Holden Calais V Tourer is a different take on the Holden Calais, with a mix of high-riding wagon practicality, a wealth of technology…but it isn’t perfect
What is it?
The all-new Holden Calais V Tourer. The Calais and Calais V badges are the only nameplates to carry over from previous Commodore line-ups, and this version, the Holden Calais V Tourer, is perhaps the most radical application of the Calais name to date.
The Calais Tourer is radical because it’s the first Calais wagon – and it’s the only Calais wagon, you can’t have the Calais or Calais V in standard wagon form – to sport a raised ride height, body cladding and chunky alloy wheels. So what you have in effect is an alternative to the very excellent Subaru Outback 3.6R, rather than a direct replacement for the sleek and sporty Calais wagons of old.
What’s it cost?
The Calais V Tourer is priced from $53,990 plus on road costs. That money buys you pretty much everything Holden can offer you. That standard equipment list includes adaptive cruise, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, swivelling LED headlights, side and rear camera, climate control, a thumping Bose stereo, Holden MyLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
And of course, no Calais would be complete without leather trim with seat heating and cooling.
What’s it go like?
The Calais and Calais V Tourer models are only offered with the same 3.6 litre V6 that is shared with the Commodore VXR and other higher-end Commodore models.
That V6 produces 235kW @ 6800rpm and 381Nm @ 5200rpm and sends its power to an on demand all-wheel drive system – it’s front wheel drive for the majority of the time and summons the rear wheels when there’s slip – via a nine speed automatic.
Now, while the engine isn’t short on power, both peak power and torque are produced rather close to the redline. That means that you need to keep the revs up to keep the engine on the boil. Granted, it’s rather swift when you’re on the move, but we wish that automatic transmission would be smoother and more decisive in its gear selections.
And while some engine noise is tolerated in the Commodore VXR as it’s the sportster of the range, we felt that the V6’s drone in the Calais V Tourer detracted from the Calais’ luxury aspirations and the engine is a far cry from the creamy unit in the Outback 3.6R.
A 2.0 litre turbo diesel may be on the cards soon. Perhaps this may be a better fit.
Handling is fine, just like other models in the ZB range, and the raised ride height doesn’t seem to really dilute the Calais V Tourer’s dynamics. However, ride quality is a little too firm for a luxury car.
What’s it like inside?
A no-nonsense dashboard, a clear digital instrument cluster and comfortable – albeit Germanically firm – leather seats, scores piano black, chrome trim and high quality plastics along with a load of luxury goodies hint that the Calais V is the luxury flagship of the range, but it doesn’t have the same sort of plushness that graced Calais of old.
It does feel more premium than the flagship Outback, though and the cabin will easily accommodate five passengers and their gear in that large boot, which can hold 560 litres with the backseats up, and 1,665 litres with the backseats folded down.
While we have praised the liftback models in the Commodore range for their impressive build quality, or wagon test car disappointed somewhat. A number of squeaks and rattles could be heard emanating from the cargo area.
Luckily, the excellent Bose stereo along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were on hand to drown them out.
What we like:
- Generous equipment levels
- Spacious cabin
- All paw grip
- Reasonable value
What we don’t:
- Coarse V6
- Firm ride
- Doesn’t quite have that “Calais feel.”
- Squeaks and rattles
Sale or no sale?
The Holden Calais V Tourer is certainly a very different interpretation of the Calais name, but we’re not sure if this particular car fits the bill, especially when similarly priced and equipped rivals such as the Subaru Outback do the whole comfy all-road wagon thing better.