Who would have thought a decade ago there’d be a diesel Commodore.

How times have changed with the Holden Commodore Calais ZB model now available with a 2.0-litre, front drive, four cylinder turbo diesel engine complementing the front drive, 2.0-litre, turbo petrol four and the all-wheel drive, 3.6-litre petrol V6.

The diesel missed ZB Commodore’s launch phase arriving only recently.

Was it worth the wait?

Doesn’t really matter given the current Holden Commodore sales rate but if you consider sub 5.0-litres/100km fuel economy and EU 6 emissions compliance important, well, yes, the diesel was certainly worth the wait.

Goes good too although the torquey engine combined with front wheel drive has its limitations and feels like all `bum draggers’ when driven hard…spins the wheels on low grip surfaces and tends to understeer to the outside of a corner when pushed.

It’s a German made diesel engine while the transmission is an Aisin unit out of Japan combining for a fairly attractive powertrain proposition.

But Commodore is struggling to get traction in a market dominated by medium SUVs and dual cab utes.

Oh, well, Holden can’t let Kia (Stinger) and Skoda (Superb) get all the action in the large sedan segment, can they?


ZB Commodore looks OK in the higher spec’ versions which have specific grilles and frontal treatments with big wheels and other bling to make them look classy.

Calais gets some brightwork but the front looks like it’s swallowed a bee with elements from an earlier Mazda6 crossed with a Ford Mondeo.

And the sedan is actually a hatchback, albeit a big hatchback but not a`real’ sedan. That gives the ZB a large tailgate and a more arcing roofline which may or may not appeal.

The profile is sleek and overall Commodore is pretty easy on the eye. It just needed a more imposing stance rather than looking like a traditional family hack, in other words like a big version of Toyota’s previous yawn-worthy Camry.

2018 Holden Commodore Calais Diesel Sedan