Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Welcome Down Under

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Welcome Down Under

Article excerpt

VERDICT

Brimming with technology and sophistication, even the most staunch Holden fan would be easily impressed. Size-wise it now faces off against the likes of the Toyota Camry, Mazda6 and Hyundai Sonata, and it remains to be seen what cache remains for the nameplate.

The entry-level variants don't have the same external pizzazz as the sporting models, but we were especially impressed with the proportions of the pumped-up Tourer wagon. It might be German, but it's good. Bloody good in fact.

Patriotism aside, it's time to recognise the Germans make a damn good car.

Better than Australians? In the case of the new Commodore, in many ways, yes ... but it took the crew from Down Under to make it great.

This month we welcome the first fully imported Commodore after local manufacturing ended at South Australia's Elizabeth plant last year.

Signalling the end of an era, the closure of not only Holden's plant but also Toyota's shuttering of its Camry production and Ford ending the Falcon tenure was testament to changing tastes. Large sedans are on the outer, as are V8s, and as for rear-wheel drive - most drivers nowadays don't care.

This new Commodore comes in three guises: Liftback (sedan), Sportswagon and Tourer (a slightly jacked-up version of the aforementioned load-lugger).

Don't be confused by the various 'V' monikers over four decades, this is only the fifth generation of the hallowed nameplate.

Based on the same platform that wears an Opel or Vauxhall badge in Europe, Australian engineers have given it an overhaul to ensure it meets local expectations. That's not new to the industry, manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia have been doing it for years, but no marque other than Ford can get close to Holden for local input with the size of its local workforce and Lang Lang proving ground about an hour out of Melbourne.

DRIVING

A trio of engines are on offer. The big hitter is the V6 petrol, followed by a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol. Both come from the United States partnered to a nine-speed automatic.

Then there's a 2.0-litre diesel from Germany that is mated with an eight-speed self-shifter. …

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