Mas­ter & Com­modore

The first VE se­ries needed to be good . . . and it still is

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Re­view - GRA­HAM SMITH ask@cars­

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

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