Holden would like to remind you that the ZB Commodore was launched a year ago, and it has nothing to do with the fact that sales numbers are not meeting predictions…
So, I ended up going to what was essentially a soft reboot of the car with a ‘launch’ drive to generate some media buzz. Of course I went because the media were promised laps around the Pukekohe race track, well known as a venue for the V8 Supercars New Zealand rounds.
As usual the ZB commodore impressed on normal roads with good ride and sharp handling, as well as punchy performance from the 235kW V6 engine. The seats are comfy and it’s generally a good large car in which to devour a serious amount of miles.
Predictably the high end VXR Commodores handled the track the best, with sports tuned adjustable suspension, but what impressed was the 2.0-litre turbo front wheel drive car which, while rolling and pitching in the corners, had good traction and generally managed to keep up with the more punchy V6 cars. On normal roads, and at normal speeds, most drivers would not notice much of a difference between 2.0 and 3.2-litre cars, and you’d get better fuel consumption. Pity hardly any 2.0-litre cars ever get sold.
There was a new model announced and driven at the ‘launch’ and this is the ‘Black Edition’ limited to 40 cars. The name essentially says it all, as much of the chromeware on the car is replaced by black trim. Taking away the shiny bits does change the look of the car, creating a menacing aggressive look that really suits the car’s shape.
At the end of the day, the decision to name the new car ‘Commodore’ even though it has nothing to do with the discontinued Aussie icon, plus the shift away from large sedans to smaller cars and SUV’s means that the ZB Commodore will never reach the sales numbers of the old car. That doesn’t change the fact that the ZB Commodore is a very good vehicle in it’s own right, but it feels like the time is passing for this sort of car.