Ok so we know Holden has gone all out when it comes to the latest VFII Commodore, especially if you’re the type that just must have a V8. A 6.2-litre LS3 engine now adorns the newish front end of the 37-year-old iconic nameplate. It’s damn loud too, with a fancy Bi-modal exhaust and sound enhancer standard. But rather than jump into the more overt lunatic machines like the SS or SS V Redline we thought we’d sample the ex HSV engine in the more stately yet family friendly Holden Calais V Sportwagon.
Variant: V Sportwagon
Engine / Transmission: LS3 6.2-litre petrol V8. 6-speed automatic, RWD
Vital Stats: 304kW@6000rpm / 570Nm@4400rpm
Holden Claimed Fuel Economy: 12.9L / 100km
EFTM Claimed Fuel Economy: 16.1L/ 100km
Price: From $57,490
Wow Factor: Has to be the neck snapping, booming LS3 V8 up front. Day to day driving is a comfortable affair, there’s no neck breaking ultra-low sports suspension nor is it an overly edgy performance car. But plant the foot and the sleeker but still modest-looking station wagon takes off like something NASA sends into the atmosphere. The sounds is addictive, to steal a line from a well-known breakfast cereal it is snap, crackle and pops all round.
Most Impressive: The VF has always been a well-rounded car. The VFII introduces subtle design changes that improve aerodynamics and handling. To be honest in wagon-mode you’d need to be a real Commodore spotter to pick up on the Series II effort, the rear end is largely the same aside from new LED tail lamps. But inside it’s as comfy has your granny’s armchair, with plenty of space and perfectly acceptable levels of fit and finish. Holden’s MyLink system is one of the better ones, there’s a Head up Display and good levels of driver assistance technology. Lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and collision warnings are handy but don’t actually intervene like other systems around.
Least Impressive: In V8 form you’d have to be the sort of person that doesn’t give a rats about fuel bills. Given the nature of what’s up front, heavy throttle application is virtually like a drug, once hooked there’s no turning back.
The Sweeping Statement: This is the most understated, yet explosive station wagon I’ve ever driven. But the question remains, why? Why would you buy one? I think I know, there’s literally nothing around like it.