Before we offer our recommendation on whether to consider purchasing a Holden Commodore ZB, let’s explore alternative options.
The Audi A7, BMW 435i, Volkswagen Passat R36, and Volvo T60 meet the criteria, but considering the ZB’s asking prices, these alternatives are likely to be older and less equipped. Furthermore, each of them has its own reliability issues, presenting challenges in accessing parts and potentially incurring a premium cost for fitting them.
On the other hand, the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat 206TSI are viable alternatives of a similar age. However, the ZB stands out by offering superior equipment and potentially lower kilometers for a comparable price.
Despite potential concerns regarding reliability, parts availability, and the occasional lemon that should be avoided, the Holden ZB Commodore remains a solid and refined car. While some Holden purists may resist acknowledging it, the ZB represents the best version of the Commodore that was available in Australia, especially in the ‘normal’ models. Special variants like SS or HSV models were truly exceptional, but they belong to a different era.
The ZB Commodore outshines its predecessors in refinement, safety, and efficiency. However, it faced challenges, including a declining interest in family sedans and wagons and the overall struggle of an ailing company. Unfortunately, the ZB’s fate seemed sealed from the moment it launched.
Should you consider buying one? Typically, our assessment is based on the car’s attributes, which, in this case, are commendable. However, the significant drawback lies in the reported abysmal aftersales support. This extends not only to the Commodore but other Holden models as well. Relying on wreckers for parts, ordering new parts from Germany, and uncertainty about warranty honors create substantial hurdles.
If you can overlook these challenges, the ZB Commodore offers a great driving experience. However, if you seek an ownership experience where the manufacturer genuinely supports you, Holden might not be the ideal choice.
Owning a ZB requires high levels of care, maintenance, and commitment, but considering the extraordinary value it offers for the money, we cautiously suggest a yes—provided you choose the right example. While it may not reach Japanese levels of build quality or reliability, one owner aptly described the ZB as the lowest traveled, newest, best value, and highest-featured car available for the money.