I bought a 2005 VZ Holden Commodore about 2 years ago off someone that was upgrading to a brand new VE.
At the time my 97 Magna was starting to fall to bits and needed more work then what the car was actually worth, so after some research and looking at what I could get (age wise, kilometers, and features) so I settled on buying a commodore.
First let me start off with the pros of the car:
Firstly, I bought the car with 130,000kms on the odometer and it now has 193,000kms, and I’m happy to say they are all trouble free. Only regular servicing (oil, filters, pads and plugs) and a coolant and transmission flush have been required in that time. I should mention this was all done through an independent mechanic, and the cost compared to some of my friend’s cars for servicing is fantastic, even though this car does take a massive 6.5 liters of oil.
Secondly, the way the car drives and handles is fantastic, imo. There are plenty of cool features (auto lights, cruise, Power button, lights come on when you unlock the car etc…) It is so quiet, even at 110 or 120 on the highway you never have any trouble having conversations or listening to music etc… Bravo to Holden for making this improvement over previous commodore generations.
Also, the car has the FE2 Sports suspension fitted (Whether this is standard or optional I don’t know). And it handles so well for a car of its size and weight. It still amazes me how much I can through it into a corner at a decent speed and always feel like I have full control, and the car could take even more, all without even the slightest tire squeal. No doubt similar models without the wider 17 inch wheels and FE2 suspension wouldn’t handle like this (just keep in mind if you are looking at buying a VZ/VY).
This brings me to what is a pro, and a con of the car. And that is the Engine/Transmission combo. the magna I owned was a 3.0L V6 w/ 4spd auto and it felt like a very quick car, due to its light weight. Coming into the commodore with the bigger, much newer engine I had very high hopes. And in part, it delivers. Putting your foot to the floor results in a satisfying kick down in gear(s) and sudden bust of acceleration. This car can be very fast (well, to me anyway, I know it’s no V8 or turbo). However, this speed is really only attainable when the car is at or above 3000rpms. Otherwise it feels …sedate (which I think is fine) but it doesn’t have much urgency down low. My friends VT feels a bit quicker when just mulling around under 3k revs. But it also weighs a lot less.
Fuel wise the care is quite good, I usually do 11-12L around town and 6L on the highway (I’ve even seen 5.3 once!)
The 4speed auto is good and bad. Out of all the 4 speed autos I have driven it is the best by far, smooth, predictable, in the right gear 95% of the time and is programmed to the car’s engine well. However, sometimes it is very obvious the car could do with an extra few ratios. 1st is very short and 4th is very tall (1900rpms at 115km/h) so around town and on hills, or even when changing down rations sometimes I do wish for more cogs. But it has been reliable and easy to service/cheap to flush.
Now for the bad. I had test driven a falcon and while I liked the commodore more, I didn’t check (wrongly assumed) that the rear seats would fold down like the falcon. Unfortunately only a ski port is offered. Makes going to IKEA etc… a b**** sometimes, but at least the boot is huge.
Also, it has developed an interior rattle somewhere in the driver’s door that for the life of me I and Holden cannot find. The quietness of the car makes it worse and sometimes it really annoys me, but the car is 9 years old so I guess that’s to be expected.
The last bone I have to pick with it is the bad visibility you have when shoulder checking, the seat and pillar are so close together and the side mirrors are very small, it’s not a problem if you be sure to thoroughly shoulder check properly or have little towing mirrors like me, but for someone first driving the car not aware of it, it could cause problems.
Overall I’d definitely recommend it to someone looking for cheap room, comfort, power and reliability. I still love this car and it has many years of service left yet.
If only I could find that rattle…