THE first fully imported Holden Commodore arrives in Australia in February next year just shy of what would have been the locally made model’s 50th anniversary.
The brand has been quick to price the entry-level car so that it’s cheaper than the outgoing Commodore, but there’s a catch: the new one, based on a German-made Opel Insignia, is a physically smaller vehicle than the one it replaces.
That means instead of competing against the likes of the Ford Falcon and the Skoda Superb in the large-car segment, the new Commodore competes against the likes of the smaller Mazda 6, Ford Mondeo, Skoda Octavia and the premium-priced Volkswagen Passat.
So what do you get for the money?
Holden Commodore LT
Priced from $33,690
Holden is at pains to point out that this turbocharged four-cylinder model is $1800 cheaper than the former entry-level model for the locally made V6-engined car it supersedes, the Holden Commodore Evoque.
The LT is available as either a five-door liftback or as a station wagon, still known as the Sportswagon. The wagon adds $2200 to the price, and if you want to swap the petrol engine out for a more economical 2.0-litre turbo diesel one, it’s another $3000.
All versions of the Opel-sourced Commodore feature a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The LT sits on 17-inch alloy wheels, and includes dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers, signature LED daytime running lights, and LED tail-lamps.
It also gets keyless entry and start, a 60:40 split-fold rear seat, cruise control, an eight-way powered driver’s seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Driver safety features include autonomous emergency braking that also provides a visual alert – that should help Holden’s bid for a five-star crash test rating under more strict guidelines being introduced next year – as well as a lane keep assistant, and lane departure warning.
The LT will also get front and rear parking sensors hooked up to a reversing camera, and Holden’s Advanced Park Assist that helps to steer the Commodore in and out of tight parking spots.
In terms of infotainment, the LT uses a seven-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
Like the previous Commodore the default spare tyre is a space-saver.
Holden Commodore RS
Priced from $37,290
The RS will also be available as a liftback sedan or $2200 more expensive wagon, but without a diesel option.
Over the LT, the RS adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a sports body kit, sports front seats, a sport steering wheel, rear-lip spoiler and on the wagon version, a powered tailgate. No diesel version is offered.
It also gains extra driver-assist functions including rear cross-traffic alert, and a blind spot warning system.
Holden Commodore RS V6 AWD
Priced from $40,790
This liftback sedan-ony model swaps out the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol for a 3.6-litre V6, and extends the front-drive traction to all-wheel-drive.
Holden Commodore RS-V V6 AWD
Priced from $46,990
Available as both the five-door sedan and wagon, the spiritual replacement for the old Commodore SV6 also features a 3.6-litre V6 under the bonnet, but adds adaptive all-wheel drive with an electronic limited slip differential to help with cornering, and Hi Per strut suspension that helps with handling.
There’s also a more sporty look around the rear.
But there are big changes inside. These include wireless phone charging, ambient cabin lighting, a larger eight-inch multimedia screen that includes digital radio and in-built sat-nav, a colour head-up display, leather trim on the seats as well as heated front seats, gear-shift paddles on the steering wheel and alloy caps on the pedals.
Holden Commodore VXR V6 AWD
Priced from $55,990
This is the hero of the Holden Commodore line-up, and is equipped as the range-topper. That includes sitting on 20-inch alloy wheels, a three-mode adaptive suspension system, front Brembo brakes, a sunroof, branded floor mats and sill plates, a surround-view camera system, cooled front leather sports seats with adjustable side bolsters, heated rear seats, and a premium BOSE audio system.
Safety upgrades include adaptive cruise control, and adaptive LED headlights.
Priced from $40,990
Over the entry-level LT, the Calais – available only in sedan and Touring form – adds more luxury-focussed equipment. This includes larger 18-inch alloys, leather seat trim with heated front seats, wireless phone charging, the larger 8.0-inch touchscreen with sat-nav and digital radio, and a colour digital screen in between the speedo and tacho.
If you’re buying the SUV-styled, higher-riding Touring version, priced from $45,990, you also get the V6 engine, all-wheel-drive, electronically controlled limited slip differential, and an electric tailgate.
Priced from $51,990
Like the Calais, this variant is available as either the liftback sedan or the SUV-styled Touring.
It steps up to 20-inch alloys and adds a rear lip spoiler. Both versions follow the specification of the VXR minus the sporty bits, but also gain sunroofs and a massaging function for the front seats.
The 2018 Holden Commodore goes on sale in Australia in late February.