The Holden Commodore is on borrowed time: but for muscle-car enthusiasts, it’s certainly not over yet.
Base price: $74,490 Powertrain and performance: 6.0-litre petrol V8, 260kW/517Nm, 6-speed automatic, rear-drive, Combined economy 11.8 litres per 100km. Vital statistics: 5160mm long, 1470mm high, luggage capacity 531 litres, fuel tank 71 litres, 19-inch wheels on 245/40 front and 275/35 rear Bridgestone Potenza tyres. We like: Brash style, engineering substance, value. We don’t like: Too big to be in fashion, ponderous in city driving. How it rates: 8/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? The Holden Commodore is on borrowed time: but for muscle-car enthusiasts, it’s certainly not over yet. The latest SS-V Redline must surely be the best-ever iteration of Holden’s V8 sports sedan. It’s certainly the most sophisticated.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? Once upon a time, a Commodore SS was something of a blunt instrument. No more. Sure, there’s still V8 grunt and a certain bespoilered visual presence, but the Redline has a slick automatic gearbox, bespoke state of suspension tune (different to the standard SS), recalibrated steering and stability control and a touch of genuine sports-car specification in being the first Holden to have mixed tyres: 245/40 at the front and 275/35 at the rear. It all adds up to a rewarding driving experience. At low speed you can’t disguise the Commodore’s humble origins: it’s a big car and at times it can feel a little ponderous. But as the pace picks up, the SS Redline really comes alive. It’s primarily a road machine, but there’s a bit of a nod to track work in the special suspension and powerful Brembo brakes. It’s as much a signal of Holden’s confidence in this car’s abilities as anything – confidence that’s well paced.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH? The Redline is still a Commodore, so it brings all the benefits of a bifg Australian sedan in terms of space and all the advances of the VF-generation model launched last year. The Commodore is still not the last word in cabin quality, but little pieces of trim detail do lift the ambience and there’s no doubt the car is well fitted out in terms of safety, comfort and convenience features. It gets all of the driver-aid technology from luxury Commodore models (including head-up display and lane-departure warning), as well as Holden’s slick MyLink infotainment system and responsive touch screen.
SHOULD I BUY ONE? There’s a certain character to Australian muscle cars that makes them unique. The SS Redline is one of the most polished yet, but retains a raw appeal and delivers a devastating performance and handling package at a great-value price. It’s so good that you’d have to think very hard about paying the extra for an HSV product – at least if you were confined to public roads. Holden closes the doors to its Australian manufacturing operation in 2017. Enjoy the Redline while you can – it could well be the last of its kind.
- Air conditioning: Dual climate
- Audio: CD, iPod compatible, Internet radio (Pandora, Stitcher)
- Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
- Blind spot warning: Yes
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Cruise control: Yes
- Driver footrest: Yes
- Gas discharge headlights: No
- Head-up display: Yes
- Heated/ventilated seats: No
- Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes
- Lane guidance: Yes
- Leather upholstery: Yes
- Parking radar: Front and rear with camera
- Power boot or tailgate: No
- Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes/No
- Remote audio controls: Yes
- Satellite navigation: Yes
- Seat height adjustment: Yes
- Self-parking technology: Yes
- Split/folding rear seats: No
- Steering reach adjustment: Yes
- Stop-start: No
- Trip computer: Yes
Find a Holden Commodore SS-V HERE