Master & Commodore
The first VE series needed to be good . . . and it still is
A BILLION dollars and five years in the making, the VE Commodore was a make-orbreak model for Holden, and in many ways it also represented the future of the traditional Aussie big family car.
MODELWATCH The company had gambled heavily on being able to keep the old-style large car alive in a market that was moving towards smaller cars. With its carved curves, chiselled lines
UNDERTHEPUMP Holden’s claim for the 3.6-litre V6 petrol Omega was 10.5L/100km and 16.0L/100km for LPG engine. Dave Markham’s Omega V6 averages 12.5L around town and 7.0L on the highway. and pumped wheel arches, it was a good looker. Compared to the previous model it was also longer, wider, taller. It had a larger footprint, with a similar cabin that could seat five adults, and a larger boot.
It was also heavier and there was only a small improvement in fuel economy.
The Omega’s engine was a 3.6-litre all-alloy V6 with double overhead camshafts and variable valve timing that put out 180kW at 6000rpm and 330Nm at 2600rpm. It was also offered with an Impcodeveloped vapour-injection dual-fuel (LPG) system.
In that form its peak performance was 175kW at 6000rpm and 325Nm at 2600rpm. There was just the one transmission on offer in the Omega, it was a solid fourspeed that had been recalibrated in VE for improved smoothness and shifting. Underneath it had allindependent suspension front and back and larger disc brakes. Service intervals for the Omega was 15,000km. Check for a service record, proper maintenance is the key to a long life for a car. Overall, the VE was well built and is generally reliable – the production gremlins suffered by early cars were quickly ironed out. At launch the Omega had ABS brakes, ESP stability control and traction control with electronic brake distribution and emergency brake assistance overlaid with dual front airbags. When tested by ANCAP it was given four stars out of five.
In October 2008, Holden added head and side airbags, which enabled it to achieve a five-star rating. Parents often opt for a Commodore when buying cars for their learner driver offspring because of its solid build, but a powerful engine with rear drive can often bring inexperienced drivers undone. The addition of ESP as standard equipment on the VE makes it a much better choice for a young driver than earlier models that don’t have the important safety feature.
Gamble: Holden spent five years and $1 billion on its VE Commodore