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Holden Commodore SV6 road test

by Stephen Walker

20th December, 2012

Home > Road Tests > GM > Holden

Related stories:
Holden Commodore Z-Series
6th September, 2012
Holden introducing "Capped-Price Servicing"
4th April, 2012

Booming car sales has seen a big diversification of Australia's new car market. So much so that lifestyle choices often become a factor in the decision to acquire a new car. Once Australia's most popular car, the Holden Commodore is these days suffering a reduced level of buyer interest and is, therefore, a victim of that diversification in my opinion. Whilst maintaining a solid core of buyers, the Commodore is in need of some rejuvenation to ensure that the nameplate has a future. Speculation suggests that Holden's bosses in Detroit aren't going to save the Commodore without one of their favourite tools (taxpayer support) coming 'into play'. Having said that, we must state that the Commodore remains a desirable vehicle and we take one of the recently released "Z Series" for a drive.

Test Car particulars

Our Alchemy coloured test car was the Holden Commodore SV6 Z-Series. This sporty model came with the optional automatic transmission on this occasion, although a manual transmission is standard. The neat, but basic interior was dark coloured with some contrasting accents.


The Z-Series Commodore SV6 had an introductory price of $43,790* for the automatic version. The fancier paint colours are optional at extra cost. SV6 is a comprehensive range of models within the Commodore line-up. There are wagons and utes as well as the sedan. Fuel sources for the SV6 is a choice of petrol or lpg. A manual transmission can be specified for the sedan and utility, but the wagon comes only with automatic.

Model background

The VE is a very popular car, you see them all over the place. Little wonder, that's because they have been with us since 2006. If you're curious about the next model Commodore you have quite a few months to wait. Although a release date has not been announced, Next Car is 'tipping' the second quarter of next year. Hence the Z-Series, last in the alphabet and last in the VE model. Stay tuned for more details in due course.

Driving the Commodore SV6 sedan

Let's get straight to the bottom line. We enjoyed our time in this Z Series SV6. The VE Commodore has been improving during its production run and we are convinced today's Commodore should have been the first VE model rather than the last.

Having said that, let us explain the obvious appeal of the SV6. Sure the colour was neat, but there is more to a car than the introduction of a new colour (such as Alchemy in this case). A large car has a generously sized interior which is an obvious attraction to drivers and passengers alike. This together with reasonable seat construction provides quite a decent environment for motoring. We were delighted to do just that and we motored 261 pleasurable kilometres. The ride qualities are very suitable for someone, such as myself, who enjoys comfortable motoring with predicable manners when it comes to steering, ride, braking and noise.

Although not all that well equipped for a car in its price range, the car has well laid out switches and dials and everything is user friendly. The interior trim is a neat presentation, but not overly luxurious.

The Holden Commodore is built in Australia and competes with another solid aussie-built car, the Toyota Aurion.

Living with the Holden Commodore SV6

One thing is certain with the Commodore. Your passenger will appreciate the space! We should never forget that a major attraction with larger car is not only the ride qualities but also the space that is available for occupant comfort.

Typical features of the Commodore are the 4-way adjustable steering column, trip meter and a decent footrest for the driver. These aid driver comfort and are appreciated together with the adjustable driver's seat which also has lumbar support. The front door pockets, console storage and cup holders were all useful and conveniently positioned.


The rear-wheel drive Commodore SV6 Z-Series is powered by a front-mounted 3.6 litre (3,564 cc), six-cylinder, petrol-fuelled engine, the test car came complete with 210 kW (at 6,700 rpm) of maximum power and 350 Nm (at 2,800 rpm) of maximum torque.

The test car was fitted with the optional six-speed automatic transmission.


Six airbags; Electronic Stability Control; Traction Control; Anti-lock Braking System and a rear view camera to assist with parking manoeuvres are standard with the SV6 Z-Series.

ANCAP rating is the maximum achievable five stars!

Fuel and emissions

On the combined cycle, fuel consumption of the SV6 auto sedan is rated at 9.8 litres per 100 kms which reflects the work Holden has undertaken to improve fuel economy.

Interestingly, the Commodore SV6 will 'run' on E10, E85, unleaded or premium unleaded petrol or any combination of any of these fuels.

The fuel tank capacity is 71 litres.

CO2 emission rating from Holden's biggest six of today is 228 grammes/kilometre (SV6 auto).

Equipment (SV6 Z Series sedan)

Sports suspension, four 19" charcoal alloy wheels (a fifth is optional); puncture repair kit; leather bolsters on the front seats and floor mats are part of the SV6 Z-Series package.


The Holden Commodore has an extensive selection of models across three body styles. Basic, luxury, sporty packages are all present in this popular range of cars too. Numerous other models have been road tested by Next Car and stories are published on the Holden news page in relation to our experiences in these models.

Dimensions - Commodore sedan (approximate)

Length: 4,903 mm
Width: 1,899 mm (excluding mirrors)
Height: 1,471 mm
Wheelbase: 2,915 mm
Weight: 1,306 kg
Boot capacity: 496 litres (SV6 petrol sedan)


Holden has several towing packages available as dealer fitted accessories. For SV6 automatics the towing limit is 2,100 kg for a braked trailer, subject to the car having appropriate towing equipment fitted.

If buying a Holden Commodore second-hand it is best to check what tow bar is fitted if you're want to do any towing with it. No good buying the car then getting it home to find a previous owner took the cheap option.

The test car was not equipped for towing.

After Sales

The warranty operates, with conditions, on a 100,000 kilometre/3 year basis. An extension for a further three years is optional. Roadside assistance is included for the first twelve months (conditions apply).


Don't ignore the Holden Commodore just because the marketplace is diversifying. We found the latest Z-Series to be quite a pleasing drive in its SV6 guise. Out in the country the ride was smooth and comfortable. It was quiet for a car in this market segment. In the city the Holden Commodore is a pleasing drive and the comfort level is just what you expect from a Commodore ... that is, just a little bit firm in the ride but with very good driving characteristics. The Commodore occupies a deserving place in the big car segment.

NOTE: * Manufacturer's List Price (MLP) excludes dealer delivery fees and the numerous statutory charges (commonly known as on-road costs). Additionally, please note that all prices, fees and charges are subject to change without notice, as are the specifications.


More Holden News ..... here
General Motors News ..... here

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