Back in 1998 the VT Commodore was Australia’s bestselling car. Launched in 1997, the VT was an all new model from the previous VS Commodore.
Highlights over the VS Commodore include new bigger ventilated disc brakes and some increases in dimensions plus weight. With some models, being up to 100kg heavier than the VS Commodore with the same 147kW (5200rpm) Ecotech V6 engine, performance was good but was blunted by the weight gain.
Similarly, the Ecotech V6 has 304Nm at torque at 3600rpm; however, most of this torque comes before 2000rpm due to the engines oversquare nature. Oversquare engines have a bore to stroke ratio, which gives them better low rpm performance but this contributes to them not having much torque at high rpm. Evidence of this is with the VT’s fairly low 5500RPm rev limiter, however revving this engine is often not necessary as it provides plenty of performance under 3000rpm.
The low revving nature of this engine leads to good fuel consumption with the right driver. With a split of 50/50 congested urban/highway driving I receive 9.4 litres/100km average or 10.5/8.3 litres/100km. The reason why I receive decent economy is because this car is regularly serviced with oil being changed at 5000km, new spark plugs every year and the tyre pressures are also checked weekly.
Furthermore, the main negative points about the VT Commodore is it’s body roll, indecesive 4 speed auto and its overall negative public image. Even though body roll is a bit of a problem, the VT’s chassis is still fairly capable due to it being relatively balanced and having a relatively high torsional rigidity.
Overall, the 4L60-E automatic lacks smoothness at high rpm changes, is prone to hunting and needs more gears but at slow speeds is reasonably capable. While driving this car I have noticed a plateau of grey interior plastics, however this is great as it does not reflect sunlight like some shiny plastics in new cars. Holistically, the interior is massive and although it does not have much technology, everything is easy to use and is in an ergonomic position.
Conclusively, the VT Commodore is an affordable large car that offers good fuel economy, cheap running costs, capable handling and an interior that is simply cavernous.