Holden: 2014 VF Commodore SS-V Redline review

Holden: 2014 VF Commodore SS-V Redline review

The Holden Commodore SS-V is the best reason I can think of to not buy an SUV. I can drive up kerbs (carefully) in the SS-V, just like the requirements of 99% of SUV owners. I can tow 2100kg on a braked trailer (100kg more than a Hyundai Santa Fe). I can fit 486 litres of air in the boot, which is 83 more than a Mazda CX-5, and if I buy the Sportwagon version of the Commodore, there’s a frankly ridiculous 2000 litres of space with the rear seats folded down. That’s bigger than a long wheelbase Mitsubishi Pajero with its seats down, and there’s no way you can chuck a Pajero around in the corners like you can this Commodore.

Holden Commodore SSV 2014 frontThe classic front-engine, rear-drive layout makes the handling fun and rewarding. There’s a 260kW 6-litre V8 converting explosions to a muted roar, and 517Nm of twisting force into fairly rapid forward momentum – certainly plenty enough to dispatch anything on the open road. If I bought one, I think I would put a different exhaust on it because at the moment it’s like listening to Leonard Cohen through a pillow.

Basically, the Commodore makes most SUVs look decidedly Holden Commodore SSV 2014 rear quarterlacking, let alone what it does to sedans in this price range. If you look at the competition, the Holden’s aggressive styling renders them puny. From the Brembo brakes sitting behind the 19-inch alloys to the quad exhausts, the Commodore looks like it means business.

Leg room in the rear is excellent. The leather electrically adjustable front seats are supportive and you can reach forward to grasp the perfectly weighted steering wheel. All controls are Holden Commodore SSV 2014 rear seatsnicely to hand and there are miscellaneous cubby holes for phones, cups and sunglasses.

Taking a look at the entertainment system, you get the MyLink with 8-inch touchscreen, sat nav and app support for Pandora, Stitcher and Siri Eyes-Free, plus Bluetooth connectivity and streaming. I couldn’t make the 9-speaker Bose stereo system sound amazing; it was adequate, but not ‘premium’.

Fuel economy has the potential to be frightening with a 6-litre V8. I drove it from Auckland to Napier and back and clocked 11.3l/100km there and 11.7l/100km back (much heavier traffic Holden Commodore SSV 2014 instrumentscoming back into Auckland, and the car would have been heavier with fuel through the hilly Napier-Taupo road). Holden’s quoted combined cycle figures are 11.8l/100km, and I can confirm that the only downside to this beast is that if your motoring is predominantly urban, you’re not going to see anything like 11.8l/100km. However, that’s the same deal if you buy a Land Cruiser Prado, the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk we reviewed last week, or anything else that’s got to have sizeable gonads to either provide performance or move something heavy. The bonus is that it will take normal unleaded or ethanol blends (E10) if you don’t want to put premium unleaded in.

Apart from a gruntier-sounding exhaust the only things I would add are adaptive cruise control, a speed limiter and heated seats. These aren’t available as options, but the Commodore does get a large amount of safety and handling technology such as automatic park assist, forward collision alert, reverse traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, lane departure warning, hill hold, trailer sway control and the electronic stability control suite (traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution and electronic brake assist). It gets a 5-star ANCAP crash test rating.

With the new lower speed tolerances in force, the head-up display was useful to allow me to see my speed in my peripheral vision at all times, plus the local speed limit, which is projected into the HUD, too.

To sum up, the Commodore has utility – loads of space and features; it also has ‘sports’ in significantly more abundance than the likes of the Ford Territory, the Nissan Pathfinder or its own Captiva. Perhaps the Commodore SS-V should be called the Commodore SU-V?

Price: $74,490

Pros

  • Loads of room
  • Loads of power
  • Solid handling

Cons

  • Urban fuel economy
  • No heated seats


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