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by Daniel DeGasperi

It’s comparison round three for the new Holden Commodore. After proving superior to its six-cylinder arch rival in round one, and in V8 specification just beating a top-notch hot-hatch in round two, the Commodore now battles off with one of the best load-luggers in the business.

The Holden Commodore Evoke Sportwagon kicks off at $36,990, or $2000 more than the sedan. In addition to competing with the plethora of SUV models around that price point, the Commodore must also attempt to woo family car buyers out of medium-sized wagons, the best of which is the Mazda 6 wagon.

The closest match for the entry-level Commodore Evoke Sportwagon is the Mazda 6 Touring wagon, priced at $38,800. Being medium-sized, the Mazda is obviously less roomy and it uses a smaller four-cylinder engine – but can it prove a smarter option than the more-metal-for-the-money Commodore?

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 5

First, some statistics.

The Holden Commodore Evoke Sportwagon, at 1717kg, is a full 223kg heavier than the Mazda 6. Its 3.0-litre petrol V6 engine produces 185kW of power and 290Nm of torque. To put those figures into a comparable state with the Mazda, per 1000kg of weight the Evoke Sportwagon has 108kW and 169Nm.

The Mazda 6 Touring wagon uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine producing 138kW and 250Nm. The 1494kg Mazda therefore has 92kW and 167Nm to pull per tonne.

Although these two rivals are quite close for relative torque output, fuel consumption claims place a wedge between them – the Holden claims 8.6L/100km and the Mazda just 6.6L/100km.

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 4

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 3

The Mazda 6 also has a greater level of standard equipment to match its higher level of fit and finish.

Being a middle-grade specification level, the 6 Touring wagon gets full leather trim and eight-way electrically adjustable front seats. Both the driver’s seat itself and the driving position beat the Holden’s. The Evoke only gets electric adjustment for height, while the backrest moves via a lever, not the infinitely adjustable wheel that Commodores have always used.

The Mazda 6 Touring also gets satellite navigation, though its colour screen is smaller and lower resolution than that in the Commodore. The Holden also trumps the Mazda for touchscreen ergonomics and technology. Its Bluetooth operation is easier, and the ability to stream music via mobile phone internet is unique.

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 15

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 26

Both get a reversing camera and parking sensors but only the larger Holden can find a parking spot then steer itself into it…

Despite the extra equipment, there are cheaper and sometimes ill-fitting plastics to be found in the Commodore Evoke, and the cloth trim still feels downmarket.

The Mazda 6, by contrast, feels genuinely premium with its soft touch, consistently matched plastics and tight panel gaps.

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 12

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 22

Of course, you are getting a whole lot more car with the Holden. Compared with the Mazda it is 119mm longer and 54mm wider, though its roofline is 6mm lower.

Those figures translate to substantially more rear legroom in the Commodore Sportwagon. If all three seats need to be occupied in the rear, the Holden is also plainly superior, with much less shoulder-rubbing for back-seat passengers.

The Mazda 6 matches the Commodore for head space, and both score rear-seat air vents, but the Touring’s rear seat is also flatter and less deeply supportive than its bigger rival’s.

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 7

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 9

Further back in the cabin, the Commodore Sportwagon can carry 895 litres in its boot, or with the rear seat folded flat, a massive 2000L.

The 6 Touring wagon can only manage 451L, or 1593L with the back seat folded.

But the Mazda includes a luggage cover and an adjustable luggage net that protects rear passengers from items in the boot entering the cabin. The Commodore gets neither.

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 6

The Mazda 6 has long been the finest-driving car in the medium segment, and this new model – launched late last year – doesn’t mess with the status quo.

Its 2.5-litre engine is one of the strongest performers around, and the six-speed automatic is both fluent around town and decisive when driving harder.

The steering is slick and consistent, the ride quality hugely improved compared with the previous generation, and the handling remains wonderfully agile and composed.

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 44

The larger, heavier Commodore isn’t completely outclassed here. The comfort level delivered by the Evoke is superb, the finest in the entire Holden Commodore range. Its sensible 16-inch tyres help it drift over every type of road irregularity – cat’s eyes, expansion joins, larger pot holes – without transferring anything to the cabin. Yet on a bumpy country road at speed the suspension itself never allows the body to float and wallow. It is a brilliant blend.

By contrast, the Mazda 6 always feels slightly firmer; still comfortable and absorbent, but not quite as stillwater and calm as the almost majestic Holden.

The Holden’s steering is better, too, although the Evoke in particular has more on-centre freeplay than other models in the Commodore range, possibly as a result of its softer-sidewalled tyres. The electro-mechanical steering in both cars here is terrific, although it’s when trying to pin an apex that the Mazda’s proves fractionally less direct, and also introduces a slightly heavier weighting when winding on lock. The Commodore’s is consistently light, and the better for it.

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 48

Both the 6 Touring and Commodore Evoke also have similarly excellent handling. Each lack outright tyre grip, particularly in the wet, yet the front-wheel-drive Mazda proves more agile and sharp, where the Holden is more about delicate rear-wheel-drive balance, of which there is plenty.

It’s down to the engines to really separate them, and it’s here where the Mazda’s 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine not only feels quicker during outright acceleration – despite less power and torque – but it sounds sweeter when revving and is more relaxed at low speeds.

The 3.0-litre V6 in the Commodore Evoke feels hugely improved compared with the previous-generation model, but the improvement is largely down to greater noise insulation and a recalibrated automatic. The V6 is much quieter than before, although the slower movement of the tachometer needle when floored confirms that the engine still struggles with weight.

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 47

Likewise the new six-speed automatic is far quicker and keener to pick up lower gears on light throttle to try and hide the torque deficit by keeping the engine working harder. That’s fine for driveability, but it doesn’t solve the real-world economy issues that plagued the old VE.

Holden wanted to limbo the Commodore Evoke sedan under 200 grams per kilometre of CO2 – the threshold for many fleet purchases – which works out to 8.3L/100km combined. But the heavier Sportwagon claims 8.6L/100km, and still misses that figure by miles.

Over a test loop split evenly between urban, freeway and country road driving, the Commodore Evoke Sportwagon used 14.5L/100km – about the same as what we’ve previously recorded in a VE Omega sedan in similar conditions. It is also the same as we recorded in a VF Calais a week later, proving that the bigger 3.6-litre, because it doesn’t need to work as hard, doesn’t actually use more fuel than the 3.0-litre Evoke in the real world.

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 49

In the same conditions, at similar speed, the Mazda 6 Touring delivered 9.4L/100km. It should be noted that both accept 91RON unleaded, which at the time of writing was priced at $1.40 per litre in the Sydney metropolitan area. Based on that price and our figures, calculated over the 15,000km Australians travel on average each year, a Holden Commodore Evoke would cost $3045 to fill versus $1974 for the Mazda 6 Touring – a $1071 saving.

A capped price servicing program allows the Holden to claw back that ground. The four services the Commodore Evoke Sportwagon requires to three years or 60,000km cost $185 each, for a total of $740. By comparison, according to a major Sydney dealership, the 6 Touring will cost $1889 in genuine servicing – a difference of $1149.

In terms of long-term ownership there’s little between the two wagons, though the Mazda 6 is recognised as a stronger performer come resale time.

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 37

What the Holden Commodore Evoke Sportwagon really needed to do in this test is prove that it can match a talented Japanese wagon for finish and driveability, then seal the win with more space. Ultimately, if three passengers need to be seated in the rear and lots of luggage stored, it is the only choice.

The 3.0-litre V6, however, continues to have some shortcomings, and the interior finish and dynamic cohesion don’t substantially better the Mazda 6 Touring. Had the 3.6-litre SV6 or Calais Sportwagon been selected for this comparison the outcome may be different, but neither are available for less than $40,000.

Although smaller, the Mazda is beautifully finished, comprehensively equipped, a dynamic drive, and an eager performer yet also economical. It’s a rare case of the thinking man’s family car doubling as the thinking enthusiast’s sporty drive.

Holden VF Sportwagon Vs Mazda 6 Touring - 31

Click the Photos tab for more images.

Mazda 6 Touring wagon
Price: $38,800
Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power: 138kW at 5700rpm
Torque: 250Nm at 3250rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel consumption: 6.6L/100km (9.4L/100km on test)
CO2 emissions: 155g/km

Holden Commodore Evoke Sportwagon
Price: $36,990
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 petrol
Power: 180kW at 6000rpm
Torque: 290Nm at 2600rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel consumption: 8.6L/100km (14.5L/100km on test)
CO2 emissions: 206g/km

  • Xr6man366

    Cant work out why Holden persist with a second spec 6 cylinder…The 3ltr has always worked hard and had substandard torque compared to the larger 3.6ltr. Just put this in the Evoke as well and you will make many reps happy and fleet managers less stressed

    • Karl Sass

      Absolutely, just like they ditched the 3.0 litre in the base ute. All comes down to fleets using the ADR fuel economy figure which isn’t always very accurate. LPG is the better option by a big margin; cleaner, cheaper and more torque.

      • F1orce

        ADR is a flawed & unrealistic measurement criteria.

        The American EPA numbers are closer to reality.

        Europeans figures are even less realistic than Australian..

        • jrr

          Ah, F1orce we do love it when you bring in your complete ignorance.

          The ADR81/02 measurement we use here is the same as the UN-ECE used in Europe.
          So how could they be “even less realistic”?

          • F1orce

            Sorry, I was under the assumption that the EU measurement was very optimistic, which it is anyway.. So is the Australian ADR.

            Both are unrealistic, American EPA is the most realistic and accurate.

            And also;

            ICCT found the worst offenders to be Germany luxury car makers. According to the study, BMW’s vehicles spew about 30 percent more carbon emissions than stated by the automaker during real-world driving. Audi wasn’t far behind with a 28 percent disparity, followed by Mercedes-Benz with a 26 percent difference.

            On the lower end of the study, Toyota missed its stated emissions by 15 percent while PSA Peugeot Citroen’s figures were about 16 percent below what drivers in the real-world would experience.

            “This means that the actual fuel consumption experienced by the average driver is typically 25 percent higher than what is printed on the sales sticker,” Peter Mock, managing director of ICCT Europe, told Reuters

        • LC

          The figures are only meant to be used to compare different cars, not be treated as the holy writ. And even then, unless you plan to do a fair bit of highway driving, you don’t pay attention to the “combined” figure, you pay attention to the “urban” one.

          Someone who drives by jumping on and off the brakes and accelerator is not going to get anywhere near the figures the ADR gets, no matter what they drive. But someone who reads the traffic and flowing smoothly as possible, avoiding sitting in stop-start traffic for longer than absolutely necessary, avoids using the brakes unless absolutely necessary, etc, can get quite close or even beat the advertised urban figure.

          As for the EPA getting it right, look up what happened with the readings they gave for the Ford Fusion and C-Max hybrids. They blew it. BIGTIME.

    • Ted

      Just like BMW and Benz do with the entry cars having underpowered engines – they have to create different levels and prices between grades..

      • Rocket

        So Holden are persisting with the 3 litre engine just to please some dork fleet accountant who wants to see someone not get a 3.6 litre because the smaller engine uses 0.3 litres of fuel less ( but not in the real world apparently). What a miserable life these accountants have.

        • Iggy

          I think you got it wrong there, if it was up to the accountants you would be driving a 1.8 cruze instead.

    • JoeR_AUS

      Holden has a 6 cylinder engine plant only so not much engine choice, plus 1717kg is just to heavy.

  • WayneTSV

    Next up – Evoke vs John Deer high end lawnmower!

  • Zaccy16

    Great thorough review Daniel! the mazda 6 is a brillliant car and is capable in all areas! its smaller engine proves to be quicker, more refined, better to drive hard, sounds better and is more economical, it really emphasising my point that i have been making all along that the 3.6 l v6 is a much more relaxed and refined unit and should be in all versions of the commodore, also thats why i bought a first gen 2005 mazda 6 wagon because of its great ability to do everything well, it drives like a sports car but is also good value for money, economical, comfortable and very practical!

  • Hung Low

    The 6 really makes the VF look a generation older here. The only real advantage I see is space and rwd with the VF

    • JoeR_AUS

      Space is the Mazda 6 down fall, there are lots of other Wagons that will match it and are not as big.

      • sdjh

        Though they can match the 6 for space, they likely fall behind in other areas. The Commodore and 6 are both great choices in the segment.

        • sdjh

          *in most other areas

  • george

    not bad considering the evoke is the base model the Touring isn’t.
    The Evoke can also be had with the LPG engine which I would bet would be better overall on fuel costs.
    The VF is bigger, heavier has more room so you would expect it to use more fuel then a smaller 4 cyl.

    • fjgh

      But the base Mazda 6 Sport wagon would’ve undercut the Evoke’s pricing and probably taken the win as a result of that anyway.

      • Mick McWilliams

        I wouldn’t bet on that. The base model 6 has a yawning gap in technology. It’s only advantage over the Evoke would be economy. It would lose on tech, space, finish and ride. (and price by about 2k)

        • Igomi Watabi

          I’m not sure I agree, Mick. I thought the only difference would be some equipment. The base level 6 still has the same drivetrain, fit and finish, economy etc that won the comparison for the mid-spec 6, and is still well-equipped (leather, etc). It shoiuld have won and been cheaper.

          • Mick McWilliams

            Base model doesn’t have leather seats (in fact the touring only has partial leather with fabric centres). Neither Mazdas have auto park either which works very well and (obviously) includes front and rear parking sensors on evey VF Commodore. The MyLink software is also very impressive which is standard on every spec.

            I am yet to get into an Evoke (which I pick up this week) but fit and finish is far better than the VE Series II which I have behind me in my garage. At the end of the day though, the Mazda 6 wagon doesn’t really have much space in the back, which is kind of the point of a wagon. Just my 2 cents as a wagon fan and owner.

          • sjgh

            Base model Evoke doesn’t have leather seats either and the absence of auto park didn’t cost the 6 the win this time around.

          • Igomi Watabi

            I stand corrected on the leather. I thought I read in Wheels that it was standard across the range. So, apologies. However, I still stand by the suggestion that a base Mazda 6 would have won the compare, based on the criteria with which the 6 won this compare. That’s not that I don’t love the Sportwagon. I think it’s a great car for the money.

  • Karl Sass

    My dad recently bought a MY10 sportwagon that has the 3.0 SIDI engine. One thing we’ve found with it so far is that using 95 makes a big difference to economy and to a lesser extent power. This compares to my VT (when it was on petrol) which had a minimal difference with the higher octane fuel. The fuel economy average is 9.9L/100km using 95 octane carrying 200kg+ of tools and 50/50 urban highway.

    However if anyone is seriously looking at a large wagon they should consider the Evoke on lpg. It may have 5KW less, but it has an extra 30NM at lower revs and would be substantially cheaper to run than virtually anything in its class, plus a 2100kg towing capacity.

    • Hung Low

      I don’t know how they manage that 14.5/100, I have done better with the 6.0l VE. Agree lpg all the way

      • $29896495

        The 3lt has to work harder to move the thing.

        • Karl Sass

          Our VE is averaging 9.9L/100 with substantial load, you’d have to be pushing very hard to get 14.5L, or possibly the engine wasn’t worn in? The 3.0 doesn’t have to work nearly as hard as I thought it might, still not a torque monster though. I was concerned when he bought it thinking this is the sort of economy we we’re going to get, but now I’m at a loss to explain how the test vehicle used so much fuel.

          • Mick McWilliams

            Same same Karl. I’ve been testing many Holdens since the 3.0 SIDI arrived in the MY10 Berlina and I’ve rarely even gotten to 14.5L/100km except in urban crawl or constantly flooring it. The best I got was 6.8L/100kms in 2010 but a realistic unladen highway economy is closer to 7.5.

    • Phil

      yes, that’s the comparo I’d have liked to see. LPG vs the Mazda diesel.

      • Labryz

        Exactly what I was thinking.
        This is a great review for me as one of these wil likely be our next car but I think it would be between the LPG and the diesel.
        I also think that would be the case for quite a few people. So would love to see that comparison.

    • fwf

      The LPG version isn’t “substantially cheaper to run than virtually anything in its class” as far as I can see. It uses about 30% more fuel than this petrol version at 11.8L100km ADR and costs more to service than the petrol like diesels do.

      If we’re comparing the Mazda6 diesel which has a 5.4L100km rating, well diesel $1.50 a litre vs LPG 70c in Sydney, it works out about the same. However move into more remote areas and it sways in favor of the Mazda as Diesel is around the same price the nation over whilst LPG gets considerably more expensive in some places – Darwin for instance is $1.05 for LPG, $1.60 diesel and in some rural areas LPG isn’t offered at all.

      The Mazda6 diesel also runs to 100kmh a full second quicker and is probably more likely to stay closer to its claimed economy figures than Commodore is. It is a smaller car but at least the boot houses a spare wheel, the LPG Commodores don’t have space for a spare.

      • Karl Sass

        As you rightly pointed out the Mazda is mid size, the Commodore is a large car. The Skoda Superb would be a closer match. Despite that lpg at my local servo (in Melbourne) is currently 59c/litre, which is substantially cheaper to run than the 6. I guess it’s a matter of horses for courses, especially in rural areas. Although the Mazda is no more likely to improve on it’s economy that the lpg Commodore. I’ve never had an issue finding lpg in the bush. I doubt the Mazda is a second quicker to 0-100km/h, half a second possibly. The Commodore can be optioned with a full size spare which stands up which would probably reduce load space to that of the Mazda anyway. The although the CO2 of the 6 is lower, diesel is a dirtier fuel in terms of particulate matter, NOx etc. Not that I’m knocking the Mazda, it’s a great car, I just think lpg is a better option in many circumstances.

        • getta

          It is not substantially cheaper to run than the Mazda6 diesel even with LPG at 59c because the Commodore is such a gas guzzler, literally. It uses more than double the fuel of the Mazda6 diesel and according to Motormouth, diesel in Melbourne is $1.37 at the moment which only makes the LPG Commodore marginally cheaper however elsewhere in the country (Melbourne seems to have the countries cheapest LPG), the Mazda6 Diesel is cheaper to run fuel wise.

          As for the performance, the Mazda6 diesel wagon is listed at 8.4 secs 0-100km/h (7.8 secs for the manual that we don’t get).
          For the Commodore, in CA’s recent Commodore Evoke petrol test they recorded 9.4 secs. That’s a full second behind already but that was for a petrol sedan which weighs 1622kgs. Add the extra weight of the wagon + the extra weight of the larger 3.6 engine + the LPG system & heavy reinforced Gas tank and it blows out to1800kgs. That extra 178kgs would be enough to add at least a further full second 0-100kmh. Add the optional full size spare as you suggested and you get another 25kgs which would add another tenth.

          • Mick McWilliams

            So a 3.6 LPG wagon is going to take over ten seconds to get to 100? Your credibility just went in the toilet. I have a 3.6 VEII wagon and it hits 100 in around 7 seconds. It has the older engine and doesn’t have the aluminium panels. The LPG 3.6 is FAR more powerful than the 3.0.

  • Neil_Way

    Hopefully Mazda are focused on upgrading their interiors come refresh time in a few years. The new ‘SkyActive’ generation appear to be fantastic vehicles, but those interiors look like severe afterthoughts.

    • Shak

      Completely agree. My neighbour recently bought a CX5 in top level trim, and while all the metallic look flourishes, and leather do help to lift the ambiance of the cabin it still looks like bits were picked from random parts bins and stuck together. The fit and finish is not in question, but the look of it all is not worth what people are paying for these cars.

  • Guests

    With such a small boot, the 6 is almost pointless as a wagon

  • marc

    Interesting comparo and reading. Well done.

  • robbo222

    For long term ownership the 6 diesel is the way to go. More expensive to buy but with 129kw/420NM and more economical it’s well worth the extra.

  • Al Tungupon

    I wasn’t planning on reading this at all thinking that the winner will automatically be the Holden again, but we finally see a fair result. A struggling petrol is useless for a big wagon. The 3.0 SIDI is gutless and thirsty, indeed not for a huge, heavy vehicle. The pulling power of diesel is a much more viable choice, but sadly, still no such engine for the Commy. The VF wagon is also merely a facelifted VE, with absolutely no changes after the front end. The rear is disappointing; not even the tail light design was altered.

    The Mazda6 offers European dynamics but without sacrificing reliability. It also looks better than any non-premium wagon, which is a plus for a Japanese car. The size deficit against the Evoke reminded me of the defunct 929. It’s basically a bigger car than the 626 back then, with RWD. Today, it would have been the Mazda9 and set a proper standard for the large car segment.

    • Rocket

      Would be good to see the Japanese build more RWD cars like they used. A Mazda 6 or a Honda Accord Euro in RWD would be much more enjoyable cars IMO. Toyota 86 and Mazda MX5 are good examples of what the Japanese can do when they are challenged.

    • Igomi Watabi

      Igomi Watabi

      As an ex-929 owner, I have a soft spot for them (mine was an 18 Valve 3-Litre V6. Loved it. Better dirt-road handler, more comfortable and far better equipped than the VX Executive work car that replaced it), but I just don’t think there’s room in mazda’s line-up any ore for a “Mazda 9″. The 6 is as big a car as anyone really needs. The occasional exception to this would be why some people still need a Commodore (and btw – I think the Commodore is still a great car, and amazing for the money), but Mazda would have to sell a “9” as a large premium, in a sort of Lexus/Infiniti market. The Eunos 800 (sold as the Mazda Millenia 9 in Japan) was probably their last crack at it. And we all kow where Eunos is now.
      Also, the last 929s were front wheel drive.

  • Autoholic

    The 6 has the Commodore for all-round appeal. The Commodore looks a bit old fashioned from the rear, especially with that cheap-looking bee sting aerial.


    The Mazda also has more things to go wrong. Capacitive charge/discharge, inverter, stop/start, etc.

    • ktuyk

      So does Lexus…

    • Bob

      And the Commodore has less things to get “right” and it doesn’t manage that…

  • Norm

    Hmmm…if you want a big Aussie 6 – you want a big Aussie 6. 14.5 litres per 100k in real world driving is an awful number if your not at least getting the real big 6 experience.

    I thought the original Mazda 6 wagon was a brilliant looking thing – but coming front a VS wagon it was a curious thing to drive. By comparison it was a tentative and stressed thing to be in. The roles appear almost reversed here? Really good review and valid comparison but if size does indeed matter – then the bigger engine would seem to be the natural part of the VF equation?

  • Dieseltorque

    Now where are those that said the Mazda is just as roomy as a Commodore, utter rubbish!

    • $29896495

      Actually it’s not rubbish the difference is 2 inches. That’s no big deal.

      • Norm

        That’s what he says.

      • Brayden Cresswell

        2 inchs makes all the difference

    • JoeR_AUS

      With 895 vs 451 boot space and the Commodore can take 3 full size people in the rear, so not as roomy

      • $29896495

        dodgy figures see below – both cars about the same size one CAN’T have twice the capacity of the other.

        • Igomi Watabi

          yeah, I’m intrigued by those 895 vs 451 numbers. I see that the Commodore is bigger, but twice the size? How do they measure these things.

        • Dieseltorque

          Agree I don’t see double the load space there considering sports wagons are alot smaller than the old wagons. The commodore is far roomier inside than the 6 that’s for sure.

          • JoeR_AUS

            I agree, For the Mazda I think the size is from the sedan, 451, but the Wagon is to window height and around 520? Anyway, people buy a wagon to have more carrying space and have a tail gate for ease of loading. The Mazda 6 wagon has less space than the previous model and less than a I30 Wagon, so if rear passenger space is not an issue you can get an I30 diesel and save a bundle.

  • Skybreak

    I’m liking all the comparisons of the various Commodores against possible competitors, but I would rather have seen this Mazda6 against a SV6.

    I know the SV6 costs more than the Evoke, but if I was in the market for a wagon I’d be comparing the Mazda6 (and maybe a Mondeo or a Subaru Liberty) against a SV6. I would have thought pretty much only fleet buyers would seriously consider the Evoke.

  • zahmad

    Interesting to see that the ownership costs of both the vehicles will exactly be the same!
    This is what I believe a lot of Aussie buyers are unaware off…

    • PhilD

      Not quite, the Mazda’s fuel saving is about $1000 per year, Holden’s servicing is about $1000 cheaper over three years. Still puts the Mazda $6-700 per year in front.

      • zahmad

        Indeed you are correct, I hadn’t realized the fuel cost was per year and servicing for three years….

        So three years VF would cost $9875 and the 6 would cost $7811.

        $2064 over three years, $688 per year saving with the Mazda.

        This is why buyers are moving to the mid-size category as the large car is not required as much and you save $688 a year buying a quality car with higher resale!

        • $29896495

          Plus when they buy a so called mid size car it is actually a more efficient FULL size car.

          • JoeR_AUS

            The Mazda is a full length car with out the space of a full length car, the I30 Wagon has more space than a Mazda 6

        • JoeR_AUS

          The Mazda 6 is not a mid size car as its less than a 50c piece shorter than a Commodore and longer then a Falcon.

          However, what you pick comes down to what you want to carry. With 895 vs 451 boot space and the Commodore can take 3 full size people in the rear. The cost diff is $13 a week, nice but not really the decider.

          So, it comes down to space, can you live without it or with it?

          • $29896495

            Actually the 895 is a bogus figure. What you’ll find is they are taking floor to roof lining capacity for the Holden and to the top of the seat back for the Mazda. Same with the MAX capacity. Measure both with the same criteria and things will be very different. Simple common sense says that two cars -station wagons – virtually the same size – one can’t be twice the size of the other without dodgy figures – RIGHT CA?

          • Shak

            You keep assuming that CA made up dodgy figures in some futile attempt to make it look like they are favoring Holden. Guess what, the Commodore lost this comparo. Maybe Holden simply engineered their load area better and made the most of the space they had to play with, whereas Mazda didn’t and therefore ended up with a smaller load area.

          • $29896495

            Hey don’t put words in my mouth I didn’t state that at ALL! Firstly what I have said is accurate. What CA has to do is be smart enough to understand what’s going on. I think they have quoted figures blindly. And you should be smart enough to realize that cars virtually the same size can’t have such a disparity in numbers. Especially when one is front drive and would make a better use of available space. Common sense, the load area calculated for the mazda is equivalent to a normal boot. Therefore it is measured to the top of the seat. If the Holden has more (almost double) that means the measurements were taken from the headlining down. As I said common sense! CA should have done their own measurements.

        • JamesB

          To compute fuel costs based on the ADR rating is not a wise thing to do. There’s no way a typical driver can average the claimed 8.6 litres/100 km consumption of the Evoke or anywhere near that. This very test returned a result of 14.5, almost six litres more than what Holden is lying about. The 6 returned 9.4, still off the 6.6 claim but a decent result nonetheless and not overly sarcastic unlike in the Commo.

          • JoeR_AUS

            Not mentioned in Article but if you do urban driving, the Commodore is about right fuel wise but the Mazda has stop/start idle which would make all the difference but you have to factor in servicing costs as the Mazda 6 needs twice a year at $314 each versus 1 a year at $185 for the Holden.

            Also, if you don’t live in the city the stop/start will not make a difference so the Holden will be cheaper again.

          • sh

            Holdens $185 servicing is every 9 months not once a year.

          • Shak

            When will you people realise Holden cannot lie about these results because they do not conduct the tests themselves. All cars in Australia are tested under ADR/81 for fuel consumption by a Government agency.

          • JoeR_AUS

            Where people falter is they think they can get combined figure, I ignore it and look at the urban figure as that is what I will mostly get, except on trips.

          • Shak

            You speak the truth. Most people forget that there are two numbers on the windscreen for a reason. Not everyone drives in the same conditions, but most of us living in the big cities drive in stop start traffic daily with a bit of highway stuff on the weekends. People need to look at fuel consumption based on how they drive.

          • $29896495

            The problem with ADR or EPA testing is it’s done on a Dyno. Removing any variables, experienced in real life conditions. Hot cold aerodynamics variations in road conditions tyres driving style. Anyone of which will cause a detrimental effect on fuel consumption.

          • kdk

            Removing the variables is the whole point of the ADR figures not it’s “problem”.
            It is a comparison figure, how else could a proper comparison be made between cars if variables were included which would make all the fuel test cycles slightly different? Exactly the same test with no variables for every car means you get a accurate comparative figure (as long as people don’t cheat like Hyundai).

            Would you rather go back to the old days where the manufacturers each used their own criteria making cross comparisons impossible?

          • $29896495

            To keep everyone happy, they should add in a test track to simulate real world conditions. That way they have a base line and something that people can’t complain about.

          • Golfschwein

            A test track is the wrong track. It won’t work. My feather foot’s different to your feather foot. Alborz’s will be different to Daniel De Gasperi’s. Whose feather foot will be used as the industry standard?

            The ADR figures are there for a good reason. They’re a constant between makes. For someone who likes their rear legroom figures to be scientific, I’m surprised you don’t accept the industry standard. Those who complain they can’t achieve them, get yourselves some technique. Every single day, I drive behind people who deserve their much higher than official fuel consumption. They’re on the gas, they’re off the gas, they’re on the gas, they’re off the gas, they’re on…OOPS, let’s just throw in a meaningless dab of the brake pedal for two seconds as good measure here…and they’re back on the gas again.

            On they go. Reading traffic, coasting, staying off the brakes and using cruise control wherever possible are all alien concepts to them. How else did my Falcon’s previous owner rack up a trip meter average of 16l/100 km over 8000 kms, when mine’s down to 11.3?

          • $29896495

            You’re forgetting environment. EPA/ADR etc don’t take that into account. You’re assuming that people testing are going to be dodgy, it isn’t likely. They just need three laps with three different drivers and take an average.

          • Golfschwein

            Gotcha. And do you propose that this will be a world-wide standard? Who’ll do Europe’s? Who’ll do Italy’s? Will Melbourne’s standard be different to Perth’s? Darwin’s? Will my 61 year old female Italian friend who drives like a lizard, jerking forwards and backwards and darting from left to right, be one of the mandated drivers for this proposed national standard? I mean, she could be handy, seeing as she complains bitterly of her Mazda 323 auto’s 11l/100km.

            Completely unrealistic, huwtm.

          • $29896495

            You know it’s not unrealistic and it could be done where ever and in which ever country wanted. it’s simple really, it adds an extra number to the final result which would help a lot of people. just simple logic and common sense. You should try using it.

          • Golfschwein

            Oh hey, here’s a unique idea re common sense and simple logic. There’s a uniform test called ADR 81/02 surrounding fuel economy in this country that ascribes a city, highway and average fuel consumption for every passenger car sold in the land, and it comes with a little asterisk reminding you that the figures are achieved in controlled conditions and may be different to yours depending on your conditions and driving habits. WOW! Have a think about that…every passenger car in the land does precisely the same test! It’s already in use, so there’s no need for the government to build the test track that huwtm suggests to put my friend and a bunch of others with varying skill behind the wheel to figure out fuel economy! It’s already here!

            Try it some time.

          • $29896495

            wake up! People complain that the numbers are unrealistic. Coming up with a test track gives them an extra number to look at. Again it’s only an indication but would take into account airo, tyres, etc. A simple thing really. that is logic. Try using it.

            All numbers are variable but that would give a figure that at least would not be 20-30% optimistic. Again if you don’t like like that because you want to argue an ill informed uneducated view that’s your privilege.

          • Golfschwein

            Their numbers are unrealistic because they’re looking solely at their city mileage or their technique’s up the spout. Plenty of people here achieve near official figures, including me.

            The proposed huwtm test is the most utterly bizzarre, shaky idea ever put forth here. Presumably, you grab Shirley from Alexander Heights, Norm from Sunshine and Claudia from Potts Point, give them a test track and a single example of every car model on the road and tell them, ‘go for it, peeps, do your best’. And away they go, battling with unfamiliar clutch take-up points, throttle tip-ins, you name it. OMG.

            And that’s your scientific data. I’m just lost for words. The world’s car makers and governments will think it’s an April Fools joke. I almost did.

            You know, you could always put your sole faith in road test economy figures if the ADR numbers aren’t your bag.

          • Golfschwein

            Well put, kdk. Everywhere.

        • DP

          I have just stepped out of my 2011- 3.0 Berlina International great looking car, standard options, averaged 9.7ltr per 100ks and have just racked up 120000KS, had the worst surge since purchased and no one has been able to get rid of it, only broke down once overall underpowered but not too bad on the hip pocket. I pick up my new Mazda 6 Sports wagon this weekend and so far like what ive read here regarding the 6, ill let you know how she goes…..

  • Guest

    They can call it a Sportwagon all they like, but look how dated and bloated the Commodore looks compared to the Mazda 6.

    It clearly shows the fleet origins no matter what the marketing men say.

    The styling, which lacked cohesiveness when it first came out on the VE is now even worse with the new front and an unchanged rear.

  • JusCruisin99

    Yeah but once in a while you might want to foot it, maybe get the commodore in a little well controlled fishy on a quiet country road. Cant do that in a Mazda. :)

  • $29896495

    Lets talk size. In the story the insinuation is that the Commodore is enormous by comparison, so far better. But in dimensions you supply – in old money you (or we) are talking a 2 inch narrower, 4 inches shorter, thats marginal at best and the wagon is the smaller of the two 6s. That’s not a massive difference. Considering that being so much lighter is quite an achievement.

    Also CA, please refrain from taking photos of back seat space with the front seats pushed forward it’s misleading.

    • Daniel DeGasperi

      The front seat is not pushed forward, huwtm. It is set at the driving position of a 178cm male driver. Cheers,

      • $29896495


        • Daniel DeGasperi

          You could say ‘hmmmm’ or you could say ‘thanks for that’, huwtm.

          • $29896495

            You’re welcome Daniel, glad I could help.

          • Karl Sass

            Always got your tin foil hat on for anything Holden related huwtm?

          • $29896495

            So what prompts that uncalled for remark?

          • Karl Sass

            The methodology was sound; the same driver sets the drivers seat to a comfortable position in both vehicles and compares rear leg room. Yet your response implies a scepticism to believe anything which shows the lion badged vehicle in a positive light, a consistent trend it would seem. Hence the comment highlighting to that effect.

          • $29896495

            You know how others do it – they slide the seat back to the end of the runners. Or do two shots, one forward and one back, or just put in measurements for the above. Clear unequivocal detail.

          • Golfschwein

            What angle would you decree for the backrest?

          • Golfschwein

            Anyway, your proposal is very unrealistic. Some makers allow a greater deal of seat travel than others, itself a determining factor as to whether a 2 metre tall basketballer can drive the car or not.

            I’m with Karl and CA. The methodology and rationale employed here is sheer common sense.

          • $29896495

            Actually that is just the POINT! The variation in seat travel, the issue is how much room there is in a car. Enough or not, according to seat travel. Not “oh this short guy will fit” some of us are over 1.8 tall. Understand?

          • $29896495

            Additionally, most other publications use the methodology I outlined so it is an accepted norm, NOT unrealistic.

          • Golfschwein

            In a lifetime’s devouring of automotive press, I have NEVER seen all the way forward versus all the way back seat position photos. Never. We should be thankful that CA goes to the trouble to show us how an average male person fits in the cars tested.

          • $29896495

            Usually done with measurements and one photo. But Car and Driver, Auto Guide and I’ve seen it in Wheels on occasion. As the former were doing it 30 years ago and are still doing it, I’m surprised you haven’t noticed it some where.

          • Shak

            Now, you’re just flat out making things up mate. I completely agree with Golfschwein. Not once have i ever seen any shots with the seats fully back compared to the seats fully forward. No publication or website i have ever read or visited does that. They almost always show the driver sitting behind them self.

          • Gx

            The best way, to clear up who or what is being accommodated up front, is to look at the distance between the centre console and the rear seat. The Mazda has a much shorter distance despite the fact that the seat is clearly cut short in the middle to free up middle row legroom.
            I am 196cm, the Commodore has an amazing amount of space in the rear even if the front seat is set to accommodate me in the front. Its simply not possible to do that in the Mazda. Worse for Mazda (at least for me) was the lack of rear headroom [sedan].
            The Mazda is clear a very big car but it does not translate to a large space inside, at least versus the cavernous Commodore.

          • Daniel DeGasperi

            Interesting that for the past five years when I was road testing at Wheels, huwtm, we never did. Name another Australian publication that takes back seat measurements or images? Cheers,

          • $29896495

            Why restrict it to Australia? 5 years isn’t a very long time.

          • Karl Sass

            Huwtm that isn’t a realistic test of legroom, it would just give manufacturers a perverse incentive to put a huge amount of travel in the seat runners. The ideal methodology would be to measure the distance between the pedals and the rear seat IMO, but it’s not very practical for jouros because they’d have to take the front seat out to measure it.

  • birdie

    topical GM cant even come up with their own name, ”evoke” isn’t that used by land rover. As if stealing design clues from other manufacturer’s isn’t enough .

    • daniel

      Ignorance, birdie…
      Holden trademarked the Evoke name some years ago for australia. LR had to ask for permission to use their similar Evoque name in this market, holden agreed.

      • Dennis

        Yes this is 100% Correct

  • David Radich

    Realistically, who sits in the back… Kids, do they need 2 inches more space? No. Just had a bike and our friends 9 year old twins in the back of our
    Kluger, had to put down half of the rear seat (the Kluger has the worst middle seat) and they had acres of space! Currently have an ’08 commodore sportwagon 3.6 (4spd auto) as a company car and its a heap of poorly built junk. It rattles, you can hear the shocks shudder on bumpy roads. We also had a VZ sv6 (which we swapped for the toyota) and that was poor too, just as bad as the VE. In short commodores are poorly built junk, and glossing up a 7 year old design with a fancy touch screen and some sound proofing isn’t going to fix a crap car. Mazda 6 or mondeo for me next please! Point is a couple of inches is no reason to buy a bad car, you wouldn’t by a cherry hatch because a yaris is to small.

  • merc

    Dont know why comparing the evoqe.Should have been the sv6.
    Have seen both in the flesh,as im in the market for a wagon.
    The SV6 looks a lot better in the flesh then the mazda.Both inside and out.
    Much roomier inside.Incredibly comfy seats.
    Shame they dont make a diesel version.For crying out loud they put a diesel in the cruise.
    HAve been qouted low 40-41 for sv6 wagon auto.
    Mazda interior was a real let down.The nav screen just looks unusual and cheap.

  • Markus

    A great comparison and interesting that ongoing costs probably even out re fuel and servicing. I can actually see people thinking about choosing between these two. Especially if they’ve got a 3 or a 2 that they’re happy with.

    Looking at the interiors side by side the Mazda really wins it to me. Very premium looking! Though a lil conservative/dated with the dash screen especially.

    I think it really once again just comes back to brand identity between these two cars. And space…I think obviously if you had a big family or just kids who need their space between each other you’d go the commodore but if you’re a more “urban”/”inner city” family that’s smaller or don’t have long family car rides the Mazda to me is probably much more enjoyable.

    So it’s more a different lifestyle and brand gravitational pull to me than which car is better.

    • JoeR_AUS

      My wife drove both and moved to other choices:

      Mazda 6, not enough space, 6mth servicing, noise from Diesel engine, lack of performance from petrol and noise above 4000rpm.

      Commodore 6, too much petrol on the urban cycle.

  • barry

    An LPG option in the Sportswagon makes it the better option.

  • mo

    Interesting comparison. I enjoyed the article.

    Do you have any explanation why the service costs at Mazda are ~2.5 times that of Holden? The Mazda costs nearly $1900 (!!!) over three years… a very hefty figure which really bumps up the cost to run.

    • JoeR_AUS

      quote ” The four services the Commodore Evoke Sportwagon requires to three years or 60,000km cost $185 each, for a total of $740. By comparison, according to a major Sydney dealership, the 6 Touring will cost $1889 in genuine servicing – a difference of $1149.”

      One reason the Mazda is so expensive is 6 monthly servicing is required.

      • mo

        Six monthly servicing? That’ll bump up the price a bit, but it still shouldn’t cost 2.5 times as much. A Japanese four cylinder petrol is usually pretty cheap to service.

        • hhs

          Most Japanese cars are 6 month service intervals and most of them are expensive at the dealer.

          Mazda, Subaru, Honda and Nissan all charge a base of around $500-$600 a year for standard servicing on a 4 cylinder.
          Toyota and Mitsubishi are the exception charging around $250 a year (for the first 3-5 years at least) and Mitsubishi is the only one with 12 month intervals in Australia.

  • David Salter

    Looking for a wagon and have had a look at the current Outback and the Mazda 6, but the back seats are just not wide enough for 3 Aussies. The much better SV6 Sportwagon is not much more coin than an Evoke. Just need to see if we can stretch the budget to an SS.

  • Liszt

    May I ask for the height of the model in the rear comparison?