Holden pulled the covers off the next-generation of the Commodore over the weekend, and the good news for us is that it's the most tech-charged Commodore yet. Jump into the driver's seat with us as we take the VF Commodore's tech to the red line.
The VF Commodore is loaded to the eyes with new technology never before seen on Commodore models in Australia. Holden showed off the Calais V model yesterday before the VF Commodore's official launch later on in the year.
Starting with the exterior tech, Holden re-engineered the bodywork on the Commodore to make it lighter, and it succeeded on the VF. The bodywork is a lighter aluminium which, paired with the more aerodynamic design, makes the car faster and more fuel efficient.
It's no Bond car as far as gadgets are concerned, but it's close. Auto-park assist — a feature which guides your car into tight spaces — will be standard on all models rather than an optional extra.
The Holden MyLink system is back, this time updated with new hardware and software to make it faster and better to use, and the VF also comes with keyless entry and keyless start as standard, too. Auto-park assist doesn't do all the heavy lifting when it comes to parking, though. The driver still needs to work the pedals but the car's computer takes over to operate the steering wheel.
The Commodore is also smarter this time around, thanks to lasers all over the car which constantly scan the environment. It's like having parking sensors on steroids.
This spatial awareness is deployed in a few different features. The wing mirrors, for example, constantly scan the VF's rear blind spots to detect when a car moves out of the driver's field of vision. When it detects a car in the blind spot, a small alert is displayed on the wing mirror to alert the driver that there is a car they can't spot. A feature called Reverse Traffic Alert lets you know when another car is reversing out of a car space behind you.
Other safety features include features you'd find on the Holden Cruze sedan like Forward Collision Alert that lets you know if you're likely to hit the car in front in the event of a sudden stop, as well as Lane Departure Warning which lets you know when you're straying away from where you should be on the road.
The VF also throws information like speed onto the windscreen via a head-up display — something you'd expect to find on higher-end sports sedans.
Interestingly, rather than import a car from the GM stables to be re-engineered for the Australian market like the Chevrolet Volt or like Ford is doing with the Ranger, Holden will actually export the VF Commodore to the US, where it will be sold as the Chevrolet SS Sports Sedan.
On the design front, almost every facet of the Commodore has been redesigned from the VE to the VF. The centre console array, the instrument panel, the cockpit, the seats and textures right down to the gear shifters and switches have been overhauled for the next-gen Commodore.
The instrument panel was redesigned so that gear like the infotainment system, climate control settings and other car controls would be merged into the one area for ease of access, much like on Holden's electric sedan, the Volt. All this new tech — as well as the holders and storage nooks — are lit up with soft blue lights like a funky cocktail bar.
Interestingly, Holden has done away with a handbrake lever on the new VF Commodore, opting instead for a push-button park brake mounted on the dashboard, which is also reminiscent of its electric Volt. No more handbrake turns, you petrol heads.
On top of all that, there are comfy new seats, a redesigned steering wheel with new electronic media controls, and power window switches on the armrests.
Outside the car, halogen projector lamps throw a pool of "bladed light" onto the tarmac, while LED lamps skirt the air intakes.
Holden are yet to announce pricing or engine specifications just yet, saying that they'll come to us closer to the vehicle's launch date later on in the year.
As far as HSV performance cars are concerned, tune in Friday for the launch of the new sportier Commodore SS.