Com­modore wagon looks to fu­ture

Pilbara News - - Motoring - Derek Og­den

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.

Pic­tures: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

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.

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