IT'S HERE: 2013 Holden VF Commodore Unveiled In Melbourne

Tony O'Kane | Feb 10, 2013

Holden has unveiled the VF Commodore, lifting the lid on what is surely one of the most extensive facelifts ever of an Australian-built car.

Externally, only the doors, roof and glasshouse carry over. The remaining sheetmetal is all-new, including a weight-saving aluminium bonnet and bootlid.

It’s a more organic design than before, and although the front still has some resemblance to the VE, the rear is worlds apart.

But inside is where the greatest differences lie.

Virtually everything is new. In fact, only the rear of the centre console (including the storage box lid) carries over.

The interior styling has been completely changed. It’s now more in line with GM’s global range, and the centre stack in particular has a very Opel-ish feel.

In the Calais V configuration of the pre-production car revealed today, It looks and feels premium.

Seats are new with improved cushioning and materials, plus there’s a more upmarket feel in the trim - which now includes more leather and a suede-like material on the dash and door trims.

Crucially, most of our gripes with the VE’s interior have been dealt with.

Gone is the parking brake handle that always threatened to pinch your fingers. In its place is an electronic parking brake that takes up much less room on the centre console.

The window and mirror switches have moved from the centre console to the driver’s door, freeing up yet more space, and the A-pillar trims have been re-profiled to enhance forward vision.

Cruise control butttons have finally made their way onto the face of the steering wheel, decluttering the indicator stalk. The remote boot release has also been moved from the glovebox to the driver’s door.

That annoyingly reflective trim strip that runs across the bottom of the VE’s instrument cluster has also been deleted, replaced by a whole new cluster whose deep binnacles eliminate the chance of any unwanted reflections.

The cheap-feeling centre console lid is still there however, and the rear seat backs still don’t fold down, with only the middle section being able to articulate forward.

First Impressions

From the leather-upholstered driver’s seat - offering good support and comfort - this feels like a dramatically different car with a sense of quality apparent throughout.

The diameter of the steering wheel has shrunk, going from 377mm down to 370mm. The rim is nicely sculpted to fit the driver’s hands, and the wheel doesn’t feel as truck-like as before - which should bode well for the impending SS version.

The layout of controls is more logical here, and the relocation of the window, mirror and cruise controls is most definitely welcome.

There are other more subtle touches which also enhance usability, like the digital temperature displays within the rotary climate control dials.

Almost all key touch-points are nicely trimmed, and the completely new dash design is a much nicer thing to lay your eyes on.

There’s satin-finish chrome bordering the centre stack and brighter chrome strips running underneath the dark timber dash trim.

The part-leather, part-suede panel ahead of the front passenger looks great, and in the show car is coloured light grey (or light titanium, as Holden prefers to call it).

The Calais V show car unveiled today has an overall light interior colour scheme, however a darker scheme with black leather upholstery will also be available.


Holden bills the VF Commodore as the most technologically-advanced car ever created in Australia and, in terms of standard equipment, it's not wrong.

All models will get an Auto Park Assist feature, which can autonomously steer the car into either a parallel or 90-degree parking spot.

On the Calais at least, features like keyless entry and start will be standard, as will a head-up display, blind spot monitor, forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

A Reverse Traffic Alert will also be offered, which uses the rear-facing camera to warn of crossing vehicles while reversing.

Electric power steering will be standard on the Commodore, which should provide a marginal improvement to fuel economy.

The latest version of GM’s MyLink infotainment system will be offered too, which, among the usual audio/nav functions, is able to play music via Pandora by using the driver’s mobile phone data connection.

MyLink will also feature other ‘Apps’, and is designed to be expandable as new apps become available.

Looking Forward

The Commodore used to be the staple of Aussie motorists, but times have changed.

It’s clear that larger sedans have fallen out of favour with Australian families, so Holden is moving to take its Commodore upmarket in order to chase a different demographic.

“Our aim with the new VF Commodore was to create a car that challenged some of the broader perceptions people have about the traditional Australian-made large car," Holden Managing Director Mike Devereux said.

“When it goes on sale, it will offer levels of quality and sophistication to rival some of the best cars in the world."

“We have created a car that not only serves the loyal buyers who continue to make Commodore one of the most popular cars in Australia, but also a new breed of discerning customer who wants higher levels of luxury and technology in their car.”

Will car buyers be able to see cars like the Calais as a viable option to entry-level German sedans?

Time behind the wheel will tell the full story, but for now, our first experience of the VF Calais gives us hope that the quintessential Australian large car still has some life left in it.

The VF Commodore range will launch nationally towards the end of the second quarter this year.

MORE: VF Commodore And Ute range REVIEWED
MORE: VF Commodore Pricing Announced
MORE: HSV Gen-F Pricing Announced
MORE: Unveiled: VF Calais V | Commodore SS | VF Ute | WN Caprice
MORE: HSV Gen-F range revealed

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Filed under: Featured, Holden, petrol, commodore, holden commodore, rwd, sedan, News, holden vf commodore, vf commodore, family, large, 6cyl, 2013 Holden Commodore, 2013my, 2014 holden commodore, 2013 reveal

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  • 5valvepercylinder
    5 valve per cylinder says,
    3 years ago
    Don't think it can be compared with the blocky design surface on Opel's interior but is more closer to newer Chevrolet cars but also cohesive and luxurious.

    Holden did a good job with the final full design update on the Commodore. This is were the feel of Opel comes to mind.
  • Mr.Truth says,
    3 years ago
    What about the Ute AND A BENCH 3 SEAT for it? sad

    Powertrains stayed the same, no improvements? sad

    All fluff and hype, it will continue too slide in sales, the future is compacts ad SUV's
    • pro346 says,
      3 years ago
      The falcon sales will continue to slide less than 500 a month soonlaugh
      • Bucks says,
        3 years ago
        How can you laugh about that Pro346? rolleyes

        How immature. Peoples Jobs, local manufacturing both at Ford and externally.. Focus is on the heels of Corolla globally and the F Series Truck is the best ever selling vehicle in the US.
        Ford have a lot more to offer globally than GM. Just look at the Korean built stuff that is only just becoming competitive after all this time.
        Cruze is ugly and the odd one out regarding corporate design, Holden and Opel have the best looking/performing cars save the Corvette/Camaro/Silverado. Anything else in the line up is mediocre at best. The $15K-$35K buyers really get left out.
  • sartofatto says,
    3 years ago
    Looks just like a Japanese/Korean body - will still kook for the badge ti distinguish it from a Camry etc.
    • pro346 says,
      3 years ago
      Looks nothing like a camrysmile
  • MattJelonek
    MattJ says,
    3 years ago
    1 like
    So does the Base model Omega get LED DRL's as a safety feature or only the mid to upper spec models as a design feature? If so, then Holden as well as other brands aren't doing the world a favor!!
  • TheDoo says,
    3 years ago
    Anyone else being reminded of the Mitsubishi 380? I still dont think they have done enough to get people in to buy. See ya Holden. Hello Mazda
  • bon dole says,
    3 years ago
    Subaru impreza front, volkswagen jetta rear.... Looks terrible
  • HM says,
    3 years ago
    Wow I am impressed, I hope this sells in great numbers and keeps people employed.

    Also keep in mind the SII may bring new engines.
    • George says,
      3 years ago
      1 like
      That's what I'm interested in, the engines, are they staying the same?? No info on fuel saving tech or anything. Just gadgets. If the engines stay the same and regarding the wagon and ute, which aren't even going to getting the new face change, got buy yourself a run out model and save 10k!
      • DWS1 says,
        3 years ago
        I think you will find the ute and wagon do get a face change - just not a new rear end change.
        A bit like the current HSV wagon is the same at the back as a current Commodore wagon.
        *This Vf is an impressive looking update - Holden just need to keep the better models down to an affordable price so people can buy them.
        • George says,
          3 years ago
          From carsales news,

          "Holden VF Commodore's ute and wagon variants won't be as changed as the sedan.

          Fleeting images of the wagon variant in Holden's launch promotional film of the VF Commodore and a strategically placed ute at Holden's Friday reveal, suggest strongly that the Sportwagon and light-commercial variant will receive new front sheet metal only."

          Bet you they don't even get LED date driving Lights. Only top shelf Calais. Have to wait and see I suppose.
      • pro346 says,
        3 years ago
        Of course the wagon and ute are getting the face changecool the rear of the wagon/ute always stays the same!
  • Mo says,
    3 years ago
    Interior and exterior appointments look to be miles ahead of the VE. A model update should be about improvement and I think this will deliver in spades. Biggest gripe with the Commodore has always been quality.

    People crap on about the Commodore's size, but look up some of the newer so-called medium car specs on the Japanese and European marques and you'll see dimensions and weight approaching that of the Commodore of a few years ago, so the point is moot.

    Just need some drivetrain information now guys. I have noticed they've still got the same A-pillar which I was hoping they'd rectify.
    • Tony O'Kane says,
      3 years ago
      Hi Mo,

      Drivetrain information is still under wraps and won't be revealed for at least another couple of months, however I can confirm that while the structure of the A-pillar is unchanged, the interior trim surrounding it has been reshaped to improve the driver's vision.

      Better than nothing, I guess biggrin

      -Tony O'Kane
  • Jb says,
    3 years ago
    Energy efficiency will be the make or break. It looks nice but few will buy it unless it has an up to date drivetrain
  • Andy says,
    3 years ago
    1 like
    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Take a well designed car, apply a few Daewoo styling cues and stuff the looks. Looks like just a generic korean or japanese car, and the interior, well! Yuk.

    I hate lights that stick out from the body, why do that? Why not make them flush?

    I know the car needed a refresh, but this.....
  • Balthazaaaaargh says,
    3 years ago
    If this redesign has proven anything, it's that you don't have to go far to find someone that wants to complain about something.

  • JT says,
    3 years ago
    I'm not too sure about the exteriour but they definately nailed the interiour! Some things I didn't expect to see was the HUD, Electric parking brake (don't like em but it will soon be the norm) and automated parking especially as a standard feature on all models.

    I don't think we'll see any new engines in the V6 maybe just slightly better tuned for power/efficiency and the transmission will probably be the same too. The gen 5 V8 on the other hand will be interesting when holden decide to put it in.
  • Hugh says,
    3 years ago
    Mech dry,,,,,,,,,stuff the haters, Holden all the way, i think it looks alright, you wanna have a moan loo at the state the cars ford have released lately
  • donk1 says,
    3 years ago
    It's great to see what the car looks like, but why no turbo diesel? C'Mon Holden, u have a heap of turbo diesel mules in your collection. You also have parent company VM MOTORI. & their brilliant range of Common Rail Diesel engines that you could choose from. Whack a brilliant 3ltr T/D with a 160kw & 550-600nm torque , you'll have a winner.
  • Jassi says,
    2 years ago
    A particular series is recognized from its Looks. That's what sells on the first place.

    When a new model of particular series is being launched .... it is recognized from the resemblance from previous model .... when we think about COMMODORE the first picture comes in mind is it's .. Which is what Holden failed to deliver in this VF Commodore. rest of the features are things to talk after.

    So, for me its ...0/10 sadsadsad madmadmad
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