$37,990 – $57,290
Good: Smart styling; great ride & handling; serious amounts of space for 5 adults. The SS variant is a modern take on the muscle cars of yesteryear…
Not so Good: No diesel powered variants on offer; limited mid-life facelift exterior changes.
Design and Engineering
Good : Launched in August 2006 the VE Series Commodore is a truly great design with a terrificly solid ‘wheel at each corner’ stance, a tough front-end and a pert rear; rear wheel drive layout helps in the handling stakes. The mid-life facelift (VE Series II) arrived in September 2010 and thankfully the design hasn’t changed for the worse.
Not so good : Small side mirrors contribute to the great design (but could be bigger…so you could see more). The fat A-pillars can also restrict vision (especially when at a T intersection). VE Series II exterior changes to the top selling Omega (entry-level) grade are limited to a tiny raised lip on the boot lid and slight changes to the front bumper – so don’t expect your post September 2010 Commodore to stand out from earlier VE’s in the parking lot.
Interior and Styling
Good : The high number of driver adjustment controls means almost anyone should be able to get comfortable behind the wheel. There are also huge amounts of space for front and rear occupants, clear instrument dials & large easy-to-use control knobs, adequate front storage space, a comfortable rear bench seat and a large boot. The big change inside, from VE to VE Series II, is the 6.5-inch touch-screen Holden-iQ system (yes, it’s even standard on the entry level Omega) positioned in the re-designed (and better looking) centre console surround. Dual-zone climate control is also standard across the range.
Not so good : The electric window controls continue to be positioned in the unusual centre console position and the handbrake still looks like an afterthought and feels flimsy. The high waistline exterior design affects visibility for kids in the rear seats.
Good : The standard 3.0L V6 petrol engine offers more than enough poke to shift 1,700kg plus of Commodore – however, it’s tough to beat the grumble of the V8-powered grades with the 6.0-litre engine sounding great at low, as well as high, revs. Overall, the Commodore offers a quiet ride with minimal wind noise at highway speeds.
Not so good : Fuel economy of the V6 is good, but not great.
Ride and Handling
Good : The brilliant handling is fun and inspires confidence, the steering is light yet informative and the smooth ride stays composed over the worst of surfaces – superior to a number of much more expensive European offerings. The optional ‘Redline Edition’ package brings substantial wheel, braking and suspension upgrades for the V8-powered V-Series models.
Not so good : Too much tyre noise on variants with 18-inch and up size alloys; the ride comfort also diminishes (most noticeable over rough Aussie back roads).
Buying and Owning
Good : Value for money. High levels of standard safety kit – both active and passive: ABS, TC and ESC have all been designed for Australian conditions and it shows. The ESC is a very important safety feature, and on dirt roads Holden have tuned it to work excellently – ensuring the Commodore is an excellent choice for out on the open road.
Not so good : Low resale rating for a number of the variants – similar to Falcon, blame the fact that it’s a popular fleet and taxi car, so they have a high turnover and often turn up at auctions when they’re only three years old.