New Commodore impresses experts

New commodore

The much-anticipated Holden has received a five-star ANCAP rating.

The first fully imported Holden Commodore since the brand's inception in 1978 has arrived in Australia and the initial reception has been positive.

The vehicle has passed its first crucial test, being awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating. It was determined using data from the Euro NCAP crash test of the Opel Insignia that provides the basis for the new ZB model Commodore.

"The vehicle scored well, achieving solid results across all areas of assessment," says ANCAP chief executive, James Goodwin.

"Australian families and fleet buyers have long regarded the Commodore as a trusted local choice and the shift to overseas supply has further enhanced the model's safety credentials."

Open Road's veteran motoring journalist, Tim Pomroy, attended the Commodore launch in February and was similarly impressed. He says Holden fans need to let go of the notion that a Commodore has to be a six-cylinder rear-wheel-drive car to be any good.

"Australia has long been 'six-cylinder country', and there's a new V6 in the line-up, but the new 2.0 litre turbo four-cylinder and nine-speed auto combination is the real surprise.

Forget how many cylinders, instead think of power and torque. In base spec, the new four has more power and torque than the previous generation's base V6 and better fuel consumption."

Mr Pomroy notes that the car is not just a rebadged Opel Insignia, either, as Australian engineers have been involved from the outset, developing a unique suspension tune for the range to suit our road conditions. Countless hours have been spent at Holden's proving ground at Lang Lang in Victoria.

"Holden had a Euro-spec suspension model and an identical model Australian-spec suspension for us to drive. The Euro version, with softer suspension settings and different steering calibrations, was good but couldn't hold a candle to the Aussie tuned version, which had much better body control and steering feel, making it more relaxing to drive on the open road," says Mr Pomroy.

The base model commodore, the RS, has a drive away price of $35,990 and includes a 360 degree camera, autonomous emergency braking and remote starting, which allows you to start the engine, run the air conditioning and drop the windows before getting in the car.

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This article was originally published in the Open Road March / April 2018 magazine.