Commodore wagon looks to future
It may be churlish to declare Holden celebrated the launch of its last locally made Commodore but the model year 2017 upgrade of the VF Series II gives some indication of what lies ahead for the Australian automotive icon.
Holden says its model year 2016 VF Commodore Series II is the final major change to the Australian-manufactured Commodore and a strong response to customer demand. Now comes an MY17 update that looks into the future at what the next generation will have to offer in 2018 and beyond.
The test vehicle was Sportwagon (Holden-speak for station wagon) version of the SV6, which comes to market at $42,490, plus on-road costs.
The SV6 Sportwagon lives up to its name with sporty styling, including front and rear sports fascia, new front wind-tunnel tested fascia ducts and radiator grille design and side skirts.
LED daylight running lights have been added, the tail lamps have been reworked and the SV6 Sportwagon rolls on new-design 18-inch alloy wheels.
An electronic parking brake, situated on the centre console between cloth-covered front sports seats, means there is more interior space and improved ergonomics.
The park brake automatically releases if the vehicle is running, placed into gear and an attempt is made to drive away. It can decelerate the vehicle via the electronic stability control modulator when the button is engaged, provides excellent stability and can decelerate the vehicle.
The VF Commodore has speedsensitive steering to enable lowspeed agility and high-speed stability, while the on-centre steering ratio is increased for crisper steering response. It also contributes to improved fuel economy.
The multi-function display, a three-inch LCD screen in the centre of the instrument cluster, brings up menus for vehicle and trip information as well as warnings and messages. MyLink, Holden’s infotainment system, allows drivers to integrate their compatible smartphone and stored media with their car, connecting via Bluetooth, auxiliary outlet or USB. An eight-inch colour touch screen allows the driver control over music, radio and telephone, and vehicle systems.
The driver can also call up stored songs from their phone or MP3 player and FM/AM radio stations via car radio. When a mobile device is connected to MyLink, digital content from apps including Pandora and Stitcher SmartRadio can be streamed.
The SV6 Sportwagon is powered by the latest version of the 3.6-litre V6 engine, producing maximum power of 210kW and peak torque of 350Nm, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Holden says the use of lightweight components and other improvements adds up to better performance, efficiency and durability. The maker puts fuel consumption at 9.3 litres per 100km on the combined city/country cycle.
In addition to front driver and passenger and side curtain airbags, VF Commodore models boast larger-volume seat-mounted airbags that increase side impact protection by extending the area of body coverage. There’s also a rear seatbelt reminder that notifies the driver whether the rear seat belts are fastened before moving off. They also warn if the belt of an occupied seat is undone while on the move.
Active safety is in the hands of lane departure warning, blind spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, reversing camera, audible front and rear park assist and emergency brake flashing lights to warn road users behind.
Smart Remote Start is an early introduction to the vehicle’s intelligence, operating through the key fob from as far away as 100m.
Not only does it start the vehicle, it also activates the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, the last set to operate at the last known fan and temperature setting.
Engineers have delivered ride and handling, with 18-inch sports tyres, sport steering with increased vehicle feedback and steering response, for a rewarding sports driving experience.
The head-up display is clear and concise, enabling only a minor refocusing of the driver’s eyes from the road.
The display features four driverselected screens, which show information such as digital speedometer, tachometer, infotainment and turn by turn navigation. Satellite navigation, newly added to the SV6, is easily accessed via the eight-inch colour touch screen high on the centre stack.
For some time now, Commodore station wagons have had their liftback hinged in a roof recess, opening up a large loading area to access, in the case of the new Sportwagon, 895 litres of luggage space, increased to 2000 litres with the rear seat back folded.
Our test SV6 Sportwagon recorded 15 litres per 100km on the daily city commute and 7 per 100km on the open road. We are confident the engines in the NG Commodore will be significantly better.
The SV6 Sportwagon comes under Holden’s lifetime capped price servicing. With a soft spot for station wagons over sports utility vehicles of the soft-road variety, I rate the Commodore SV6 Sportwagon as a worthy torchbearer for a sterling Holden tradition that has survived for almost 40 years.
The SV6 Sportwagon lives up to its name with sporty styling.
The Sportwagon offers 895 litres of luggage space, increased to 2000 litres with the rear seat back folded.
An electronic parking brake adds to interior space.