Holden Commodore SV6 2013 Review

September 27th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

When there are 120kph winds forecast and you need to get across a mountain range, what car will you turn to? You definitely wouldn’t want to be driving one of those ‘popular’ SUVs because you’d be knocked around like Mohammed Ali was using you for sparring practice.

holden-commodore-sv6-2013-rear-quarterYou also don’t want something small and light. No, you want something powerful, sleek and solid, like a BMW M6 or Audi R8. Or, if you only have $55,000 to spare rather than $250,000, this Holden Commodore SV6 will do quite nicely, too.

holden-commodore-sv6-2013-sideOn that night I traversed the Kaweka Range from Taupo to Napier, the trees were bending like peasants would bow to an Emperor, and there was already significant foliage littering the road. Heavy rain was forecast and I’d brought the journey forward to avoid the likelihood of a slip. The big Commodore took a beating but rarely missed a beat. Sometimes the gusts were strong enough to push it a third of the way across the lane but, in general, it held onto the road admirably.

holden-commodore-sv6-2013-front-interiorIn fact, there was more grip than I expected, even for a heavy car in the wet. When I applied too much power, the traction control reined the back end in. With the limited slip differential, grip out of all types of corners was fantastic. Add to the LSD electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), and sports suspension and it creates a formidable handling package.

Other electronics include trailer sway control, and hill hold control. There was more grip from the 245/45R18 tyres than you’d need to explore under most circumstances Continue reading “Holden Commodore SV6 2013 Review” »

Holden Sportwagon Series II SV6 2012 Review

September 7th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Holden does a good job of making a station wagon look mean. The flared arches flex above the 18-inch alloys. A front splitter with fog lights caps off the aggressive nose, and strong lines are arrow-straight down the flank to a smoothly contoured rear.

Being the SV6, the heart of this Holden is a 3-litre SIDI direct injection V6 (which will take E85 biofuel), though you can opt for a 3.6-litre vapour injection LPG V6. The transmission is a six-speed auto with Active Select which matches the revs on downshifts for a smoother braking experience. The gearbox is Continue reading “Holden Sportwagon Series II SV6 2012 Review” »

Holden marks ute 60th anniversary with Thunder Edition

April 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Holden’s ute is celebrating its 60th anniversary and to mark the occasion the Thunder Ute is back for the Aussie market.

This new VE Series II take on the previously popular special edition looks sharp with some light cosmetic additions and is set to go on sale across Australia from next week.

The Thunder Ute will be available in SV6 and SS trim with plenty of extra kit included. Special features in both models include 19-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation, leather seat bolsters and special-edition Thunder badging inside and out.

“It is a really bold, tough looking ute which we think will appeal to many of our traditional sports ute buyers,” Holden Australia Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales John Elsworth said.

In terms of powertrains there is no additional grunt over the standard models with Thunder ute offered with Holden’s 210kW/350Nm 3.6 litre SIDI petrol V6 and 270kW/530Nm 6.0 litre petrol V8. Continue reading “Holden marks ute 60th anniversary with Thunder Edition” »

Holden Commodore SV6 2011 Review

February 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It wasn’t that long ago when those who wanted a hard performing large sedan simply had to pony up for the eight-cylinder model. But with continuing advancements in V6 engine technology those days are now history. Case and point is Holden’s recently updated Commodore SV6 that flies the flag for sports style and V6 performance within the wider Commodore range. The SV6 has taken some time to step out of the shadow of the more coveted SS Commodore but with an updated design and impressive fuel economy the SV6 isn’t just making up the numbers — it’s come to play. To find out more Car and SUV got into the driver’s seat of the SV6 to do the sums and work out if six can ever be greater than eight.

Previously, Holden’s sports-focused six-cylinder has been little more than a dress up job with some larger rims and a kit borrowed from the SS. That has changed with the Series II updates and although the styling remains suitably aggressive it’s a new powertrain that has made a big difference. Under the SV6’s bonnet lies Holden’s recently developed 3.6-litre SIDI (Spark Ignition Direct Injection) V6 engine. It’s a smooth and powerful unit that delivers 210kW of power and a full 350Nm compliment of torque. These are impressive figures for a naturally aspirated six and have been made possible by the SIDI system. The engine has fuel injectors in the combustion chamber with a high-pressure fuel rail sending transporting the juice. This creates a stronger detonation helping develop more grunt while improving fuel economy. It’s a modern engine that has significantly reduced emissions over its predecessor and can achieve a 9.8l/100km fuel economy figure with 91RON petrol. Continue reading “Holden Commodore SV6 2011 Review” »

Holden Commodore GTR edition coming to NZ

March 3rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Holden’s GTR badge is ready for a comeback with a limited number of Sedans and Sportwagons due to arrive in NZ this April.

With only 114 Limited Edition GTRs being produced customers will need to be in quick to snap up the hot sports styling and spectacular features the GTR offers.

The GTR delivers over $6,000 of additional value with features such as integrated DVD player, 19″ Veloce wheels, Rear Park Assist, leather seats and a reversing camera on the Sportwagon, for just $2,000 more than SV6 pricing.

Simon Carr, Holden New Zealand’s managing director, says the 2010 Limited Edition GTR is the most powerful GTR yet. “The last GTR model was launched in 2007 and since then Commodore has come a long way in terms power and fuel economy, with the 3.6l SIDI direct injection V6 engine in the 2010 GTR delivering 210kW of power and a 10% improvement in fuel economy.”

The 2010 Limited Edition GTR Sedan and Sportwagon are available in four colours Redhot, Phantom, Poison Ivy and Nitrate.

All GTR buyers will also receive a numbered certificate of authenticity.


  • Limited Edition GTR Sedan $56,090
  • Limited Edition GTR Sportwagon $58,290

Updated Commodore range awarded top safety rating

August 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Holden Commodore 2010 fq

The new 2010 Holden Commodore, along with the 2010 Statesman and Caprice, has achieved a 5-Star crash safety rating after tests with the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

The Commodore achieved its first 5-Star ANCAP rating with the 2009 update to the VE range, after a front passenger seat belt reminder was added and a crumple zone around the steering column to divert harmful impact away from the driver’s knees.

Standard safety features across the Commodore and Statesman range currently includes six airbags and Electronic Stability Control, incorporating Anti-Lock Brakes, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Electronic Brake Assist and a Traction Control System.

After the tests the VE Commodore ute has kept its previous 4-Star rating.

The 2010 Commodore and Statesman ranges will be launched in September.

Fuel-saving engines for Holden Commodore range

August 5th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Holden SIDI engine

The Holden Commodore, is set to lower fuel use and running costs with more economical V6 engines and other technology improvements.

The Model Year 10 (MY10) Commodore range will go on sale in late September in New Zealand with the most fuel efficient Australian built six cylinder engine in the market.

The Commodore Omega achieves just 9.3 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres in the official ADR81/02 testing — up to 13 per cent better than current models.

At 9.3 litres, a motorist travelling 20,000 kilometres could save $423.80 at a current indicative price of $1.63 and produce 600 kilograms less carbon emissions.

Holden will deliver the savings through two new engines offering a mew technology, Spark Ignition Direct Injection, a first for an Australian built vehicle.

An all-new 3.0-litre engine — and the familiar 3.6-litre displacement will be offered, depending on model.

The changes will be effective across the petrol sedan and Sportwagon range, as well as the SV6 Ute and the Statesman long-wheelbase variant.

The engines are the centrepiece of a model year upgrade with fuel efficiency and lower running costs firmly in mind.

A new six-speed automatic transmission will be matched with the new SIDI engines, weight reductions have been achieved, low rolling resistance tyres introduced and other fuel-saving upgrades installed.

The Engines

An all-new 3.0-litre SIDI engine — codenamed LF1 – will power the Omega and Berlina Commodore sedan and Omega Sportwagon.

The 3.6-litre SIDI engine — codenamed LLT — will be available for the premium Commodore range including SV6, Calais and Calais V-Series models, as well as the SV6 Ute and the long wheel-base Statesman.

The 3.6-litre SIDI engine improves fuel economy in the premium models. Calais boasts a 12 per cent improvement with fuel economy dropping from 11.2 to 9.9 litres per 100 kilometres on the ADR81/02 test cycle while keeping its luxury fit.

CO2 emissions are significantly reduced with the 3.0-litre SIDI Omega sedan and Sportwagon boasting a 12 and 14 per cent improvement respectively.

All V6 SIDI models will receive a power upgrade. The 3.0 litre has an increased output of 190kW from the 175kW of the previous engine, while the 3.6 litre is up from 195kW to 210kW per ECE regulations.

The new engines will be available on NZ spec Commodores from late September.

Holden SV6 Commodore 2007 Review

August 1st, 2007 by Darren Cottingham

Holden SV6 Commodore 2007 fq

It’s widely (and incorrectly) believed that the late US Republican Senator Everett Dirksen once said, “A billion here, a billion there, sooner or later it adds up to real money.” He did say the first half of that statement, and a billion here (or there) is what Holden injected into the development of the VE Commodore range. Fortunately it added up to some real improvements. The most visible result of the rather surreal level of sovereigns invested in the VE is the new aggressive, wide-arched styling. Complementing this is a set of 18-inch alloys wrapped in 245/45 rubber and sports suspension, with a sports body kit and spoiler, all coming as standard.

The SV6 looks like it’s moving forwards even when standing still. It has the muscular presence of its more well-endowed V8 cousins, but packs a more frugal 3.6-litre Alloytec V6 pumping out 195kW and 340Nm. You get a respectable mid-7 seconds to 100kph, but the SV6’s claimed fuel usage of 11 litres per 100km trounces that of its V8 brethren. Perhaps another Dirksen quote is relevant here: “The oil can is mightier than the sword!”

And that quote is more apt than it seems at first. You’d think a billion bucks would be prohibitive money for the Aussies until you realise their big market is the Middle East, and there they are competing for the sales that petrodollars will buy. Our equivalent could be milk-dollars — ‘white gold’ — but it’s not specifically farmers that the SV6 is aimed at: it’s families and fleet buyers.

The SV6 feels like a spacious car — if you’re basketball player you would have enough room to stretch your gargantuan legs. In fact, when I put the seat the furthest back I could barely reach the pedals, and I’m a gnat’s hair under six feet. The leather-wrapped steering wheel houses controls for the stereo, and they don’t intrude when driving vigorously, unlike some cars that cram as many buttons on the wheel as possible. These switches control the 80W Blaupunkt stereo which comes with seven speakers. The six-disc, MP3-compatible changer is optional, though.

Rear passengers get their own aircon vents, and there’s a ski hatch that folds down to form an armrest with a couple of cup holders. Which brings me to the disadvantage of the six-speed manual version: where you would usually put your arm when changing gear is exactly where the cups go for the driver and passenger. It’s even worse if you’re a water bottle-toting, hydration junkie like me because those bottles are tall. You want to have your arm perfectly placed, and well out of the way of liquid-carrying vessels to get the best out of the sporty gearbox, but unless you put your drink in the passenger’s side cup holder that just isn’t going to happen.

Motorway cruising, when you don’t have to change gears while remaining optimally hydrated, is excellent. It’s quiet, smooth and easy to drive. Cruise control and a trip computer that has four different selectable speed warning levels help keep you on the right side of the law. When the road surface isn’t smooth, you can feel the hardened suspension. It’s not a sports car, but it is capable of dealing with fast and slow corners. Antilock braking, electronic brakeforce distribution and electronic brake assist help you shed the speed before a tight turn, then after the apex it’s most fun to be in first or second because in the upper gears the acceleration is fighting too hard against the Commodore’s 1700kg.

So, you get V8 Supercar-inspired looks, but with a sensible V6. Like Republican versus Democrat, there are going to be people who just have to vote V8, but who know that a V6 might be better for their personal economy. It’s a question of what you need versus what is best for you, and that’s not saying that a V8 Holden isn’t the right choice over the SV6. It’s apt, then, to close on another Dirksen quite, “I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.”

Price: from $48,990

If you’re looking to purchase a Holden SV6, click here (opens in a new window)

What we like:

  • Styling
  • Standard kit is excellent
  • Cavernous boot (489 litres total cargo area)

What we don’t like:

  • Mid-range performance is thwarted by the car’s weight
  • The handbrake lever, and cup holder positioning

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

Road Tests

Silver Sponsors

Wheeltalk Team

Richard-Edwards-2016Richard Edwards

Managing editor

linkedinphotoDarren Cottingham

Motoring writer

robertbarry-headRobert Barry

Chief reporter

Ian-Ferguson-6Ian Ferguson

Advertising Consultant

debDeborah Baxter

Operations Manager

RSS Latest News from Dieseltalk

Latest News from Autotalk