Holden Commodore SV6 Z-Series Road Test
Review by Tristan Tancredi - 20 February 2013
The "Z-Series" is the latest special edition range released by the folk at Holden. Basically, the Z-Series is an upgraded and enhanced VE Series II Commodore.
Available from the base model Commodore Z-Series, to the Sporty; SV6 and SS range, the Commodore Z-Series offers physical interior and exterior upgrades, as well as multiple driving enhancements.
We took the 6-speed automatic Commodore SV6 out for a week of on-road testing. Let's find out how it went.
It's not often we get to drive large family sedans. Typically it's a small hatch one week, a mini SUV the next. So to drive the large, meaty, chunky SV6 Holden Commodore (special edition Z-Series) out of the Holden HQ in Port Melbourne, was very refreshing indeed.
The SV6 Commodore sedan is the Sports model of the Z-Series range. Packing FE3 sports-tuned suspension to improve on road handling and cornering whilst maintaining a high level of comfort. Front Brembo brakes are a perfect addition to a solid, safe, reliable driving system.
The sedan we were lucky enough to pound around for a week was a 6-speed auto with Active Select (A 6 Speed Manual is also available). Despite the pristine sports suspension and the all-too smooth on-road handling, the SV6 is a little underwhelming when planting the accelerator to the floor. The heavy sedan isn't exactly dynamite off the mark.
Nonetheless, the transmission clicks through smoothly and performs adequately, albeit, not blowing anyone's socks off.
The SV6 Z-Series commodore is a solid, safe, comfortable large family sedan that drinks about 9.8L of fuel per 100kms. Pretty reasonable fuel consumption figures, yet you can do better with an SUV.
A few added driving luxuries include; Driver-Centric Sports Instrumentation, Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel, Single Display Trip Computer, a Rear View Camera and Rear Park Assist.
The SV6 Z-Series Commodore utilises a 3.6L SIDI Direct Injection V6 as a stock standard engine. Alternatively a 3.6L Vapour Injected LPG V6 is optional however we only coasted around in the 3.6L SIDI engine for a week.
The 3.6 litre engine is the appropriate engine size to lug around the big, bulky, heavy car that is the Holden Commodore. Despite performance being a little underwhelming for a "Sports" Commodore, the engine never strains or feels under any stress.
Maximum power figures are 210kW at 6700rpm, whilst maximum torque figures are 350Nm at 2800 rpm. These figures, although impressive, are necessary to carry such a large, heavy sedan.
The engine emits a relaxed, timid noise. Not a powerful engine noise that you might expect. Rather a quiet, calm, relaxed engine note radiates throughout the cabin.
The 3.6L SIDI powered sedan rocks large 19" charcoal alloy wheels and are easier on the eye than Beyonce at the Superbowl (Maybe that's a stretch). The 19" alloys set the scene for a Sporty exterior feel which is no surprise considering the SV6 is the sport variant of the Z-Series range.
The sedan is quite the on-road presence. Combine the large stature of the vehicle, with a smooth aero-dynamic design, style lines and a mean front shape and you have yourself a head-turning, powerful looking beast.
With the car industry being overrun by the mini-SUV, the large car segment is facing an uphill battle. With 496L of boot space available, the large family sedan in this case is still a viable option.
Finally, Z-Series badges and deep-set front fog lights allow this "special" Commodore to stand out a little more than it's brothers and sisters.
The 2012 Holden Commodore range was awarded a 5-star ANCAP safety rating achieving an overall score of 33.45 out of 37.
An abundance of standard safety features deck out the 2012 Commodore including; Dual Stage Front Airbags, Curtain Airbags, Side Impact Airbags, Electronic Stability Control, ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and a Traction Control System.
Unfortunately a Tyre Sealant and air compressor unit are standard for the SV6 Z-Series Commodore, however a spare alloy wheel and tyre or a steel spare wheel and tyre are optional for the petrol variants.
Leather bolstered seating fills out the interior of the Z-Series Commodore. The front seating is wide and spacious and caters for the larger sized people amongst us quite adequately. In fact, everything seems larger and "chunkier" than usual.
A large steering wheel, large control knobs and a large front dash, the Z-Series Commodore, much like the VE model it is based on, is the typical chunky, large family sedan. There is plenty of rear seat space for the kids (Adults will also fit comfortably, if not a little snug). The boot is also deep and wide and is a very decent size for a sedan.
The folk at Holden have obviously put a lot of time and effort into perfecting space and comfort. The special edition Z-Series sedan oozes comfort and provides mountains of space. It's just a shame that the Holden IQ Satellite Navigation System couldn't live up to these high standards.
The Holden IQ System features a 6.5 inch touch screen, enhanced Bluetooth connectivity, USB, CD Ripping, Radio, iPod integration and satellite navigation. Everything works well enough, although we had a few nagging issues with the touch screen and the satellite navigation.
The touch screen locks when the car is in motion for safety purposes. This is all well and good unless of course, THERE IS A PASSENGER IN THE FRONT SEAT! It's one of my pet hates with touch screen technology that the front passenger cannot use the screen when the car is in motion. Anyway, just had to get that off my chest.
The Satellite Navigation itself was relatively poor and highly frustrating. The system had streets missing from maps, got lost (even in Melbourne CBD it was struggling to pinpoint our location) and sometimes took long, indirect routes. Combine this with a lady that says "make a legal U-turn" which actually sounds like "make illegal u-turn" and you have a pretty annoying system giving bad advice.
The Holden Commodore shares a large portion of the new car sales market. In fact, in 2012, the Holden Commodore was the third most popular passenger vehicle with 30,532 sales (A drop off from 40,617 sales in 2011).
This drop off reflects the changing landscape for the motoring industry. People are searching for alternative options, branching out to the mini-SUVs of the world.
Nonetheless, the Commodore still competes strongly in a cut-throat industry. The SV6 Z-Series Commodore is a strong, viable option for a family sedan. Check one out today!
* Prices are manufacturer list prices only, for the drive away price please contact your local authorised Holden dealer.
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