5 October 2018

Holden Commodore Tourer 2018 Towing Review

Holden’s new Tourer is a sleek high riding wagon


Holden’s Calais-V Tourer is a sleek, high-riding wagon. This new generation Tourer is of a similar style to a Subaru XV or Volkswagen Passat Alltrack which both have a longer and higher form factor - vehicles that have proven their capability with little dynamic compromises.

At a glance


Holden Commodore Tourer




235kw at 6800rpm


9-Speed Automatic

Fuel Economy


Body Style

Station Wagon

Towing Capacity Braked


Towing Capacity Unbraked


Gross mass


 There is no beefy V8 or dedicated rear wheel drive model, but there is still a lot on offer. It’s worth remembering that between 2003 and 2006, Holden offered us the Adventra, which was an off-road-oriented version of the VY Commodore wagon. It came with a V8, then eventually as a V6 but all-in-all it was a fairly short run. Holden’s latest wagon isn’t reinventing the wheel but rekindling that once much-loved family favourite.

The Tourer rides 20mm higher than a standard Commodore Sportwagon, and it also has extra plastic cladding installed to the exterior to give it more of a utilitarian look. This model is only available with the 235kW/381Nm 3.6-litre V6 engine, which means it comes as standard with the very clever Twinster All-Wheel-Drive system.

The Twinster system provides a separate clutch for each rear wheel, and communicates with the drivetrain 100 times every second. It can apportion up to fifty per cent of torque to the rear, and 100 per cent of that available power to either rear wheel individually.

With a towing capacity of 2100kg, we decided to use our standard Haines Hunter 600SF test boat with a weight of 1500kg. This left a bit of flexibility for the extra load one might travel with on a weekend trip away, such as fishing gear and holidaying luggage.

During our testing

We found that the Tourer had good performance whilst towing and we could see its potential as a comfortable holidaying car. On the hill section of our course with the vessel attached, we could achieve rapid acceleration from 50Kph – 80Kph at 6000rpm, we didn’t need to change modes or drop gears down it felt very much in control. The nine-speed automatic did a good job, and when possible it tried to select the most economical gear it could.

At 90Kph on the motorway the Tourer sat in 8th gear at only 1500rpm, without load it could reach 9th gear and sit at 1200rpm, but it didn’t seem like the best idea whilst towing. It was a good place to be as it tracked well and lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control were helpful features that really improved the overall driving experience.

We could tell that the suspension was a bit soft and there was a small amount of sway. The increase in ride height is actually quite modest when compared to the conventional ZB models.

The reversing camera offered good guidance for lining the boat up to the bar with its 8-inch touch screen, the infotainment system also includes an excellent Bose eight-speaker stereo, and it’s both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible.

Being a wagon, the Tourer serves up plenty of space with the omission of an extra row of seats in the rear, it has identical storage space to its Sport wagon with 793 litres of storage (to the roof line) with the rear seats in place, and 1665 litres with the rear seat folded down. That’s about 200 litres more than the regular Commodore hatchback.

What we thought

The Holden Tourer was a surprise, a good surprise that may have some of us questioning our next SUV purchase. The Tourer delivers heaps of practicality and a higher ride height in a smart-car like styled package, with a good level of equipment.

It has plenty of power and felt a lot like the Holden’s of the past as it soared up the hills with the boat in tow. On the down side, it did seem to be thirsty and the addition of a boat didn’t help that at all.Thanks to SeaCraft Miller Moyes for the test boat & trailer.

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Rating and scoring

Item towed
Haines Hunter 600 1500kg 1500
Hard braking control
Acceleration control
General comfort
Smoothness of ride
Stability on uneven surfaces
Stability when cornering
Gearbox performance
Overall result
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