2016 Holden Commodore VF2 road test and review.
I write this 2016 Holden Commodore SS V Redline Review with a sense of sadness and frustration, but also with some excitement.
It’s an odd mix of emotions brought on by the end of an era. Australian car manufacturing will cease to exist in October 2017 and it’s a great shame.
The Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon & Toyota Camry are all excellent vehicles, brilliantly designed and well-built, and Australian engineers are the global benchmark in terms of research and development.
Due to a lack of government support however Australian car manufacturing is going to end.
Hence my sadness and frustration.
My excitement however is all about what is the best Holden Commodore ever built. It’s truly a world class car, and for the money, bloody good value.
The Series 1 VF Commodore was already a good looking car; in fact, it was our Car of the Year in 2013. With the VF2 there has been some minor styling tweaks resulting in a more athletic look.
Inside remains virtually unchanged, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s still thoroughly modern, using distinctive and very functional architecture, although I’m not sure how well the suede inserts on the dash and doors will hold up over time.
The big central screen is really easy use. It has high resolution images from the rear view camera, and is the interface for operating the radio and Bluetooth audio streaming, the navigation, car settings and your phone.
The seats are big and comfortable, and seemingly endlessly adjustable. The driving position is good although the fat A Pillars sometimes get in the way and you’ll find yourself looking around them to get a better view. Legroom is generous no matter what seat you’re in, and the cargo area in the back of the wagon is vast.
While the styling and standard inclusions are great, that’s not what the last ever Commodore will be remembered for…it’s what is under the bonnet.
Holden have shoe-horned the LS3 6.2 litre V8 that develops a stonking 304kW and 570Nm.
The big V8 engine will propel the SS V Wagon to 100km/h in under 5 seconds.
The Commodore is happy to potter around at low city speeds in a relaxed fashion, and it lollops along the freeway barely ticking over 1500rpm. However if you put the boot into it, it becomes a growling spitting monster, pinning you back into the seat and covering vast distances with gobsmacking pace.
The six-speed automatic does an admirable job of finding the right cog at the right time, although it is lacking an extra couple of gears which would probably help improve fuel economy.
Speaking of economy, it’s not a particular strong point for the Holden Commodore VF2. I averaged about 15.7 litres per 100km. It could have been worse.
The big VF2 feels like a much smaller car than it is to drive. It shrinks around you and fills you with confidence in the corners. It’s got loads of front end bite and goes where you point it.
It’ll quickly change direction without upsetting the balance of the whole car, and with its rear wheel drive bias it really is a dynamic handler.
Thankfully there are no compromises when it comes to a plush ride – it’s comfortable and will handle the worst road surfaces with virtually no cabin disruption.
What excites me most about the VF2 though is the way it sounds. It’s got a deep guttural howl that would excite even the staunchest tree-hugging greenie; it’s addictive and almost arousing.
It’s all thanks to a bi-modal exhaust system previously only available in HSV models. You can turn it on and off as you wish but why you’d ever turn it off beats me…finally the SS Commodore sounds like it should.
The VF2 Commodore SS V Redline is one hell of a car for $58,190. Have a look at some of the German V8’s that can provide the same level of performance – all of them will cost you north of $150k.
Remind me again why we’re going to stop building these cars?
TheVF2 Commodore looks great, goes brilliantly and sounds magnificent. It is undoubtedly a future classic that many will buy and put into storage as an investment.
It’s those people who are missing the point though. I’d be happy to miss out on the chance for a few extra bucks in twenty years’ time for a constant grin when the LS3 burbles into life and slingshots down the road.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Holden Commodore SS V Redline Wagon
Engine: 6.2 litre V8 producing 304kW and 570Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic (only)
Safety: Five stars
Price: from $58,190