NG Commodore coming to Nelson Bays Holden - Nelson Bays Motor Group
We've seen the new NG Commodore, but we're not allowed to show you or even say what it looks like. Sorry.

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The Holden Commodore has always been all about V6 and V8 petrol power, right? About big donks under the bonnets of rear-driven sedans that traditionally have been big enough to fit three large blokes across the back seats.

Well, not any more.

When the next Commodore is launched in New Zealand and Australia in the opening weeks of 2018, the standard model will be a more compact front-wheel drive five-door liftback, built in Germany by Opel. 

Opel Insignia - Nelson Bays Motor Group - Nelson Bays Holden
This is the current Opel Insignia. The next-generation model will be the basis for the 2018 Commodore.

Under its bonnet will be a choice of 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol and diesel engines. It will only be available with an automatic transmission - in the case of the petrol model it will be a nine-speeder.

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new Holden Commodore wagon will be V6 - Nelson Bays Holden
The new Commodore wagon will be V6, with adaptive all-wheel drive. Again, this is the current Insignia model.

The V6 range will include a sportwagon which will be powered by a 3.6-litre petrol engine that will develop 230kW and 330Nm and which will have active fuel management - in other words, it will automatically operate on four cylinders when conditions are right. The V6 models will also feature adaptive all-wheel drive with torque vectoring and a twin-clutch rear differential, as well as adaptive suspension.

And there will never again be a V8 version. So no more SS - it's consigned to Aussie muscle car history.

We know all of this because Holden Australia has just told us. Sixteen months out from the scheduled February 1, 2018 start to sales of the new NG Commodore, the first not to be built in Australia, Holden has gathered selected members of the Australasian motoring media to outline what to expect.

This is very important stuff, because for 39 years the Holden Commodore has been one of Australasia's most-loved cars. But in recent times vehicle preferences and production logistics have changed, and this has meant that not only have large cars such as Commodore become less popular with the buying public, but it has also led Holden Australia parent General Motors to decide to end Australian assembly operations during the fourth quarter of next year.

There will still need to be a large-ish sedan/wagon offering in the Holden fleet however, and in past months this has led to all sorts of media talk as to where a new fifth-generation Commodore might come from. Some said it might be sourced from China. Others suggested it might be a rebadged version of the American Buick LaCrosse. Many speculated it will be a rebadged version of the next-generation Opel Insignia which will built in Russelsheim in Germany and also sold in North America as the Buick Regal.

The Melbourne media briefing put an end to all that speculation: the new Commodore will indeed be a rebadged version of the Insignia, which is scheduled to be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March next year and go on sale in early 2018.

This is what we are allowed to say about the next-generation Holden Commodore. Built on all-new General Motors E2 architecture, it will be of a size that will be between the VT and VE series models, and it will be up to 300kg lighter than the current Commodore. 

Some of its reduced weight will be because the car will be slightly smaller than now. Its 4973mm length will be 74mm shorter than the current VF, wheelbase will be 86mm less at 2915mm, and width will be reduced by 36mm to 1863mm. As a result, some interior dimensions will also be reduced. But the briefing was assured the new Commodore will remain a spacious car.

All models will feature a matrix lighting system, infotainment will include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8-inch configurable LCD instrument display, a next-generation head-up display, and 8-inch central display. The vehicles will also offers a full suite of driver, safety and additional infotainment technology - but once again the embargo agreement bans us from saying what they are.   

No information was provided on the new model's 2.0-litre petrol and diesel powertrains, but the Holden Australia people promised they will deliver plenty of power and torque. They also promised the car will ride and handle well thanks in part to the fact Australian engineers have been involved in chassis development in Germany, and in key global "buy-off" rides in Europe and Australia.

Holden has in fact been involved with creation of this vehicle right from the start five years ago, with its Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria the scene of development work on suspension, steering and chassis control. Holden Australia was also responsible for ensuring the V6-engined AWD wagon is part of the model's global development programme.  

"This will be the best-performing entry-level Commodore we've ever known,"  said Holden director of sales Peter Keley. "It's going to be a very different Holden - but much better than before." 

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