There is something special about a Commodore S. Just what is it though? Can you identify it? Sure, it looks good. But it's more than that! Perhaps it's perception playing tricks. Maybe it's the reality that this car represents an opportunity to gain overt sportiness without going overboard with an expensive sports sedan.
Here we test the current VY series Commodore S sedan. As the nation's best selling car, the Commodore is well known, so our comments will relate to our experience with the red S which we had the pleasure of experiencing for a week. During this time we covered some 857 kms!
Firstly, the correct name for this particular shade of red is "Redhot". That explains it really! The colour is redhot and so too was the experience. Red is a make you feel good type of colour. A red car has it's drawbacks, though. It's the type of colour that makes you want it looking good everyday. Therein lies a problem. You need to wash it everyday! But what a great motivating factor that is! Exercise gained daily whilst washing the car! Better than dieting!
The great appearance externally, accentuated by the red body, the alloy wheels and the stylish body kit, rather than the tired body styling, is beaten only by the interior. This car had the standard Redhot block cloth trim, which is bright as bright can be, but quite attractive in it's own way.
Living with the red S was easy. The creature comforts demanded by today's market means the S comes well equipped. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, sports body kit, dual front airbags, leather wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, auto headlights (with manual override), trip computer, tachometer, audio includes single CD player, power antenna, six speakers and there's sports-style seats, height adjustable driver's seat with cushion tilt, adjustable lumbar support for both front seats, power windows, time delay interior lighting, vanity mirrors, engine immobiliser, remote locking and much more.
That all adds up to a package which is quite attractive! And it's a package which is easy to live with on a daily basis.
The test car was fitted with the optional supercharged 3.8 litre V6 engine and 4-speed automatic transmission. This proved to be an exceptionally good match. The standard 3.8 litre V6 is a good engine with good power on offer, but the supercharged V6 is something else. It gave me the feeling that I'd never need the power, but it was so nice to know it was there! And every now and then, it was nice to accelerate just a little keener than usual. Driving the red S now takes on a new dimension, as you realise that not only does the car look good, but it goes well too! Oh yes, it's a great feeling!
Are there any weaknesses with the S? Oh, sure, nothing dramatic though. As mentioned, I feel the Commodore styling is somewhat tired. There's over 500,000 VT/VY/VX Commodores on the road and this basic shape has been around since 1997, so the next Commodore, the VZ, will be a welcome new-comer. Despite that though, it's really only the base model which lacks style. The S is up to the task of satisfying it's owners quite well. The only other criticism is the interior headlining. It's a dull white, just like many cars. I feel it doesn't quite match the ambience that the interior provides with it's trendy seats. But it's no big deal.
The best part of an S is it's pricing. The recommended retail price (as tested) is $40,760. This figure excludes the traditional add-ons. As you can envisage, all that is on offer and the price is just $40,760 plus the on-road costs and dealer delivery charges. That's a good offer in my view.
For the photographic session, Bobbin Head, on Cowan Creek, in Sydney's north was chosen as the location. This area is part of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. As such, there's plenty of picnicing areas available. There's some walking trails in this vicinity as well. Boating is quite popular here, too. An entry fee is charged to enter the park. On the day of our visit, the fee was $11.
How do you sum up a week with a redhot Redhot Commodore S? Easy...... I'd like to see more supercharged red S's on the road!