FACEBOOK: WHEELS AUSTRALIA
? LETTER OF THE MONTH
I saw the new ZB Commodore on the road for the first time the other day. I had my 11-yearold son in the car with me, and it took me back to the first time I ever saw the new VK Commodore, ironically when I was also aged 11.
My late father was a mechanic in the Torana era of HDT, and as a result, Ray Borrett had brought the first VK Calais with the electronic dashboard down to dad’s factory after-hours.
I can remember it driving down the long driveway towards us. Two-tone bronze over silver, with brown, diagonal-pattern leather seats.
I also remember being slightly disappointed that it was the six. I had hoped for the eight, but it really didn’t matter. It was a new Commodore, and I saw it and sat in it before all my mates at school. This was 34 years ago, but such was the impact, it could have been yesterday. I can see it as I write this.
I said to my son, “Look, that’s the new Commodore,” and he looked, and said “Cool!”, but didn’t sound like he meant it. I said “Yeah!” But neither did I. It’s just not the same.
I felt a brief pang of sadness, both for me for memories past, and him, for memories he’ll never have. At least he may remember that he was in an Falcon XR6 Turbo ute when he did see it.
Stuart Hall, via email
Letter of the month winner
Clearly Holden’s decision to continue the Commodore nameplate with the ZB generates strong emotions from Australians, and Stuart Hall?s excellent letter encapsulates this with real eloquence. Nice job, Stuart. Enjoy your next 12 issues of Wheels on us.
The Holden ZB Commodore (‘Welcome to Straya’, February) sounds like a very good car, but not a great one.
Your comprehensive road test did not elicit one thought of “wow” as I read it. Competency was the over-riding vibe. In my view the engine line-up is, as has always been the case with local product, a generation behind. The six should have been a 3.0-litre turbo. The 2.0-litre engines should have gone twin turbo. I mean, it’s a big car, and Commodore drivers like a bit of oomph. 0-100km/h in anything over 7.0 seconds today is just plain slow.
So it appears to me to be an adequate car, but not one for the aspirational new-car buyer in this price range. Yes, it’s a German car, at least for now, but for that money I’d be looking at a Volkswagen Passat, or even a VW Golf GTI, or an Audi of some kind. I suspect the Koreans will be the big winners in the fullness of time.
I believe that this is the Commodore that will allow fans of the brand the excuse to finally let go and look elsewhere. Personally, I hope the car succeeds, but I really can’t find enough reasons why it should.
Peter Steele, Brisbane, Qld
Having just read the story on the new Holden ZB Commodore, I feel that I have to point out that only the V6 version had its chassis tuned here in Australia. All the four-cylinder models had their chassis tuned in Germany and Spain by a Polish Opel engineer and English damper tuner. We spent almost two years tuning and I agree with your writer in that Opel (Holden) has achieved good handling and precise steering with the smaller-engined cars.
Chris Lacy, via email
I am becoming a grumpy old man. I have an issue with you putting Ford Rangers and Holden Colorados on your cover when they are not listed in showroom.
I get that it may help sell the mag but no matter how they are dressed up they are a 4WD truck and should be left on the cover of your sister mag.
Of course, if this is an edict from above, you gotta do what ya gotta do. But really the cover should have been the new Commodore. Okay, I’ve got that off my chest, carry on!
Andrew Lyndon, Unley, SA
Your SUV comparison (‘Five Below’, February) shows your crew achieved fuel consumption of 16.7L/100km for the Jaguar F Pace, compared with 12.2L/100km for the Land Rover Velar. These vehicles share identical drivetrains (engine and gearbox, including identical gear ratios), have respective weights of 1861kg and 1884kg, and ADR fuel figures of 8.9L/100 and 9.4L/100. I assume all vehicles travelled the same route.
Can your test crew offer any explanation for the discrepancy, other than perhaps an aggressive driving of the Jaguar? My 50-year experience is that the foot is a big factor with fuel use. We don’t all drive like we are competing in the Bathurst 1000.
John Herbert, Peregian Springs, Qld
John, the foot is but the end of a long process. If a car feels sportier, it tends to be driven in a more enthusiastic style. That’s real life reflected in the figures.
The Ford Ranger Raptor (Redline, February) sounds reasonably fuel efficient, but why would a bogan-mobile like this even be built? And why would (mostly male) Aussies in their thousands flock to showrooms to purchase them, or Chevy ‘Suburbs’, or Ford ‘Continents’, for use on the school run?
Until recently, if you needed to tow something or carry tools and tradie gear, a Mazda BT-50, Toyota Hilux or Nissan Patrol would do the job. Not now! ‘If it ain’t enormous, it ain’t enough!’ seems to be the trend.
Buyers of these good ol’ trucks must have missed my sociology class, where it was proven empirically that the size of one’s “package”, as Senator Lambie eloquently named it, was in direct, inverse proportion to the vehicle one drove. So I now despair of Australia’s reproductive capacity whenever I meet one of these leviathans being driven by tiny-testicled Aussie cowboys. Size is one thing, performance quite another...
Stuart Kennedy, Bli Bli, Qld
I’ve had a few flat tyres over time; sometimes they just happen randomly, though in my case, sometimes not. Having gone through the inconvenience of changing to the spare wheel, there has always been the gnawing thought of another unforeseen flat before the incapacitated wheel could be fixed, slowing me down.
So why this thoughtless whingeing about the inconvenience of having to drive safely on a space-saver at 80km/h tres or even a safely on a space-saver at 80km/h for a few kilometres or even a few hours when driving on a full-size spare suddenly necessitates extra caution? Unless vehicles were already carrying two full-size spares, I’d even say two space savers in the place of a single full-size spare is a less worrisome thought in the case of a flat far away from help.
Elardus Mare, Waterford, WA
David Hewitt-Lacon, Gowrie, ACT
Sean Byrne (Inbox, January) asks where the logic is in allowing his fully laden 68-tonne B-double tanker to travel on country roads at 100km/h, the same speed regulated for his much smaller private vehicle. Like you, Sean, I too don’t see the logic in this. It’s great to see a responsible truckie calling for a reduction in the speed limit of such monsters on country roads.