VF the most advanced car yet built in Australia, writes Grant Edwards
Maturity has struck the Holden Commodore at age 35.
The VF Commodore was unveiled yesterday in Melbourne with a decidedly grown-up exterior persona and a host of slick gadgetry which has traditionally been confined to prestige cars.
It's the most technologically advanced car yet built in Australia. Slated to go on sale in May, the latest Commodore will be able to park itself, warn drivers if they are straying from lanes or if another vehicle is in their blind spot. They will also have a digital head-up display which projects the car's speed on to the windscreen.
The hi-tech 20cm colour touch-screen will have apps which use smartphones to stream digital radio, and another which finds music of your choice by preferred artist.
No pricing has been revealed, nor have powerplants. That will be uncovered closer to when the cars will reach showrooms.
Inside, the Commodore has come forward in leaps and bounds. Hard at high-end marketplastics have been banished, replaced with softer leather and suede. There are also more chrome finishes - inside and out.
Outside changes are distinguished by a "power bulge" in the bonnet, while the rear is distinctively different. The number plate moves to the bumper, the tail lights extend on to the boot lid and a wider back end features a "pontoon" two-deck styling.
Holden has recognised the Commodore can no longer be "all things to all people" and indicated the base model will be high spec.
That could mean a higher price for the entry-level model. The VE Commodore range currently starts from $37,990.
Only the Calais V-Series went on display yesterday. The SS will be revealed this weekend.
"These vehicles reflect the truly international nature of our business and they can certainly hold their own anywhere in the world," Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux said.
Ten colour choices will be available, including three new hues (a jewel-like green, tinted grey and vivid orange).
This won't be the last Commodore, with Holden committing to the nameplate to beyond 2016.
What remains uncertain is whether it will remain rear-wheel drive, and whether its dimensions will shrink.
VF tech tricks
Reverse traffic alert warns of passing vehicles when reversing out of spaces
Blind spot alert to warn of obscured vehicles when changing lanes
Auto park assist effectively parks the car automatically, with the driver just operating the
pedals. It works for parallel or 90-degree parking.
Slick 20cm colour touch-screen with Pandora digital radio and Stitcher music applications.
The people speak
Customer feedback has played a major role in the redevelopment of Commodore's interior.
Annoyances of the past have been addressed and the changes made were given an outstanding feedback during testing phases.
Hard plastics have been bypassed, with the dull colour scheme. Gone are the confusing
central controls for the electric windows they are now rightly back on the doors.
The park brake, which had an uncanny ability to pinch your hand, has been replaced by an electric button.
This has helped create useful storage spots in front of the gearshift, as well as improve the cupholders' ability to take larger bottles.
The driver looks toward a sporty hooded dual binnacle set-up. The speedometer is
positioned on the right with the fuel gauge below, while on the left is the tachometer with
temperature. In the centre is a colour digital display for the trip computer.
A slightly smaller steering wheel has been introduced. It's ultra-chunky and has better
functionality with cruise control and audio buttons at your thumbtips. Though a raft of
changes have been made, the VE still goes without split-fold rear seats. The boot opening also remains the same which makes loading bulky items such as prams difficult.