The reasons why we bought this car came down to two major aspects: the heritage of the car, not only since we have had six different versions over the past decade and a half; and because it was the last great V8-generation Commodore.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some aspects that even I don’t like, and I’ve grown up around them all my life. For example, the seats are a bit ordinary. In fact, the seats in the new ZB Commodore would suit the VFII very nicely, giving it more race appeal much like the Chevy SS seats.
The outside of the car has a great muscle car design, but is still not too extravagant, which is a great combination. The one aspect I love about the exterior is that when looking from the side or at an angle, it looks like the rear is higher than the front due to the sill disappearing under the car at the rear, which gives it a Mad Max look and style.
The engine is a great choice with torque at hand in any given rev range or gear. Even when you're sitting at 110km/h on a highway and you want to overtake, it feels like you're in first gear at a drag strip. The transmission is a bit slow between shifts in the automatic, but makes up for that through the use of paddle-shifters on the steering wheel.
The ride is very nice in the front, but a bit bumpy in the back seat. And by a bit, I mean there’s only a slight difference, and most likely due to the engine planting the car more in the front.
All our cars have been very reliable and practical over the years, which still continues with this car. We tow trailers, and not small ones from the gas station either, but strong home-built trailers that can carry up to two tonnes. The Commodore can handle them just fine. Even going downhill, the automatic gearbox applies engine braking excellently in addition to the front and rear Brembo brakes.
Every year, the family holiday consists of driving up to Townsville, and sometimes non-stop. The leg room is great and the massive boot takes luggage from a family of four and an extra esky for the barbeques.
If Holden continues with the V8 platform, I think the only improvement would be the addition of a double-clutch gearbox for extra-fast smooth shifting. But before that, I would improve on the interior upholstery and fittings, as there is too much plastic in the visible areas. However, the front infotainment complements the dashboard and the application of a full-time rear camera due to the spoiler blocking some rear vision.
But hey, I love this car as it was the first car I drove, given that I’m only 16. So, my overall opinion comes down to the heritage and my personal love for the brand and the VFII Commodore SS-V Redline. I mean, seriously, is there a better name for a car?