Road testing the new Holden Calais around nation

Sam Hall, left, and Stephen Ottley, right, are road testing the new Holden Commodore. Newcastle is their last stop on an Australia wide road trip. Picture: Jonathan Carroll IT was the final leg in a marathon journey around Australia, but motoring writers Stephen Ottley and Sam Hall said they were still feeling the pressure to get a new Calais V V6 to Sydney in one piece.
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The pair, motoring writers with drive杭州夜生活m.au, were in Newcastle on Thursday for the final stop in the ultimate road test – a 23-day tour around Australia totalling more than 17,000 kilometres and visiting every capital city and most major regional centres.

‘‘This is the last stop before Sydney,’’ Mr Ottley said.

‘‘We’re feeling a bit of pressure to bring it home in one piece.

‘‘Touch wood we haven’t had a flat tyre or had anything go wrong during the trip, the car’s got a chip on the windscreen but that’s about it.

‘‘We’ll definitely be relieved to bring the car back in one piece because its been a pretty eventful trip at times particularly up in the Northern Territory.’’

Priced at $46,990 plus on-roads, the Calais V is $9800 cheaper than the equivalent outgoing VE model.

Add to that additional equipment including head-up display, electric park brake, standard sat-nav and internet radio, and VF buyers are some $15,300 better off in the hip pocket than VE counterparts.

Mr Hall and Mr Ottley were tasked with the final leg of the tour – from Darwin to Cairns and down the east coast to Sydney.

Before them other members of Fairfax’s Drive team took the car from Sydney to Melbourne down to Hobart and across to Adelaide and Perth.

The second leg took the car from Perth up the west coast of Australia to Darwin.

Mr Hall said the intense schedule hadn’t given them much time to reflect on their journey.

‘‘It’s all been a bit rushed, we’ve seen some amazing things but a lot of the time it’s been a case of having to rush onto the next town and get to each destination,’’ he said.

‘‘But we’ve sort of billed this as the ultimate road test and the car has definitely passed it.’’

Mr Ottley said the car’s performance during the journey had been impressive.

‘‘It’s riding on nineteen inch wheels, which are big wheels, and we drove across some pretty average roads and its been comfortable the whole time,’’ Mr Ottley said.

‘‘We did 988 kilometres in the first day and got back in the next day and it was fine.

‘‘It’s a really, really comfortable car.

‘‘It’s built for Australia that’s why it’s done so well.

‘‘Very few cars would have been able to tackle the variety of conditions we’ve tackled over 17,000 kilometres and do it so comfortably and easily.

‘‘We’ve been doing this eight days straight now and we’re still pretty fresh because its an easy car to drive its a really comfortable car.’’