My 2007 WM Statesman was purchased in 2013 to replace a BA Falcon that was starting to have problems after 250,000km, particularly transmission issues caused by coolant entering the transmission oil cooling system in the lower radiator. The cost of repair was more than the car was worth, so exit one BA.
Initially a Holden was not even considered, as I was looking at cars like the Camry. But then the Statesman became available from a deceased estate, at a price I couldn't refuse. At the time of purchase it had done just over 60,000km, and it is now on 115K.
The old Falcon was like a comfortable pair of shoes, so even after a few years of Statesman ownership, comparisons are still drawn. Note that comments relating to the Statesman could be unique to my particular vehicle, as I have not driven another VE Commodore/Statesman to compare.
Even now I can't get over how noisy the car is compared to the Falcon - the worst being exhaust drone/resonance from 1800-1950rpm. I did really expect that it would be super quiet being the "luxury" Holden. The wind noise was partially eradicated by fitting extra stick on door seals, and tyre noise was reduced considerably when Michelin Premacy tyres were fitted. But then there was the engine vibration that was being transmitted through the pedals/steering wheel.
Compared to the Falcon, I find the Drivers seat to be hard and uncomfortable, with the seat cushion too short. But the range of seat and steering wheel adjustments means that a good driving position is a reality, unlike the Falcon, in which the steering wheel did not have enough vertical adjustment.
Surprisingly, both front and back seats are not the best place for tall people, as headroom is sadly lacking. The back seats were obviously positioned rearwards to generate exceptional legroom, but a tall person's head actually touches the rear glass.
This is not a "happy" car around town; the ride is a bit too firm, the steering a bit too heavy, the extremities of the car are only a guess, the tupperware posing as a front bumper is too low, and the fuel consumption!!! Constant town travel produces a fuel consumption of between 14-18 litres per 100 kilometres!!!!
But the Statesman did redeem itself. I just recently completed a road trip from Brisbane to Darwin and back. At 110km/h and above, the car seemed to settle nicely. The ride at speed was excellent, the steering had lovely weighting, and the exhaust drone was not evident at higher speeds. It was at these times that it felt it was in its element. And for the total round trip, overall fuel consumption worked out to be 7.2 litres/100km by the trip computer, and 7.7 litres/100km by adding up all my fuel receipts. It was not uncommon to see high 5's to low 6's instant consumption on the trip computer when at a steady cruise. It's an incredible difference to solely urban use.
Performance wise, the V6 is okay, but doesn't have the grunt of the Falcon going up hills or off the mark. The cruise control causes a gearbox kick-down on even the slightest rise!
Mechanically, the WM has not missed a beat. I get my mechanic to service it every 7500km (which is probably overkill, but I don't want the dreaded timing chain issue!!). At 100,000km, I got the mechanic to replace plugs/coil packs, replace front suspension struts, replace front rotors/pads, replace brake fluid and coolant, and put in a new battery. I also had the air-conditioning serviced, but I still find it to be rather weak, as it takes an eternity to blow cold air if it has been parked in the sun.
My mechanic wants me to spend more money though; he wants to replace engine and gearbox mounts, centre bearing, and tailshaft donuts in an effort to track down the vibration. All these items have been visually inspected, but my budget doesn't extend that far at the moment.
I cant really comment on the phone connectivity and the like. I don't use that stuff. I am an oldie and find the trip computer enough technology to handle.
So is it practical?? My wife hates driving it. It's too big to park, the door mirrors are too small (agree), the front bumper scrapes on parking barriers, the steering is too heavy, and car is too low to get into (she has a mid size SUV). But the boot is enormous. One needs to climb in to retrieve items if they have slid forward.
So in a nutshell, we find the Statesman a better fit when used outside the city environment, when it can stretch its legs and show its mettle.