Holden Commodore Omega Series II Review

Overall Rating

  • Interior

  • On The Road

  • Ancap

  • Value For Money

  • See Full Specs
  • Country of Origin
    AUSTRALIA
  • Price
    $39,990 (plus on-road costs)
  • Engine
    6 Cylinders
  • Output
    190 kW / 290 Nm
  • Transmission
    Sports Automatic
  • ANCAP Rating
    5
  • Airbags
    Driver & Passenger (Dual), Head for 2nd Row Seats, Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front), Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
  • L/100 km
    9.3
  • C02
    221 g/km
  • Luggage Capacity
    N/A
  • Towing (braked)
    1600 kg
  • Towing (unbraked)
    750 kg
Tony O'Kane | Dec 10, 2010 | 17 Comments

COMMODORE OMEGA REVIEW

There are few external styling changes to the 2011 Holden Commodore Omega. The major changes are under the skin.

The centrepiece of the interior redesign is Holden’s clever touch-screen iQ information display. There are also significant changes under the bonnet with a new ‘flex-fuel’ E85-compatible SIDI 3.0 litre V6.

INTERIOR

  • Quality: The dash and interior trim is well put together and well-designed (if not cutting edge). The reshaped centre-stack looks ok but the hard plastics from the 2010 model carry over, and the silver dash trim still casts an annoying reflection on the instrument cluster.
  • Comfort: Both front and rear seats are designed for full-sized bods; long squabs, and wide cushions provide decent support for long-haul driving. Rear A/C outlets also help with passenger comfort.
  • Equipment: Holden's iQ system is the standout feature in the new Omega. Features include a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, iPod and memory stick inputs and CD player. Our vehicle was fitted with the optional sat-nav pack, which includes the ability to rip music CDs to the internal storage.

    Auto-on headlamps, a trip computer, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth and power windows/mirrors are also standard.
  • Storage: There’s 496 litres of boot space, however only the centre seatback can be folded forward.

ON THE ROAD

  • Driveability: The Omega's 3.0 V6 isn't lacking for power, although, when pushed, it can sound a little harsh.

    Performance of the six-speed automatic is also mixed: it gets the best out of the engine’s torque for fuel-efficient driving but can occasionally hang onto a gear too long or leave you in the wrong gear.

    On E85 fuel, thirst rises significantly: we averaged 11.7 l/100km on E85 (compared to our 9.8 l/100km average).
  • Refinement: There is a solid robust feel to the Omega on the road; it’s relatively quiet at highway speeds but transmission noise can spoil the interior ambience.
  • Suspension: The ride is composed over most surfaces, only large bumps and potholes will disturb things. It handles gravel well; the ESP calibration is also pretty right for loose roads.
  • Braking: The pedal lacks feel, but disc brakes front and rear have no trouble slowing the Commodore's 1690kg kerb weight.

SAFETY

  • ANCAP rating: 5-Stars
  • Safety features: Six airbags (front, front side and full-length curtain), three-point seatbelts, ABS, EBD, stability control and traction control are all standard.

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

  • Warranty: Three years or 100,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.
  • Service costs: A complimentary inspection occurs at 3000km/3 months with service intervals every 15,000km/12 months. Holden does not provide dealer servicing cost guidelines; before purchase, speak to your dealer about scheduled servicing costs.

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY

  • Nissan Maxima ST-L ($33,990) The least powerful here (with a 2.5 litre V6) but also the least expensive. Nissan's well-featured Maxima often gets overlooked, but not through any fault of its own. (see Maxima reviews)

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

The Commodore Omega has traditionally been a popular choice for fleet buyers, but, thanks to substantial spec upgrades and a robust ‘built-to-last’ feel, it now has significant appeal for private buyers.

It's roomy, has adequate power and reasonable fuel economy for such a large, heavy car. At under $40k plus onroad costs, it is value buying but, iQ system aside, it lacks some interior refinement.

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Filed under: Featured, review, Holden, reviews, petrol, large cars, holden commodore, rwd, sedan, family, large, holden commodore omega, 6cyl

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  • MotorMouth says,
    4 years ago
    4 likes
    You guys really need to rethink your rating system. You cannot possibly believe that a Fiesta disiesel sedan is a better drive than any Commodore, yet you rate it 20% higher in your review. Let's throw a few facts in here - the Omega is almost 2 seconds quicker to 100 than the petrol Fiesta and features near-perfect front/rear weight distribution, giving it a balance no FWD car can come close to. Then there is any disiesel's narrow power-band that makes driving a chore. I imagine an Omega would easily outpace a Fiesta around all but the tightest of tracks and on winding country roads it would be a much better drive.

    Then there is the interior rating - what is this journalistic obsession with hard and soft plastics? The only time I touch any of the plastics in my car is to run a dust-cloth over them (and I doubt too many other car owners ever do that). What matters a lot more is how things look and the interior of the Series II looks very nice. After reading a few reviews, I went to AIMS expecting to see something only marginally changed from the old, yet I found a car with a really nice interior, with different textures and looking way better overall. There are touches I don't like - I think the centre stack in the non-sport models looks unbalanced - but overall it is really nice. One area that jumps out at me though, and never gets mentioned in reviews, is how small the VE's instruments are. That would take me a long time to get used to.
    • Shaun Camilleri says,
      4 years ago
      1 like
      have you thought that maybe different classes of cars are rated differently? The fiesta and commodore are two very different cars.
  • MotorMouth says,
    4 years ago
    1 like
    I think that is fair and reasonable in some areas, like space and comfort, but performance and handling can easily be compared between segments. The difference between 3.5 and 4.5 stars should be huge, so we're not talking about a little bit here and there. No FWD car is going to have the poise and balance of a Commodore or any other RWD car, it just doesn't work that way.
    • Devil's Advocate says,
      4 years ago
      2 likes
      That is a very simplistic way of looking things Motormouth and going by that comment your experience in FWD cars appears to be very limited. There are a few FWD cars out there that handle extremely well and it is not limited to FWD cars like the old Integra type R. For example you only have to look at the Wheels Annual Safety Program where they test things like slalom, maximum wet and dry cornering on a wet skidpan as well as emergency lane change at 100km/h etc for the top 20 selling cars at the time. The first time they conducted this test a few years ago it was won by the previous shape Mazda6 Classic. It produced faster slalom speeds and higher cornering "G"(grip) wet and dry than the e46 BMW 330Ci they had on test as a benchmark and far outclassed other "superior" rwd cars like the Commodore Berlina and non-turbo BA Falcon XR6 that were there when it came to handling based tests. In my personal experience the previous run of the mill Mazda6 for example easily had much more poise, balance and steering feel near the limit than the run of the mill Commodore of the time (VZ), especially on initial "turn in" to a corner. Those pre VE Commodores were notorious for leaning heavily on the outside front wheel causing them to push quite wide and were a far cry from the current and very good VE when it came to handling balance and steering feel.

      I would also like to see a current SV6 Commodore try to keep up with something like a Renault Megane rs250 on your favorite twisty mountain road, or even a Golf GTi, Mini Cooper or Focus XR5 for that matter. Even an SS-V would struggle to keep those cars in sight if the road was twisty enough to rely solely on handling and not the obvious straight line power advantage of the Commodore... Not to mention either Wheels or Motor (forget which one) in their current edition have a road test of the the WRX STi, BMW 135i and Focus RS. It may come as a shock to you but the fwd RS won the test over the rwd 135i and awd STi as the best overall package, including handling (and I am a 135i fan). It just proves there is more to handling than just which end drives the car.

      Like all cars, fwd, rwd or even awd, there are dogs and stars when it comes to handling. However just because a certain car is fwd it doesn't mean it automatically can't handle and "vice versa" for rwd. Don't get me wrong, I AM NOT saying fwd is better than rwd, but I wanted to highlight it is not as simple as 'No FWD car is going to have the poise and balance of a Commodore or any other RWD car'. I have driven some fwd that have awful dynamics, just like I have driven some rwd and awd cars that don't handle very well either and fall well behind a well sorted fwd. smile
      • MotorMouth says,
        4 years ago
        Actually, I have owned only FWD cars since I sold my RX 7 in 1999. Up to a point they are perfectly OK but you will find their limits far more quickly than you will a decent RWD car. If I did track days regularly, I'd have a Commodore or Falcon, no doubt about it, but I am much more into day trips into the mountains and stuff like that, so FWD is perfectly OK. If you get hold of the current issue of Wheels, they have done a comparison between the FWD Focus RS, the AWD WRX STi and the RWD BMW 135i. Their conclusion is that although the BMW will always finish 3rd, it is definitely the most fun to drive and the driving enthusiast's choice.
        Why put an SV6 up against an RS250 when you could buy an SS Ute for just $500 more than the base price for the Renault? Both are two-door cars so it works on several levels.
        Motor magazine put the GTI up against the SV6 at Oran Park a few years ago, in BFYB, and the SV6 was no faster in a straight line but put in a better lap time. The places were reversed this year but the writers and driver thought the SV6's new low rolling resistance tyres got in the way of a better time. What's interesting about that is that the GTi has VW's hottest suspension tune, where the SV6 gets the relatively agricultural FE 1.5. If you wanted to do like for like, you'd put the Redline Edition's FE 3 up against the GTi.
        I test drove the RS250 a few weeks ago and have to say that I was disappointed. I was expecting something that was a big step up from my 2.2 Brera but I didn't feel that it was better at all. Faster in a straight line when it is on-boost, but a real slug if it's not, and I certainly didn't think the handling was any better. I'm sure it's awesome at 10/10ths, but I'll get scared and back off before I get anywhere near there, and I'd hate to have to drive it to work every day. OTOH, a Commodore can do it all because it doesn't have to make any compromises to be good at the fast stuff and because it is so much better balanced, it won't be nearly as scary to push hard.
  • Howard
    Howard says,
    4 years ago
    Now that's a very adequate interior for a base model under $40,000 & I don't care where you're from
  • Mark Bentley says,
    4 years ago
    1 like
    I drive a Fiesta and sometimes a new 3L 6speed auto commodore and can say without doubt the Fiesta out handles and out brakes the commodore. The stock brakes on the commodore are sub-par and leave me wondering how such a large car can have such crap brakes. I drove the new double clutch auto the other day in the Fiesta and was not that impressed by it nor the lack of items like the soft dash cover and reach adjustable steering so just maybe the traditional type 6 speed in the commodore is better now.
  • charles says,
    4 years ago
    2 likes
    So it's not possible according to some that a small FWD car can out handle a big RWD car? Now that's got to be some sort of joke, hasn't it?
  • MotorMouth says,
    4 years ago
    It will depend on the situation. A small car will do better in a slalom around a set of bollards but in real world driving a city car with a tiny engine won't be able to keep up. Little cars feel fast but the reality is they are not and no FWD car has the poise and balance of a Commodore's 50:50 weight distribution - push hard and any FWD car will go into great, ploughing understeer long before a Commodore's balance is upset, give that things like grip are similar. I've read a couple of things recently that suggest Commodore's new lower rolling resistance tyres are not providing as much grip as the old ones but there is nothing in either review to suggest these cars were driven particularly hard.
    Of course, there are exceptions but they tend to be those that prove the rule. e.g. The Focus RS is a serious bit of kit but it is so far removed from other Focii that the only reasonable comparison is with an HSV or FPV car, either of which will slaughter it pretty much everywhere. An FPV GS is also several grand cheaper, so getting RWD rivalling performance from a FWD car is not necessarily cheap, although the Megane RS250 probably comes close for around $45k on the road. But again, these cars are the exceptions which prove the rule and neither of them will be as much fun to drive as a well balanced RWD car.
  • 288gto
    288gto says,
    4 years ago
    1 like
    Can believe people getting so hot collared over a bloody bottom of the line, stock commodore!
  • Nightshader says,
    4 years ago
    1 like
    I don't know about you guys but I interpret these values as "for the price". You can't have all cars on the same scale as it would defeat the purpose of having the score. The score is there to make comparisons to cars of similar money. If it was all on the same scale then every supercar would have virtually 5 because of the huge performance figures in comparison to a mazda 2. The difference between cars in the same price point would be minimal. I know that i would much prefer seeing a review of two large cars in the same price bracket getting scores of 3.5 and 4 rather then 3.5 and 3.55.

    MotorMouth needs to understand that the values which are important to him in a review may not be views of everyone. You were just looking from the approach of you're situation, my real world is the city with 40km speed limits where small and nimble will win out over a large powerful car but I don't expect cars to be judged on just how well they drive in the city. The reviews on the site have always appeared accurate to me if not slightly too positive. I drive a 350z and even though I don't think the spine pulverizing is a bad thing I would definitely expect it to be mentioned in a review and for it to get an average "on road score" because of it.
    • MotorMouth says,
      4 years ago
      A 350Z should score poorly, simply because it is not a very good car in any way. The problem with using a "for the price" criteria is that it doesn't give you any appreciation of what you get for the extra money. In any event, whilst that might be reasonable for things like the interior and safety, driving is driving and should not be segregated like that. There will be areas where a big car scores poorly compared to a smaller car but overall the better car needs to get the best score.

      I think part of the problem is that 1/5 and 2/5 are not used often enough, which means everything has to fit in between 3.0 and 4.5, which doesn't leave nearly enough room for differentiation.
  • charles says,
    4 years ago
    1 like
    What a load of crap, the Commodore is an 1800kg Taxi, I don`t care how good it's weight distribution is.Your sounding very much like that other idiot on here, are you sure your not the same person? Next you will be saying it's better then a super car.
  • says,
    4 years ago
    TONY OKANE, Hi, what was the price of the e85 ethanol petrol so I can work out if its actually cheaper than 91ron eventhough its uses more fuel.
  • MotorMouth says,
    4 years ago
    1 like
    Last time I saw E85, it was 99c a litre. But remember, when petrol hits $1.60 again, and it is just a matter of time until it does, E85 will only be $1.10 or so. The good thing about it is that it is not an either/or decision - while petrol is cheap, keep buying it, when prices start going up again and E85 starts making more sense, start using it.

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