I was looking to update my VT with over 300,000km on the clock. Hard decisions had to be made as I wanted LPG and a wagon, both of which come as auto only. I also wanted some towing ability which meant a Commodore or Falcon was a logical choice.
I also test drove an ecolpi XR6 which was great to drive. Although back to back with the VF, the interior seemed so old and not much else to separate them other than the better looks of the FGX. I eventually settled on a SV6 sedan manual MY15. Even though it’s $2200 cheaper than the auto, it includes an LSD and alloy pedal cluster which the auto doesn’t get.
I have now done 5000km on it and have been very happy so far. I had the chance to put it through its paces on closed twisty roads in the Vic high country and was very impressed with how well sorted and planted it was, especially as my previous car was lowered. Although I wouldn’t normal give a 10/10, the ride and handling is great and fully deserving. Helped along by great chassis balance which makes it surprisingly agile for a large car.
The electric steering is good but still doesn’t provide the same feel as a hydraulic setup. The interior is also very impressive, better than it looks in pictures. I’ve had passengers ask how much the seats cost and are surprised when I tell them they’re the standard SV6 seats. Although unlike previous Commodores there is a lever which adjusts the backrest in big steps which is not ideal. Other than that the seats are very comfortable on long journeys (passengers agreed) with plenty of bolstering to hold you in the twisty bits.
It’s also notably quiet with good NVH over all road surfaces. The 3.6 litre SIDI is much improved over the alloytec engine. It’s a fairly rev happy engine which pulls from about 1800rpm but does its best work over 4000rpm. It’s quiet at has a slightly raspy sound at high revs it’s not a beautiful sounding car, but no longer deserving of criticism either. Being a manual you need to be conscious of keeping the revs down if you’re interested in economy, the engine encourages you to rev.
The transmission is a notchy and heavy short throw 6 speed with slightly shorter gearing than the auto. The clutch is long travel but has an awkward grab near the top of the travel which somewhat ruins the experience. The very quiet interior, low idle speed and awkward clutch can catch you out if you’re not on the ball, I even stalled my own car! (been driving manuals since I was 14). My morning commute is a mix of 100km/h 2 lane roads requiring frequent overtaking and some stop start traffic.
Long term fuel economy is sitting on 9.9L/100km using E10, dropping by 0.2L on 95. I have tested the trip computer consumption and found it to be very accurate. It’s also worth noting that Holden has removed E85 compatibility on the MY15 model. The self parking technology works a treat, as does blind spot alert and the reverse camera which has lines to judge distance based on the angle of the steering. However this only partially covers for the poor outward vision.
The infotainment system works well with digital radio the only omission (hence the 9.5 rating). It’s too early to report on reliability as there’s nothing to report. I haven’t had a service yet, although I did request an oil change at the 3000km inspection which cost $105 and it has capped price servicing. Commodores has always been cheap to service and not expecting anything different.
As a package the car is comfortable, good value and rewarding to drive while also being practical.