Holden Commodore Acclaim Wagon Aug 2001 to Oct 2002 Buying Guide
VX Series II Commodore Executive and Acclaim have revised charcoal grille treatments, new design bumpers in body colour and new wheel covers. Otherwise the styling remains as at the launch of VX Commodore with new headlight treatment and revised side rubbing strip design providing immediate identification. The re-setting of the rear suspension's negative camber makes the car look slightly less aggressive from the rear. Acclaim colours include Hyper Yellow - a chromatic metallic yellow, Delft - a cobalt blue metallic, Vespers - a dark blue metallic, Botticelli - a translucent aqua blue metallic and Laurel - a mid-tone forest green metallic.
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Stand Out Features
The extra link in the rear suspension improves both ride and handling, as well as rear tyre wear.
Manual air-conditioning is standard on the Acclaim. Three rotary knobs on the dash, just below the centre air vents, control the system. Holden locates the heating/air-conditioning panel above, rather than below, the radio. Adjustable rear outlet vents are provided for back seat passengers.
In-car entertainment in Acclaim models is via a four-speaker, 30-watt AM/FM stereo electronic tune radio with local/distant selector switch and automatic station store memory. The sound system has remote controls on the steering wheel and includes radio and single disc CD functions.
Holden has offered the Philips CARiN satellite navigation system across all Commodore models since March, 1999. The system covers all mainland capitals and close to 100,000km of bitumen.
For added security, the Acclaim is now fitted with an alarm system, operated via remote control power key, which sounds the vehicle's horn when triggered. The key, with its rolling security code, operates the dome lamp and engages door deadlocks when pressed twice. It also operates the central locking for keyless entry through the driver's door only, or unlocks all doors when the button is kept pressed. It also unlocks or locks the tailgate and releases the deadlocks. The indicators are unable to flash confirmation if the door is left ajar when remote locking. The engine is disabled to immobilise the vehicle when the key is removed from the ignition. A flashing red interior warning lamp shows the vehicle is protected. A door lock is fitted to the driver's door only and the lock cylinder "freewheels" if anything other than the correct key is inserted.
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Spacious cargo area, smooth and comfortable, responsive engine
We Don't Like:
V6 less than smooth at higher rpm
Is there a more worthy family car icon than the Holden station wagon? Since its ancient predecessor rolled onto the roads in the 1950s, the Holden station wagon has become an integral part of Australian culture. The special combination of comfort and style, coupled with much more versatility than regular sedans has, over the years, made the station wagon an obvious automotive choice for uncountable Australian families. Surprising maybe is that the basic essence of the family station wagon has not really changed since those slick-looking FEs from the 1950s. Basically, the station wagon is little more than a regular sedan (whether it's a Holden or a Ford - or a Toyota or a Mitsubishi for that matter) with an extra section tacked on behind the C-pillar. The biggest change made by Holden and Ford in recent times is the adoption of the longer wheelbases of the limo-style luxury models to grab even more cubic metres of load space.
With growing lists of model variants, station wagons today are catering to a wider cross-section of market segments. Holden, for example, offers its Commodore wagons from base Executive to the more sumptuous Berlina level. But perhaps the entry level Commodore should be the Acclaim series. This model has traditionally occupied the high ground on safety by taking all the passive and active features available in the Holden range and adding them to a basic Executive.
When the Acclaim first appeared with the VR series in 1993, it added a driver's airbag, anti-lock braking, independent rear suspension, air-conditioning and cruise control as part of the standard package at a very reasonable increase over Executive prices. Today the Acclaim also includes dual front airbags, side front airbags, traction control, power windows and a few little touches such as lumbar adjustment for both front seats and height-adjustable front seatbelt mountings, to maintain a lead over the now better-equipped Executive which has a driver's airbag, anti-lock brakes and an independent rear end as standard. If it were not for the badges, it would be difficult to spot an Acclaim over a regular Executive.
Although the safety issues are well attended to, equipment levels are otherwise pretty much the same as the entry level car, meaning that the sound system is a basic single CD, four-speaker, 30-watt affair and trim levels are similar. All this means that a Commodore Acclaim wagon - which is available only as a V6 automatic - is a pretty expensive vehicle, edging close to $40,000 by the time on-road costs are factored in. But it's a worthy inheritor of the family wagon title with generous amounts of passenger space and a massive rear cargo deck measuring around 1.2 useable metres in depth and a maximum of about 1.4 metres wide, even before the split-fold rear seat backrest comes into play. Drop this partly down and the possibilities are enormous. Hefting in a few mountain bikes, diving gear or other similarly space-greedy recreational equipment becomes quite easy, both because of the space available and the wide-opening tailgate. Just remember to protect the carpet if the gear is at all grubby. The space itself is quite uniform in shape with minimal intrusion from the (carpeted) wheel arches and the raised roofline means there is plenty of height - just under one metre on average. A handy little lidded compartment on the right is good for storing smallish items but a roll-out blind would have been nice (there's provision for one).
On the road, the wagon uses its supple independent rear suspension to advantage, riding as smoothly as a sedan (more than Commodore sedans, which use a shorter wheelbase) and quite surprisingly quiet. You need to listen very closely to hear any of the familiar station wagon resonance - in fact, the wagon does not seem to be all that far behind a Statesman in terms of interior noise levels. The seats are large and supportive, great for long spells on the road, and the general leg and shoulder room is about as good as you are going to get in this price range. Headroom is superior to Commodore sedans, in both front and rear, and the driver will have little to complain about with power adjustment for seat height and cushion tilt, as well as the all-way adjustable steering column. So the Acclaim wagon is as comfortable as it is practical, feeling as plush as a sedan in practically all circumstances and driving with similar steering precision. Maybe at times - for example when driving on a tight, winding road - there is an awareness of the extra weight extending to the rear but generally the wagon is an agreeable driver's car.
The Acclaim uses the standard rack and pinion steering system that, to many, feels more linear and predictable than the Variatronic road speed sensitive system seen in Calais, Statesman and Caprice. The reworked rear suspension, plus new tyre design aimed at assisting straight-line stability, allows incremental gains in the way the Commodore wagon steers, but it still does not feel as communicative as the Falcon. The Commodore still feels slightly "woolly" at the wheel. The V6 engine, pumping out an extra kilowatt in VX Series II form, remains an always eager powerplant, responsive from low rpm and generous in terms of torque across the rpm range. It copes quite satisfactorily with the extra 58kg of the wagon, even if it does begin to feel the effects of a full load. And it does get rough and slightly rowdy when pushed towards its upper reaches. The four-speed auto does a good enough job but is coming under mild criticism in this era of super-smooth, intelligent automatics for its tendency to change roughly at times and its inability to read the driving conditions so that it does not hunt around for gears.
Fortunately the mid-range abilities of the V6 compensate for much of this because it does not require regular gearshifts to maintain pace, allowing the transmission to hang onto the higher ratios for longer than a less torque-endowed engine. The standard four-channel anti-lock brakes and traction control contribute to feelings of security and the reworked rear suspension seems to add a little extra suppleness to the already very agreeable ride. So the Commodore wagon remains the sensible choice for the majority of Australian families. It does not really ask for any compromises in terms of comfort or on-road abilities and is an easy swallower of mountains of luggage. And, in Acclaim form, it represents the best Holden can offer in terms of safety.
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Like Holden family cars from time immemorial - or 1948 if you want ot get picky, the Acclaim wagon sits its engine longitudinally in the engine bay and drives the rear wheels. In this case via a four-speed automatic gearbox only.
Holden's 3.8-litre, pushrod cast-iron, 90 degree V6 is based on a front-drive Buick design. It uses cross flow cylinder heads, cross-bolted, four-bolt main bearings and adopted low friction technology with the introduction of the VS model in 1995. "Hot wire" air mass metering, sequential fuel injection, high energy distributorless ignition with triple coils and twin knock control sensors also feature. A stainless steel exhaust prolongs the system's life expectancy. The V6 produces 152kW at 5200rpm and 305Nm at 3600rpm.
The Commodore's front suspension is by MacPherson struts with a direct acting stabiliser bar and progressive rate coil springs. The independent, semi-trailing arm rear end (pictured) is significantly improved with the adoption of the extra toe-control links. These control toe change under bump and rebound to improve straight-line and cornering precision. The revised rear end also has less dramatic static negative camber, improving traction and assisting in reduction of rear-tyre wear. Options include the FE2 sports suspension or the country pack.
The Acclaim has anti-lock braking (ABS) as standard. Traction control (TC) is standard too and works on controlling engine torque, or selectively braking individual rear wheels to help prevent wheelspin. An optional limited-slip differential (LSD) helps traction in slippery conditions.
Standard transmission in the Acclaim is the electronic four-speed automatic incorporating power or economy modes. Holden sedan auto gearbox ratios are the same across the board, from 3.8-litre V6 to 5.7-litre V8 and all use the same 3.08:1 final drive ratio. Traction control is standard in the Acclaim. A limited-slip differential is optional.
The Acclaim uses an all-disc system with four-channel anti-lock braking. When the wheel speed sensors and computer detect imminent lock-up, brake cylinder pressure is adjusted at each wheel to prevent wheel lock-up. The system operates through four-wheel discs, ventilated at the front. The four-channel system is only used on models with traction control.
The Acclaim comes with variable ratio power-assisted rack and pinion steering. The steering wheel, is, like all Commodores, adjustable for height and reach. The wagon's turning circle measures 11.5 metres and the wheel goes from lock to lock in 2.8 turns.
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3.791-litres cast iron pushrod, 12-valve V6
Front: MacPherson struts with coil springs
Rear: Independent with semi-trailing links and additional control links, plus coil springs at the rear
Power-assisted rack and pinion
Turning circle: 11.5 metres
Driver and passenger airbag
Six-speaker stereo radio sound system with single CD player
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