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Matt's ZB RS-V wagon long term review

Discussion in 'ZB Holden Commodore (2018)' started by MattSAU2XR8, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. MattSAU2XR8

    MattSAU2XR8 Active Member

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    Hope no-one minds an extra thread. Figured that over the next few years other members may be considering a ZB V6 so if its OK I'll just detail what I bought and why, and then update it every 3 to 6 months right through to when I sell it, likely in about 5 years. Things like economy, any problems that occur, any mods I do, if I remain pleased with my purchase decision.

    My previous car which I'll be selling soon is a VE SS with Pedders, Koni's, Brembo's and Simmons. I've enjoyed the SS but it is thirsty around town, and I'm presently time poor so no longer keen on doing the occasional radiator or swaybar bush. If they were still being made I would probably have ended up an an SV6 or XR6 since I couldn't afford/justify a Redline.

    I'd therefore gone looking for either an RS V6 sedan (best bang for buck but polarising styling) or an RS wagon (very practical and suprisingly pleasant and quick in spite of a little torque steer) or an RS-V wagon (a lot of extra comfort and bling for not much more money at present).

    I ended up test driving:
    - LT diesel hatch which was obviously not that quick, only real application I can see is if you wanted a large and simple and comfortable but not very fast car with a small fuel bill, perhaps lived in the country and drove long distances with a handful of kids for example... An alternative to a 2.5 litre Camry in wagon form I suppose.
    - LT 4T wagon which was surprisingly quick, although there was a lot of unintentional Turanza smoke. I can't help but think that if one just wanted to get around in a comfortable and good looking modern car for minimal dollars an RS 4T wagon would be a good deal. Certainly better than an Elantra Turbo which asks similar money. And the Conti's would probably work better than the Turanzas. Wagon looks a lot better proportioned than the sedan to me, particularly in silver for the RS.
    - An RS V6 hatch which did not accelerate noticeably harder than the 4T but definitely steered better with the benefit of AWD. Hatches seem to look best in red or charcoal, although I don't really like red myself
    - An RS-V wagon which I bought, a lot of car for the money I paid which was $33200 with 8000 kms, 4.5 years warranty remaining, and first service to be done before I pick it up. That said I probably would have been happy with an RS wagon, just couldn't find one that was as good a deal. For some reason RS-V wagons seem to look good in most colours, maybe the wheels and extra chrome trims?

    Things I like about the car so far:
    - It's a lot of car for the money. No-one else does 200+ KW, AWD, leather etc. for this sort of money
    - Although it is a little smaller than a VF for example, it is a lot more modern inside, and feels 'newer' and quieter and stiffer
    - Wagons seem to cost the same as hatches in the demo market, so more space for free
    - The green tinted glass goes well with the white paint, a bit of a 70's look :)
    - Having driven a few VFs as near new hire cars I think this one is certainly quicker than a VF SV6, and makes less noise and vibration while doing so, although obviously nowhere near as quick as an SS in a straight line
    - Not putting VFs down though, just a different car - bigger, simpler, probably better for long trips on rough roads with large passengers. If I had more money I'd buy a 6.2 litre VF Redline...
    - At least overseas, the Insignia is actually supposed to be at the top of the reliability tree, so it may be that in a year or two ZBs become quite popular, as per the Ecoboost Falcons

    Things to be aware of:
    - Cabin and seats clearly not as wide as the VF, so if you and your mates are all rugby players it might feel like an I30
    - The rear seats are supposed to have similar legroom to the VE and VF, but the seat is lower and shorter, so if you have long legs they will not sit well on the seats, although kids would be fine
    - And in the hatches my head is touching the roof lining and I'm only 5'11"
    - The luggage space is clearly smaller in all dimensions
    - A lot of articles seem to mention that the V6 has peak torque at fairly high RPM and that it feels laggy. I'll keep an eye out for this but I didn't really get the impression the car lacked much of anything. Maybe its more a case of just not being much faster in a straight line than the L4 due to the larger engine and AWD system.
    - The exhaust note is a little raspy as compared to the 4T which doesn't really make much noise at all, not noisy enough to put me off buying it, but not a selling point really
    - Not sure how the economy will turn out. Expect it to use more fuel that the 4T, but then it uses 91 octane where the 4T needs 98
    - Some RSV wagons seem to have space savers and others have a compressor and can of goo. I made sure mine had the space saver since I can always buy a compressor and can of goo for under $50... Good luck finding a space saver for $50.
    - Not sure how reliable all the complicated bits under the car (electric power steering, AWD system) will prove to be, but have 4.5 years warranty coverage at present. I suspect the mechanical bits will be OK if not abused as they are in fact rarely loaded - it runs in FWD most of the time.
    - Depreciation could be an issue, but then it has already depreciated a fair bit so not as far left to fall
    - No cheap Brembos on Ebay as per the VE/VF series
    - Less aftermarket parts in general at present, eg. no DBA or RDA discs that I can find, and can only get front pads from Bendix. Also no shocks as yet on ebay. I suspect the aftermarket will catch up eventually though. And could probably get things like brake pads by ordering Insignia parts from UK or USA. Never going to be as bad a a grey import, eg. R33/34 Skyline

    Only one pic for now, but heaps available on carsales anyway...

    Was going to post a pic but server says my 2.55 MB pic exceeds the 5 MB limit
     
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  2. Badgerdog

    Badgerdog Active Member

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    Nice write-up Matt. Keep them coming.
     
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  3. Pablito

    Pablito Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on the purchase mate. Lot of car for the money.
     
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  4. dgp

    dgp Well-Known Member

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    Well written MATT, I will be interested to hear how your wagon performs over the coming years.
     
  5. VS 5.0

    VS 5.0 Well-Known Member

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    Try using a hosting site like Imgur.
     
  6. MattSAU2XR8

    MattSAU2XR8 Active Member

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    Been reading up a bit more on kerb weights and fuel economy and relative power of 4T and V6 cars and compared to older cars

    As far as weights go:
    - RS sedan at 1535 and RS wagon at 1573
    - RSV sedan at 1672 (same for RS V6 per Carsales) and RSV wagon at 1705
    - VXR sedan at 1737

    So at least in the affordable models a wagon only adds about 40 kg where going from 4T to V6 AWD adds about 140 kg

    Then looking at power to weight at extremes of specification:
    - RS sedan has 8.03 kg/kw and 4.38 kg/NM
    - RS wagon has 8.2 kg/kw and 4.49 kg/NM
    - RSV sedan has 7.11 kg/kw and 4.40 kg/NM
    - RSV wagon has 7.25kg/kw at 4.48 kg/NM (10 % better power to weight but 3 % low torque to weight than RS sedan)
    - VXR has the least power to weight of the V6's at 7.39 kg/kw

    So based on the above, and knowing that current turbo engines have a broader torque curve, i.e. closer to peak torque at low revs, it seems fair to assume that the V6's won't feel any punchier at all than the L4s below about 3500 rpm, i.e. day to day driving, but if kept at high revs will then probably have about 10 % better acceleration from there on. So one might notice some difference overtaking on a country road for example. Probably part the reason some police services use the L4s for general duties and the V6 for HWP, although AWD would probably aid high speed handling on wet roads also.

    A few other comparisons:
    - VF SV6 has kerb weight around 1685 and 210 kw and 350 NM so 8.02 kg/kw and 4.81 kg/NM. Note the torgue is lower than ZB V6 (350 vs 380) but peaks at 2800 vs 5300 rpm, although it could be that both have about 350 NM at around 2800 rpm...
    - VE SS 2007 (mine) had 270 KW (or a little more) and and 510 NM and 1785 kg so 6.1 kg/kw and 3.5 kg/NM

    So at the end of the day I think none of the ZBs is really going to be remembered as a performance car, particularly when compared to Redlines, Stingers, XR6 turbos. Although nor could they be described as slow. In real terms most of them would probably perform pretty similarly to a VF SV6 if the latter also had Conti's, and the small differences would be:
    - ZB is a bit smaller physically, and lighter in L4 but not V6 variants
    - 4Ts will be more economical at the cost of a little torque steer, which is probably annoying for about 3 minutes each week, and not present for the rest of the week
    - V6's will probably use similar fuel to the VF but steer better
    - An old V8 will smoke all of them convincingly so only buy a ZB for comfort, warranty, newness etc..

    Sorry about all the calculations, I think I'm missing the SS in advance :-(
     
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  7. commodore665

    commodore665 expat Saffa

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    good write up , people I've spoken to who have bought them , are happy with them , much of the points are ones you've brought up , one chap who has the VXR says his only gripe is that it rides a bit firm , but that it is head and shoulders above his VF SV6 . Keep up the on going reports
     
  8. StrayKiwi

    StrayKiwi Active Member

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    After being driven for a couple of hours cross country in a mates VF2 SV6 I agree about the VXR's ride, but the active dampers do a pretty good job of smoothing things out considering it rides on 20"s. If you want a plush ride don't buy a VXR, buy a Calais Tourer.
     
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  9. Badgerdog

    Badgerdog Active Member

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    Yes the dealer tells me the Calais V Tourer with 50 profile tyres and 18 mm higher ride height has a very posh ride.

    Good weight and torque calculations Matt. In my experience there is zero torque steer in the 4 cyl ZB Commodores and with their relatively light weight they're a real pleasure to drive.

    Power to weight and torque to weight tell a big part of the story but don't overlook the efficiency of the superb new 9 speed auto box which is a real peach and means in real world driving conditions the engine is always in the sweet spot for the work being requested from it.
    The speed and smoothness of gearchanges is also something that has to be experienced to be believed.
    Light years ahead of the GM 6 speed box and in another universe compared to 4 speed auto boxes of a bygone era.
     
  10. Brettly-2008

    Brettly-2008 Active Member

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    You lost 20Nm of torque modifying your VE? S1 L98s are all quoted at 530Nm.
     
  11. MattSAU2XR8

    MattSAU2XR8 Active Member

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    My bad...

    Should actually have a tiny bit more than pre-AFM stock levels too since has a big CAI properly boxed in and a stainless midsection in the exhaust with an x-pipe. At any rate it would smoke the RSV :-( On the other hand knowing that I can just get the RSV serviced every 12 kkms, probably buy a set of tyres and brake pads somewhere along the way, and then sell it under warranty in 4 years is a big plus :)
     
  12. MattSAU2XR8

    MattSAU2XR8 Active Member

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    Just picked the car up today and very pleased! So much car for a reasonable price.

    Much quieter and smoother and easier to drive then the SS - think Mazda 3 with a bigger engine. Engine stop (eg. at lights) seems silly but very easy to turn off with button next to shifter. No poking around in menus on the screen for example. Speaking of engine stop, I can also start it remotely, eg. to cool it down on a hot day.

    Driving home had the opportunity to accelerate properly around a corner and felt the AWD kicking in - obviously produces some yaw as felt like the car was stepping out in a controlled manner. Hard to resist the urge to countersteer. Gear changes all but imperceptible most of the time.

    Brakes obviously not as good as the VE (Brembos with Bendix Ultimtes) but still as good as an SV6. I suspect a set of Bendix Ultimate would help here - although I might just wait and see for a bit, am enjoying the wheels being silver for now. Good to know if anyone can recommend pads that are noticeably grippier than stock but don't make a carp load of dust....

    Seats and driving position very good. HUD is great - can have it sitting just below horizon and check speed without taking eyes off the road, and its very large and clear. Climate control is something I've been missing - just set it once on day of purchase and forget about it :) Bluetooth and sat nav also very good.

    Accessories wise all I've added so far is a set of deep dish rubber floor mats for $30 (front and rear) from Supercheap. These trimmed up easily to fit almost as well as tailored carpet mats and have the advantages of actually containing dirt rather than having it migrate under the mat, and being grippy both sides so they are unlikely to migrate even without clipping onto factory lugs, and also making it easier to keep one's foot in position.

    Presently on the lookout for a cover for just the driver's seat, since this is the only one likely to wear during my ownership.
     
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  13. MattSAU2XR8

    MattSAU2XR8 Active Member

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    Oh, and as regards the V6 vs 4T for driveability. I tend to agree that the 4T felt snappier, probably because the turbo starts boosting at low revs and really does seem to go nuts and want to chew up the front tyres - quite amusing. If they made a 4T AWD wagon I'd be tempted, and if they made for example a 4T 2.3 litre version with 235 KW and same spread of torgue as the 2 litre version this would clearly be a fantastic engine - but then we're talking about a Focus RS type powertrain so it should be. As it stands I think the V6 does accelerate just as hard down low, but makes SLIGHTLY more nose and vibration as it does so, which makes one less likely to boot it without noticing what's happening. Given in my case I enjoy driving, for me at least V6 and AWD is at least as good as 4T and FWD, mostly due to the benefit of AWD outweighing the silent and effortless grunt of the 4T.
     
  14. Badgerdog

    Badgerdog Active Member

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    Congrats Matt,
    Yeah that little 2.0 is a belter and super smooth.
    V6 goes well too.
     
  15. StrayKiwi

    StrayKiwi Active Member

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    I think ultimately the V6 will be quietly binned and Holden will only offer 4Ts. Had they offered the 4T engine with AWD I doubt many people would have gone for the V6 at all, myself included.
     
  16. MattSAU2XR8

    MattSAU2XR8 Active Member

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    Probably not I agree. Although I still think the V6 isn't a bad engine. The Yanks seem to be giving it good reviews in Camaro's recently, although admittedly they are lighter cars. Car and Driver seemed to prefer the V6 inteh Camaro to the 2.3 Ecoboost the Mustang...

    https://www.caranddriver.com/review...s-2016-ford-mustang-ecoboost-comparison-test/

    And some good reviews for the Buick Regal GS, which is like yours but with (possibly) softer suspension...

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/03/bui...llar-value-but-dont-expect-the-best-ride.html
     
  17. Smashfist

    Smashfist Active Member

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    My experience showed otherwise. I drove a 2L ZB for a couple of months when I was back in dealer land. Geez those things get up and go in the mid-range for a little 4-pot but torque steer was very noticeable.
     
  18. figjam

    figjam Donating Member

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    I like your write-up, not one mention of cup holders and stupid electronic driver aids.
    I have had one (1) look at a V6 tourer. The sales people would/could not tell me much about the AWD.
    It is FWD basically and then on-demand-AWD ? Not constant AWD like Adventra and early Territorys ?
     
  19. StrayKiwi

    StrayKiwi Active Member

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    Definitely on demand, but if you believe the spin, it's supposed to be pre-emptive rather than reactive as it reads a ton of different sensors as well as just wheel slip to determine when to activate the rear drive unit.
    https://www.autoevolution.com/news/...nster-torque-vectoring-awd-system-114532.html
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
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    tuckerbag Active Member

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