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Well... I pulled the pin

Discussion in 'ZB Holden Commodore (2018)' started by holomatrix, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. holomatrix

    holomatrix Member

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    After over a decade of VE, VF and VFII Calais-V I have had one of the new Abalone White 4x4 sedans in my driveway (work car) for 4 days now.

    I spent equal time in the 2lt Turbo and 3.6Lt models before deciding, and I have to say both are actually better than the outgoing 3.6 SIDI - certainly better than I expected.

    Bad points:
    1. The Drive reviewer who talks about rattles above or behind the instrument cluster is dead on. Both models I tested AND the new one sent to me on the 7th have the same clicky rattles. For the one I now have in the driveway, I have started a process of removing the binacle and HUD cowling and putting some thin foam tape under them which helps with the outward creaks, but I suspect there are wiring harness/es underneath the main dash section that are not properly wrapped, cushioned or routed too close to the top of the dash.
    2. A rattle against the inside of the front drivers quarter panel that I tracked down to a poorly installed right blinker light. There was nothing wrapping the wires leading to the light (but on the passenger side there was black foam tape and a cable tie). Pretty poor form for what is essentially the mirror of the same part to be installed differently?
    3. The fracking stop/start BS. The fact that the dealer techs can't seem to set it to default as off in the software, such that I have to turn it off EVERY damn time I start the car.
    4. The parking sensors turn on WHENEVER the car drops below 7kph... even when coasting along in traffic. The number of times it has scared the bejesus out of me this week by going off as a car comes up behind me at the lights is sufficient to really P%$$ me off!. WTF?
    5. That the Bose Subwoofer takes up the spare tyre bay, meaning no space for even a crappy space saver. Am going to investigate how I can move the speaker... but that is for another weekend.
    6. The cupholders are too far forward and make it hard to get a normal cup of coffee in and out. You have to lean forward and be really careful about getting the cup in and out. They could have left cupholders in the area just in front of the between seats cubby (and moved the square storage bin forward of the tranny instead?)
    7. The odd plastic surrounds for the liftgate window that make the viewing space so small. The plastics bulge out way further than they need to (after removing one to see... i honestly believe you could re-engineer these plastic surrounds to be about 3 inches smaller on each side and not affect any of the things running down the inside of the liftgate.

    Good points:
    1. The flexride system... that I can have sports mode transmission settings and steering but have comfort suspension for the passengers. I likes that.
    2. The grip in the 4x4 system. Have tried it on wet slick roads AND on a section where a truck had had an accident and dumped oil/diesel everywhere. not a single slip or traction issue.
    3. I managed to fool one of my colleagues into thinking the 2lt turbo model was a 3.6lt V6... it was good enough that he, a sworn card carrying member of the V8 fan club... didn't realise until I showed him (hahahah! :) )
    4. The heads up display issues with slight blur and wobble in the VF and VFII are completely resolved. They have changed the projection angle just enough to ensure that there is no double-halo effect on the windshield and in doing almost 6000kms in three units I failed to spot the wobble I have become used to seeing in our two VFs.
    5. The lumbar support moves up and down as well as in and out... nice touch.

    Something to watch out for.

    We had to return one of the test cars immediately as it had the completely wrong tranny. It was meant to have a 9speed but somehow at factory had been installed with an 8speed. It seems that the factory is making about 35 different base specifications (engine/tranny/suspension) for markets in US, Canada, UK, Mainland Europe and Australasia. Somehow the unit in question was badged and software installed as an Australasian (holden) model but the underlying subframe model (engine/tranny/suspension) was one specific only to Vauxhall UK (they get a 2lt Turbo unit specced to our Calais 3.6 level... and a 2lt turbo GSi model specced to our Calais-V level). How the hell did a mistake that big get through QC at factory, AND Holden when it landed here?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  2. holomatrix

    holomatrix Member

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    I'll upload more pics as time permits over the next few days :)
    Note that the Nav system thought a 100kph motorway was only 70kph. D'oh!
     

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    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  3. VT&VX

    VT&VX Active Member

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    Holomatrix
    Good info
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  4. hingo1983

    hingo1983 Member

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    Good to see a write up from someone who has one. Never noticed an issues with the heads up in my VF CalaisV.

    Seems like a good car but I’m not sold on its styling. It looks good from certain angles and not good from others. I dont think the interior is anywhere near as nice as the VF.

    That being said, I think the hatchback could be handy and I enjoy the punchy feeling of a Turbo. I think by the time I look for a replacement for my VF the Commodore nameplate will be long gone.

    That transmission screw up is almost beyond belief.
     
  5. Voodoo_SV6

    Voodoo_SV6 Active Member

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    Agreed that it's good to see real a world write up from a long term Commodore driver.

    I drove a base model 2.0T wagon and felt very uninspired by all of it. The motor was impressive for what it was but did not feel like any of the car had character. Boring as drive and front wheel drive and felt like it.
     
  6. holomatrix

    holomatrix Member

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    I think the biggest issue is that if you drive one without the flexride (the non-flexrides are pretty much Normal mode for flexride as best as I could tell from testing them)... or you drive one WITH flexride but in NORMAL or TOURING mode... it feels like an awful car to drive. Normal mode makes the steering wheel seem to 'freeplay'? there is no resistance, no feedback of any kind and therefore feels like no connection between the road and car, and car and driver. In sports mode you get some resistance and feedback but the suspension hits every bounce in the road head-on and passengers complain that the ride becomes too rough. Hence why I find that being able to use the touchscreen to set the flexride in sports mode for steering and transmission, and comfort mode for the suspension was the best of both worlds. I don't think I could ever be enticed to own or drive a non-4x4 non-flexride model myself... at all. If it wasn't a work car I might not have chosen this one even.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
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  7. cashie

    cashie Active Member

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    Good write up.
    So what model/spec did you buy (still getting my head around these)?

    Edit—> looking at the pic I’m guessing it’s the Calais V V6.
    For the cost of this thing the issues you’ve already identified (rattles etc) are very dissapointing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  8. holomatrix

    holomatrix Member

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    Yes... you are correct on both accounts.

    You will note that I also had the VXR's (OPC) side and front skirts colour-coded and installed as well. The rolled skirtless bottom of the base commodores and Calais just looked too... plain?
     
  9. Smitty

    Smitty Well-Known Member

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    .. nothing new here re Opel build quality

    I have driven various in both Europe (Germany, Belgium etc)
    and here in the past 20 months or so

    and frankly it is a disgrace... bad paint, body gaps just bad, out of place
    interior bits, rattles .. the above is not unexpected
    VF II is/was 200% better than what is coming into the country

    and they want to sell ZB against Mazda6, Camry, Kia etc
    yeah... good luck
     
  10. cashie

    cashie Active Member

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    Funny you say that and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, I think the Camry is going to be a far better buyer option than the Commodore. Good engine choices (V6 and Hybrid), Lexus looks, good spec and decent pricing. I even think I could own a Camry SX V6.
     
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  11. holomatrix

    holomatrix Member

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    While their V6 isn't bad, I don't like the Toy-mota offerings any better (and lets face it... paying more for a Toy-mota in a Lexus badge isn't much better). I have never liked the Mazda cars either (multiple models all with the same gutless inefficient engine? what gives?) however after seeing one of the new variable compression engines in operation... as long as reliability is solid, I think the 2019-2020 Mazda offerings with Skyactiv-X Variable Compression will be tough for these Opelodores to beat.
     
  12. commodore665

    commodore665 expat Saffa

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    I had a look at a 2005 Toyota Crown 4.3 V8 recently 110000 on the clock , looked like new in and out , same engine as the Lexus , same specification as a Lexus too , I think cars like Toyota and Nissan might be a better option
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  13. Smitty

    Smitty Well-Known Member

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    am down to test drive the new Camry (2.5 na) next week.. so I will have a good comparison
     
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  14. Smitty

    Smitty Well-Known Member

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    tough yes... but the Mazda has a premium pricing problem
    yes, the cheapest $32490* is less than cheapest ZB but is so short of
    features compared to the Holden, the cheaper Mazda is to be avoided imo

    Mazda are pushing their mid range GT .. at $46k* that is exxie
    compared to the ZB Calais

    Having said that, the Mazda still has a CD player but no USB music
    connection where as ZB has the USB but no CD player. Whatever ...

    * all prices EXCLUDE on roads
     
  15. Skydrol

    Skydrol Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, at this point in time, who listen to CDs? On my Pontiac G8 (VE) I hardly use the CDs, most of the time I play what is on my phone using the AUX port.

    I have a 2016 Chevy Colorado and does not have a CD Player. We are happy with the streaming from the phone via Blutooth. Not sure if the ZB comes with the Mirroring feature but on the Colorado, you can mirror your phone. The Phone (on my case Google Maps/Drive) works wonder and there is no need to spend the extra coin for the Sat Nav.

    We got the same care on the US as a Buick. A co-worker of mine has the 4Cly Turbo, he say is peppy but as any FWD, is the work of the devil. Still a far cry from the Aussie build Holden.
     
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  16. stockies

    stockies Bannana

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    Not going to get caught in the "its not a Holden debate"

    But about the stop/start system - if its similar to the other euro systems VW/AUDI/BMW/Merc - on the negative terminal of the batteery there will be a small waterproof 2 pin plug. Disconnect this and the system will be disabled and just the little icon will show when the vehicle is stopped.
     
  17. Brettly-2008

    Brettly-2008 Active Member

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    I had look at the full ZB range over the weekend (except for Calais). I could easily have had a test drive of any of them but I just didn't really care enough to take them up on the offer. I actually left with no real feeling either way whether I liked them or not. As a car there's nothing wrong with it but it doesn't really stir any emotion or come across as a fun or interesting car to own. After looking at ZB I went into the second hand section and instantly wanted a second hand 6.0l VF Calais much more!

    I will give ZB credit in a few areas, the OP's image of the VXR instruments look decent, more appealing that VF in my view. The dash has soft-touch materials from top to bottom, something no Commodore has ever had. The VXR also has real stainless steel exhaust exits in the bumper. A small thing but maybe it's a sign of attention to detail in other areas of the car, dunno?
     
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  18. cashie

    cashie Active Member

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    Keen to read your thoughts after the test drive.
    From what I’ve read though the hybrid is worth the extra over the base 2.5.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  19. LMF 17

    LMF 17 Active Member

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    We should get our first new model Camry Hybrid soon. Bit disappointed that we’re now getting base models, no climate and no electric seat. Has got more safety features though. In the just replaced Aussie model we had both Hybrids and non hybrid Camry’s and I have driven them a lot on various types of roads. IMO the Hybrid was the better vehicle hands down, more acceleration and handled better, maybe the battery pack over the rear axle helped this. Looking forward to testing the new one as I believe the battery has changed locations and is lighter.
     
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  20. Pablito

    Pablito Active Member

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    That's why for car enthusiasts who are into commodores it's so difficult to consider this thing a commodore. Holden have literally gone from the best commodore ever to the worst (from a performance and excitement factor perspective). It's so vanilla, as you said, it doesn't stir any emotion and is just a car. Nothing exciting about it at all.
     
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