2018 Holden ZB Commodore review

There’s so much using at the 2018 Holden ZB Commodore. Is it well worth the wait and, extra importantly, is it worthy of the Commodore badge?

The identify Commodore manner so much to Australians. It’s synonymous with rear-wheel force, energy and Australian production.

The all-new 2018 ZB Commodore is none of the ones, reasonably talking. Before you start a tirade of damaging feedback concerning the identify and whether or not this new automobile is any excellent, let’s believe the information.

Holden and GM executives made the verdict in 2011 that the next-generation Holden Commodore would not be constructed on a bespoke platform just like the VE and VF Commodores had been. While the Zeta platform was once an enormous luck from an engineering standpoint, it was once a industry failure.

If native production had been to have remained viable for the Australian automobile business, the auto you are looking at here’s the precise car that will were inbuilt Adelaide for the Australian marketplace. Holden was once advised by way of GM in 2011 that it might have enter into the brand new platform, however that enter would wish to take into accounts the European, US and Chinese markets.

In Europe, this automobile is offered because the Opel Insignia, and in China and the United States it is offered because the Buick Regal GS.

With Holden’s V8 Commodore gross sales smartly and in reality trumped by way of V6 variants – by way of some 3 to 1 – it was once by no means viable for Holden to force rear-wheel force or a V8 into the E2 platform that the ZB Commodore is in response to. Holden did push the petrol V6 into this system, regardless that, insisting that it wanted a sporty mannequin to resonate with Australian patrons.

That’s the backstory and the explanation why the auto you are looking at right here is not to be had with a V8, neither is it to be had in rear-wheel-drive trim. Should or not it’s known as a Commodore? That’s your name. My non-public opinion (which is price up to yours) is that the Commodore identify will have to were retired, however like evaluations, all of us have one.

It’s known as the Commodore and the identify is right here to stick, so our process when assessing this automobile was once to judge it from the perspective of it being any other entrant to the medium/massive automobile marketplace. We examined it with out the Commodore identify hooked up to provide you with a correct concept of whether or not it is price spending your cash on.

The Commodore fluctuate and specs

The new Commodore fluctuate will release with the provision of a Liftback, a station wagon known as the Sportwagon, and a high-riding station wagon known as the Tourer. The fluctuate might be presented with a 2.o-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, a 2.Zero-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine or a three.6-litre naturally aspirated V6 petrol engine.

As we revealed up to now, the diversity will get started with the LT 2.Zero-litre turbocharged petrol that produces 191kW of energy and 350Nm of torque, priced from $33,690 sooner than on-road prices. That’s $1800 not up to the former Commodore Evoke, or should you get in at the introductory $35,990 drive-away be offering, a to hand $3935 not up to sooner than. Meanwhile, the LT Sportwagon will kick off from $35,890. Fuel intake is available in at 7.four litres of gasoline in line with 100km at the mixed cycle.

A turbo-diesel engine is to be had as a $3000 choice on all LT variants. The diesel is a 2.Zero-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 125kW of energy and 400Nm of torque, eating simply five.6L/100km at the mixed cycle.

Moving to the RS 2.Zero-litre turbo will price you $37,290 (Liftback) or $39,490 (Sportwagon). Those who get in early will have the benefit of an preliminary $38,990 drive-away value at the RS 2.Zero-litre Liftback too. The RS can be ordered with the V6 AWD (235kW/381Nm) powertrain, ranging from $40,790 (or $42,490 drive-away as a part of the preliminary gross sales push) in Liftback guise – no Sportwagon RS V6 AWD might be presented, alternatively.

Sitting above the RS within the ‘sportier’ aspect of the Commodore line-up is the RS-V, priced from $46,990 as a Liftback or $49,190 in Sportwagon guise. The V6 powertrain is usual, together with extra refined HiPer strut suspension and a artful adaptive all-wheel-drive machine with an digital limited-slip differential.

Meanwhile, the luxury-focused Calais begins at $40,990 in 2.Zero-litre turbo guise or $43,990 with the diesel, whilst the range-topping automobile at the extra sumptuous Calais line is the Calais-V V6 AWD, priced from $51,990. Finally, the hero for the brand new Commodore fluctuate would be the VXR V6 AWD (235kW/381Nm), priced from $55,990, eating nine.3L/100km at the mixed cycle.

You can in finding all the checklist of usual options for every mannequin in our 2018 ZB Commodore pricing and specs breakdown.


We all know the Commodore as a spacious automobile able to sporting 4 adults in convenience. The new Commodore delivers that, however there are a couple of compromises.

2018 Holden Commodore Liftback dimensions (in comparison to VFII Commodore)

Length: 4899mm (74mm shorter)
Width: 1863mm (36mm narrower)
2829mm (86mm shorter)
Knee room:
Identical to present Commodore
Head room: 952mm (13mm much less)
Shoulder room:
1444mm (58mm much less)
Hip room:
1410mm (44mm much less)
Cargo quantity:
490 litres (5 litres much less, however hatchback seats fold to provide extra space)
Centreline: 375mm (18mm much less)

Those numbers inform a tale. From the outdoor, the Commodore seems to be shorter and narrower than the Zeta platform cars, and to position that into point of view, it dimensionally sits in between the VT and VE Commodore.

Inside the cabin there may be much less head room and shoulder room, nevertheless it delivers an similar quantity of knee room, which is essential for the sensation of area and luxury.

Up entrance, the cabin feels ethereal with a lot of garage choices strewn all through. Built in Germany, the brand new Commodore feels smartly put in combination and durable. Fit and end are very good, whilst the standard of fabrics all through the cabin really feel upmarket and status.

This new Commodore is a big step ahead on the subject of generation and contours. The mannequin fluctuate comprises such things as a 360-degree digital camera, heated and cooled therapeutic massage seats, matrix LED lighting fixtures, a larger head-up show, self sustaining emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and a greater infotainment machine to be had in 7.Zero or eight.Zero inches with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto around the fluctuate.

The matrix LED headlights are subsequent point on the subject of capability, providing 32 LED modules that for my part transfer off and on to provide a continuing high-beam with out dazzling different drivers.

Wireless telephone charging groups with a phenomenal infotainment machine with a usable and correct voice-recognition machine. Upper fashions additionally ranking a big LCD display screen forward of the driving force that shows key car main points, and within the VXR mannequin efficiency size equipment.

An excellent characteristic suited to Tourer fashions is an influence tailgate. While that is no automobile revolution, an LED gentle that tasks the Holden emblem directly to the bottom gives a correct positioning instrument to open the boot together with your foot. It prevents needlessly waving your foot round to seek out the precise spot.

With the driving force’s seat in my common using place (that is relatively some distance again to house my small torso and lengthy legs), there may be plentiful room in the second one row for leg, knee and toe room. Head room is excellent, as is shoulder room with two adults abreast. A centre armrest with two cup holders supplies a to hand resting position.

While shipment quantity is down by way of 5 litres with the Liftback to 490L, measuring to the highest of the boot permits extra to be loaded in comparison to the VFII sedan at 552L and 1450L with the second one row folded flat.

The Sportswagon and Tourer be offering much more room with 560L to the highest of the seats, 793L to the shipment roof and 1665L with the second one row folded flat.

There’s a substantial amount of sophistication around the new Commodore fluctuate with high quality fabrics used all through the cabin of every mannequin. There’s a lot of room on be offering, and the added versatility of an additional 18mm of trip top at the Tourer will attraction to these patrons that need SUV dimensions with out SUV top.

The engineering tale

We first had the danger to force the brand new Commodore in August 2017 when 65 in line with cent prototypes arrived in Australia. These closely camouflaged cars had been but to be launched in Europe, and the hand-built V6 model we drove was once certainly one of just a few V6 prototypes all over the world.

Holden’s enter to this new platform began all of the long ago in 2011, when it requested for inside dimensions very similar to the Commodore and using traits that will be consistent with what shoppers be expecting.

Holden’s engineering group had its paintings lower out for it, wanting to construct a package deal from scratch on a platform it did not individually paintings on. That paintings ran from trip and dealing with, right through to gearbox calibration and chassis keep watch over tuning.

For instance, the delivered prototypes had restricted calibration for gravel avenue using and were not configured for one of the most steady undulations you can in finding around the Australian panorama.

Holden’s Lang Lang proving flooring was once house to the tuning efforts for this automobile, and it options numerous home avenue traits from tram tracks via to corrugations and numerous erratic kangaroos and deer.

Engineering paintings adopted via to native tuning of radios, satellite tv for pc navigation and native noise necessities. It was once a large process and required all arms on deck. The identical group that labored at the Commodore all through the VE/VF technology was once fascinated with making this a reliable package deal.

The all-new Commodore has been examined throughout the similar roads, and to the similar requirements as Commodores sooner than it, to make sure it would not be any much less competent than the Commodore everyone knows and love.

We had been lucky sufficient to force the unique 65 in line with cent prototypes, a later configuration of the Holden music in October 2017 back-to-back with the VFII Commodore, and ultimate consultant examples a few weeks in the past as a part of Holden’s nationwide media release.

The force

One of the issues that stood out to us maximum about this release was once that Holden did not have the rest to cover by way of. We have attended some product launches the place the primary force is not up to 30km sooner than preventing for lunch. It’s regularly a diversion clear of a gorgeous reasonable automobile. It wasn’t the case for the Commodore.

The release program spanned over two days of using throughout numerous freeway and nation roads round Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula. It culminated with numerous using actions at Holden’s Lang Lang proving flooring.

Roads incorporated easy highways, rugged nation roads, gravel roads, a hill climb or even some towing workouts. If there was once a median automobile to turn, those two days of trying out would have smartly and in reality uncovered it.

Our first stint of using was once in a 2.Zero-litre turbocharged petrol Liftback. With 350Nm of torque on be offering and an keen gearbox, there may be all the time a possibility to lean at the throttle to get admission to that torque band.

While a nine-speed automated might sound like a fussy approach of attaining gasoline financial system, the gearbox gels superbly with the engine. It by no means feels find it irresistible’s looking and is all the time able to seek out the precise tools and ship torque.

From a status get started there is usually a trace of turbocharger lag, however it is adopted with an accommodating rush of torque that is delivered easily sooner than it grabs a higher tools to run yet again.

We had been involved front-wheel-drive drivetrain in a automobile this measurement may result in torque steer and tugging on the wheel beneath exhausting throttle. We skilled this overdue ultimate 12 months after we drove some pre-production automobiles, nevertheless it was once ironed out in those manufacturing examples.

It was once most obvious after we had get admission to to a hill climb on the proving flooring. This difficult route comprises sweeping bends and a good hairpin that will in most cases unsettle a front-wheel-drive automobile – particularly one this large. We discovered that shall we assault the throttle out of tight corners with none worry of torque steer or damaging comments during the wheel.

A collection of chicanes used to keep watch over velocity on one of the most sooner sections additionally highlighted that the trip and dealing with music has pleasantly erred at the aspect of sporty slightly than convenience. Behind the wheel it seems like a Commodore within the sense it responds smartly to rapid and sharp steerage inputs and its reaction is predictable.

The four-cylinder gives a satisfying quantity of punch and can out-accelerate a VFII V6-powered Commodore, which will have to provide you with an concept of the ability to be had on faucet.

Steering really feel is excellent, however does not really feel as resolved because the VFII. That’s partially because of a lighter steerage music and no more weight over the entrance wheels. At the top of the day, that is the kind of music a purchaser of this automobile goes to be expecting.

The trip is basically on level. It does not go with the flow or observe alongside divots within the avenue, it feels assured and planted. That point of surety is communicated during the wheel when getting access to the throttle out of corners. If you push it tougher it’s going to begin to display its flaws with just a finite quantity of traction to be had from a front-wheel-driven sedan like this.

Buyers in need of extra pep from their Commodore are more likely to go for the three.6-litre naturally aspirated V6, which comes solely with all-wheel force and a nine-speed automated gearbox.

Producing 235kW of energy and 381Nm of torque, the V6 engine does not really feel or sound all that other to the ultimate V6 in terms of how it delivers torque. It’s an engine that calls for revs to really feel motivated with height energy going on at 6800rpm.

Like the two.Zero-litre, the V6 gels effectively with the nine-speed automated gearbox. It’s by no means truly looking and has been tuned to get admission to the V6’s torque band as successfully as conceivable. Slam down the throttle and it is willing to rev out, offering a satisfying engine word in go back.

What’s maximum spectacular is the all-wheel-drive machine. Using a Twinster rear force unit, it includes a ‘actual’ mechanical torque vectoring machine that may apportion as much as 100 in line with cent of to be had torque to both of the rear wheels. Further, as much as 50 in line with cent of torque can also be despatched to the rear axle at any given time.

On the gravel that ends up in an overly tail satisfied, Commodore-esque personality trait when the Sport mode is chosen. That mode permits the car to ship extra torque to the rear and gives extra competitive shift patterns and gearbox music.

The V6 is to be had in mid-specification RS and solely around the Tourer fluctuate. It’s a really perfect have compatibility to the Liftback, however gives essentially the most enjoyable force within the Tourer. It lumps alongside effectively with the V6 and feels assured at the avenue.

Both the Liftback and Tourer with the V6 trip effectively and be offering essentially the most rewarding force as the street dissolves. There’s seldom a second when you are feeling uneasy or not sure about the place it is monitoring or how hopefully you’ll be able to dig into the throttle.

It feels sporty on the outer limits, whilst docile and at ease when cruising. The V6 feels a little bit lazier than the two.Zero-litre, however the additional advantage of all-wheel force manner you’ll be able to extra hopefully sink the foot in if required.

Tourer and V6 Liftback fashions include a 2100kg braked towing capability, matching that of the outgoing V8 Commodore. Diesel and turbocharged petrol Commodore fashions are restricted to 1800kg with a braked trailer.

Those in need of a sportier force will head immediately to the VXR. This menacing taking a look gadget makes use of the similar naturally aspirated V6 engine, however steps it up a notch with four-piston Brembo brakes up entrance that sit down on a 345mm rotor, whilst the rear makes do with a vented single-piston caliper and 315mm rotor.

Wheel measurement jumps as much as 20 inches with 245mm-wide tyres on sticky Michelin Pilot Sport rubber. The theme continues within with implausible VXR seats that hug you tightly and be offering therapeutic massage, heating and cooling.

From the outdoor, and indubitably the interior, this seems to be find it irresistible’s about to tear an SS Commodore a brand new one. But, it is underwhelming in a instantly line. While it was once round 40 levels after we filmed our video, we used the in-car Zero–100km/h acceleration timer to clock a snappy run within the automobile.

The first run learn 7.Zero seconds, whilst the second one 6.nine. A Holden engineer claimed to have hit low six seconds, however at 7.Zero seconds it is nearly a complete two seconds slower than a base-model SS Commodore. While a naturally aspirated V6 would by no means set the sector on hearth, it is disappointing to look it lack straight-line efficiency.

But if you’ll be able to glance past that, the VXR delivers efficiency a rear-wheel-drive Commodore by no means may. The traction on be offering from the all-wheel-drive machine is subsequent point. It permits the driving force to successfully hang the throttle flat out of corners with out the chance of the tail finish whipping round.

Holden rainy down a slalom route for us, and after a couple of runs we began toying with the all-wheel-drive machine round a good hairpin to look how it might reply. With sufficient throttle early sufficient, the VXR will luckily kick out sideways and hang it via a rainy hairpin.

It’s additionally it appears that evidently a lot more dedicated in tight hairpins whilst you get caught into the throttle. The nostril tucks in effectively and the steerage gives a satisfying quantity of comments in go back as the auto dials on revs.

Brake pedal really feel is very good, with the brakes satisfied to cop a hammering with out providing any indicators of fade. While HSV has dominated out enhancing the ZB Commodore, we would love to look how this factor plays with a collection of turbochargers or a supercharger on board.

You’ll realize no point out of the diesel Commodore. This mannequin wasn’t to be had for us to force as a part of the release – in step with Holden cars had been nonetheless arriving into the rustic from Germany and did not land in time.

Of the brand new Commodore fluctuate, the entry-level 2.Zero-litre truly took us by way of wonder, as did the Calais-V Tourer. While the VXR is spectacular via corners, it lacks the straight-line attraction that this section has turn into aware of, satirically a normal in the beginning set by way of Holden.


The 2018 ZB Commodore is a very powerful automobile for Holden. Not as a result of Holden is anticipating it to succeed in the lofty heights of Commodores of years long past by way of, however as a result of it is a mannequin Holden expects to ship foot site visitors to dealerships.

The excellent information is that the auto itself is excellent. It’s very good to force, gives the precise form of comments during the chassis, and is roomy sufficient to believe as a big automobile.

Holden’s most effective drawback now could be the established competition on this section that already be offering feature-packed choices. We are willing to position the brand new Commodore up in opposition to those very automobiles in numerous comparisons over the approaching months.

Is it excellent sufficient to put on the Commodore badge? Yes, completely. It’s a reliable platform that provides a mixture of taste, design and contours. Whether it is sufficient to ring a bell with patrons continues to be observed.

What do you bring to mind the 2018 ZB Commodore? Are you making plans on test-driving one?

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2018 Holden ZB Commodore review

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