For the fourth and final round of our new Holden Commodore comparison tests, we’ve lined up perhaps its toughest contender yet.

In previous tests, the Commodore SV6 has ousted its classic Australian rival, the Commodore SS just beat a price-point French hot hatch, while the Commodore Evoke Sportwagon lost against a Japanese medium wagon competitor.

Now, for the final round, it’s the $46,490 Holden Calais V versus the $96,400 Mercedes-Benz E250.

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 3

Both are rear-wheel-drive sedans powered by engines with 350Nm of torque, which can get from 0-100km/h in about seven seconds. Each are similarly sized. Although the Calais V is 71mm longer and 44mm wider than the E250, the Holden is also 50kg heavier – 1730kg plays 1680kg. One is German, the other Australian.

We spent time in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class at its international launch in Spain, where we came away hugely impressed with what is inarguably the best premium large sedan in the market. But we’ve also spent hundreds of kilometres behind the wheel of various Holden VF Commodore models, and found them similarly superb and ideal for our unique conditions.

Can the Holden really cause an upset and challenge a Mercedes of more than twice the price? Conversely, can the E-Class justify its pricetag over a Calais?

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 11

From a price and equipment perspective, the sub-$50,000 Holden has an obvious head start.

It gets heated seats, while Mercedes-Benz lists them as a $950 option. The Calais V gets a standard Bose audio system and electric sunroof, where in the E250 a Harman Kardon unit and hole-in-the-roof forms part of an optional ($5500) ‘Vision’ package in our test car, which also includes a digital radio tuner that isn’t available in the Holden. The Mercedes also uniquely gets full LED headlights and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror standard.

Both score 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless auto-entry with starter button, proper leather trim, and driver and passenger electrically adjustable seats.

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 8

Each can detect a parking spot – parallel or 90 degrees – and spin the steering wheel to automatically reverse into the spot. Our mini-test revealed the Mercedes parks quicker, but on an angle to the kerb; the Holden lines up straight, but takes an extra turn of the wheel.

Also standard in both are forward collision detection warning, lane keeping and blind spot warnings, and reverse traffic detection.

Only the Mercedes, however, can actually brake when a collision is imminent, even with pedestrians, or steer away from an accident if wandering out of a lane – and it’s all standard on the E250.

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 20

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 26

While the Holden Commodore has a hugely improved interior compared with previous generations, and other cars for the price, it appears a touch gaudy compared with the more austere Mercedes-Benz.

The E250 relies on solidity of build, clean and classic lines, and superb ergonomics to distance itself from its half-price rival. The difference comes through clearly in the detail – the chunkier thunk of a closing door, tighter shut lines with the glovebox, and plush-lined storage bins. The Calais’ dash top is finished in hard plastic that doesn’t match the soft door trim; the E250 sidesteps plastics altogether for stitched-leather-look surfacing.

The Holden Calais does have a fighting chance in a few areas, however. The soft illumination in the door handles, and on the sides of each door, is a nice touch. Likewise the leather trim feels high quality and the front seats themselves are more supportive than the flatter E-Class pews.

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 22

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 28

There is also more space in the Holden, at least in the cabin. Rear legroom is much more generous than in the Mercedes-Benz. According to our tape measure, to the driving position of a 176cm driver, the Calais affords an extra 15mm of extra leg space – 275mm versus 260mm. Although the centre transmission tunnel is bulkier and tall riders won’t find as much headroom, the bench itself is plush and supportive.

Further rearward, though, the 495-litre boot of the Calais is eclipsed by the 540L E250, though Holden’s persistence with only a centrally fodable ski port makes it much less practical than the Mercedes-Benz with its split fold arrangement.

Perhaps most surprisingly, there is less road noise in the Holden than the Mercedes-Benz. The E250 is a haven of quiet, mostly, but on the freeway more noise intrudes from the rear of the cabin, penetrating up through what seems to be the rear wheel arches.

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 30

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 31

For overall engine and wind noise, however, the Calais loses out. Jumping straight into it after the Merc, there’s instantly more wind rustle around the door mirrors. A slippery shape no doubt helps the E-Class, which is much more aerodynamic than the VF Commodore.

The Mercedes-Benz 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 155kW of power at 5500rpm and 350Nm of torque between 1200-4000rpm. It’s that latter figure, in conjunction with a seven-speed automatic transmission, which defines the E250 driving experience at speed.

At the freeway limit – 110km/h – the engine is inaudible, ticking over at just 1400rpm in its tallest seventh gear. Yet, there, peak torque is still being produced so the gearbox never has to go back gears on hills. It is a silent, effortless, efficient performer.

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 29

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 24

By contrast the Holden 3.6-litre V6 is defined by its strong 210kW at 6700rpm, not its 350Nm at 2800rpm. There is no doubt the Calais feels punchier and quicker in all circumstances than the Mercedes-Benz. Where the E250 claims a 7.4 second 0-100km/h, a Calais will duck comfortably under seven.

But it also more intrusive everywhere in the rev range, despite being substantially quieter than the VE Commodore before it. With only a six-speed automatic – one gear less than the Merc – the Holden V6 is spinning at 1800rpm in its top gear at 110km/h, where it definitely isn’t inaudible. With peak torque not reached for another 1000rpm, the Calais is more susceptible to hunt for a lower gear on hills – where it gets even louder.

It is a clear win to the Mercedes-Benz for overall drivetrain polish, even though it ultimately feels slower. Although the Holden feels less efficient, it actually wasn’t on our test. In an even mix of urban arterials, freeway and hilly enthusiastic driving, the E250 returned 13L/100km – more than double its combined 5.8L/100km claim. The Calais slurped 13.4L/100km, less of a stretch from its 9L/100km official lab-tested figure. Both trip computers claimed around mid-12L/100km, with a close 47km/h average speed in the Mercedes and 51km/h in the Holden.

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 33

If the Holden Calais V and Mercedes-Benz E250 feel divergent in their paths to power, and to a lesser degree their interior finish, they come together surprisingly closely in terms of steering, ride and handling.

The electro-mechanical steering systems in both have clearly been engineered by people who understand that light weighting should be no barrier to enjoyable wheel-turning. The Mercedes is slightly heavier, with less of a ‘dead patch’ in the centre position, but the Holden’s feels quicker and is blindingly direct when pinning a line through a long corner.

Equally, the stability control systems in each are superbly calibrated. On one drenched 90-degree corner in the E250, pressing the throttle mid-corner saw it thrust into oversteer; yet being quick with the steering correction meant the ESC stayed silent. It trusts the chassis, allows some entertainment, yet is also quick to react.

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 34

The Holden ESC is more subtle when it does react, and although the VF Commodore’s Bosch 9.0 system intrudes more often than the version 8.0 system did with its VE predecessor, it is wonderfully unobtrusive. You see the stability control light flashing, yet you don’t feel it clamping down. In the wet, as with the E250, the Calais permits enough slip to be fun and is always smooth.

Along with its punchier engine, the Holden also has a sharper front end than the E250, being more resistant to initial understeer. There are, however, a few issues particular to the Calais V that allow the E250 to get the jump on it.

Both cars ride on thin-sidewalled 19-inch tyres. Generally, larger wheels can affect the ride quality of a car, but although they do in the Calais V when compared with the Commodore Evoke on 17s and the regular Calais on 18s – both of which run an identical suspension tune – the Mercedes remains perfect.

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 32

The Holden has slightly tighter body control than the Mercedes-Benz, but it can be upset by large bumps, and the tyres can thump over large irregularties and snag on sharp-edged potholes, affecting the otherwise brilliantly balanced damping. Quite simply, the cheaper VF Commodore models are more consistent, and the regular Calais may have truly challenged the masterful E250.

No consistency problem with the Mercedes. It remains more comfortable across all surfaces, yet the Continental tyres provide much more grip than the Holden’s Bridgestones, so the E250 is more confidence inspiring, too. That’s particularly the case in the wet.

Across the twisty section of our test loop, the E250 simply felt faster, despite its lesser power output and less focused automatic transmission – the Sport mode in the Merc lacks the intuition of the Holden’s though it is quick to move back gears when the throttle is pressed.

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 19

It is a testament to Holden that in terms of drivetrain enthusiasm, steering and stability control finesse, and dynamics, that it genuinely challenges a car of twice the price. The Calais also eclipses the E250 for space and equipment, and gets closer to it in terms of ride quality and refinement than the price tag suggests.

Ulimately, though, the Mercedes-Benz E250 justifies its higher price tag in several, noticeable areas. It is a brilliantly complete premium large sedan for a smidge under six figures.

For just under $50,000, though, the Holden Calais V is arguably a more astounding car. It serves as a reminder that if manufacturing closes in this country, we lose with it the only car left to affordably blend space, dynamics, style and features to near-Merc levels. That would leave the front-drive Honda Accord V6 and Skoda Superb, which can’t compete with that…

Holden Calais V Mercedes-Benz E250 - 9

Click the Photos tab for more images.

Mercedes-Benz E250
 
Price: $96,400
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Power: 155kW at 5500rpm
Torque: 350Nm at 1200-4000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Fuel consumption: 5.8L/100km (13L/100km on test)

Holden Calais V
 
Price: $46,490
Engine: 3.6-litre V6 petrol
Power: 210kW at 6700rpm
Torque: 350Nm at 2800rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel consumption: 9.0L/100km (13.4L/100km on test)





  • Golfschwein

    It’s always interesting to see how our home grown shape up to the best of the rest. So glad this wasn’t a test between a Calais V, G6E and a 300, although there will be plenty of howls it should have been. An extremely disinterested Holden salesman (he was busy, maybe) allowed me to sit in a Calais V last week and I thought it an absolute beaut, compared to what went before it.

    • Norm

      The car yard can be an utterly underwhelming and deflating experience. Perhaps if Mr Devereux wants his manufacturing workforce to find more value he should have a chat to his dealers about the buying experience they offer their potential customers. Service…it’s a lost art.

      • Sumpguard

        It’s endemic to the industry I think. It doesn’t matter what brand you go to purchase it seems that a diploma in arrogance is a pre-requisite for the sales position (there is the odd exception) . I’ve visited a few different brands over the years from Holden to VW and they are all the same it seems.

        • Ring of Fire

          I have to agree. I was looking to replace both my cars and all it took was one salesperson who took an interest, followed up and provided a competitive quote. He got my business in a 2 car deal. The other blokes just did not seem to care.

        • Dominique Vøn Hütch

          What is wrong with these gimps?!…..I work in Sales, the idea is to “Sell” and leave the customer with a positive personal experience so they come back and tell their friends – I can’t believe these blokes keep a job with all the neg feedback i hear on this site.

        • JooberJCW

          Haha, i’ve always had a theory that VW salespeople are those rejected by BMW, Merc, Audi etc, they may dress/look the part the but their attitudes may be lacking for the top tier service those luxury makes want.

          • al

            You know that Volkswagen owns Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, SEAT, Skoda, MAN, Scania…and 20% of Suzuki…no you probably didn’t…

          • JooberJCW

            huh, odd reply, yes i do know, but you seem to miss the point of my reply, i’m talking about staff in dealerships, the prestige dealers would want the cream of the crop of people, and those who don’t make the cut go down to the next best thing.

        • Zaccy16

          i agree, in geelong ford especially need to have there dealers staff retrained in service!

    • Wile E

      Gave up on salesmen years ago .Broker companies for example find better prices and save you lots of face to face BS.Also have found selling my trade in privately yields better price than dealer.

      • Golfschwein

        I’m going to try a broker company next time myself, Wile E. To be fair to this fellow, he may well have picked up on the vibe that I was rather busy myself and didn’t want to be ‘processed’. Others haven’t been so lucky over time. One Golf salesman scoffed that the cars sell themselves and don’t need to have deals done on them and from there I went to a Peugeot dealer only to discover the pre-arranged 308 Hdi wagon was hemmed into the middle of the showroom by six other cars, which meant that the test drive never eventuated.

        Another dealer sold me my Golf.

        • Milo

          The Golf?

      • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

        Brokers get rid of the sales experience you speak of but charge you and the dealership money for the privilege.
        They dont let you try all the products on the market and unless you are pretty astute as to what is actually on the market demos never get offered unless a dealership is cluey enough to offer it.
        i deal with plenty of brokers and realisticaly if you went straight to a dealership

        • Golfschwein

          You posted too soon, Modern Man, but I can see where you’re heading. It’s actually a fairly nice take on things. A good transaction is all about relationships and there’s no rule to say you can’t have a good one with a sales person, as I have. So, being a good Libran, I take my comment about brokers back whilst still partially seeing the positive side. My vee dub man would be appalled.

  • F1orce

    I’d easily choose the Commodore.

    Lets see, more power, more space, more comfort and better interior quality.

    • Karl Sass

      I like both interiors but I agree with the test in that the Merc has the slightly better interior. To me the Merc is worth about 5-10k more in terms of the whole package that you’re getting, but you’d have to be insane to pay another 50k over the Calais IMO.

      • $29896495

        You’re right

        • Dominique Vøn Hütch

          Badge.

          • JooberJCW

            Yeah its what premium you pay for the name/badge. just like LV, Gucci etc over the things like Ben Sherman, FCUK, etc.

          • Dr Sheldon Cooper

            Badge is badge. So is brand loyalty. But NOT for $60,000 MORE than a US equiv E class. Thats DESPERATION.

          • dr sheldon cooper

            if you HAVE TO buy prestige, you do NOT have it.

        • Karl Sass

          Nice to see we agree on something.

        • YOUR MUM

          Holden is best car in da world

      • Zaccy16

        i agree, if both were the same price the merc would be an easy choice, even for about $15,000 to $20,000 you would get the merc if you had the money, but for double the price in aus the calais v is a better pick!

      • Milo

        I agree!

    • q23

      So why does the review clearly say the Merc has better interior quality?

      • Sumpguard

        That’s their opinion q23. Personally I like both and I am a big fan of Merc.

    • Gus

      a 2ltr turbo hauling 1700kgs in australia where consecutive 35+ degree days are common place, at $100K for the pleasure. the merc its a ticking time bomb, an excruciatingly expensive timebomb

  • F1orce

    “E250 returned 13L/100km – more than double its combined 5.8L/100km claim. ”

    That’s my issue with the Germans. Who in their right mind would think that fat car will sip anywhere near 5.8L/100km Hahahahahhahahaahaa

    I wonder how they test their cars for fuel consumption. Perhaps without side view mirrors, without alternators & water pumps to get that figure..

    • Declan Collins

      Bloody hilarious. All companies are bad, but the germans are the worst for this.

      • Shak

        It’s funny that people bash Holden for apparently “making up” the figures on their quoted economy when the Germans seem just as bad according to many tests which have produced similar results to this. While they both drank more than their ADR numbers (which is to be expected) the Merc almost doubled its number.

      • Zaccy16

        hyundai and kia are the worst at botching performance figures!

    • aff

      CA got 6.7L/100km when they tested the heavier E250 convertible last year.

      Anyway, F1, how come you keep avoiding commenting on the VW Passat record breaking fuel economy run? A car just as fat as the E class but with a even low test figure (which they halved).

      • mangerover

        I had a good belly laugh over that CA 2012 test as well!

        Such a heavy car getting under 7 litres per 100 km in mainly city driving. If you convert the units from the 2012 test then they become a realistic 14 or 15 litres per 100 km.

        From experience you will be called a nitpicker if you suggest to a journalist that litres per 100 km is not the same units as km per litre.

        So best just enjoy the wonderful articles in the spirit in which they are written.

    • $29896495

      They test on dynos so no wind resistance road or anything else. the German figures are aimed at that test for their taxes etc. You put these things on real roads and then it’s hills wind road coarseness all needing more accelerator to move and more fuel. Typical small engine in big car syndrome.

    • JamesB

      Both are bad liars in the economy department. The Merc’s claimed 5.8 is preposterous; that’s already diesel territory. There should be a new ADR standard to reflect realistic figures.

    • Neil_Way

      Agree on the white lies many manufactures appear to be telling when it comes to fuel consumption, though I would have thought this has more to do with ADR regulations than anything Merc may specifically be doing?

      Also worth considering the manner in which the test drivers have flogged the vehicles. That certainly provides a different perspective on the kinds of numbers other drivers may receive.

  • Karl Sass

    Daniel what fuel did you use in the cars and how many kilometres were on them? Servicing costs? Cheers.

  • StevieP

    Loving the photography, especially the last picture.

  • JD

    the face-lifted polarizing front end of the new E class is a step back. It looks ugly, and fat compared to the elegant commodore.

    If we were comparing the previous gen E class, it would be a different story.

    The Calais is a very good package for its price.

  • barry

    Both fantastic motor vechles.You can buy two Calais V and a bit of change for the Merc..
    Love to see Holden go back to the i6 engine,which we last seen in the VL.

    • Robin_Graves

      Who are they going to buy it off? VL was a Nissan engine.

      • Rocket

        They could buy the Ford I6 which has better torque, fuel economy and smoothness……..

        • F1orce

          Naa smoothness I would give the edge to the Nissan.

          Falcon has more torque but that’s because it’s bigger and very undersquare.

          • gtrxuone

            I have owned two Australian built Skylines with the 3 litre in line 6.Fantastic balance,get up and bark also.

          • Robin_Graves

            I had an R31 silhouette back in the day. Certainly felt more than it’s 117 kW but cars were a fair bit lighter back then. Also had a C110 (240K) with an L28 and a 240Z with L28. All great inline 6′s

          • gtrxuone

            It was the Pintara with the r31 was the Skyilne.Only made 1986 to 1990,thinking about restoring one.My other favourite to restore is EF or EL Fairmont Ghia.

          • Robin_Graves

            R31 was made as a Skyline with a 6 cylinder engine (RB30E) and as a Pintara with a 4 cyl engine (CA20E) in Australia. In Japan they were also released with a 6 cylinder RB20DET twin cam 24 valve turbo which is what they raced in the Australian touring cars.

          • gtrxuone

            Was that godzilla,ie Jim Richards 1991

          • Robin_Graves

            Godzilla was R32 with RB26DETT. George Fury held the ‘unofficial’ lap record at bathurst in a bluebird turbo until the sierra turbo. 1984 hardies heroes. Only group c car to beat 2:14. The bluebird was a bit of a grenade over race distance. Look it up on youtube. Love the sound of johnsons clevo up the mountain.

          • Dominique Vøn Hütch

            Yes the Ef and El rock – both those and the Vr Vs commodores look really nice when they are tastefully modified/restored/looked after. The design of both has held up well imo.

        • gtrxuone

          Good idea Rocket,the Ford16 would be fantastic in new Commodore.

          • Karl Sass

            It’s a good engine but it would be too long for the Commodore engine bay and probably won’t meet Euro 5 emissions with its cast iron block.

          • gtrxuone

            Good point Karl,the bonnet and engine bay would have to be at least 400mm longer.Changes made to the Holden V6 to meet euro4 emissions have to happen.If Mercedes fuel figures are accurate that seems to be the biggest differnce between these to cars.
            A friend of mine bought a VT Berlina station wagon last week.Perfect jet black paint (garaged) only 130,0000kms with service history.Only6k but took months to find.This bloke is the a to z of Commodores.The same v6 used from VT to VZ which he believes is the best engine ever in Commodore.

          • Benji

            Cadillac (GM) have produced a turbo-6 which plenty of power?

  • Galaxy

    I wish there was more of this type of comparison, instead of safely comparing cars within a segment etc. why not compare a car that’s half the price of another, or why not compare a corolla with a polo and a dualis. In other words, what’s the best car around $25k. Throw a cat amongst the pigeons!

    • Guesttttttttttttttttttt

      Well, firstly, this isn’t the best car around $50k, it’s two very differently priced options. So you’re kinda refuting your own point.

    • Rocket

      Why not compare a Commodore with a HiLux or a Great Wall or a Fiat Freemont or a Rolls Royce or a VW UP then we can see which is the best car ever……

  • Rocket

    I get better fuel consumption out of my XR6T.

    • Sumpguard

      I doubt that. Unless you are not actually tapping into the turbo. Fantastic choice of car by the way, but economical they are not.

      • FG Turbo

        I agree with rocket. I am currently averaging 11.5 in my FG xr6 turbo. The worst i’ve seen is 13L/100 when pushing it for a week, otherwise driving normally with the odd squirt for entertainment will see it comfortably average between 11 & 12. I have no idea how these guys average over 13L/100km they would have to be flogging the s*** out of these cars to do that.

        • Jay

          I would like to know …is this 11 – 12l/100 whats shown on the avg fuel reader on the car, or is this actually calculated ie: 650 km to 63 litre equating to roughly 9.7 litres per 100?

  • ObservingDreamer

    Funny because around $50K we get a Calais here $50K overseas (uk usa) will buy you a proper e350 (in the usa). Makes you wonder how our aussie cars will be priced in properly competitive market with open parallel imports without the monopoly currently plaguing us right now. Just a dream I know but one day we Aussies wont get ripped off!

    • Rocket

      There is not much difference in price for cheaper models like the Ford Focus or VW Golf but for some reason as soon as its got a BMW or MB badge the price goes through the roof. The luxury car tax is partly to blame but I think Aussies are stupid paying the prices they do for the luxury brands…..

      • ag

        Focus starts at $16,200 in the USA for the the 2.0 made in the USA. Here, the closest model is $22,290 & made in 3rd world Thailand. That’s a jump of over 30%. Not as big a gap as the luxury cars but hardly “not much difference”. $6000 is a huge difference at this price point.

        Even more significant is the Golf, starting in the USA at $18.085 is a 125KW model. We don’t even have a model yet that has that much power, the closest is the 103TSI which is $31,990 and is only a 103KW model.

        • MisterZed

          This is true however the US Focus is not as well equipped as ours – for one, the base model has rear DRUM brakes! It also has smaller 15″ wheels (ours has 16″ standard), and unpainted black mirrors and door handles, while ours are colour-coded. If you want the hatch in the US, you’re looking at a $3k premium over the sedan, while here, they are the same price. As for the Golf, the price you quoted is for the 3-door hatch. We don’t get this model here. The 5-door in the US starts at $19,995 USD, which is much closer to our starting price. You want to see a real difference in price, though, look at the Beetle. Also $19,995 in the US, but $29,990 here – a full 50% increase!

        • Rocket

          If you see the new factories they have in Thailand they are state of the art. Cheap labour does not always equal cheap quality and unfortunately for Australia even countries like Japan and Germany can make cars cheaper than us due to volumes they pump out.

    • dr sheldon cooper

      Yes, MB E350 is around USD$50,000.Even more insulting as AUD is at, or close to, parity with USD. Yes, Australians EARN more but NOT DOUBLE the Americans. So, why are things here MORE THAN DOUBLE in price in Aus, sometimes 5 x more (ie, Nikes – USD$50 in US vs AUD$250 in Aus) ?

      • JamesB

        Because Aussies are generally pushovers and just accept anything the government throws at them. In the States, mobile camera operators are being murdered, but in Oz, they are everywhere.

        • Dr Sheldon Cooper

          EXACTLY!!!!!!!!

  • Elitist

    Look I respect what they have done with the new Holden but comparing to a mercedes is a bit unfair. Nowhere in the test do you mention which ages better in quality.
    Holden if you want to win people you need to get rid of the made in Australia is rubbish and start engineering the parts to do the distance.

    • Guests

      My neighbours 2003 Commodore just ticked over 300,000km with only general maintenance, they go the distance.

      • aa

        Not anymore, our 2007 model has blown a coil pack and headgasket before reaching 120K. A look on all the Commodore forums reveals this is commonplace on the alloytec engines.

        Extreme oil consumption is also a a regular complaint on the newer V6s (and I also seem to remember this problem on the earlier ecotec update 3.8 in the VS AND the 5.7 Gen3).

        • Robin_Graves

          All cars these days are not like the pinnacle in the early to late ’90s. Ford’s headgasket issues disappeared with the AU update as they changed to a 3 layer headgasket (which also seems to help when fitted to E series engines) I’ve been in AU taxis that have done over 1 million k’s on the same engine (diffs and gearboxes ‘only’ go for around 400k). Look at HiLuxes these days, hardly unbreakable. The best 6 ever in a Commodore was the RB30.

      • Rocket

        My old man has this VY model and has had no dramas with it and is reluctant to part with it because of oil consumption and timing chain problems in the later models.

    • Wile E

      You are spot on.
      Huge difference in quality.

  • Mick

    Would love to know if the VFs have better steering than BMW’s 3 series. A SSV vs 335i test would be great. I’m not too concerned about an E Class Merc!

    • Daniel DeGasperi

      Depends if you’re talking standard 3 Series steering, in which case the answer is ‘yes’. As for the BMW variable-ratio Sport steering option, it’d be very close.

      • Mick

        Great to know how far the Holden’s have come!

  • dr sheldon cooper

    REAL Mercedes buyers do not cross-shop Calais, regardless of anything.

    • pinkie ponk

      that’s because they are buying to impress, they are not objective, and that is the sort of attitude that enables the “luxury” brands to rip snobs off

      • Wile E

        How do you think Merc earned the “luxury” brand that has enabled them to “rip” people off? And why hasn’t Holden done it?
        Please try to respond maturely.

        • Robin_Graves

          In my opinion it’s because Holden have built down to a price while Merc has built up to a standard. Holden have only had a small market so it’s expensive models are low volume performance models.

          • $29896495

            I agree, was going to write pretty much the same thing. Though it must be remembered that Merc went through a bad patch when they picked up a lot US habits after opening the US plants which cost the quality in finish and reliability. The Commodore like any Holden is built to what GM US consider their quality standard. As they consider themselves right in everything they do (Malibu) I wouldn’t expect any real lift in the near or distant future.

          • Robin_Graves

            At least their reliability figures seem to be improving from the surveys but how on earth the Alloytec made it past engineering when it was released is unbelievable. A prime example of a ‘paper’ engine that is woeful in real life.

          • $29896495

            Lowest common denominator engineering. Keep costs low, make it run for at least the length of it’s warranty, done.

          • Sumpguard

            I don’t agree. The merc is better built (engineered) but not that much to justify the price difference. It all started decades ago when the Germans were vastly superior to anything out of here, the states and Japan. That’s not the case anymore but the “prestige” tag has stuck. The mercs are very good cars and I am a massive fan of their latest offerings but they are not worth the money asked (here in OZ) . Same goes for BMW and Audi.

            What I am trying to convey is they are not twice as good but they are twice the price. However all the while people are prepared to pay the difference they will keep charging it and they’ll do so under a veil of lies about why they charge so much. The real reason is that they charge so much because they can!

          • $29896495

            Mostly I agree, but merc had a lot of quality and warranty issues just a few years ago. Totally on board with the issue of prices. Way over priced for what they or BMW are. But people like to argue in favour of their high price which I can’t understand. It’s just throwing money away. Their value plummets once on the road, having a high innitial price doesn’t keep their resale up.

          • dr sheldon cooper

            CORRECT! Basic rule of economics: “The VALUE (regardless of COST) of anything is WHATEVER the market is WILLING to bear”.

            If Australians keep PAYING whatever these companies ASK, their cost will KEEP GOING UP. Period.

          • Wile E

            pinkie ponk, GM and Ford do not build to Merc quality levels.Their best are Cadillac and Lincoln and do not come close.Have owned them all when I was living in Canada and US.
            So let’s not be fooled that Commodore and Merc are of comparable quality .
            For many products this is true like dishwashers ,washing machines etc where they all do basically the same job from top to bottom price but the cheap one lasts 5 years and the expensive one 25 years.
            So according to you I must be a snob and am being ripped off because i purchase the appliance that lasts 25 years .
            I would argue that you are the one being ripped off by buying the cheap one.

          • qikturbo

            You may not be a snob but you(and countless others) have definately been ripped off! However if people are happy with their purchase decision whether Merc,BMW Audi etc……well it doesn’t really matter.

      • Dr Sheldon Cooper

        If one buys Germans or Italians (and i do NOT mean Alfas or Minis) SOLELY TO IMPRESS, they are NOT the REAL Benz shoppers I was referring to. These are PRETENDERS.

  • Poison_Eagle

    The VF looks to be recording the worst fuel figures for a Commodore yet- While I still think its an awesome car, Holden should be admonished for this.
    One thing that irks me is I have yet to see the Ecoboost Falcon compared to VF. I doubt the outcome would change, but it would be interesting to see the dynamics and NVH factors- I hope the 2014 Falcon has a 2.1 turns to lock on Ecoboost models.

    • MJ

      I often wonder why people are so concerned with fuel economy.
      Fuel is probably the cheapest expense when it comes to motoring.

      (Considering the cost of maintenance, parts, insurance, registration and depreciation).

      I think that’s why the Ecoboost Falcon was such a flop.
      As soon as insurance companies hear the word TURBO, the premiums skyrocket.
      With the amount that you will save on insurance buying the I6 (Not to mention the unknown depreciation of a 4Cyl Falcon), you may find that your overall yearly expenses will be far less, than with the meager savings of a couple of Liters of fuel for every 100Kms you travel.

      • $29896495

        Well insurance is going to be an issue with so many turbos going on the road.

      • Robin_Graves

        Is that actually the case with insurance? Seems a bit odd when it is slower than the NA 6 cyl.

        • Rod

          I don’t think it is like that. I think what he said is BS. I have not checked my self but know that they don’t look at all cars with a turbo as a performance car. Some engines have turbo for sake of economy and emissions and insurance companies know this.

    • Rod

      NRMA gave the Falcon ecoboost an award for best in class and when they tested it the comments were that it was best driving car produced here but also would give any european car twice its price a run for its money. I think the falcon would drive well and as they say would match most of these cars. The ecoboost is shown to be economical and it puts out more grunt than the MB. Its a superior engine. But even though I am a ford man from way back its presentation on the inside is lacking and its designers are to be blamed for the cars poor sales, its as though they have the same poeple designing these cars as they did 20 years ago.

      • Poison_Eagle

        FG was just a bit conservative. They have some new designers, they had Nick Hogios with the BA and a new guy with the FGII. Still think the interior holds its own in cashmere though.

  • JamesB

    Even if it’s half the price of a comparable German sedan, it’s still unacceptable not to have split-folding rear seats in the Calais. This is a mid-90s fad, so nearly 20 years on, what’s stopping Holden from equipping the car with the feature?

    Overall though, I don’t see how one will spend SS money and give up a V8 for a much inferior motor just to get some extra goodies. The SIDI shows how not to make a V6. It doesn’t make the right noises and slurps like it has two extra cylinders.

    • Dr Sheldon Cooper

      Holdens are like the $70,000 Camaros. Due to high LABOR costs, you get $20,000 worth of TECHNOLOGY and innovation while the rest $50,000 goes to PRODUCTION costs (labour, health care, retirement benefits, union demands, etc). The STICKER PRICE is not always a reflection of a car’s TRUE VALUE. If made in Thailand, a Commodore SS can probably be sold by GM for $28,000 WITH PROFIT.

      • $29896495

        You’re wrong, any car no matter it’s price is worth little more than 10 to 20K. The rest is profit margin. Thats why car companies like big cars, because it gives them an excuse to charge big dollars.

        • dr sheldon cooper

          If what you are saying were true, then Holden and Ford should be wallowing in money and NOT laying people off selling $50,000 Commodores, $60,000 FPVs and $70,000 Caprices – if ANYTHING over “$10-20k” is “profit margin”.

          According to a documentary about Detroit’s Big 3, “for every $60,000 Corvette, only about $19,000 is engineering or technology, the rest goes to funding unon-won benefits,…high salaries, ..”.

          • $29896495

            It is actually true. The issue is man power and reducing it. Not financial difficulty, that is an excuse. You don’t seem to understand that there is a finite materials cost for this level of car. You are simply wrong. That’s a biased US doco, and if we are to believe your description of what it says, there is NO profit period.

          • Dr Sheldon Cooper

            So you are saying, THERE IS PROFIT and car companies just want to GET RID OF MANPOWER. If so, why would they CLOSE SHOP? In Geelong, Detroit, Europe…That would STOP the gravy Train. And WHY would they MOVE to Third World countries? Their workers THERE ARE STILL HUMAN, not robots. THEREFORE, They are NOT getting rid of manpower PER SE – just the HIGHLY UNIONISED, HIGH SALARIED ones with extensive BENEFITS. You do NOT STOP a business IF you are MAKING PROFIT. Doesnt make sense.

          • $29896495

            Your head is in the wrong place. THEY ARE NOT STOPPING PRODUCTION! Just MOVING it OFF SHORE. They lobbied government to reduce tariffs. Government complied. Manufacturing began to be reduced. They attempted to find a replacement for the Falcon with the bubble Taurus but that went over like a brick. Ford having been on this for years. they’ve obviously NOW come up with the idea that if they keep a design office here they can RETAIN their ZERO percent TARIFFS and KEEP THE TAX BREAKS. WITHOUT actually BUILDING a car here. Car companies are building cars with a minimum of manpower. That’s a fact.

          • dr sheldon cooper

            agreed.

        • dr sheldon cooper

          This is the reason why American cars are dinosaurs when it comes to engineering. Americans are innovators but high labor costs (as in Aust) puts most $$$$ into production cost, NOT engineering and rechnology.

    • MD

      I would rather have space saving struts in the boot like the commodore. What’s with the 90s hinges in the merc?? In early 2000 GMH got caned for having boot hinges – bout time Merc came into the 21st century??

      • $29896495

        Just a sign of the real quality behind the merc mask. Those hinges are a cost cutting measure.

  • robbo222

    Obviously the Merc is incredibly overpriced but the Merc diesel is much better than the petrol in this size of car. The actual fuel consumption of the petrol was a bit of a shock. The diesel produces more torque lower in the rev range and is more driveable and economical.

  • bob

    if i had unlimited funds, holden all the way. 92k such a waste

  • Gianni

    Mercedes nowadays seems to be more badge cachet than anything else. While Mercedes makes nice, luxurious cars, the fact buyers often have to spend extra in order to get features most cheaper, (even some significantly cheaper,) rivals offer standard is quite poor. Even the quality is going down. I found this article quite a good read, especially how an almost 50k cheaper car gave a Mercedes a run for its money.

  • al

    They’re both bogan cars, so uncool.

  • Adam

    I just a bought a C Class and I am quite surprised how similar the interior in my vehicle is to the e class and the rest of the Mercedes line up. At least BMW with the 5 and the 3 series are somewhat different.

  • foolsgold

    5.8L/100kms? In the Mercedes website, it states 6.4L/100kms. Where did CA get all their facts from? Not that matters though compare the 13L/100kms

  • slap

    No chance

  • qikturbo

    $96,000 for a four cylinder ???…..Tell them they’re dreaming!

  • Autoholic

    We are getting ripped off here, an E 250 4MATIC AV costs just $72,000.00 in South Korea. However, a top model Hyundai Grandeur and Kia K7 is just $40,500 and $43,000 respectively.

  • Richard

    Maybe you should have compared the 6.0L V8 VF. On a recent cruise down the Hume at 110 kph on Cruise, it returned 7.7 L/100k [on car computer] and the extra torque………….

  • Ageeinbj

    What about servicing cost comparisons. Here in NZ you need a bank loan to get Mercs and other Europeans something as simple as an oil change once the “free” period is up .God help you if you dare need new bake pads or anything resembling mechanical repairs whereas the Aussie lion will give you nowhere near the same pain in your wallet.

  • Mitch

    You can’t even compare the overall build quality, after all it’s a Mercedes Benz which is a much safer car to drive.

  • Big Pete

    Excuse my ignorance but why wouldn’t you compare the Mercedes E250 to the 6 litre V8 Calais? Its still almost half the price. I wish the Mercedes the best of luck.

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