Before I dwelve into his review, I think it may be necessary to disclose a few items:
1) I am a self-confessed nut on all things Commodore related;
2) I'm not a middle aged gentleman with 3 kids, instead a 23 year old wagonista; and
3) I have been longing for a VE since my 13 year old self watched via simulcast the Ignition SSV roll down the catwalk at the Melbourne Convention Centre one rainy Sunday morning in July 2016 (even got a bit tearful). So in short, this review might be a little biased.
I consider myself a car enthusiast, however I've never dreamed of a Lamborghini or Ferrari in my driveway. Instead, I've always had something for lifestyle oriented sports cars, ones that go under the radar at the traffic lights with the bike in tow, but then disappear into the horizon as the lights turn green.
Growing up, I drooled at the thought of the German estate express trio, those being your E63 AMG estates, M5 Tourings and of course the mighty RS4/RS6 Avants. With the exception of the B8 RS4 Avant, none of these vehicles ever came in a manual. Being the enthusiast I am, my criteria for my dream vehicle was a bit more specific, those being:
i) Manual (as above);
iii) wagon; and
Who would have thought this dream vehicle would be found in our own backyard? Enter my 2010 VE SS Manual Sportwagon.....
In short, I love this car.
Being 23, of course I didn't by the car brand new, but instead purchased it from another Commodore nut who'd upgraded to a VF SSV Sportwagon (though the term upgrade is subjective when you consider the VF SS/SSV wagons are no longer are built in Manual spec).
Boasting the fantastically handsome and time resistant VE proportions originally outlined by talented GM designer Mike Simcoe, in the understated Karma Silhouette, this vehicle maintains a degree of sophistication that would not normally be associated with a Commodore (though the aftermarket xforce exhaust can blow that sophistication right out the door when your foot gets heavy).
I've owned this car for nearly 4 months now, and it hasn't disappointed. This car is truly engineered for Australiana which shows through and through when you drive it. One word, that V8....(more like two words it seems!)
I haven't made a detailed assessment of the car's infotainment system/interior, but hey I like the fact that it's layout is simple, means less things can go wrong! The quality of the interior materials may not be soft to the touch, but it's durable which will mean it will last a long time with the infrequent bit of tlc.
I have managed fuel usage in town of 14-15L/100km (similar to my old man's VE Calais V6), though that's with a light foot. However when the weekend comes around, I tend to forget about fuel consumption and instead appreciate the orchestra performance as the car revs towards its redline. The heavy duty transmission is also very easy to operate, despite its more agriculturally notchy roots.
All in all I truly love his car. It is very sad indeed that Australia will not be able to engineer a vehicle like this ever again, which luckily for me means I will be treasuring this vehicle even more, so much so that I don't think I'll ever be letting her go.
If you want a truly outstanding car (and an outstanding example of Australian engineering at its finest), you can't go past the current breed of VE/VF Commodores. Don't succumb yourself to the badge snobbery that seems to exist in the cities nowadays (or maybe it's just Sydney). If you're looking for a car (or browsing as I was at the time), I highly recommend you have a test drive of the Commodore before its all but too late.