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my new ZB Calais experience

Discussion in 'ZB Holden Commodore (2018)' started by Stevezb, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. Stevezb

    Stevezb New Member

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    Hi Everyone, I just wanted to share my experience on purchasing and owning a brand new ZB Calais.

    Purchased on the 8th November 2019, it was sold to me from Parramatta Holden as an un-driven demo. I`m not sure what that means by the way!

    It`s the 2.0L turbo motor model. Having owned many many commodores over the past 30 years, from a VH to a VZ, I initially dismissed the ZB and never intended considering owning one. That all changed when while on holidays I hired a mid -sized car from Budget and they presented me with a base model ZB. I didn`t know anything about it at the time, except for the fact it was not made in Aus and was possibly front wheel drive.

    After driving it for a day, I thought to myself wow this car is really good. Super easy to drive, quiet, smooth, and amazing torque from the engine at low or any speed, as I only had to touch the accelerator lightly for good acceleration. The car was fully loaded with all our holiday gear and 3 of us as well.

    For me to be impressed with a cars acceleration it has to be pretty good as my daily driver at the time was a 2015 XR8 with the supercharged 5.0 litre engine.

    After driving the ZB on the Gold Coast for a few days, I decided to pop the bonnet and see what was there. I was surprised to find a turbocharged 4 cylinder engine. There was no lag at all, it chirps the tyres off the mark and struggles for grip most the way through first with a light load. Amazing I thought. I then checked the specs of the engine and found that it is a bit of a hottie. Partial sodium filled exhaust valves, twin-scroll turbocharger and air to air intercooler. Rated at 350 nm of torque at 3000 rpm, but it feels strong chirping the wheels right off idle. Wikipedia says its actually 400nm but that would be more than the V6 so they wrote it down to 350nm to keep the V6 as their “flagship engine”. The V6 makes 381NM much later in the rev range.

    So before making the purchase of the “Calais turbo” I hired a 2018 RS model with the V6 from Budget, to see how I liked it. My initial thoughts are geez it`s jumpy off the mark. Just a touch and you feel like its giving you half throttle. After the initial unexpected jump in the first couple of hundred revs off idle, it felt pretty normal. It felt like the jump off the mark could be fixed with a tweak of the engine tune. So getting back to the “feeling pretty normal” the low - mid range torque is not really there. This engine needs to be revved for anything more than pussy footing around town. Having said that, it`s a very free spinning engine so you don`t have to try very hard to get there, but it`s nothing like the torque you have at your disposal all of the time like the 2.0 turbo. The turbo keeps on revving out like the V6 but the V6 has more go up higher in the rev range and is more fun when you are giving it some. It really depends what you like, I just wish the four pot came with all wheel drive like the V6. I`m hoping they will in a future model as I believe its available OS.

    So all in all it`s not really a commodore, it`s an Opel Insignia badged as a Commodore or a Buick Regal in the U.S. But it is a great car to drive.


    So having now owned it for 3 weeks, it has a few issues.

    1) slight whine like a “differential noise” between 42 and 48 kms/hour

    2) ticking noise at idle

    3) start stop not working (hasn`t stopped once yet)

    4) At higher speeds has a slight roughness, like a wheel is out of balance.


    After alerting the service department at Parramatta Holden, they were more than happy to book it in asap. Only problem was they had no loan cars until early January. I didn`t really want to wait another 5 weeks to have it looked at, so I called Holden Customer Service. After describing the issues they seemed helpful and they said they will get back to me after hopefully approving a rental loan car at their cost. So I`m hoping for good news on that and will keep you all posted. A nice pleasant experience, and my car sorted in one visit would be nice. We will see……
     
    wetwork65 and Lex like this.
  2. Anthony121

    Anthony121 Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up. I was lucky to first drive one for a whole week in December 2017 and really liked the RS 2.0 litre engine. I have driven both the 4cyl and V6 and like the 4Cyl. People should really give these cars a go as they are really refined to drive. Much better than the old VS, VT and probably the VE's that were produced in Australia.
     
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  3. kos

    kos Member

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    Keep posting on this car Steve. Most people here have the v6 so it is interesting to get your perspective on the Zb 4.
    What is your fuel use? Did you get the rioja red colour? How is the driver seat for comfort?
     
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  4. Badgerdog

    Badgerdog Active Member

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    Nice write-up Steve. My first Calais V had a major issue I've already posted about which resulted in me having a 2.0 LT loan car for 7 weeks while I awaited a replacement new Calais V with the V6. Having driven a loaner LT for 7 weeks and feeling quite free to explore its full potential and back in my new V6 Calais V for over 9 months now I kind of miss the 2.0 engine a bit to be honest.
    Its certainly a very sweet and willing motor and revs very freely and smoothly right out to the redline without complaint.
    They run 95 octane but they go a bit harder, (like most turbo motors) on 98 Octane.

    I've also had the supercharged Miami motor in my formerly owned FPV GT-P and had a slight tweak to make about 400 kw's and that was a very exciting car to drive, so when both you and I acknowledge the 2.0 turbo is a good strong motor that's got to be saying something !

    I was very impressed with the smoothness and willingness of the 2.0 and its a high tech engine with a lot of forged components and a little known fact is its making just over 20 pounds of boost so its quite a "belter". The lighter 4 cyl powered Commodores are certainly no slouch when it comes to performance, in fact I think many people would be very surprised. That said, try one out with a couple of your mates in the car, (which even's out the weight difference between 2.0 and V6 cars), and they're not as impressive then so I think the real key to their performance is the lighter weight, which depending upon the model is about 200 kg's from VXR down to LT. I also found the LT about 15-20% more fuel efficient for anyone who cares about that sort of thing.

    I would very happily own a 2.0 Commodore if they made one with all the technology and equipment that's in the higher spec Calais V model.
    Yes the V6 is a bit touchy on the throttle but you learn to adapt. I understand its both port and direct injected which may be the reason. No its doesn't have the spread of torque of the 2.0 turbo but I think its makes more than adequate torque for normal driving around town and being a 9 speed auto there's always exactly the right gear for any given power request and when you want to "get up it" on the open road the 235 kw's gives it a little bit more sparkle than the 2.0 right up the top, (but there's not much in it).

    People should definitely try both the 4 cyl and V6 engines.
     
  5. VFRDLN

    VFRDLN Member

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    The guys on the Buick pages often mention they would like the V6 and 9spd in their TourX's as they lack a bit of grunt but this may be a case of 4 is a nicer engine for the FWD and the 6 better suited to the AWD. I haven't driven a 4cyl but would of bought a 6 regardless as I prefer the simplicity of a non turbo engine. We are the only market that gets the V6 AWD so you have to wonder why GM would spend all that money just for us.
     
  6. benny66

    benny66 Benno

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    The Tourx is sold as a 4 cylinder AWD in the USA. Its just a matter of swapping the engine to the V6 and also the transmission to the 9 speed. The same way they swap with the sports back. Opel when manufacturing have all the combinations in place. GM have not gone out of their way. If Opel did not offer the V6 option already there is no way they would make a special model for such a small market as Australia
     
  7. StrayKiwi

    StrayKiwi Active Member

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    Because Holden insisted on it and offered to assist in the engineering R&D required to convert to RHD. The North American market gets the V6 as well obviously.
     
  8. Stevezb

    Stevezb New Member

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    Hi Kos, fuel seems to be a bit high. around 11-12 L/100 around town and 8 on the freeway. Im thinking this is because its brand new and needs to free up a bit. Seat is super comfy and supportive, and loving the heated seats. Its White!
     
  9. benny66

    benny66 Benno

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    But the Tourx is not available in the USA is it?
     
  10. StrayKiwi

    StrayKiwi Active Member

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  11. benny66

    benny66 Benno

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    Sorry, I meant the TourX is the USA does not come with the V6 only the Turbo 4. We are talking about how Australia has has the V6 but the USA has the Turbo 4 in the TourX
     
  12. Badgerdog

    Badgerdog Active Member

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    Cars guide reports Calais V V6 = 1726 kg's
    Calais 2.0 1535 kg's
    191 kg's difference. Put 2 guys weighing 191 kg's in total in a Calais 2.0 and the shine goes right off the performance.
    Extra weight will be mostly the engine I would think.
     
  13. benny66

    benny66 Benno

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    Yes. The V6 Toyota Camry is the same. A very light weight car and the power to weight is good. Put 5 guys weighing 90 KG in the car and it drives like a tank. I can speak from experience from my previous V6 Camry. Every time I loaded up the car I would really notice it. With the ZB Tourer I load up the car with the boys going to golf and the cargo bay with the clubs and can still thrill the boys with a nice take off!
     

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