Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2013 Holden Calais V.
Sitting at the top of the VF Commodore fleet is the Calais V, a refined, restrained car like nothing Holden has produced before.
Gone is the feeling of “this is just a Commodore with a couple of extra bits stuck on”. While that is exactly what is, the VF Calais feels like a cohesive package that has been designed ‘as one’ from the ground up.
There is no doubting the Commodore heritage, but the little glimpses of chrome, the impressive 19″ alloys and the LED running lights give it a ruthless yet sophisticated look that’s unique, and removed enough from garden variety Commodores.
At $52,990 plus on roads, it’s actually cheaper than some of the ‘poverty packs’ on offer from the likes of Mercedes-Benz or Audi, and unlike the Europeans the option list is tiny.
You can have metallic paint for $550 and a full size spare alloy for $350 and that’s it. You want Sat Nav? It’s standard. You want Blind Spot monitor & lane keep assist? Standard. How about Park assist, 9 speaker stereo, stainless steel exhaust and a DVD player? All standard too.
There isn’t anything missing, this car is the complete package.
It’s not just about the standard fare either; it’s the interior design.
Ergonomic, stylish and spacious sum up the leather clad interior of the Holden Calais V, with an individual grey leather with light grey stripe on the seats, buckets of suede adorning the dash and plenty of pockets and storage areas for your bits and pieces.
I am concerned at how it is going to wear though, suede is not a material known for being easy to keep clean.
The dash follows the same architecture as found in every other VF and as a result, switchgear falls easily to hand, and the huge high resolution screen dominates the cabin. It’s a touch screen that controls just about everything; audio, video, Bluetooth streaming, and of course a very good reverse camera.
Performance is breathtakingly good from a 6.0 litre V8 that develops an almighty wallop when you’re in the mood for a bit of fun.
A 260kW wallop to be exact, and with 517Nm on tap, cruising at 100 km/h sees the tacho hovering around 1500rpm, while sprinting is something the Calais loves to do. The six-speed auto box is decisive and mostly imperceptible.
You never really expect great economy from a 6.0 litre V8 and the Calais V doesn’t buck the trend.
It is however quite respectable, Holden claims 11.7 litres per 100km, our test car averaged 12.0 litres per 100km, mainly through town, and it prefers bog standard, 91ron unleaded.
Out on the highway it was not unusual to see the instant economy hovering around 5.0 litres per 100km, meaning a trip between capital cities would be effortless and relatively inexpensive.
The ride is excellent, the low profile tyres on the 19 inch alloys could provide a little more give, although they shine in the corners, ironing out body roll in conjunction with a great suspension tune.
The steering is fast, direct and provides plenty of feedback, and in either fast or slow corners, the Calais inspires confidence.
There is a lot of good to be said for the VF Calais. It’s composed, elegant and athletic.
All the attributes you’d normally buy a European car for.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 6.0 litre V8 developing 260kW and 519Nm
Transmission: 6-Speed Auto
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $52,990