Holden has unveiled the new 2014 Holden VF Commodore, the Calais V variant, at its Docklands headquarters in Melbourne. The new model is all-new from the A-pillars forward and from the C-pillars back, while the interior is completely redesigned with more technology and more premium materials.
Please note all engine specifications are yet to be revealed. The SS and SS V also is yet to be uncovered to the public, but it will be revealed next Friday, February 15.
The first thing you’ll notice about the new Aussie sedan is the front grille, with two main sections, both trimmed in chrome. These match GM’s current design direction, already seen on the Holden Colorado and Holden Barina.
The bonnet is also flatter and longer and now incorporates a multi-contour surface. Two major form lines wrap around from the grille and flow all the way down the side to form a waistline, and continue to form another major contour bulge around the bootlid. As you can see, the boot lid does feature a moulded spoiler, as previously speculated from the earlier teaser image.
You’ll notice the rear end is noticeably longer than the VE for a more elegant finish, and there’s a slight buttress-style element worked into a horizontal/flat boot lid and sharp C-pillar joins.
At the media presentation event that we attended on Friday, Holden managing director Mike Devereaux really emphasised the VF is a much more sophisticated vehicle than the VE it replaces, offering advanced technology and design. He said the new model not only appeals to Commodore buyers but also premium segment buyers
Although its place in the market hasn’t changed, in the flesh, it sure does look a lot more prestigious than the VE. It looks European, with a more prominent front end – which is said to offer improved pedestrian safety, and the multi-contour bonnet looks a bit like it was inspired by the Jaguar XF sedan.
So, aside from the design, what major changes have taken place for the VF?
Holden says it took on a lot of customer feedback in coming up with the design and function of the 2014 Holden VF Commodore. To free up centre console storage space, the power window switches have been moved over to the door trim, for instance, and there’s no longer the large awkward and rather cumbersome handbrake. Instead, all VF models come with an electric button-type handbrake.
Revisions to these areas have noticeably freed up space around the gear selector, with a storage pocket in front of and behind the shifter. There’s also two cup holders. Andrew Smith, Holden’s director of design, admitted the manual handbrake on the VE and prior models wasn’t as user-friendly as they would have liked, but it was, at the time, less complex and less expensive.
Other changes include the cruise control buttons which are now on the steering wheel, while, for the Calais at least, there’s now a start button with a proximity key. It is likely all variants will now get the start button.
In the centre fascia of the dash sits Holden’s new ‘MyLink’ eight-inch LCD multimedia interface. It offers both touch screen operation and control knobs and buttons. Holden says the two operation options have been put in place for the sake of user-friendliness. Menus can be jumped to as quickly as possible with few touches without having to go through various sequences.
The interface itself infuses the display for reverse parking assistance, and displays for the automatic parking function which will become standard across the range – a first in Australia. Head-up display is set to become standard on all models as well, with adjustable menu displays and brightness.
Sitting inside the VF you get a definite luxury and prestige feel to everything. Designers say they concentrated on making a cabin that is both easy to live with and more premium, with layered materials and cool tones.
In the Calais in particular, designers say they aimed to keep the cabin light with a distinct central stripe of light cream materials that spread from the door trims and on through the centre of the dash. Even on dark colour scheme options the light centre area still exists (on the Calais).
Much of the upper dash appears to shares its design with the Opel Insignia, especially the upper fascia and around the vertical air vents. The flat-bottomed steering wheel, which is 70mm smaller in diametre to the VE’s, also seems like it comes from the European Insignia. This gives you an idea of the extent of the premium applications and character.
Equipment and specifications on each variant are yet to be finalised, however, from what we could tell from the preview event, a Bose sound system is likely to become at least an option, and Brembo brakes appeared on a pre-production SSV that we saw, which could indicate at least an option-up brake package is on the way.
Full details and prices will be released closer to its market launch in a few months. We look forward to providing you with a full review of the upper range as soon as possible.