Holden's 2018 Commodore exposed
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Holden partially lifts the veil on next-gen Commodore
As Holden nears the half-way point of its programme to introduce 24 all-new or upgraded vehicle lines by 2020, it has partially lifted the veil of secrecy on the next generation Commodore that goes on sale early in 2018.
Disguised under stealthy dummy plastic panels and camouflage graphics is a fifth generation, five-door sportback style Holden Commodore built on the General Motors E2 global platform which also will deliver Europe’s next generation Opel Insignia in 2017.
Among the most significant changes will see the next Commodore manufactured in Germany and it won’t include rear-wheel-drive or V8 engine options.
There will be five-door sportback and wagon bodystyles and entry level models will be front-wheel-drive with a choice of 2.0-litre turbo petrol and diesel four-cylinder engines.
Early in the programme a V6 wasn’t part of the plan. Holden lobbied hard for it to be included and has secured an upgraded 3.6-litre V6 engine combined with all-wheel-drive and a new generation nine-speed automatic transmission.
There are no output figures for the four-cylinder engines but Holden says the 2.0-litre turbo petrol will offer more power than any previous entry level Commodore.
Something in the region of 170-180kW are modern numbers achieved by BMW, Audi, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz 2.0-litre direct-injection turbo engines and the Ford Mondeo currently has a 177kW EcoBoost 2.0-litre engine.
The all-wheel-drive models will have a 3.6-litre naturally aspirated V6 with direct injection producing a projected 230kW output and 370Nm of torque. Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation allows the engine to run on four-cylinders under light loads and stop-start provides further fuel saving benefits.
The V6 AWD models will be among the first GM products to launch with a new nine-speed automatic transmission and Holden is targeting a 0-100km/h acceleration time in the region of 6secs.
A weight reduction of between 200-300kg over the current car will enhance performance and fuel-efficiency.
In spite of persistent rumours about a high performance version with V8-rivalling performance Holden said there are no plans for a turbocharged V6 Commodore. Fitting such an engine would require major repackaging.
It’s also confirmed the new Commodore will have electric power steering, adaptive suspension damping and V6 models have a new ``Twinster’’ adaptive AWD system in which a twin clutch layout replaces a rear differential and provides a torque vectoring function. The system can send 100 per cent of drive to the front wheels or up to 50 per cent to the rear wheels and will offer a Sport Mode function.
The styling and design details remain under wraps but the dimensions of the new Commodore have been confirmed. It will be slightly smaller than the current generation VF II and as a rough guide sits mid-way in size between the VT Commodore (third generation) and the current model.
The sportback will be 74mm shorter than the current VF II sedan at 4899mm. The wheelbase is 86mm shorter at 2829mm (a figure shared with the new wagon). Body width is 1863mm which compares to 1899mm for the VF II and the new car is 3mm taller.
For comparison those numbers will make the Commodore 28mm longer than current Ford Mondeo and 11mm wider. But Commodore’s wheelbase is 21mmm shorter.
Improved packaging will claim back most of what is lost to the smaller dimensions. The couple distance – the measurement from front hip point to rear hip point — is reduced by just 1mm. There’s moderate compromise on rear headroom due to the five-door roofline which is 13mm less than the current sedan but still provides a useful 952mm.
The narrower body means hip room is reduced by 44mm and shoulder room by 58mm. But by designing a slimmer centre console and moving the front seats inboard by 18mm the loss of body width is minimal although the rear seat is narrower.
Holden says load space will measure up about the same as the current model but with the additional flexibility that a five-door configuration permits and a larger opening aperture.
In terms of content Holden says the new Commodore will offer a much expanded roster of driver assist and safety technologies but has yet to confirm the specifics.
Infotainment will continue the development of Holden’s MyLink system with an 8-inch central display offering Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A next generation Head-up display and a configurable 8-inch LCD instrument display will be available on high grade models.
There will be IntelliLux LED matrix headlights either as an option or standard for top-of-the-range models. It’s the next generation of LED lighting technology with new 32-module design that is one generation further advanced than the 16-module system soon to be seen as an option for the new Astra.
The key points on the timeline for the next-gen Commodore include the public debut of the new Opel Insignia at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2017 before it goes on sale in Europe later in 2017 while production of the current VF II model is expected to end in October 2017 when Holden closes its Elizabeth plant in Adelaide.
The on-sale date for next-gen Commodore – in both body styles - is February 2018 in Australia with New Zealand very soon after.