2009 was an interesting year. The world was in the midst of a global financial crisis, people weren’t sure if they were going to keep their jobs and Greece wasn’t in the headlines every 6.8 seconds as it is now. It was also the year in which my Holden SV6 Commodore was born – 26 June, 2009 to be exact.
I’ve had it for 5 years now, bought it with 41,000km on the clock. I’ve now added 50,000km and it hasn’t skipped a beat, not once! There are nuances, but you get that in every car – my grandfather’s Mercedes C320 CDI has them (according to him), so not every car is infallible – such as the rear window switches not working from time-to-time and the Bluetooth system not hooking up consistently, the interior plastics feel cheap and for a car with 195kW, it could be a lot faster – 8.1 seconds to go from 0-100km/h is unacceptable for a car with that much power, really. I think it’s got to do with the gearing, but I’ll explain later.
It does everything you want it to – be economical (I get low 8 litres per 100km on some fills), handle well, swallow loads of luggage and it’s also reliable, I mean it’s no Toyota Camry, but it’s not as sleep-inducing, which is good.
It’s a decent handler. One day I got bored and I pointed it to the hills. For a car that has absolutely no intention of going to a racetrack, it’s pretty good. The nose points in nicely, there’s a good amount of steering feel and there’s an amazing amount of rear grip – it’s almost impossible to slide, there’s so much rear-end grip. It’s also pretty comfortable. It’s on the sporty side, but the suspension isn’t set in concrete, so you won’t be darting across the road to avoid road imperfections, in fact, it rides better than a Camry Sportivo! However, I think the handling would be transformed if it had an LSD. It was an option, but one the previous owner didn’t tick.
Did I mention the looks of it? Look at it! To my eyes, it’s the best looking large car Australia has ever produced. It’s probably even better looking than an M-Sport-packaged BMW 5 Series. Someone tell me I’m wrong. Comparing it to the aforementioned BMW, it’s also just as spacious.
There are drawbacks to the car. As well as the ones mentioned above, I think it could do with shorter gearing or, better yet, a six-speed auto (it has a five-speed), as the gearing is L-O-N-G. First gear ends at 80, second at 130 and third at nearly 190 (yes, I’ve gone there). It’s far too long, but I guess that helps with fuel economy. Another drawback is the 16-inch steel spare wheel; why is it not a full-size alloy?!
Despite all its shortcomings, it’s still a great car. The VE Commodore was Wheels Magazine’s Car of the Year after all, so it’s definitely not the worst car going around.
It really will be sad to see Holden go at the end of 2017, they’ve produced a lot of great cars. But that’s a sign of the times – people want smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, maybe an SUV (why?!) or even a car from a more prestigious brand – I guess.