For a long time, Holden has prided itself on a gutsy, bold image that’s just a tiny bit in-your-face, especially in the offshoot marque, HSV. The Commodore, in particular, has had this tough-guy image (no wonder it’s the car of choice for unmarked police cars). Now Holden has shown that it’s not just about image. Who else would deliberately choose a name for a vehicle (Holden Commodore Evoke) that’s extremely close to the name of another tough vehicle (Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque)? That certainly does show a bit of cojones on Holden’s part. And a bit of equivocating (“evoquivating”?) was needed on their part to show the copyright legal eagles that Evoke was not the equivalent of Evoque even though you pronounce them the same. And Holden representatives quite freely admit that they’re quite happy about the luxury four-by-four that the name… evokes.
A brief and cursory glance is enough to show you that the two vehicles are not alike, in spite of the similar name. The Evoke is well and truly a Holden Commodore, which is to say that it’s the sedan or sport wagon (stationwagon) that we’ve all come to know and love over the years. The Holden lion sits proudly at the end of that assertive-looking front end between twin headlights. Sitting there on those 16-inch alloy wheels, the styling of the Holden Commodore Evoke hints at a touch of sportiness alongside practicality.
The question that the styling of the Holden Commodore Evoke provokes is whether or not what’s under that punchy-looking bonnet lives up to what the styling promises. Judge for yourself: the standard engine you’ll find lurking under there is a 3.0-litre V6 with a double overhead cam and Holden’s SIDI (spark ignition direct injection) system which, when the 71-litre tank is topped up with unleaded petrol or E85, can crank out 185 kW of power at 6700 rpm and 290 Nm of torque at 2600 rpm. This adds up to enough oomph to do all the things you’d want a good all-round family vehicle to do and then some, such as pulling a trailer (maximum towing capacity is 1600 kg, meaning that the Holden Commodore Evoke will haul the caravan off on holiday with ease). Plenty to play around with and make the most of through the 6-speed automatic transmission with active selection. The fuel economy figures for the Holden Commodore Evoke aren’t bad either, for a largish V6 engine: 8.3 L per 100 km. Those who want something a tad more thrifty can go for one of the options for the Holden Commodore Evoke: an LPG engine.
The Holden Commodore Evoke has quite a few features to make sure that the wheels stay where you want them to – or should that be go where you want them to? In other words, it’s stacked with active safety features: ABS brakes, electronic stability control, hill hold control and trailer sway control. And that trailer sway control feature should tell you something about what the Holden Commodore Evoke is designed to do.
Touring suspension comes as standard on the Holden Commodore Evoke, which makes the ride comfortable, especially over long distances. However, if you are more likely to be taking your new Holden Commodore Evoke over rough roads out the back of beyond, one of the available options is the innovative “country suspension” which retunes the springs dampers while increasing the ride height to make handling that little bit better on the back roads – more evidence that the Commodore really deserves its tough-guy image. Another hint of the Holden Commodore Evoke’s usefulness on the more remote bits of road comes in the form of one of the cargo storage features: the fold-down ski hatch that allows long loads to be carried (long planks of timber, maybe, as well as skis).
But the Holden Commodore Evoke is no country bumpkin, and has plenty of features that will keep the slickest of city slickers happy. Take the entertainment system, for example. This doesn’t just come with all the usual things like USB input, Bluetooth audio streaming, a touch-screen colour display and iPod integration; it also comes with enhanced voice control for all the Bluetooth-compatible features and a couple of embedded apps (Pandora radio and Sticher Smartradio). Other driver comfort features in the Holden Commodore Evoke include the rear view camera; park assist front and rear; cruise control; steering-wheel mounted controls for the trip computer, audio, Bluetooth mobile phones and the optional sat-nav; automatic headlamp control (turns the lights on and off depending on how dark it’s getting); dual-zone climate control and the automatic release park brake. That automatic release park brake means that there’s a bit more space in the already capacious cabin space, as the need for a pull-push handle has been done away with. Options available include the blind spot alert, reverse traffic alert and the sat-nav mentioned earlier.
As you would expect on a modern version of a well-known and trusted vehicle, the safety features inside the Holden Commodore Evoke are excellent. This is a family car, after all, in spite of the tough-guy image, which means that if the worst comes to the worst, the Holden Commodore Evoke will do its best. Its best takes the form of the handling and performance features listed earlier, plus curtain airbags, dual-stage front driver airbags, side impact airbags and automatically locking retractor rear seat belts. The Holden Commodore Evoke comes ready to take a family, too, thanks to the rear child restraint anchor points and Isofix child seat anchorage system in all three rear seats. The Holden Commodore Evoke deserves its 5-star ANCAP rating.
Verdict: if you want a car that’s suitable for the family but isn’t wimpy and has a fair bit of street-cred, and a vehicle that is just a tiny bit cheeky into the bargain as well as having all the things you’d expect a modern sedan or station wagon to have, you can’t go wrong with the Holden Commodore Evoke.
The current Holden Commodore Evoke model series includes the:
For any more information on the Holden Commodore Evoke, or for that matter any other new car, contact one of our friendly consultants on 1300 303 181. If you’d like some fleet discount pricing (yes even for private buyers!), we can submit vehicle quotes requests out to our national network of Holden dealers and come back with pricing within 24 hours. Private Fleet – car buying made easy!
Back to Holden Car Reviews