Next generation Holden Commodore’s Aussie fix
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To counter the backlash from the closing of its Australian factory, Holden engineers have had a major input in to the next generation Holden Commodore.
Six months out from the launch in Australia and New Zealand of the Germany built Commodore, the former Opel Insignia has spent a year preparing the vehicle for our road conditions.
Holden invited motoring writers to its Lang Lang proving ground this week to test the ZB Commodore’s two versions; a 3.6-litre V6 AWD [above, right] and the 2-litre, four cylinder front-wheel-drive [above, left]. Both are liftback, rather than sedan, and are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. There is also a 2-litre wagon in the mix.
Prices and specs will be announced closer to the April 2018 launch but Holden New Zealand said there is already “a huge amount of interest”.
“People are certainly aware of some of the background to the new model, including a slew of new safety and convenience features, but there are significant advancements in technology such as a brand new nine-speed automatic transmission and the first-time application of all-wheel drive in a Commodore model,” said Holden NZ’s marketing manager, Marnie Sampier.
“Upgrades such as these ensure there will be unprecedented enhancements between models.”
“The current Commodore is a world-class car in its own right,” he continued, “but the all-new ZB Commodore represents a significant evolution in design, performance and dynamic ability. Feedback from engineers, and now also media who have driven the new model, is that we have certainly achieved what we wanted to in terms of exceeding KPI’s relating to performance and the renowned drivability of Commodore.
“It’s often said a new model should be judged by the entry variant, an adage which certainly rings true with the new ZB Commodore. The entry 2.0-litre turbo petrol vehicle offers a sensational 191kW powertrain which is more than capable of delivering a driving experience demanded by Commodore fans. It’s a very enthusiastic and willing engine, one which really ‘wows’ in terms of acceleration and power, and is the quickest base model Commodore ever produced.
“The V6 AWD is an incredibly capable and very rewarding car to drive, offering oodles of grip and road handling ability.
“Commodore is an iconic nameplate and I know there is high expectation associated with its launch late in Q1. Pleasingly, the new model is on track to exceed expectations and there is every indication the new car, which is already the most technologically advanced, safety orientated, feature laden new model, will also be the best driving Commodore ever.”
The next-generation Commodore has had new dampers, calibrated suspension and more responsive steering.
It had 100,000km of day-to-day real world testing on public roads, including roads around the southern Victoria roads and to and from the engineers’ homes.
Project leader, Dave Johnson, had a message for Aussie built Commodore faithfuls: This was going to be the next Commodore whether it was built in Melbourne or Russelsheim, Germany.
“This is where we would have been going (anyway) … the ZB was always going to be the next Commodore,” he said.
The benchmark for the new Commodore included the VF plus Honda Accord and Volkswagen’s Passat V6.
For a full review, check out Saturday’s Driven.