THE Premier was once the prestige model in Holden range. Taking on that role more recently was the Calais, the model to buy if you wanted a little more comfort and refinement in your driving life.
The end is in sight for the Commodore and its variants such as the Calais and Holden has tinkered around the fringes to keep it relatively fresh before the plug is pulled.
The VF launched in 2013, an update of the VE, could be picked by a close look at its front and rear styling.
As with the predecessor, there were two versions, the regular Calais and the Calais V with the lot. Further choices were a sedan or wagon, propelled by V6 or V8 engines.
Inside, the Calais was spacious and comfortable with ample room for rear passengers. The likes of soft leather, suede and chrome highlights gave it a warm and fuzzy feeling.
VF models featured selfparking and rear-view camera, the latter a worthy addition, the former something of a gimmick.
There was also a switchable head-up display, projecting speed and other key info on the windscreen in front of the driver.
The 3.6-litre V6, carried over from the VE, had plenty of torque for smooth driveability and brisk acceleration when needed. The downside was fuel consumption, which at a claimed average of 9.0L/100km wasn’t great.
For a bit of fun there was the 6.0-litre V8, which enabled smooth cruising or, thanks to its 260kW, thunder away from the lights as the mood struck.
Both engines were well matched to six-speed automatic transmissions.
On the road the Calais was smooth, quiet and well balanced and handled with assurance. It was well-suited to long-distance cruising. With the earliest examples now three years old and on average with less than 100,000km on the clock, the VF Calais is in its prime. It’s a good time to buy one preloved.
Owners are generally happy with their choice of cars; most praise the performance, ride and handling, and refinement. Most like the big car feel and driveability and accept the less than ideal fuel consumption that comes with the Calais.
Engines are generally trouble free but buyers of the V6 should be aware of the problem that struck down the VE, that is, stretched cam timing chains that caused rough running and stalling. It’s too early to state whether the problem still affects this engine but it’s worth keeping in mind as it’s not cheap to replace the chain.
There are also reports of issues with the head-up display, so check that it works. It’s not a major deal and many drivers find it’s a distraction and turn it off.
Regular servicing is the key to keeping the VF in good shape so check for a good maintenance record.
My VF Calais V6 was a delight to drive. It had plenty of power, was comfortable inside and good looking outside. I had no problems with it at all and services were cheap. The fuel economy was brilliant on a long drive when I got high-7.0L/ 100km and mid-9s around town. My only complaint was with the link system that had lots of issues with phone compatibility, which Holden blamed on the iPhone. It is a real stinker and a shame as the car in all other aspects is a gem. Overall I am a big fan.
Apart from a torque converter replacement after about 3000km and an episode of a computer malfunction that only required a reboot, my 2014 VF Calais has been flawless. I’m delighted with it, it’s great value for money and well equipped.
My VF Calais is my first Holden in 34 years of driving. What a disappointment. It had the wrong colour interior when delivered, the carpets were saturated from the aircon and had to be replaced, there was a click under the seats when going round corners, and the Bluetooth developed problems. On the plus side it was reasonably comfortable and quiet on road, it had many safety features and was economical for a big car if not driven hard. I sold it after less than 12 months.
I’ve had my VF Calais V8 V for just on two years. It’s only done 8000km but I swear every kilometre has been an absolute pleasure. I don’t think there is anything that could be added to improve the safety, comfort, ride or power.
I have run up 111,000km in my 2013 VF Calais without any sort of problem. I love to drive and this is the best vehicle by far I have ever driven in my 63 years of driving. The seating comfort, direct steering, interior layout, smooth ride, excellent fuel consumption, and amazing brakes are excellent.
The VF Calais brings a smile to my face every time I drive it. The handling is Do you own or have you owned a Share your experience with other Carsguide readers by sending your comments to Graham Smith at [email protected]pond.com or write to Carsguide, PO Box 4245, Sydney, NSW 2010. great, it’s comfortable and it’s well appointed.
I updated from a VE Calais V to the VF. I was very disappointed to find the GPS had no speed camera alerts, which I found useful in unfamiliar areas. The infotainment isn't as user friendly as the VE’s. Otherwise, the VF ’s a pleasure to drive. The world is downsizing, but you can still cruise in comfort.