Holden Monaro CV8
road test

As the Monaro heads for retirement
we recognise it is still an enjoyable and lazy drive!

Have you noticed how the Monaro still attracts attention?

The big coupe commands attention wherever it goes and that's because the 2-door Commodore still looks good despite the fact that the car is now coming to the end of its career.

Time has been kind to the Monaro. Whist never on the top-seller list, it managed to discreetly make its presence felt by slowly building goodwill amongst those who were undisturbed by the heavy fuel consumption.

This car is well built and it feels strong. And at a little over sixty thousand dollars each, that's exactly how it should feel too. That strength makes the Monaro a desirable piece of machinery. The quality feel, the good looks, the roomy interior upfront and the equipment level all add up to the Monaro being a desirable car for those who want a little more than a Calais.

But I suspect the Monaro is a little overpriced. Occasionally, the question has entered my mind ..... how popular would the Monaro be if it were $8,000 or so cheaper? It is a well known fact that Holden made a mistake with the pricing of the Adventra when it was first introduced. Could the value of Monaro have been overstated as well? Now, with the Monaro coming to the end of the line, that question remains unanswered. Of course, the Monaro was only ever possible because it was exported. Without that export market, the Monaro would never have made it into production. Presumably, GM's Pontiac Division sealed Monaro's fate. In America, the Monaro was sold as the Pontiac GTO. But GTO sales, as we understand it, were never as high as the marketeers had planned. As a consequence, the Monaro is coming to the end of the line!

See our story on the final Monaro, the CV8Z here.

The GTO export programme was good for the Monaro's development. For example, to satisfy American safety requirements, the Monaro's fuel tank had to be relocated between the rear axle and rear seats. This relocation permitted the fitting of a full length split dual exhaust and a rear underbody tray which reduces rear lift by 16 per cent from 100 km/h and improves aerodynamic stability. Hence, development for export equated to an improvement for the domestic version.

The interior is a treat in the CV8. The standard leather seats look and feel good. Comfort levels are exactly what you expect in a car of this calibre, too.

Standard equipment includes 5.7 litre V8, FE2 suspension, LSD, ABS, EBD, engine immobiliser, remote locking, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, 6-CD in-dash audio system, cruise control, power seats (memory function in driver's seat), 2 airbags upfront, driver and front passenger side impact airbags, trip computer, automatic headlight, rear parking sensors, alloy wheels, alloy finish pedal covers and the all-important cup holders.

www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

Holden Monaro CV8
Location: Brooklyn NSW

Click the image for a larger view

www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

Holden Monaro CV8
Location: Brooklyn NSW

Click the image for a larger view

On this occasion, the test car was coloured 'Odyssey', a dark silver metallic. The car had automatic transmission, although a six-speed manual is available for those who prefer it.

The recommended retail price for the CV8 is $60,490.

On the road, the Monaro performs quite well, just as you would expect. The big V8 has more than adequate muscle and the brakes are very good. Steering and handling meet the requirements of a large performance car. The ride is firm, in the traditional sporty Commodore manner. As such all these components come together well in the Monaro and provide an enjoyable drive. By choosing the auto rather than the manual transmission, the drive is better described as a enjoyable lazy drive. You don't get excited about driving the big Monaro, you just enjoy it!

Don't even consider a Monaro if you worry about fuel prices. The Monaro enjoys burning fuel as much as you enjoy driving it. We didn't confirm the manufacturer's claim of 13.7 l/100km. Around town, you'll use much more than this figure.

It's for this reason that we could never understand why Holden quietly dropped the CV6 back in 2003. Successful cars are rarely dropped, so obviously the V6 was selling at an unsatisfactory rate. That's another reason why I suspected the original pricing for Monaro was wrong!

www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

Holden Monaro CV8
Location: Brooklyn NSW

Click the image for a larger view

After just 4 years on the market, the Monaro is about to go into retirement. This Commodore derivative was a welcome addition to the Holden range and in a sense, it's a shame to see it go. But with a new Commodore coming and with export sales not reaching the targets required, it is time to recognise the inevitable ..... "It's been good having you here, but it's time for us to go our separate ways!".

Retirement isn't kind to some cars, but not so with the Monaro. I suspect the name will be remembered with a degree a fondness and, in time, I suspect many will wish the Monaro was still here!

Stephen Walker
25th September, 2005

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19th August, 2005
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