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New Holden Commodore VF every model wins a prize

Holden says it has been able to cut the cost of the new VF Commodore because it is cheaper to build.
Joshua Dowling
CarsGuide

10 May 2013 • 8 min read

The new Holden Commodore goes on sale in Australia today ahead of its showroom debut next month. As exclusively revealed by News Limited last weekend the sharp new pricing rolls back the cost of a new Commodore by more than a decade.

The base model -- now called Evoke -- starts at $34,990 plus on-road costs, $5000 less than the outgoing Omega. The biggest savings are on the sports and luxury models, whose prices have been slashed by almost $10,000.

The new pricing reflects the actual transaction prices Commodores have been selling for over the past few years, but now everyone will get a fairer deal, not just those inclined to haggle.

The equipment list shows that every model -- including all sedans, wagons and utes -- will come with a rear view camera, front and rear sensors, self-parking technology, and Pandora and Stitcher apps embedded into the sound system, making it the best equipped vehicle line-up ever produced in Australia.

Top models will also get a heads-up display which reflects the vehicle speed and other information into the driver’s line of sight, blind-zone warning, forward crash alert and a raft of other features.

Holden says it has been able to cut the cost of the new VF Commodore because it is cheaper to build. It uses more parts sourced from General Motors’ global suppliers (primarily the electronic “platform” which runs the car, and key components such as steering wheels, indicator and wiper stalks and other interior items).

The top-line Calais and SS models are available with a premium Bose sound system for the first time (it was previously exclusive to the Caprice). However, given that it was developed primarily for the US export version of the Commodore, the premium sound is not available on wagon or ute.

In anticipation of new rules allowing the use of world-class ISOFIX child restraints in Australia, all Commodore sedans and wagons will come ready-fitted with the latch points (three across the back seat).

Meanwhile Holden has reached a new low when it comes to the Commodore’s fuel consumption. Every model uses less fuel than its predecessor, largely thanks to an average weight loss of 43kg (due to the aluminium bonnet, boot and other parts) which brought each variant into a more favourable category for the Federal Government’s fuel economy test, which is done in laboratory conditions.

According to dealer sources the new VF Commodore fuel economy sees the base model Evoke average 8.3L/100km, which is 23 per cent less than the VE Commodore Omega’s 10.9L/100km of seven years ago -- and only 0.3 L/100km more than its four-cylinder Malibu mid-size sedan.

The new Commodore sedan is also more slippery through the air (to 0.31cD) thanks to the less pronounced wheel arches on the front fenders, and a more tapered rear end (which in fact makes the VF slightly longer than the VE on which it is based). The rear ends of the wagon and ute -- bumpers, tailgates and tail-lights -- are unchanged.

Other subtle changes that helped economy on the base model Evoke sedan included the switch to an electric power steering system, a smaller differential, low friction oils and a recalibration of the engine’s fuel injection system. The 3.0-litre V6 has 5kW less power than before but it has more grunt from lower revs, which helps save fuel in commuter driving, in lieu of a stop-start idle system.

The power and torque outputs of the 3.6-litre V6 and 6.0-litre V8 engines remain unchanged (as do the gearboxes and final drive ratios), but they have slightly lower fuel consumption figures in all models because of the weight reduction.

Holden in fact cut 72.5kg from the sedan’s body but the net result was a 43kg saving because of the extra technology and features that were added, including extra noise-deadening material between the engine and the cabin, and felt lining in the wheel arches to reduce the noise of water spray on wet roads.

Other highlights: all automatic models can be started remotely, before you get into the car. Introduced on the US export version of the Commodore in 2008, it’s designed to warm the cabin in winter or cool it in summer. Another simple innovation: the bootlid (now lighter as it’s made from aluminium) will spring all the way open at the press of a button, without the need for expensive electronics.

The only thing the VF Commodore lacks that the US model gains is a seventh, knee airbag. As before, all Holden Commodores will come with six airbags. Holden says the seventh airbag was needed to meet US requirements, where some states still don’t mandate seatbelt use. To make it easy to follow all the key changes, Carsguide has compiled a walk-up of the full model range, including sedan, wagon and ute.

Holden VF Commodore: the line-up

Evoke

3.0-litre V6 engine
6 airbags
Stability control
16-inch alloy wheels (sedan and wagon only)
Dual-zone air-conditioning
8-inch colour touchscreen
6-speaker sound system with Pandora and Stitcher embedded apps
Electric power steering
Electric park brake
Rear view camera
Front and rear parking sensors
Self parking technology

Calais (same equipment as Evoke, plus…)

3.6-litre V6 engine
Leather seats
8-way electric adjustment on driver’s seat
18-inch alloy wheels
Chrome window trim
Daytime running lights
Colour driver information screen
8-speaker sound system
Keyless entry
Side blind-zone alert
Reverse Traffic Alert
Option: Navigation

Calais V (same equipment as Calais, plus…)

Rain sensing wipers
8-way electric adjustment on passenger seat
19-inch alloy wheels
Heated front seats
Lane departure warning
Forward Collision Alert
Heads-Up Display
Navigation
Bose sound system (sedan only)
Sunroof (sedan only)
Option: V8 engine

SV6 (same equipment as Evoke, plus…)

3.6-litre V6 engine
Front and rear sports bumpers
18-inch alloy wheels
Daytime running lights
Cloth sports seats
Bootlid spoiler
Side blind-zone alert
Reverse Traffic Alert
Options: Navigation, sunroof (sedan only), wing spoiler (sedan only), leather upholstery

SS (same equipment as SV6, plus…)

V8 engine
Options: Navigation, sunroof (sedan only), wing spoiler (sedan only), leather upholstery

SS-V (same equipment as SS, plus…)

Leather upholstery
19-inch alloys wheels
Navigation
Sensor key
Front Fog lamps
Colour driver information screen
8-speaker sound system
Footwell lamps
Options: Wing spoiler (sedan only), sunroof (sedan only), Bose sound system (sedan only)

SS-V Redline (same as SS-V, plus…)

Brembo brakes
19-inch forged alloy wheels
Heads-up display
Forward Collision Alert
Lane Departure Warning
FE3 suspension
Bose sound system (sedan only)
Sunroof (sedan only)
Option: Wing spoiler (sedan only)

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