Holden Commodore SV6 Sportswagon sweet handling and value for money performance wagon.
The SV6 Sportwagon is a step up from the base model Evoke and is a V6 powered gateway to the heavy-hitting V8 models. Powered by a 3.6 litre, 210kW V6, that is shared with the Calais. The SV6 Sportwagon delivers ample punch and practicality without the V8 fuel bills.
What we like:
- Leather option
- Ride and handling compromise
- Reasonable economy
- Decent load area
Not so much:
- Quality niggles
- Exhaust note
- Temperamental climate control
- Fake carbon fibre overload
- No fog lights
- Sat nav an option
Price and Equipment
The SV6 is a step up from the base Evoke by way of its larger and more powerful V6 engine, body kit, sportier alloy wheels, LED running lights and a chrome exhaust.
Inside, a rear centre arm rest, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear selector along with what Holden called “Kenetic Suede/Sportec” trim on the seats. Our test car was fitted with the rather lovely (and high quality) all black leather trim option for $1,500. Additional options available are an electric sunroof ($1,090), satellite navigation ($750), rear spoiler ($500) and full size alloy. spare ($350).
One of the key reasons people buy a wagon is because they need to carry bigger than usual loads, more often. Cleverly, Holden has pulled off a styling hat trick-the Sportswagon looks fantastic with its rounded roof line and squat rump, complimented by the SV6’s subtle bodykit and yet it houses a load area of 895 litres with the rear seats up and 2000 litres with the 60:40 rear seats folded flat, nearly double that of the sedan and some equivalent SUVs.
The SV6’s interior decor conjures mixed emotions. It’s most definitely a sporty interpretation of Holden’s refreshingly modern cabin design.Black, grey and mock carbon fibre dominate the cabin. It’s not a dark and dreary place to be and the overall theme certainly tells occupants that they are in a sports oriented model.
However, the cabin also asserts that the SV6 is cheapest of Commodore go-fast models, with the dashboard and door trims smothered in a textured carbon fibre-themed vinyl. The use of the material is excessive and while it is tactile, it does appear cheap and suggests that greater things can be had for more money as shown in our review of the SS-V Redline.
The MyLink infotainment is featured along with controls on the (round steering wheel). Navigation is an optional ($750) extra on the SV6, but Holden are throwing it in as part of the Storm limited edition package. But, we feel this should be fitted as standard equipment to augment the Sportwagon’s competitiveness in the marketplace.
The trip computer buried between the clear, simple gauges offers a digital speedo and trip computer functions, but in black and white.
There are of course, gripes. The chief among which is the tailgate. A car that is designed for motorists who intend to carry a larger amount of cargo than usual should offer the most practicality as possible and to an extent it does, with the large load area.
What lets the Sportswagon down is the absence of a remote boot release-even from within the cabin and most definitely not on the key like the sedan variants. This is a bizarre omission and may force owners to place their goods on the ground before opening the vehicle.
Moreover, although the electric leather seats looked fantastic with their decent hide and offered reasonable comfort, the backrest could only be adjust with a ratchet mechanism, which, at times made it incredibly difficult to establish a correct seating position.
While Holden has been liberal in applying materials throughout the cabin, the centre console misses out on such treatment and its edges (in the test car at least). It must also be noted that there was a rattle that was emitted from around the passenger door and the rear over corrugations.
The climate control was largely inconsistent with its temperature production, much in the same way as the Redline tested.
Unlike our Redline test car, the headlights were more than acceptable.
Engine and Transmission
The 3.6 litre SIDI V6 chucks out 210kW @ 6700rpm and [email protected] 2800rpm and, in the test car it was married to the six speed auto.
Performance is brisk and beyond ample for the vast majority of motorists and, despite being a large engine, the SIDI V6 is rev happy and eager which can make for an entertaining driving experience and fulfilling the SV6 Sportwagon’s sporting V6 brief. The exhaust note is a little coarse, though.
What isn’t so satisfying is that six speed auto ‘box. At times it feels like it can’t keep up with the engine’s rev happy nature and as a consequence, it can feel slow and delayed. Turn up the wick with some press on motoring and the transmission can thump cogs into position-refinement is certainly not its forte.
But, overall, the driveline is fun and a decent effort from Holden.
The manufacturer claims a combined fuel consumption of 9.0 litres per 100 kilometres, however we found 12.5 litres on an urban cycle to be more realistic, with the trip metre citing 7.3/100 kilometres as our best score.
Ride and Handling
Twisty country back roads are devoured by the SV6 Sportwagon with its enthusiastic V6 engine and well sorted chassis and suspension setup. The light but communicative steering makes negotiating flowing corners a breeze and the brakes have enough bite to wash off any excess speed efficiently before progressing to another bend. This is the sort of driving experience that cannot be had in an SUV for a similar price range.
Overall ride quality was firm and occasionally a little brittle over rubbish tarmac.
Auto parking and parking sensors help navigate the big wagon into the most awkward of spaces.
Safety and Servicing
Holden has wisely brimmed its latest Commodore range with safety technology. All VF variants have been awarded the maximum ANCAP five star safety rating and the SV6 Sportwagon has front, side and curtain airbags as standard, along with blind spot assist that flashes when passing car approaches and a rear reversing camera-that is projected onto the large centre display. The camera picture may be large, but the picture is ambiguous and pixelated and the lens can be covered by water droplets during rain showers, further distorting the image. A clever rear traffic that detects pedestrians and traffic when reversing and signals the driver of their direction.
Traction control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake force distribution, electronic brake assistance and electronic stability control do their best to ensure the Commodore is out of harm’s way.
Servicing is scheduled at every 15,000 kilometres or every nine months, whichever occurs first. Capped priced servicing applies for the first four services or 60,000 kilometres and each serviced is capped at $185.
Holden Commodore SV6 SportwagonSpecs
Make and model: Holden Commodore SV6 Sportwagon
Engine type: 3.6 litre V6 with Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI)
Power: 210kW @ 6700rpm
Torque: 350Nm @ 2800rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel consumption: 9.0L/100km combined cycle
Dimensions: 4939mm long, 1898mm wide, 1474mm high and 2915mm wheelbase
Suspension: Front: McPherson strut with STD stabiliser bar Rear: Independent multi-link rear suspension with rear STD stabiliser bar.
Steering: Electrically assisted rack and pinion