Availability and features
The new Holden-iQ system is a standard fit throughout the updatedand Caprice ranges, although the amount of goodies loaded on-board varies from model to model.
All versions are controlled via a 6.5-inch touchscreen, the physical buttons that flank it and a suite of buttons and dials on the steering wheel. Regardless of the car's spec-level, a single CD slot and USB and auxiliary ports are included. Bluetooth is also standard, allowing for hands-free phone calls as well as wireless streaming audio. Unless you opt for the base model Omega, iQ comes fitted with internal flash memory to store ripped audio CDs. Backseat drivers in the top-of-the-range, long wheelbase Caprice V can be distracted by that car's standard DVD rear-seat entertainment package.
Satellite navigation and a reversing camera are standard on the, Calais V, Caprice and Caprice V. For models where sat nav isn't included, it's an AU$990 option. An extra AU$300 will buy you a reversing camera, unless you're buying a ute, in which case the reversing camera isn't available either as standard or as an option.
On the Commodore, from the base-level Omega through to the range-topping Calais V, the 6.5-inch touchscreen is well situated high up on the dashboard. Step up to the long wheelbase Caprice, though, and the screen is placed further down the dash, making it hard to read in a hurry.
The screen itself is a bit low-resolution for our liking, and probably could do with a bit more vertical space. There's no home-screen, so all of the functions are accessed via the physical buttons that flank the display. All models feature dials and buttons on the steering wheel that allow the driver to adjust the volume, change media source, skip tracks/stations and answer or hang up on calls. The on-screen interface is quite easy to master, although some buttons and menu items are on the small side, making them hard to hit accurately in a rush.
Although it's operated by its own set of physical controls, the display for the standard climate-control air-conditioning system is on the iQ screen. Unfortunately, discerning the set temperature, fan speed, in-use vents or outside temperature is difficult, as there's no dedicated screen for all of this information; rather, a simple summary strip along the top that's cluttered with icons, gauges, acronyms and numbers.
Naturally, sound quality varies between different models, with higher spec (and higher priced) editions sporting more speakers and greater fidelity.
All models feature a CD drive, although on some models the slot's design is a little too cute. On the, for instance, we weren't able to locate the slot until our second day with the car, because the unit's piano black bezel and the dashboard's dark grey plastic contrived to hide the damn thing. Also standard is an auxiliary jack and a USB port. While the latter is compatible with iPods and iPhones, WMA and MP3 files that are stored on flash memory drives may be a better bet. That's because scrolling through long lists of albums, artists or songs on devices running iOS 4 or higher is slower than swimming in molasses.
On every model — bar the base Commodore Omega — there's 1GB of internal flash memory that can be used to store up to 15 ripped CDs. A good deal of patience is required as an average CD takes upwards of 15 minutes to rip, with the CD drive and virtual changer out of commission during that period. Users can enter album and track names for discs stored in iQ, but titles are limited to 18 characters in length.