Aussie rear-wheel-drive Commodores are not long for this world, which is a huge shame because the latest and greatest Commodore is truly world class. Yes, the model tested here is not the cracking Redline with that mighty LS3 V8 and viscous exhaust, but with drive-away pricing for the SV6 Black Edition of $37K back in 2017, this perhaps was the pick for the ‘everyday’ Australian.
Ever since the VE launched back in 2006, the words ‘world class’ were often thrown around, but equally often avoided. In terms of the latter, this was due to underwhelming engines and disappointing interiors throughout the range. With the VF, the Commodore is a significant improvement in all areas over the VE, but none more so than inside the cabin.
The VF interior does a fantastic job in making it look better than what it actually is. It hides the cheaper-looking plastics and centres your focus on the classy dash. It is a clean design and one that is extremely comfortable to be in.
Ride and handling have been improved over the VE, which means it has gone from great to fantastic, even after a decade of the VE launching. Few cars can match the confidence-inspiring set-up of the VF chassis, yet manage to maintain a significant degree of suppleness over even the roughest of surfaces.
The electrical steering too is world class. While a slight vague feeling at the straight-ahead is evident, the communication through the tiller, particularly at speed, is outstanding. You are always aware of exactly where the wheels are pointing, even at high speed and when losing traction (don’t ask me how I know this).
Features-wise, the Commodore is slightly lagging behind now, but this is understandable. Furthermore, the engine and performance are where the SV6 is not world class. Without doubt more than adequate, the V6 is a free-flowing engine that loves being high in the rev range. However, in this day and age, the 210kW atmo V6 simply cannot compete with high-tech turbocharged four-cylinder engines that have both superior mid-range and aural drama.
Exterior styling is a matter of personal taste, but I think Holden nailed it with the VF. While not as in-your-face as the VE, the way the new Commodore gels together as a whole car is, personally, exceptional.
Other complaints – thick A-pillars are seriously a safety hazard. Coming up to roundabouts, I am needing to move my head back and forth to ensure no car is there. One time, a small Getz was hidden behind the pillar and I almost ran straight into it.
Hard plastics are evident in the cabin. The mirrors are tiny – at least there is blind-spot alert standard on every VF. The centre console bin is flimsy. Fuel consumption is average at best.
Apart from that, the complaints are honestly quite small. Coming from an XR6 Sprint, the V6 is a let-down, but the lack of low-down torque, for most people, won’t really be an issue.
For the price, there are few cars in the world that can match the VF Commodore for comfort, practicality and driver engagement. For $37K drive-away, show me a better family car than the SV6 Black Edition. That’s what I thought, you can’t…