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New-gen Holden Commodore revealed

The covers come off the imported, European-designed 2018 Holden Commodore

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Holden logo7 Dec 2016

HERE it is. Holden’s long-anticipated next-generation Commodore, which was designed in Europe and will be fully imported when it launches here in 2018, has emerged with the sleek liftback styling of the Opel Insignia on which it is based.

Charged with taking the decades-old nameplate into a new era, the Commodore’s unveiling follows a series of leaked images hitting the internet yesterday showing the European Insignia in liftback and Sportwagon body styles without camouflage.

Despite the leak, Holden is yet to release images of the Sportwagon variant wearing a lion badge.

Expected to make its public debut with Opel badges at the Geneva motor show in March, the next-generation ‘NG’ Commodore will hit Australian showrooms in February 2018, following the closure late next year of Holden’s Elizabeth factory in South Australia, where the current VF Commodore and derivatives are built.

The first imported model to wear the Commodore badge since it was introduced in 1978, the liftback shown here was designed in Germany by Opel stylists, with some input from the GM Design Australia team based at Holden headquarters in Port Melbourne.

As expected, the sleek new Commodore has a low stance and a coupe-like silhouette, aided by the liftback body style.

At the front end, the Commodore has specific design cues – including the LED daytime running light signature and low-positioned grille – that have already featured on new GM product such as the Astra hatch, Buick LaCrosse mid-size sedan and the striking Buick Avista coupe concept from the Detroit motor show last January.

Its designers have also clearly taken inspiration from the Opel Monza concept from 2013 that was developed to preview future Opel design.

The model shown in the images released today appears to be a high-end variant with large alloy wheels, chrome doorhandles and other chrome flourishes on the foglight housing and door frames.

At the rear, the LED tail-light cluster has a family resemblance and follows the look of the Opel-sourced Astra hatch that arrived in Australia last month.

Holden appears to have shifted away from the ‘Sportback’ moniker it was considering for the liftback version (and which is also used by Audi), describing it in a press release simply as the Liftback. The Sportwagon name will be retained for the wagon.

Inside, the cabin is designed around a series or horizontal lines, which Holden says enhances “the feeling of elegant lightness and of space,” while soft-touch materials and modern surfaces aim to give the car a high-end feel.

The Commodore follows the Astra in offering a frameless touchscreen for the infotainment system, which also houses a number of other vehicle functions.

Holden says the “cutting-edge” next-generation car will be the “most advanced Commodore ever” thanks to the inclusion of the latest connectivity and active safety technology.

Some of the safety gear that will feature on the NG Commodore includes autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, side blind-spot alert and a 360-degree camera.

Comfort and convenience features also move up a notch with equipment such as front seats with heating, ventilation and massaging functions, heated rear seats, one-touch folding seats in the second row, auto up/down power windows, a powered tailgate on the wagon and ‘active noise cancellation’.

The new Commodore will also be offered with an 8.0-inch configurable LCD instrument cluster, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a new-generation head-up display and optional LED Matrix headlights that are also offered on the Astra.

GM Holden executive director of sales Peter Keley said the additional technology would ensure buyers are drawn to the new Commodore.

“Customers are expecting more of their vehicles than ever before,” he said.

“The all-new 2018 Commodore redefines the level of technology people can expect, and how it can help our customers be safer, more involved and more connected than ever before.

“The Commodore combines technology across a number of areas in a way that you would usually only find in high-end prestige vehicles and makes it available for everyday Australians. This is a car that ticks all the boxes and more.”As previously reported, the flagship variant will be powered by a V6 petrol engine – a development of the powerplant in the existing Commodore – delivering 230kW and 370Nm. It will drive all four wheels through a “company-first” nine-speed automatic transmission and newly developed AWD system.

Along with the torque vectoring system, Holden says the new-generation Commodore “will continue to cement Holden’s reputation for class-leading driving dynamics and on-road refinement”.

No performance data has been released, but it is believed the V6-powered German-built Commodore can complete the 0-100km/h dash in less than 6.0 seconds.

Variants powered by the four-cylinder engines – a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol and, for the first time, a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel – will be front-wheel-drive only.

Holden has also confirmed details of the FlexRide suspension system, with the company saying the continuously adaptable chassis electro-hydraulically adapts the dampers to driving conditions and the road “500 times per second or 30,000 times per minutes”.

A Drive Mode Control system, described as the “heart and soul of the adapted chassis,” offers three modes that alter steering, throttle response and the dampers.

‘Standard’ is chosen by the system once sensors determine the best set-up, ‘Tour’ is a more comfortable setting for long-distance drives and ‘Sport’ is for dynamic driving, with the system said to reduce brake dive while ensuring “flat and responsive” chassis control at higher speeds.

As reported, the Commodore is underpinned by GM’s new E2 global architecture and light-weighting has ensured that the car has dropped 200-300kg compared with the current VF Commodore.

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