Holden’s Calais has always been the ‘bee’s knees’ of the Holden sedan line-up (aside from long wheel base models). The Calais was always jam packed with the latest goodies, along with a silky smooth ride to complement the drive.
The new Calais still lives at the top of the range, but the Calais moniker has been segmented into two guises – the regular Calais and the Calais V. That has yours truly a bit miffed.
The regular Calais I drove felt a bid sedate and blasé in comparison to the loaded Calais V model. Although the interior featured the new Holden LCD screen and Calais branding, it missed out on leather seats, flip-down LCD screen for the rear, heated mirrors and many other features the Calais V calls standard.
Putting my qualms with the model denomination aside, Holden’s new VE Commodore really is a good thing. I was astounded at just how much room is available throughout the cabin. Compared to Ford’s Falcon, there is acres of room available in the rear, even exceeding that of BMW’s 5-series and Mercedes’ E-class. That’s not bad when you consider the respective price differences.
The drive is good when you factor the vehicle’s weight. The steering and brakes aren’t anything to write home about, but the response and 5-speed gearbox are commendable. The gearbox always seems to be in the right gear and ready to respond. Rearward vision is average due to the high boot line, but reverse parking sensors aid parking.
Fuel economy is one of the VE’s downsides. Holden still trails its main competitors – Ford and Toyota – when it comes to fuel use. The high-output V6 motor fitted to the Calais range consumes 11.3-litres/100km. During the test, this figure was achieved with around 70% highway driving and 30% city driving.
Under the hood lies a 195kW, high-output V6 engine which produces 340Nm of torque. The Calais can also be optioned with a 6.0-litre V8 monster which produces a hearty 270kW and 530Nm of torque.
Standard features common to the Calais include: Six way power seat for driver and front passenger; leather wrapped steering wheel; cruise control; rear parking sensors; power mirrors; auto headlights; 6-stack CD-player with 9-speakers; dual zone climate control; power windows and central locking.
Safety features include: Dual stage front airbags; side impact airbags for driver and front passenger; side curtain airbags; active front seat head restraints; ABS brakes with EBD and BA; Electronic Stability Control and engine immobiliser.
The Calais range is available in two guises – as mentioned earlier – the Calais and Calais V. The Calais is priced at $45,490, whilst the Calais V retails for $53,990. The 6.0-litre V8 is available at a $5,000 premium.
So what’s the verdict on the new Commodore? In my opinion, it’s a good thing. Aside from a few build quality issues in the test vehicle, the power on tap, along with the masses of room really make the new Commodore a great option. Fuel consumption is slightly higher than its competitors, but it’s much of a muchness really.
With the new Falcon still around 12-months away (see spy shots at caradvice.com.au), Holden’s new Commodore has the edge. At $45,490, the Calais is good value for money when you consider the features on offer. Don’t take my word for it though; take one for a test drive. You will be surprised at just how roomy the all new Commodore is.
– by Paul Maric
CarAdvice rating (out of 5):