VF Commodore Evoke Review and Road Test

by under Review on 19 May 2014 04:42:45 AM19 May 2014
-AA000FUD46
2014 HOLDEN COMMODORE
Price Range
$35,490 - $60,190
Fuel Consumption
8.3L - 12.3L/100km
4RATING
PROS

Extensive inclusions make value irresistible; great style inside and out; nice to drive

CONS

Interior plastic still not the best

Holden’s Pricing Department gets 10-out-of-10 for the all-new VF Commodore Evoke. ‘Entry Level’ by name only, the Commodore Evoke, at $34,990 ($5,000 cheaper than the outgoing Omega) is not only the best Australian-made car it’s also the best value.

2014 HOLDEN COMMODORE 4D SEDAN EVOKE
 
Five-star ANCAP safety, auto park assist, electronic stability control, a reversing camera, cruise control, Holden’s MyLink Infotainment system and even trailer sway control just get the ball rolling when it comes to standard equipment in the Holden Commodore Evoke. The mainstay of many corporate fleets (and budget-conscious families), Holden has cleverly included in the Evoke’s standard kit essential items and up-to-date technologies.
 
All of that for a sticker south of $35K – brilliant!
 
In fact a Holden insider told CarShowroom.com.au at the Commodore media launch earlier this year that when GM’s American Product Planning chief visited Australia during VF model development he sat in an Evoke and said: “That’s great for the upscale version, now can I sit in the base model.” Erm…that would be it you’re in buddy! 
 

Holden Commodore Evoke Overview

 
So here’s the so-called entry-level VF Commodore: 185kW, 3.0-litre V6 and six-speed auto under the bonnet. In terms of what you get, let’s consider what you miss out on: head-up display, forward collision alert and lane departure warning (but blind spot alert and reverse traffic alert are options), push-button start, Bi-xenon headlights, leather interior, upscale multi-function display, satellite navigation, fancy exhaust and some exterior ‘bling’ are about the sum of it.

2014 HOLDEN COMMODORE 4D SEDAN EVOKE
 
Extensively-equipped for sure, the Holden Commodore Evoke still delivers on all of the VF Commodore strengths – good looks, traditional Commodore interior space/towing capacity/luggage capacity and excellent driving dynamics.
 

Holden Commodore Evoke Engine

 
Under the bonnet is of course Holden’s trusty 3.0-litre HFV6 SIDI, a 60-degree V6 with direct injection and double overhead cams. 
 
Maximum power is 185kW at 6700rpm and peak torque of 290Nm is delivered at 2600rpm.
 
Drive is to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
 
Let’s talk reduced fuel consumption - a complicated business and Holden left no stone unturned during development of the all-new VF Commodore including considerable aerodynamic tweaking and some testing as far away as Spain. Among the firsts for Holden in that quest are VF Commodore’s aluminium boot and bonnet plus electric power steering (the latter alone cutting 0.2l/100kms in fuel consumption over hydraulic steering systems).
 
In the case of the Evoke model as tested, fuel consumption has been slashed by 6.7 per-cent to 8.3l/100kms (combined cycle). 
 

Holden Commodore Evoke The Interior

 
In a car with many ‘breakthroughs’, the improvement in interior refinement achieved with Holden’s VF Commodore is perhaps the one which has made the most impact with CarShowroom.com.au. Holden calls it ‘quiet zone tuning’ – isolating occupants from as much unwanted noise as possible.

2014 HOLDEN COMMODORE 4D SEDAN EVOKE
 
The claim is acoustics to rival luxury cars and we have no doubt Holden has achieved its goals, even with the Evoke model tested here.
 
Just as significant is the interior styling – we think the VF Commodore delivers the best-looking interior of any Australian-made car so far. The sweeping dashboard with nice ‘compartmentalization’ of different functions, the modern instrumentation and stylish material choices all add-up to a very thoughtful design.

2014 HOLDEN COMMODORE 4D SEDAN EVOKE
 
Even in the Evoke as tested (the ‘base’ remember) you get Holden’s nice new-design multi-function steering wheel (adjustable for rake/reach), supportive seats and automatic air-conditioning.
 
Holden has rightly trumpeted VF Commodore’s MyLink infotainment system. With a slick, eight-inch colour screen mounted centre-dashboard, MyLink brings full iPod integration, enhanced voice recognition and embedded apps for the likes of Pandora and Stitcher SmartRadio.
 
This is Commodore so it goes without saying the rear seat is massive and while there’s no split-fold you do get a relatively large center-opening for long cargo items.
 
Cargo volume is of course massive at 496-litres and of course the so-called ‘entry’ level Evoke includes electronic remote opening for the bootlid.
 

Holden Commodore Evoke Exterior & Styling

 
Much has been written about the looks of the VF Commodore which as we know includes a roof panel and door outerskins carried-over from the previous VE model. With an overall length of 4947mm and a wheelbase of 2915mm it is indeed a large car – as demanded by many fleet buyers and families alike.
 
2014 HOLDEN COMMODORE 4D SEDAN EVOKE
The all-new grille and aluminium bonnet have given the VF range a purposeful look and for us the rear is a standout with those stylish lights and kicked-up bootlid. Again very purposeful and ‘on-trend’ with global GM models like Buick and Chevrolet.
 

Holden Commodore Evoke On The Road

 
Holden is ‘Australia’s Car’ and the sunburnt country was at its unpredictable best when we had the Evoke – terrifying bushfires and searing heat in Sydney while just 800kms south in Melbourne we shivered and the rain hosed down for the entire week. So we can vouch for the Evoke’s traction and roadholding.
 
Example A: a low-speed corner near us is notoriously slippery when wet so we deliberately nailed the Evoke’s throttle mid-turn. No dramas, the ESC cut-in was smooth, power was reduced and just a slight hint of opposite lock had us going straight.

2014 HOLDEN COMMODORE 4D SEDAN EVOKE
 
Example B: Our high-speed mountain roads test loop (admittedly roads we know Holden engineers frequently use for dynamic testing). In flooding conditions our Commodore Evoke was sure-footed and predictable but still quite fast when pushed from point-to-point.
 
The VF Commodore has rightly been praised for its poise in rapid changes of direction (it’s noticeably more ‘pointy then VE). But is does so without the front end harshness of the VE – very impressive combo from Holden’s chassis team.
 
And while the growl of the SIDI V6 was unmistakable as it delivered its more than ample power, the refinement of Holden Commodore Evoke was impressive at all speeds.

2014 HOLDEN COMMODORE 4D SEDAN EVOKE
 
Around the Holden Commodore does at times remind you it is a full-size sedan, but while not quite a Barina, Commodore’s impressive 11.4-metre turning circle and standard reversing camera were handy allies in our tight CBD car-park.
 

Holden Commodore Evoke Issues

 

 

The Evoke model VF Commodore we tested had – unusually for a media test vehicle – covered some 15,000kms (and they’d be hard 15,000kms at that). Some of the interior plastic trim was already quite marked/scratched from house keys, mobile phones, wallets and the myriad other items people seem to think essential in cars.
 

Holden Commodore Evoke Verdict

Holden has raised the large car bar in every way with the all-new VF Commodore and in the case of the so-called entry-level Evoke, the value-for-money bar has really sky-rocketed.
 
So if you accept the VF is the best Australian-made car so far, given all the inclusions in the Evoke and its $34,990 sticker what is the conclusion?
 
Well for fleet customers and budget conscious families, the conclusion should be a trip to their nearest Holden dealer. The Holden Commodore Evoke is a winner however you look at it.
 

Holden Commodore Evoke The Competition

 
Of course it’s the Ford Falcon and perhaps surprisingly you’ll need a little extra coin for the entry-level XT model ($37,325 to be precise). Just as the VF is the best Commodore so far, the current model Falcon stands-out as the best yet. Bet you can talk your nearest Ford dealer into knocking $2,335 from the price of a Falcon XT which is in stock…and you’ll be driving a fantastic full-size Aussie six.
 
2014 HOLDEN COMMODORE 4D SEDAN EVOKE
Toyota has been making major plays for increased fleet business for the six-cylinder Aurion (made in Victoria at Toyota’s Altona plant). Entry-level 3.5-litre AT-X carries a $36,490 price making it the cheapest of the local sixes. Toyota quality (honed by massive export sales for both Aurion and Camry, mostly to the Middle East), that great V6 engine plus lots of kit means the Toyota Aurion must be on your list.

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