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Holden Commodore SV6 2014 review

Commodores may not be in fashion but there's little to complain about.
EXPERT RATING
7
Paul Gover road tests and reviews a Holden Commodore SV6 that's been put through the real-world rigours of life as a rental.

The first time I drove a VF Commodore it won me. Now, well over a year later and light years away from the cosseting and privacy of Holden's proving ground at Lang Lang on the fringe of Melbourne, I'm back for another go.

This time around I'm not driving a pristine press car, but sliding into a renter. The age and condition of the car at Melbourne airport is totally unknown, which adds to the anticipation.

It's a shiny SV6, and that sounds promising, but I want to know how the Commodore runs today in the real world without a press pack safety net.

Design

The Avis bays look good with a range of cars up to a Porsche Cayman but the SV6 promises everything that has made homegrown family sixes so popular for so long, from a giant boot to genuine space for five adults.

We're only running two-up today but there is plenty of stuff to take up space in the tail and I know it could easily handle my family for a week on the road.

Engine/Transmission

The Commodore starts and runs smoothly, there is no sign of slap or slack in the driveline, the suspension is smooth and tracks straight, and the performance is everything I expect of Holden's latest V6.

Lots of private buyers are ticking the box for a V8 Holden, and I know it's fun from the start-up rumble to the top-end power, but this V6 is fine for me today.

Driving

Compared with the last Falcon I drove, which was really showing its age in the cabin fittings and comfort, the Commodore still looks fresh and up-to-date. The display screen is big and clear, the dashboard layout is good, and the radio reception is far sharper than some Japanese cars I've driven lately.

It's a straightforward day with a drive north into the country and about 400km to run, so the 3.6-litre engine is not going to be stressed. But I check that all 210kW are ready for action and the car has good overtaking power while running smoothly and - relatively - economically at freeway speeds.

The transmission is good and I enjoy a burst of manual shifting. The SV6 sits comfortably on its sports-set suspension.

The more time I spend with the SV6 the more I appreciate its strengths and the more I wonder about the future of motoring in Australia after the Commodore, Falcon and Camry are gone. They might not be Australia's favourites in 2014 but I know which car I'd choose if there was a Commodore, a Mazda3 and a Corolla available for a long-haul run into the Outback.

Verdict

But, back to the SV6 from Avis. It convinces me I was right on Day One with the VF. It's not fashionable, and it falls way short of compact cars for fuel economy, but there is almost nothing else to complain about.

Pricing guides

$20,834
Based on 515 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$8,913
Highest Price
$45,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Evoke 3.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $8,100 – 12,540 2014 Holden Commodore 2014 Evoke Pricing and Specs
Evoke (LPG) 3.6L, LPG, 6 SP AUTO $8,900 – 13,420 2014 Holden Commodore 2014 Evoke (LPG) Pricing and Specs
International 3.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $9,900 – 14,960 2014 Holden Commodore 2014 International Pricing and Specs
International (LPG) 3.6L, LPG, 6 SP AUTO $10,900 – 15,950 2014 Holden Commodore 2014 International (LPG) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7