Holden Commodore RS
Holden Commodore RS

Commodores clash: Do you really need a six-cylinder version?

HOLDEN COMMODORE RS V6 AWD, $42,490 drive-away, 19 points

 

VALUE

3.5 stars

TWAM 14 APRIL 2018
TWAM 14 APRIL 2018

The current drive-away deal is $42,490 thanks to Holden's EOFY sale, plus the warranty is extended to seven years/unlimited km. Standard are 18-inch alloys, nine-speed auto, cloth trim and power driver's seat. Servicing interval is 12 months/12,000km. Pay $817 for the first three trips or $1176 for four if you drive the annual average.

 

DESIGN

3.5 stars

The seven-inch touchscreen has smartphone mirroring but, in RS guise, you're using the phone's data to enable satnav. The seven-speaker audio is punchy enough. The dual-zone aircon is operated by buttons or the screen, though you have to tap the display to alter the way the wind is blowing. Space is great in the front seats and there's good rear legroom - but taller types' heads might touch the tapered roof.

 

TWAM 14 APRIL 2018
TWAM 14 APRIL 2018

ENGINE

4 stars

The 3.6-litre V6 sends 250kW/385Nm to all four wheels. It's a fast family car, if not outright sporty. The nine-speed auto has been calibrated to switch gears early on light throttle but then hang on to higher revs as the right foot pressure builds. Claimed fuel consumption is 8.9L/100km or 12.0L around town.

 

SAFETY

4 stars

Holden hasn't skimped on the active driving aids, with everything from autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection to blind-spot monitoring and a relatively unobtrusive lane-keep assist. ANCAP rates it a solid five-star car with six airbags and good physical crash protection.

 

DRIVING

4 stars

TWAM 14 APRIL 2018
TWAM 14 APRIL 2018

In low-grip conditions, the V6 shines. The linear power delivery means there's no sudden surge (as with the turbo) and makes driving on greasy roads an easy task. The suspension is firmer than some rivals at city speeds without being harsh but it atones for that with decent poise on country roads.

 

HOLDEN COMMODORE RS, $38,990 drive-away, 20 points

 

VALUE

4 stars

Supplied Cars Holden Commodore RS testing at Lang Lang. Picture: Supplied.
Supplied Cars Holden Commodore RS testing at Lang Lang. Picture: Supplied.

The four-cylinder in RS spec will cost $38,990 under its long-term drive-away. Service intervals are 12 months/12,000km and the first three capped-price trips to the dealership will come to $817, or $1176 for four visits.

 

DESIGN

4 stars

There's no difference in spec between the V6 and four-cylinder. The interior styling is sharp but the presentation is fairly conservative and the plastics can't match the premium feel of some rivals. It's worth noting the wiper nozzle doesn't send enough water on to the windscreen, nor does it hit high enough.

 

Photo of comparison test between 2018 Holden Commo
Photo of comparison test between 2018 Holden Commo

ENGINE

4 stars

The 2.0-litre turbo is good for 191kW/350Nm, making for impressive performance that will see off most cars on the road, including its V6-powered predecessor. It's not as quick off the line as the sibling V6 but is every bit as responsive once under way. Unlike the V6, the turbo engine needs the more expensive 95RON fuel but uses less, with a combined claim of 7.6L/100km or 9.7L in urban driving.

 

SAFETY

4 stars

Same kit, same score from ANCAP. Its active bonnet helps protect pedestrians if they are distracted enough to walk into traffic and the autonomous emergency braking is rated to avoid a crash at up to 50km/h.

 

DRIVING

4 stars

Photo of comparison test between 2018 Holden Commo
Photo of comparison test between 2018 Holden Commo

Tugging at the steering under brisk acceleration goes with the territory in front-wheel drive cars, especially those packing the Commodore's grunt. It can still occasionally be felt, especially on takeoff with the wheels already turned, but has largely been tuned out of this car. The lower weight makes the four-cylinder less prone to bouncing the nose over speed humps.

VERDICT

Country drivers may care to pay the $3500 difference for all-wheel drive but for the majority of buyers the four-cylinder makes more sense as a daily driver.

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