Let me start off by saying this isn't my car. I am a Used Car Manager, so I am in and out of different cars all the time. Part of my job once a month or so is I do a round trip of roughly 800km in a day, which includes going up over the Tasmanian Midlands. It is one of the great driving roads in the country, and gives you a great feel for a car, so in saying that, here is my review.
You're right, it's not a V6 or V8, and it's not a rear-wheel drive. Yes, it is a liftback not a sedan, and no it's not Aussie built. That's all that out of the way. But what it is easily is the best entry-level Holden Commodore that we have seen as an overall package.
The 2.0-litre turbo engine combined with the nine-speed auto is incredibly responsive and powerful for its size. You are never at any stage wanting more power, in the sense that you can only do 110km/h by law anyway. There is the slightest little bit of turbo lag, but only if you are used to driving turbo engines would you notice it. The everyday Jo Blow would drive it and not notice it.
The transmission is as smooth as any that you will drive in this class. The economy was a big plus with the trip meter reading 5.9L/100km on return, and it certainly wasn't driven softly.
The interior, while not without its critics, is nice and simple in its use. Is it class leading? Probably not, but there is nothing missing that you scream out for. It doesn't have sat-nav as standard, but with Android Auto it's nice and simple to use anyway. For those that don't like to use their phone, I guess no nav’ could be a cross mark.
The climate control works well, and the electric seating certainly makes it easy to find a suitable and comfortable driving position. As for the general comfort of the vehicle, after doing roughly 800km yesterday there is nothing negative to report about the seating. There was no fatigue or anything that set in, so I am happy with the seating. But that's my opinion – each to their own with that.
I can't comment about the reliability as it's not a long-term vehicle for me. The Liftback is certainly practical and comfortably fits two big cricket bags in there with no issues whatsoever, with ease of access a big winner.
To finish off, as an entry-level Commodore, this vehicle is certainly much better than the Evoke from the VF range, and is more in the SV6 bracket in terms of styling and performance. I personally would choose the LT over an SV6 to make the same trip every day of the week.
While it is never going to sell in the same sorts of numbers the Commodore used to, this is a very good car, but not without its flaws. But there isn't a car in this class without flaws.
Should it have kept the Commodore nameplate alive? That's a different argument altogether, but if you judge this vehicle on its own merits, it presents great value and deserves a better rep than it gets.