SV6 Sportwagon for $2000 more.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-54

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-2
Above: Holden Commodore SV6 rear seat and boot space.

On the technology front ‘apps’ functionality allows internet streaming of music among many other functions. Voice control works beautifully, allowing voice-recognition of a specific artist, playlist, album or song, or with an iPhone to use Siri voice-help technology.

Every Commodore can park itself, in parallel or perpendicular spaces. Blind-spot detection and forward collision alert also feature.

Any half-decade-old car will struggle to compete with that sort of onslaught.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-47

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-62
Above: Ford Falcon XR6 dash layout.

So the Falcon XR6 does feel downmarket by comparison.

But the blue-lit dials of the XR6 are still cool, the seven-inch touchscreen is decently intuitive although the optional sat-nav looks (is) aftermarket, and the console itself remains ergonomic. At least at night, the mismatched and often ill-fitting plastics, and brittle edges are out of sight…

The Falcon’s rear-seat is nowhere near as roomy as the Commodore’s, both in terms of legroom and headroom, but the seat itself is comfortable. Its 535-litre boot is also 40L larger than the Holden’s and the Ford uniquely gets a 60:40 split-fold rear-seat to aid practicality. Both score with a rear centre arm rest and air vents.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-49

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-1
Above: Ford Falcon XR6 rear seat and boot space.

Just behind the bulging fibreglass balls of the Big Merino in Goulburn, we refill the thoroughly dirtied blue and green duo. Across almost 500km the Commodore SV6 returned 14.5L/100km and the Falcon XR6 12.1L/100km.

Remember what we said about an epic thrash? The Holden’s higher fuel result may be as much about its lust for revs as the fact its chassis demands harder driving.

The Commodore never came near its limits, but the Falcon certainly did trying to keep up.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-68

What both the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore continue to prove is that this duo fit glove-tight to Australian conditions in a way that many imports simply don’t.

If they do, they either don’t offer the space or cost a helluva lot more.

The Falcon absolutely departs as a high watermark for the company’s local engineering talent, and had they been given the opportunity there’s little doubt they would equal or better the sparkling new Holden.

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-71

The Holden VF Commodore SV6 really is the shining new benchmark for Australian-made vehicles.

It is also a shining example of why we should support an industry that can create truly brilliant cars to drive across our country, and not just rely on an industry that can dig stuff out of it.

Sorry, no politics. Right now it’s the Falcon that needs one final salute…

Holden Commodore v Ford Falcon-66

This comparison review first appeared in the June issue of the CarAdvice iPad magazine app. Head to the Apple App Store to download the entire issue.

Click the Photos tab for more images. Photography by Matyas Fulop.

Ford Falcon XR6
 
Price: $40,990
Engine: 4.0-litre six-cylinder petrol
Power: 195kW at 6000rpm
Torque: 391Nm at 3250rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel consumption: 9.9L/100km (12.1L/100km on test)
CO2 emissions: 236g/km

Holden Commodore SV6
 
Price: $35,990
Engine: 3.6-litre V6 petrol
Power: 210kW at 6700rpm
Torque: 350Nm at 2800rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Fuel consumption: 9.0L/100km (14.5L/100km on test)
CO2 emissions: 215g/km



  • HaplessPossum

    Is there a reason why these cars don’t come with headrests in the back?

    • Henry Toussaint

      Cost cutting perhaps?

      • Roadtard

        Headrests? I can’t get past how ugly the VF looks!

        • AussieJ14

          The falcon is a great looking car…. What a shame it will be no longer in production.

          • Callum Andrews

            Need to stop all this doubts. There is a 2014 Falcon coming and it will be the best Falcon ever. In order to show Ford we love our Falcon. We need to get bums in Falcon seats. Recommend to friends, and persuade them to at least test drive a Falcon!

          • heh

            Being the best Falcon ever doesn’t say much.
            It says in the review that this Falcon vibrates at idle! I’ve been in 30 year old cars that don’t vibrate at idle (they also had height adjustable headrests in the rear too). People who do go out and test drive a new Falcon won’t be impressed if it vibrates.

          • Callum Andrews

            They will be because the Falcon Ecoboost doesn’t, and I own one, so I would know. The Falcon Ecoboost doesn’t vibrate at all. My message doesn’t just go for the 6 cylinder Falcon. The 4 cylinder Falcon makes Falcon one of the best cars around today, giving you 6 cylinder performance and 4 cylinder fuel economy. You wouldn’t be saying that if you actually test drove a Falcon!

          • Styleguy

            The Falcon six has always had idle shake, many sixes exhibit this. I remember when we pulled the covers off the first prototypes back, when in 2006? I thought the styling was too generic, and I still feel the glasshouse is way too plain. It hasn’t aged due to it being very un-AU. When I say un-AU, FG didn’t want to offend, rather it had a play it safe attitude and very much wasn’t an out-there design. Hopefully MY14 adds a bit of sizzle. If so, I may return and buy an XR6 ECOLPI… economy of a small car and soooo much torque! Can’t bring myself to buy a GM product in this life.

          • Callum Andrews

            If you buy an EcoLPI you will be considered very smart, test drive it and be amazed to how good it is! :)

          • Xaser

            I have driven many FG falcons and they don’t vibrate through the steering at all. I thought the VF holden had electric power steering so maybe that’s the difference.

          • Alex Martini

            Oh no! It vibrates! I’m surprised it even passed QC!

        • Audie-tron

          I agree that it may be ugly, but according to this review, it may be the better choice. Maybe if they kept their old design…

    • djghj

      “Australian conditions” maybe?

  • Sumpguard

    I’ve driven both and enjoyed both over the years so am not interested in the H v’ F baloney but a quick look at those images says the interior of the new commodore is miles ahead and so it should be in a new vehicle. It looks fantastic

    That the auto is now (according to CA) better than the ford’s is no small feat as the auto in the falcon has always been a brilliant trans. Great job Holden and if the car can match the standard of your new TV commercial it should sell well.

    The falcon’s exterior has aged very well imo. It still looks great.

    • Rocket

      Both cars are very good value with the Holden having the upper hand in some areas while the Ford is still a very good looking sedan and has the unique I6 smooth torquey engine which is so easy to drive. The fuel consumption difference maybe explained by the manual gearbox in the Commodore?

    • Zaccy16

      i agree sumpguard, the falcon still is and always has been a great car, the 3.6 is a much better engine than the torqueless 3.0 and had been improved for the VF but i would still rather the in real world more releaxed and effortlessly torquey in line 6 in the falcon, i have never liked commodores but this new vf looks like a nice car and is a credit to what great engineers we have in australia and shows how much better we can do steering. ride and handling over over korean GM products! Eg. (the horrible malibu!)

  • aaron

    So in real life the commo uses more fuel that the Falcona

    • Chanfn

      Yes as the article pointed out a car thrashed to its limit to keep up with a newer (manual and supposedly more fuel efficient drivetrain) opponent has significantly better fuel consumption

      • Rocket

        Can someone also explain how this VF which is lighter and more fuel efficient than the VE SV6 actually is heavier and uses more fuel. I keep hearing about the massive gains over the VE but when you look at the figures it tells a different story.

        • F1orce

          Perhaps it hasn’t been broken in yet?..

    • Zaccy16

      yep because the falcons 4.0 6cyl is more relaxed and effortlessly torquey, it was a great engine in my terrtory too but proved alot more thirsty than a falcon becuase the extra weight of the car and 7 people on board around town

  • MisterZed

    “If they do, they either don’t offer the space or cost a helluva lot more.” Er, last time I checked, a Chrysler 300 was $43k which is only $2k more than a XR6. I wouldn’t consider that a “helluva” lot. Also, the last time I checked, neither the Ford or Holden come with an 8-speed auto.

    • Phil

      I’d consider $7k more than the SV6 a “helluva” lot. It’s also 73L short of the Falcon on boot space, which is a “helluva” lot. The 300′s best selling point is the optional diesel.

      • MisterZed

        Not sure where you’re getting $7k from. SV6 auto = 38190. That’s a $4810 difference.

        • Phil

          auto is an option, the car reviewed was a manual. Buyers can opt to save a couple of grand and exercise their left leg a bit. Even a manual SS costs less than the base 300.

    • Rocket

      You can buy an XR6 auto for about 36K drive away. The 300C would be north of 43K drive away so the gap is bit more than 2K. Having said that the 300C is a well finished car with heaps of gear and also good buying IMO.

      • MisterZed

        You don’t think they’re discounting 300s either? I’m sure that $40k on road would be easy to get.

    • Daniel DeGasperi

      The 300 does not “fit glove tight to Australian conditions”. Being based on a previous, previous generation E-Class, which is even older than the Falcon, that’s no surprise. Cheers,

      • Poison_Eagle

        Daniel, do you think the Ecoboost G6E would reclaim some of the chassis advantage of the VF if compared to the Calais V6?
        Also, ”
        The Falcon absolutely departs as a high watermark for the company’s
        local engineering talent, and had they been given the opportunity
        there’s little doubt they would equal or better the sparkling new
        Holden.”
        What makes you so certain Ford won’t raise the bar for it’s final update next year?

        • Shak

          C’mon really? We would have all wanted Ford to do well with the 2014 update, if they were going to stay the course. However, if the model is only going to be on sale for two years at the most, any company would have to be stupid to invest too much into it. I dont think Ford has enough in its budget to improve the interior, and exterior and chassis for a car on its deathbed.

          • Rocket

            An upgrade of the Falcon interior would be nice but will be hard to improve the exterior. I also think the chassis is just fine as it is. To say the VF looks better than a VE is debatable however the interior is a nice improvement.

          • Callum Andrews

            Wait for the 2014 update it won’t disappoint!

        • Zaccy16

          yep i have driven the ecoboost falcon and a normal 6 cyl falcon and the feeling of less weight over the front wheels is noticeable and turn in is very good, the 6cyl still handles well though, it would be great to see the falcons interior to be updated for its last hurrah and it would be interesting to see a comparison of the eco lpi falcon verse the gas commodore, the falcons gas engine has actually more power and torque than the petrol 6 and has alot more than the commodore, it might change the result if they had gas engines!

          • Callum Andrews

            Falcon is simply a stunning car!

          • Poison_Eagle

            I was asking the author. But since we’re on the topic, I drove one too, and thought it needed more direct steering. Felt like it had too much lock, without the weight of the six. I thought it was great, but a nicer engine note and quicker steering ratio would make that chassis pop . Hope the new model isn’t a wasted opportunity.

        • Callum Andrews

          Ford won’t be spending the money like Holden. Ford will improve the aerodynamics by 7%. And 5% more fuel efficient, lighter ZF 6 Speed transmission. New grille, headlights, front panels, bonnet and bumper, plus more technology, and a new dash. That all will make it the best Falcon ever! But Ford aren’t spending nearly as much as what Holden did with the VF Commodore. But the Falcon believes to look ‘brilliant’ and a ‘terrific’ car. So we will soon see! It will be a very exciting product! Worth the wait!

      • guest

        The 300 is nothing more than another bloated yank-sled.

        Commodores interior looks much more modern than the 300 – it looks like something that came from 10 years ago. Though I suppose it suits American tastes.

        And the 300s also don’t feel very spacious inside either, despite their bulk and vast dimensions. In comparison, the Commodores have a much more spacious feeling. Even when the front seats are well back, the rear occupants still have more than adequate space.

      • Zaccy16

        yep i agree, the 300 is a huge improvement over the cheap and nasty last gen 300c but still can’t match the locally built falcon and commo IMO

    • Chrysler 01

      Chrysler… my god what a p.o.s
      They only called it a 300c because 6000 SUX had been copyrighted.

      • Dieseltorque

        That’s not funny…….ok yes it is!

      • pro346

        Nice robocop reference I’m sure many people wouldn’t understand ! Best ever

      • Zaccy16

        hahaha

    • Shak

      Ever sat in a 300C? They feel their american heritage both in terms of fit and finish, and are not as roomy as they should be considering the wheelbase is larger than a Caprice. Holden has lifted its game above and beyond the 300 with the improvements to the VF.

    • Zaccy16

      but both the falcon and the commodore (in SV6 guise) handle alot better than the 300 and don’t look as vulgar and the falcons list price is $41,000 but they are listed at dealers as $35,000 drive away!

  • DAVIDZ

    Which has the better glovebox?

    • Guest

      Read the article.

  • Dieseltorque

    FG still looks great especially with those wheels. Interior of the SV6 looks excellent hopefully the build quality really is much better than all previous Commodores. The disappointment with these two was never the way they drive more the poor interior quality. Good to hear both the V6 and the auto are much improved.

    • Rocket

      These cars drive just as well as an E Class Merc without the fit and finish however they are around a third of the price depending on the model so I reckon they are great value for those who enjoy driving and want plenty of room.

      • Dieseltorque

        Very true they drive brilliantly for the money. My comments ref the quality is comparing them to the Japanese models in and around the same money. A Camry/Aurion/Mazda 6 is far superior in fit and finish. I hope Holden has finally made a sturdy glove box! The VF is on my shopping list as the reviews have impressed me although I’m still suspicious on the now superior build quality.

        • Wile E

          Buy one but don’t keep it too long

    • Shak

      I went down to the local Holden dealer today after finally receiving the call that they had a VF SV6. After sitting in it and comparing it to the two SV6′s currently in the family, its chalk and cheese. Everything feels (rather IS) much higher quality. The level of detail and improvement put into the cabin by Holden should not be downplayed. The faux carbonfibre, and the ‘galvano’ chrome really do make the cabin feel more than just a tarted up fleet model.

      Even my doubts about the exterior are gone. In SV6 trim, it looks great! I cant wait to drive one!

      • Zaccy16

        yep i agree, im booked in for a test drive of a SV6 and my local dealer, they would look fantastic in black!

        • Brayden Cresswell

          very true saw the vf ss wagon and im buying on next month. sold on the looks much better in person and in the green love it .

      • Paul

        I have had every Commodore version and would say the VF I own is by far the best ever. The looks have gown on me and now wish Holden had built this years ago. I also hope the Falcon lives on for the only reason that if it does then so will Commodore. IF Falcon dies then so does Commodore. However, Ford better built a good one because the benchmark has been set very high this time.

  • marc

    …rather than compare with each other, how about comparing with asia and euro. thats the biggest challenge. id be happy with either aus cars.

    • Shak

      Pick up the July issue of Wheelsmag and you’ll be in for a nice surprise.

    • Daniel DeGasperi

      We’ll be comparing Commodore with both German and Japanese price point rivals in the next week, marc. Stay tuned…

      • Rocket

        Not a fan of price point comparison. What are you going to compare it to a Jetta and a Honda Accord 4 cyl. There is nothing that compares to a Falcon or Commodore for the price unless you go FWD or SUV and I would not class any of them as an enthusiasts car.

  • gtrxuone

    Both the Commodore and Falcon are great value for money.The Falcon done ok for a five year design up against this new classy Commodore.In the 4 years I’ve owned my FG ute,done 120k.Mostly country km’s as the review saids the Falcon still a great open road tourer.

  • Jim

    If you want to buy either of these, go for the LPG option. The Falcon’s system is apparently quite superior to the Holden’s, and I would buy one, however I require a wagon. It’s a shame Ford stopped theirs.

    • Zaccy16

      yep i would love a eco lpi or ecoboost g6e falcon in a wagon body to replace my 2005 mazda 6 wagon, i require a wagon for the extra space and room for my dog, a falcon wagon with a rear similar to the mondeo wagons would look great

  • F1orce

    I would easily choose the V8 over the slug V6

    • Karl Sass

      Another site clocked the Calais (same motor) doing the 0-100 in 6.8 seconds, that’s hardly slow.

      • JamesB

        But then again, a 528i, with similar size and weight as the VF but 30kW down, can do it in 6.3 according to BMW’s website. Real-world tests should net an even better result as Bimmer are conservative with their figures. It looks like somebody is still playing Pinocchio in the power games.

        • Phil

          Comparing a turbo engine? What would you expect? The turbo 4 makes less power than the old 6, but more torque and lots of it from low rpm. If the 528i wasn’t quicker than the SV6 I’d be surprised, seeing as it makes the same torque as the SV6 from only 1250rpm, and uses an 8sp auto to keep it in its efficiency band. At more than twice the price, it should be better.

          The ecoboost Falcon performs pretty much the same as the 528i, what you expect when you compare similar vehicles with almost identical power and torque specs.

          • JamesB

            I still maintain that a chunk of those 210 kilowatts has been missing from the start or wasted through an inefficient drivetrain. And consuming more than 2 litres per 100 kilometres than the Falcon on average is atrocious for a supposedly more updated car.

            Only the dyno tells the truth.

      • save it for the track

        “Since the arrival of the VE Commodore in 2006, and the FG Falcon in 2008, there’s been a simple answer to question of which model was best – if you wanted a standard six-cylinder, buy the Ford, if you wanted a performance model, choose the V8 Holden.”
        .
        That cannot be a serious statement. xr6t and g6et has won more than a few comparisons over the years with Commodore/Calais v8′s. Considering how a recent multi car comparo pitting the new Calais V v8 against a g6et (and a 300, and an Audi a6 diesel), the Calais was only half a point out of ten ahead of the g6et. The g6et remained the faster of the two (0-100, 0-400m, and 80-120 overtaking). I wonder how the same comparison will go in that publication when the Falcon upgrade takes place?
        .

        • Dieseltorque

          The SS is an excellent all rounder, grip and heaps of grunt while making all the right noises. No doubt the XR6T, G6ET are very quick and faster than the SS but they don’t rock at idle with a sweet tune or sound like big bass when driven hard. There is nothing quite like a V8. And in the SS’s case it sells.

          • Rocket

            Yes a V8 has a different character to it which is appealing. The turbo Falcon is special in the way it does the business also but Ford should think about dropping the supercharger for a budget V8 XR8 to compete with the SS for those who like the feeling. They just have to live with XR6 turbos dusting them off every time.

          • JamesB

            If only Ford revived the XR8 with the NA 5.0 Coyote, then the V8 game will change completely. The Mustang GT, which has that engine, is quicker than the Camaro with the 6.2 motor that is robbed from us, so the sprint against the SS 6.0 would have been no contest.

      • F1orce

        It’s not slow, but the little price premium is well worth for the V8.

        • Hung Low

          Almost 6k extra for the vanilla V8 in the GM stable, so one must really want a V8 for that premium otherwise it is not worth it.

    • Callum Andrews

      Why when a Falcon I6 Turbo will whipp and 6.0 Commodore’s V8 backside????

  • Don Quay

    I have driven many VE SV6s and FG XR6s as rental cars over the last few years. Both have had more than enough performance and similar economy. It will be interesting to try the VF when they come into the rental fleets. My issues with the VE was the poor vision, the A pillars make roundabouts awkward and the rear wing blocked out half the view in the rear vision mirror. It will be interesting to see how the new wing design affects the view. The VE definitely had a better seating position than the Falcon, but the steering wasn’t as good, but every review says it has improved now. The Falcon has the seat way too high and wheel too low, but I prefered the steering feel and effort and the engine and transmission were definitely better than the Holden.
    Either way, they both have there merits and are still fine vehicles. Take one for a long drive while they’re still available.

  • turbodewd

    The XR6 doesnt currently retail for 41,000. Its more like 33,000!

  • Tony Abbotts No1 Fan

    I think the Falcon certainly has a more aggressive front appearance & generally has held its age better than most people would have thought.

    Hopefully the upgrade next year will address the interior, but given its lifespan that may not be overly comprehensive.

  • Callum Andrews

    EVERYBODY SAVE YOUR PENNIES FOR THE 2014 FORD FALCON. THE 2014 FORD FALCON WILL BE 7% MORE AERODYNAMIC, COME WITH A LIGHTER AND 5% MORE FUEL EFFICIENT ZF TRANSMISSION. MORE TECHNOLOGY, NEW DASH AND BRILLIANT LOOKS. THE 2014 FORD FALCON IS PROMISED TO MAKE A ‘BIG IMPACT’. IF WE DON’T TELL EVERYONE AND LET THEM KNOW THEN WE WILL LOSE SUCH GREAT CARS!
    AUSTRALIA. GET YOUR BUMS OUT THERE AND TEST DRIVE A BLOODY FALCON!
    ITS NOT HARD AND YOU WILL LOVE IT. FALCON NOW OFFERS 5 DIFFERENT POWERTRAINS. GET OUT THERE AND TEST DRIVE ONE.
    OFFERING SMART ENGINES LIKE A TINY 179KW 2 LITRE 4 CYLINDER WHICH IS AS FAST AND RESPONSIVE AS THE FALCON I6! YET IS AS FUEL EFFICIENT AS A CAMRY 4 CYLINDER WHICH IS CALLED THE FALCON ‘ECOBOOST’
    THEN THERE IS THE FALCON REGULAR I6, WITH LEGENDARY RELIABILITY, AND 2.3 TOWING.
    THEN FALCON ECOLPI. LPG POWERED YET OFFERING GREAT BOOT SPACE, 198KW OF POWER, AND 409NM OF TORQUE MAKING IT FASTER THAN THE PETROL I6 AND GIVING YOU 2.3 TONNE TOWING CAPACITY.
    THEN THERE IS THE FALCON I6 TURBO GIVING YOU A WHOPPING 270KW AT 533NM OF TORQUE WHIPPING A 6.0 COMMODORES BACKSIDE.
    THEN THERE IS FPV WITH THEIR HANDBUILT FALCONS GIVING YOU A TURBO I6 PUMPNG 310KW AND A 5.0 V8 PUMPING OUT 335KW.

    GET OUT THERE AUSTRALIA AND TEST DRIVE A BLOODY FALCON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • FGHFG

      AUSTRALIANS KNOW ALL ABOUT FALCON AND THEY DO NOT WANT 1700-1800KG SEDANS WITH 179KW-310KW AND 8L100KM-12L100KM ECONOMY.
      ALL OF FALCONS 5 POWERTRAINS HAVE EXCESS POWER AND USE TOO MUCH FUEL FOR THE TYPICAL MOTORIST. THE AVERAGE MOTORIST DOES NOT WANT TO GO 0-100KMH IN 6-7 SECS, THEY WANT BETTER ECONOMY INSTEAD. ALSO, VERY FEW PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN 2.3 TOWING AND THE LPG BOOT DOES NOT CONTAIN A SPARE WHEEL WHICH IS PLAIN DUMB FOR “AUSTRALIAN CONDITIONS”.

      AUSTRALIANS WANT SMALL-MEDIUM CARS WITH A HATCH OPTION WITH 4-7L100KM ECONOMY AND ARE HAPPY TO MAKE DO WITH 80-120KW OR FOR THOSE WHO DO WANT BIGGER CARS, LARGE WAGONS, YES WAGONS/SUVS/4WDS/VANS WITH THE PRACTICALITY OF A WAGON SIZED BOOT WITH A BIG OPENING. FLEXIBLE SEATING OPTIONS AND/OR 3RD ROW SEATING.

      • Callum Andrews

        NO THEY DON’T KNOW ALL ABOUT FALCON. BECAUSE IF THEY DID THEN THERE WOULD BE A SALES CHANGE. YOU MAY THINK SO BUT YOUR WRONG, NOT MANY KNOW FALCON HAS A 4 CYLINDER! AND FALCON ECOLPI HAS THE SAME RUNNING COSTS OF A FORD FIESTA. PEOPLE DOWNSIZE FOR BETTER FUEL ECONOMY. FALCON SHOWS THAT DOWNSIZING IS NOT NECESSARY. JUST BECAUSE YOU LOVE YOUR CHEAP IMPORTS DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN NOT AGREE WITH OUR LOCAL HEROES. MAYBE YOU SHOULD DRIVE A FALCON!

        IF PEOPLE WANTED BETTER FUEL ECONOMY THEN THEY WOULDN’T BUY SUCH HUGE SUV’S THAT USE WAY MORE THAN A FALCON.

  • Callum Andrews

    IF WE LOSE FALCON AND COMMODORE, WE WILL BE SENT TO FRONT WHEEL DRIVE PIECES OF CRAP!!!!!! DON’T JUDGE A BLOODY FALCON TILL YOU HAVE DRIVEN ONE. GET OUT THERE AND TEST DRIVE ONE, RECOMMEND TO OTHERS AND EXPERIENCE HOW GOOD A BLOOD FORD FALCON REALLY IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ruqis

    i really like the new Commodore. only if it had the Aurion engine it would be perfect! i drive both and the Aurion is just much better in terms of power, smoothness and efficiency. the Aurion pulls strongly as soon as you put foot down and very smooth power, very smooth

    this is why

    II. All-New high-output 3.5L V6 engine

    A. 2GR-FE DOHC 4-valve V6

    1. first application of this all-new engine in any Toyota

    2. 280 Hp @ 6,200 rpm

    3. 260 ft/lbs @ 4,700 rpm

    4. aluminum block & heads

    a. short-stroke, high-rev design

    b. bore X stroke = 3. 70″ X 3.27″ (94 X 83 mm)

    c. short-stroke variant of 1GR-FE 4.0L V6 from 4Runner, Tacoma, Tundra
    ref: 1GR-FE = 3. 70″ X 3.74″ (94 X 95 mm)

    5. New 4-valve engine specifically developed for this high-performance sedan

    a. very low reciprocating-mass design

    1) lower overall powerplant mass

    2) improved operating efficiency

    3) controls noise, vibration, and harshness

    b. newest all-solid state Electronically-Controlled Throttle System w/ intelligence (ETCS-i)

    B. New low-friction cylinder head

    1. Dual VVT-i

    a. variable valve timing w/ intelligence on both intake and exhaust cams, relative to crank angle

    b. ECM can independently control timing and overlap to optimize power, emissions, and efficiency

    2. roller-follower rocker arms

    a. very low friction compared to direct ‘bucket’ lifters

    1) major reduction in high-rpm friction caused by oil shear between cam lobe and lifter

    b. permits unique ‘concave’ cam profile

    1) faster valve opening & longer duration than conventional cam grind for bucket lifters

    2) increases volumetric efficiency for more output

    3) hydraulic lash adjustment reduces maintenance

    285mo02
    C. Performance enhancements

    1. new cooling fan control

    a. all solid-state fan speed control

    b. best match of fan performance to fan noise

    1) conventional 2-stage fan control is based on minimum req’d fan speed for each temperature threshold

    2) linear fan speed control results in fan speeds that are always lower at any temp other than threshold

    2. dual rear mufflers ensure engine performance without increased engine noise

    3. intake manifold

    a. dual-stage manifold length tuning improves torque and power

    1) Toyota-1st electric actuator reduces complexity and mass over previous solenoid & vacuum actuator

    2) new laser-welded fiber-reinforced plastic molding

    b. two-stage air cleaner chamber

    1) reduces air intake noise at low- to-mid-throttle openings

    • jghj

      What a load of dribble.

      That engine isn’t all new nor is it the first application in a Toyota. You’ve been conned, the Aurion engine has simply been carried straight over from the old model. It was also used in the OLD Rav4, the OLD Klugar and the Tarago.
      Or are you using seven year old information from when the old model Aurion was originally released? Get yourself up to date.

      Basically all those features or equivalents are in other engines too including Falcon and Commodore – of whom offer similar power and economy despite their engines have to shift heavier bodies.

  • James

    Fuel efficiency is terrible. The Aussie car buyers will shun these 2 (might I add fantastic vehicles- have driven older model sv6 and xr6) goliaths. “Dinosaurs” is the only word to describe these. It’s almost as if these 2 car companies are completely and utterly ignorant to the fact that people are nowadays either after small SUVs or fuel efficient medium and small cars. For a large car to succeed, it has to be extraordinarily good and have to have extremely good fuel efficiency. I understand that dwellers of this forum will flock out to buy these because you guys are really into your cars but the average Joe isn’t buying these anymore. No matter how good the interior/exterior looks, the world is all about efficiency nowadays.

    • I love dinosaurs

      Absolute nonsense. Most buyers don’t give a damn about fuel efficiency or cheap running costs. If they did, would the Mazda 3 be the best seller in the country? No it wouldn’t; you’re probably unaware that its economy is slightly better than the new Commodore and slightly worse than the Ecoboost Falcon. Would gargantuan SUVs with even worse fuel economy than these two sell so well? Again, they wouldn’t. They aren’t dinosaurs, they’re simply unloved and untrendy at the moment. I mean, you can buy a Falcon on gas which costs the same as a Yaris to run. In fact, if people cared about efficiency or cheap running costs, every car sold in this country would run on gas. Furthermore, the seven year old Commodore, in run-out, year to date, has outsold every single mid-sized car and SUV in the market.

    • Callum Andrews

      Heard of Falcon EcoLpi? LPG giving you more performance from the Falcon I6 than the petrol Falcon I6! While same running costs as a Ford fiesta! That is brilliant. Plus then there is Falcon Ecoboost! 2.0 4 cylinder giving you the same performance as the Falcon I6 with so much better steering and 4 cylinder Camry fuel Economy. Falcon is fuel efficient………..

  • taz

    Where are HID lights? they should be standard in this segment
    my 08 Subaru Liberty comes standard with HID lighting why don’t these, especially now it is 2013 for goodness sake.

    • Just buy one.

      Who seriously cares what type of lights a car has? I mean, as long as they work well, which they do, it is seriously so unimportant.

    • Callum Andrews

      It doesn’t really matter what lights the car has. But Falcon and Commodore actually have brighter lights than most imports, making the Falcon and Commodore headlights not meeting other country recommendations because they are actually brighter and better!

  • Major Sceptic

    It is very sad to see our home grown cars gradually fading away in the sea of cheap imports, having spent time as a spanner man in the workshops of both brands it almost brings a tear to the eye, in the past there have been the odd report about minor faults/build quality not quite being as good as some imports, and that does happen on occasion …..even in imports, but all in all these are dam good cars. i just hope what is left of our car industry can kick on.

  • Seano

    You might think I’m silly but it’s actually budget airlines that killed the Aussie car, have you ever tried to take a London drive in anything not Australian? Let me tell you it’s rubbish!!! When we all drove on holidays we needed Aussie cars, I say ban jet star and tiger and we will all get the legends back in the driveway! Ps I still have a falcon coz I rock!

  • Nicholas Bolis

    Wonder why the leather seats on the Commodore are already looking stretched and puckering up? Hate to think what they may look like in a year or two. Cost cutting no doubt?

  • jimmijimmi

    Do you know if a 7ft surfboard will fit through the ski hatch in the sv6?

    • Rocket

      Can fit 2 surfboards in the XR6.

  • Xaser

    The Falcon will be greatly missed. I am lucky I got my FG XR8 when I did as they are no longer in production. As for Ford vs Holden they are both great quality cars. I have owned both and was never disappointed by either. Both deserve at least a test drive before deciding on your next vehicle.

  • Cheeko

    HI Guys, i Must say VF is the best car i have ever owned like a go kart to drive, My wife has a WL caprice 6L and still much prefer to drive my SV6 well done holden, Looks are still growing on me, but i thought the same with VE when they first came out, I

  • ThatGuy

    Oooohh boy that VF is ugly. I thought they’d look OK in the flesh, but it turns out I was wrong.

  • Robyn Hendriks

    Can anyone help me with the release latch for back seat in falcon fg xt. Is not releasing at all, and It doesn’t look like I can access anything from the boot.

  • Guest

    “The Holden’s higher fuel result may be as much about its lust for revs as the fact its chassis demands harder driving.” Oh please, why don’t you journos just marry the goddamn VF? It can literally do no wrong. Quite literally.

  • Alex Martini

    “The Holden’s higher fuel result may be as much about its lust for revs as the fact its chassis demands harder driving.” I think you mean it has a higher power band.

Holden Commodore Specs

SV6 : 3.6L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 6 SP MANUAL - UNLEADED PETROL - 4D SEDAN
Car Details
Make
HOLDEN
Model
COMMODORE
Variant
SV6
Series
VE II MY12.5
Year
2013
Body Type
4D SEDAN
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
3.6L
Cylinders
V6
Max. Torque
350Nm @  2900rpm
Max. Power
210kW @  6400rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
126.4W/kg
Bore & Stroke
94x85.6mm
Compression Ratio
11.3
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP MANUAL
Drive Type
REAR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
2.92
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
73
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
9.7L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1662
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1476mm
Length
4894mm
Width
1899mm
Ground Clearance
110mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1600  Unbrake:1000
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.4
Front Rim Size
8x18
Rear Rim Size
8x18
Front Tyres
245/45 R18
Rear Tyres
245/45 R18
Wheel Base
2915
Front Track
1592
Rear Track
1608
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning, Power front seat Driver
Control & Handling
18 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program
Driver
Adjustable Steering Wheel - Tilt & Telescopic, Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Power Steering
Engine & Transmission
Limited Slip Differential
Entertainment
Radio CD with 7 Speakers
Exterior
Body Kit, Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors, Rear Spoiler
Interior
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Comfort
Power Sunroof
Driver
Reversing Camera, Satellite Navigation
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
9 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
9-H-19
Country of Origin
AUSTRALIA