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Elvis Festival
2008 Elvis Festival

Road Test

Holden Commodore SS-V

by Stephen Walker

5th May, 2008

Holden Commodore SS-V - VE series 
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One of our nation's most highly desired performance cars is the home-built Holden Commodore SS. First introduced in 1984, the Commodore SS has etched itself an indelible mark on V8 enthusiasts during the past 24 years. Knowing that Holden enjoy marking anniversaries with special models, we can only guess that the SS will be the subject of a special treat next year for its silver anniversary.

For our drive, we put an "Ignition" coloured Commodore SS-V sedan though its paces between Sydney and Port Macquarie, for some 1,369 kilometres. Actually, it is better described as 1,369 pleasurable kilometres.

The 'V' adds a little extra to the regular Commodore SS, just as it does to the Calais model. For example, the SS-V has 19" alloy wheels (rather than 18" as per the standard SS), sports profile steering wheel, alloy-look pedals, leather wrap gear selector, colour coded instruments, 11 speakers with the audio system (rather than 7 speakers) together with a sub-woofers (total 230 watts rather than 80 watts), leather seat inserts (optional on SS), projector headlamps and dual-zone climate control air conditioning.

Standard Commodore SS features included a built in Mexico 6 litre V8 engine (providing a maximum of 270 kW of power and 530 Nm of torque), electronic stability programme (ESP), sports suspension, limited-slip differential, sports body kit, rear spoiler, quad exhaust tips, six airbags, trip computer (with steering wheel controls), rear seat armrest, sports front seats with adjustable lumbar support, 6 disc in-dash CD player, front fog lamps, cruise control and height and reach adjustable steering wheel.

When driven with respect, the Commodore SS-V is as gentle as gentle could ever be. This car just likes to cruise and, when the revs are up, it provides a howl which always thrills V8 enthusiasts. The SS is a very comfortable cruiser. But only for those in the front seats. On our long distance drive with 4 people onboard, we couldn't help but notice that the rear seats are low. In fact, too low for comfort on a long journey for adults (it would be good for children up to 10-12 years old). The interior is roomy and the boot is the same. The two-tone leather interior trim looked good and provided a highlight for the interior. The footrest for the driver was appreciated and, as always, I recommend manufacturers who still do not fit a similar feature to their sports models do so!

The price (RRP) of the VE series Commodore SS-V sedan starts at $52,790. Our test car was fitted with the standard 6 speed manual transmission and the optional paint package ($400), making a total retail price of $53,190 for this driver's delight.

The popularity of this model indicates how successful and desirable it is.

Holden Commodore SS-V - VE series 
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Driving this car is quite enjoyable, although the manual gear shifting tends to be somewhat slow because of the notchy effect of the gear change mechanism. However, if this car gets into the hands of the inexperienced, those who just cannot comprehend their driving limitations, this car would be like an unguided missile. The 6 litre V8 has got a lot more get up and go than I do. And with a gentle nudge of the right foot, this car has the potential to move faster than a politician who sees a television news camera! The only way the Holden Commodore SS-V could be improved, in my opinion, is with better plastic interior components being fitted to lift the overall presentation of the interior.

Fuel consumption is rated at 14.3 litres per 100 kilometres. The fuel tank capacity is 73 litres. Whilst the engine 'runs' satisfactorily on regular unleaded fuel (91RON), a higher grade fuel would improve the performance of the engine.

Towing with the manual Commodore V8 is limited to a maximum 1,600 kilogramme braked trailer (2,100 kilogrammes with a V8 automatic). With the manual, the top recommended speed is 100 km/h.

The VE Holden has numerous models to choose from, so it's an easy task to find which model is required for its given task. For overt sportiness, the Commodore SS-V is at the top of the Holden range.

Now it's time to let you in on a secret ..... I enjoy driving the VE Commodore SS-V ..... and I know I'm not the only one!

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Other Holden content: here.

Other General Motors content: here.

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