Holden Reviews

Holden is one of the oldest names in the Australian car market, first as a body builder and assembler of various imported American cars, then as a carmaker in its own right from 1948. For much of the post-war period it was the market leader, but it's now moving from local manufacturer to importer. Holden manufactures the locally-designed Commodore Evoke, SV6, SS and Calais V6 and V8 sedans, wagons and Utes, and Caprice luxury sedan, assembles Cruze sedan and hatch, and imports Cruze wagon, Barina hatch, Trax and Captiva SUVs, and mid-sized Malibu sedan from Korea. The Astra hatch, Cascadia convertible and Insignia sedan are built in Europe, and Colorado 7 SUV and Colorado utility from Thailand.

If I remember rightly, some years ago at its zenith, the Holden Jackaroo was voted the best performing off-roader on bitumen by an Australian motoring magazine. Somebody at HQ must have been going through the files because the Jackaroo's slightly distant successor, the Colorado 7, has been upgraded to match its outstanding off-road capability on the street. In fact, the whole range of Colorado trucks and SUVs has been given the once-over taking it to...Read more
Holden versus Ford is one of the great rivalries. But with the V8s headed for extinction, what's next for the faithful? It's a rivalry that has lasted for decades. But with the locally made Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon headed for extinction, which cars will carry the banner for future generations of the Red Team and Blue Team? As Australians join the global shift to smaller vehicles, it will be hot hatches like these that...Read more
Holden VXR is one of the most important models for the company in its inexorable move away from building cars in Australia to being a full time importer. GM Holden, as it prefers to be known these days also wants to be seen in a more upmarket light. Very much a sports sedan, Holden says Insignia VXR will compete directly with the likes of Subaru Liberty and Volkswagen Passat CC . We were surprised that...Read more
Holden's VF family is testament to what can be done with not very much. Setting aside arguments about government support, this last hurrah was put together with the kind of money BMW spends designing a single dashboard. Well, not really, but it's not far off. The Calais V is the top of the tree for the 'normal' V6-propelled Commodore range. We snuck one out of Holden's grasp and gave it the unenviable task of being...Read more
Look familiar? We've seen this car before, albeit briefly. Just 71 examples of the Insignia were sold in this sporting guise wearing Opel badges in the 11 months General Motors introduced the German brand to Australian buyers in 2012 and 2013. It was an epic fail and GM should have known better than to think its European subsidiary could hit the ground running in the world's most competitive new-car market. Apparently Opel bosses looked at...Read more
The sibling utes are competent and good value, if not class leaders. James Stanford weighs the pros and cons.Read more
Holden Cascada is the convertible version of the Astra hatch, and is the next generation of the model called Astra Twin Top which was imported to Australia until 2010. Cascada is built by Opel in Europe and though it's a German company, Opel has been controlled by General Motors for almost 90 years. There has been close co-operation between Germany and Australia for many years, particularly with the Commodore where the original models were virtually...Read more
The speed with which the market dumped big cars for smaller ones caught Holden napping. NEW In an attempt to catch up the company rushed to Korea and signed up for a bunch of Daewoo models that were ill equipped for the Australian market. Those first cars, the Barina, Viva and Cruze had build issues, they weren’t very refined, and they weren’t tuned to Australian conditions. In the case of the Cruze many of those...Read more
Holden's drop-top is an easy, breezy drive. It's been about two years since I drove a new Holden that made me smile. That was the VF Commodore — but this week I've driven two smile-worthy new Holdens in one day. I thought I'd enjoy the return of the Astra VXR hot hatch . I wasn't sure what to expect from the all-new Cascada convertible but was pleasantly surprised by the classy, comfortable drop-top. The Cascada...Read more
It seems everyone wants to go bush. Ford certainly thought so when it introduced its Territory, so too did Holden when it went down the same track with the Adventra. NEW The Adventra was based on the VY Berlina wagon. It had a high-riding suspension for ground clearance, and a V8 automatic drivetrain, and an all-wheel drive system that gave it the capability off-road. Cross Trac was a permanent all-wheel drive system using three open...Read more
Holden Suburban is a very large 4WD, good towing workhorse and spacious people mover. The Suburban can seat up to nine adults, though a more realistic use is seven adults and two children - nothing else comes close in this designed-for-the-USA giant. It can also carry their luggage, whereas other big 4WDs can seat eight people, but lose most of their luggage room when the rear seats are occupied. A rebadged Chevrolet, the Holden Suburban...Read more
We turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering would you buy one? What is it? Holden's big, fair dinkum 7-seat four wheel drive, a spin off of the Colorado ute with which it shares a drivetrain and underpinnings - but with a more comfortable rear suspension configuration. How much? Colorado starts...Read more
Holden freshens the small car's styling and dumps unloved engines. The only small car made in Australia, the Holden Cruze, has been given a freshen-up to increase its chances against its imported rivals. Holden has also ditched the unloved diesel engine and the superfluous 1.4-litre turbo four‒cylinder. There are several changes across the range but a new nose is common for all variants. The top-spec SRi V gets the most new gear, with LED daytime...Read more
When General Motors and Isuzu split, Holden relinquished the popular Rodeo badge . The revised replacement in 2008 was the Colorado . To meet the evolving role of utes as combined tradie-family transport, the Colorado had a flashy new look that would fit comfortably in suburbia and bush alike. NEW Underneath it remained the same tough truck as the Rodeo predecessor and was just as capable of slogging through the rough stuff off-road. There were...Read more
The crossover hatch is practical and compact, though the exterior styling can be a compromise. James Stanford appraises a safe and spacious pair.Read more
Korea's Genesis, a new face in the airport limo car park, takes on Holden's flagship. Joshua Dowling adjudicates.Read more
Remember when utes were just that, utility vehicles? Cargo carriers with a sedan front end and a big tray behind into which lots of stuff could be stuffed. Some still do use their utes in the old fashioned way, to cart things, but many are now bought as large sportscars with extraordinarily large boots. Utes, such as the Holden SV6 Ute that spent time in our driveway last week, are increasingly popular with 'the boys'...Read more
Holden Astra is a small medium car that was popular in Australia for many years. Astras prior to 1996 were Australian-built and were closely related to Nissan Pulsars . From 1996 until 2010 Astra was imported from Europe where it was made by Opel, the German division of General Motors. In this review we will only look at the German-made cars as the Aussie ones are getting long in the tooth and are possibly past...Read more
Holden reckons it has all sports utility vehicle bases covered, from small ( Trax ), medium ( Captiva 5 ) to large (Captiva 7, Colorado and Colorado 7 ) and now has injected a little tonic into its Trax with a turbocharged engine. The LTZ 1.4 iTi tops off the Trax range, first seen here just over a year ago, with the addition of a 1.4-litre petrol engine mated with a six-speed automatic transmission driving...Read more