The VF Holden Commodore is the most advanced car to be built in Australia and is consistently amongst the best selling cars in the country. With the range starting at $35,490 for the entry level Evoke, the SV6 costs an additional $1300 at $36,790.
Measuring in at just under 5m long, it’s easy to see why the Commodore has often been the default choice for people after a large and affordable family car. New LED running lights, muscular lines and bulging wheel arches set the sporty SV6 and SS models aside from others in traffic.
There’s also front and rear parking sensors that work in unison to help with manual parking, semi-automatic parking and blind spot monitoring. But, it’s inside the cabin that Holden really manages an impact.
The interior is a great place to be. The fit and finish, along with the quality of materials used is exceptional. The soft dash finishing, along with attention to detail around hard wearing areas needs to be commended.
Buttons are logically spread around the cabin, with a huge eight inch MyLink infotainment system taking care of audio and optional satellite navigation.
MyLink also comes with cool features like Pandora music and Stitcher radio streaming. It’s also the same screen that displays high quality reversing camera graphics and indications for the front and rear parking sensors.
Music streaming also comes in the form of an auxiliary connector, USB or Bluetooth streaming.
Storage throughout the cabin is excellent. Two cup holders up front, plus storage cubbies in the doors and seat back pockets makes the Commodore a capable family car.
The Commodore’s best party trick, though, is semi-automatic parking. Standard across the entire range, all you need to do is drive up to your desired spot, hit the button and follow the prompts.
Being relegated to the back seats in a Commodore is never a bad thing. That’s thanks to the masses of leg and head room on offer. Unlike some European or Japanese large cars, there’s plenty of room to sit three abreast.
There are also rear air vents that help out on a roasting Aussie summer day.
One of the biggest negatives of the Commodore is lack of split folding rear seats. So, if you’re planning on carrying large objects, it’s worth considering a Sportwagon instead. But, on the upside, there are three ISOFIX seat anchorage points.
With 496 litres of boot capacity on offer and a generously sized aperture, getting things like golf clubs, prams and shopping into the boot is easy. An intelligent hydraulic hinge system means boot space isn’t eaten away by goose neck hinges.
Under the bonnet you’ll find Holden’s Australian built 3.6-litre V6 engine that produces an impressive 210kW of power and 350Nm of torque. The entry level Evoke comes with a smaller 3.0-litre V6 and there is a 6.0-litre V8 available for punters after a little more grunt.
The SV6 is available with either a six-speed automatic gearbox or this notchy six-speed manual.
The engine offers the bulk of its torque lower in the rev range and is fairly responsive and fun to drive. It is nice and quiet inside the cabin, but the engine can get a bit thrashy and vocal closer to the top end of the rev range.
The electrically assisted steering offers plenty of feel, but has a slight dead spot about centre — certainly not enough to be an issue.
Arguably, it’s the ride that really sets the Commodore aside from the pack. It’s smooth and really well composed over any type of surface. Class leading compliance and damping is the end result of over a million kilometres of local and international validation testing.
While the SV6 sits on 18 inch wheels, those after a softer ride have the option of the entry level Evoke, which rides on chubbier 16 inch wheels with higher profile tyres.
Holden’s local stability control tune is also one of the best in business. It gives the driver enough leeway to have a bit of fun before it kicks in to take control.
Another great safety feature is blind spot monitoring, which is also standard across the range. The system alerts you when there is a vehicle in your blind spot and flashes rapidly if you try and merge while it’s there.
Fuel consumption is pretty impressive for a car that weighs almost 1.7 tonnes. The six-speed manual and six-speed automatic both churn through 9.0L/100km on the combined cycle.
But, with a majority of city driving, expect that figure to climb over the 10L/100km mark.
With a three year, 100,000km warranty and capped price servicing outlined for the life of the vehicle, the VF Commodore still represents great value for money in the large vehicle segment.