WAGON HAS ALL YOU NEED
IN THE rush to high-riding softroaders, many families have largely ignored a more practical route — wagons.
Heavy off-roaders have taken over the role as the family bus but in reality a conventional sedanbased wagon will fulfil most duties, unless you absolutely need a seven-seater.
For many, a car like the fiveseater Holden Commodore Sportwagon is just what the doctor ordered.
It’s a good looking, purpose-built wagon with a roomy, comfortable cabin and a five-star crash safety rating.
The Calais V Sportwagon adds a little more bling but serves a similar purpose.
The integrated DVD system in the roof is a bonus for keeping the kids quiet and the rear-view camera is a welcome addition to the parking sensors.
Under the bonnet the biggest new arrival with the latest Commodores is SIDI — or Spark Ignition Direct Injection — which improves fuel economy and the overall smoothness of the V6.
Unlike the previous raucous six, the SIDI engine also sounds quieter.
The refined engine is now at a point of its development that it has become a world-class unit.
The economy from the big locally built six is also impressive.
We managed figures of about 12litres/100km around town with the promise of better highway economy.
The changes from the six-speed auto also feel smoother than we remember.
The only mark against Commodore is the cabin.
It has been around since 2006 and is due for a freshen this year.
We’re used to the thick A-pillars and the guillotine handbrake action but the Calais interior and dashboard is looking tired, particularly when you line it up against Ford’s effort with the Falcon G6E.
The wagon’s swoopy rear also eats into luggage space but there is no denying it is a handsome vehicle, particularly the Calais V version with its stylish 18-inch alloys.
STRONG: The Calais V Sportwagon has a five-star crash safety rating