Revealed - it's your next Commodore!

The Commodore you’ll be driving from early 2018 has been revealed. Is it worthy of the name?


THIS is the car Holden planned to reveal to the world in two days’ time - but has been forced to show off now.

The brand plan to release these images of the NG Commodore on December 9 was ruined when the car’s cover was prematurely blown.

Yesterday Australian media ran pictures from a photographer who’d snapped all-but-undisguised examples of the car during an apparent advertising photoshoot in the US.

Last night Holden decided it was pointless trying to keep it a secret so issued this selection of heavily photoshopped images – but with instruction to keep them under wraps until midday today.

We’re only seeing the hatchback. There’s also a wagon that Holden seems intent to seek to keep under wraps. That seems pointless. The load-all variant was also caught in the open by the pesky lensman – albeit in its full roadcar format, set to continue as a Sportwagon, and not in the elevated, all-wheel-drive Outback-style alternate that will return the Adventura nameplate to the showroom.

The photo debacle is the second media-associated headache that Holden has had. A story filed in October by a New Zealand journalist sent across the Tasman for a special early briefing about the car revealed more details than the brand wanted to be made public. The writer, who’d signed a confidentiality agreement, explained he’d become confused about what was supposed to be kept under wraps and what was not.

Along with the images, Holden has also delivered a few more details about a vehicle that brings so much change to this nameplate, revealing a basic descriptive of the active suspension and also telling the design story.

To recap, the NG car the most compact Commodore yet, in size so much shorter and lower than the current VF that it’s now more akin to a Mondeo. The car that says goodbye to rear drive and a V8 and hello to front- and four-wheel-drive, a four-cylinder entry petrol engine, a diesel and a flagship V6, though the latter is without the twin-turbocharging that was once hinted at, because those units cannot be made to fit under the long, lean bonnet!

Can you see this model fitting into your driveway, racing at Bathurst and being a continuing good fit as a front-line police patrol car (a role that, in order to stay sweet with this key contract, it undertakes here from late next year, perhaps up to two months ahead of the official on sale to the public)?

Holden New Zealand, of course, is beating the drum loudly and seeking to enforce that while the donor for what it is calling a “sleek and sophisticated design” is the Opel Insignia, coming on sale in Europe from the start of the year, the design had input from GM Holden Australia.

However, unsurprisingly Melbourne – like Russelsheim – has credited the design as being based on an Opel study, the ‘Monza’ Concept car, which the world first saw at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show. 

The photos also show that our in-house illustrator, Josh Byrnes, was pretty much on target with the sneak preview image we published back in July. Some of the detailing is different, but the overall shape and stance was spot-on.

The prominent front grille and the slim-line headlamps are plucked directly from the styling study. Holden says they enhance the wide horizontal gesture of the front end and provide it with a bold appearance. The grille sits lower than on the current model and further emphasises the solid stance.

The side window graphics feature with an upper chrome strip, rather than a full-chrome treatment, and the coupé-like roofline graphically pull the car down and emphasize its stretched appearance.  The ‘blade’ light catcher in the lower doors pulls attention rearwards.  The new Commodore is as sleek as it looks: it has an exemplary drag factor of 0.26 making it one of the most aerodynamic vehicles in its class.

At the rear, clear and simple lines combined with the slim, precise double-wing LED signature also give the car a wider appearance.  The newly designed centre high-mounted LED stop lamp has been integrated into the roofline. It helps to give the rear end a more high-tech look typical of premium brands’ vehicles.

The local office suggests this look – and the car’s technology - allows the NG to take “the best of Europe and make it great for New Zealanders through the delivery of leading-edge safety, engaging aesthetics, a dynamic driving experience and exponential advancements in infotainment technology.”

In a release rushed out by the Auckland office this morning, Holden NZ managing director Kristian Aquilina said NG will be “the most technologically-advanced Holden ever.

“From potentially life-saving safety technology features, to active driving technology and seamless infotainment, the all-new Commodore will make driving safer, easier, more involving and more connected than ever before for existing, as well as a whole lot of new, Holden enthusiasts.

“The Commodore combines technology across a number of areas in a way usually found in high-end prestige vehicles and introduces these features into mainstream, attainable motoring.”

The only engine that Holden wants to discuss at the moment is the flagship V6, which as previously reported presents 230kW/370Nm and is purely in marriage with all-wheel-drive and a nine-speed automatic.

Holden has confirmed the V6 car’s adaptive suspension technology is called FlexRide. The system electro-hydraulically adapts the dampers to the road and the driving conditions 500 times per second.

The car’s ‘Drive Mode Control’ software is the heart and soul of the adaptive chassis, Holden says.  It continuously analyses the information provided by the sensors and setting and seeks to recognises the individual driving style.  The individual systems are then optimised for the best traction and road position.

The driver can save personal preferences for the steering characteristics, throttle response and dampers via the ‘Sport’ button. The set-up also has ‘standard’ and comfort-oriented ‘tour’.

With the first, the automatic control selects the best set-up based on the information collected by the vehicle sensors. Holden says Tour allows comfortable chassis configuration, and throttle response for best fuel consumption and is “the right mode for relaxing long-distance drives”. With Sport, brake dive is reduced, flat and responsive chassis control at high speeds and the throttle and steering provide more direct feedback.

In respect to specification, Holden has indicated Commodore will provide with autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, speed limit cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, side blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert and a 360 degree camera. Comfort features include massage seats, rear one-touch folding seats, heated front and rear seats, a power tailgate on the wagon and active noise cancellation.