Sports re­vival

The SV6 was Holden’s pow­er­ful ri­poste to Ford’s pop­u­lar XR6

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Review - GRAHAM SMITH graham.smith@cars­

THE SV6 was a di­rect re­sponse to Ford’s suc­cess with the XR6, which pretty much buried the Com­modore S, Holden’s pre­vi­ous six-cylin­der sports sedan.

It’s al­most 20 years since Ford un­veiled the XR6 and there’s no doubt­ing that it has built a fol­low­ing among those own­ers who be­lieve you don’t need to drive a V8 to be hard and quick.

And as Ford’s flyer as­cended, Holden’s S be­came lost in the traf­fic.

To be com­pet­i­tive, Holden needed a new hero six; that came in the form of the SV6.

The SV6 was built on the al­ready sporty plat­form of the VE with body en­hance­ments to give it an even more ag­gres­sive look. Un­der the bon­net it had a high out­put ver­sion of the 3.6-litre dou­ble over­head camshaft Al­loytec V6 that put out 195kW at 6500 rpm and 340Nm at 2600 rpm. Buy­ers could choose be­tween a fivespeed man­ual gear­box and an up­graded five-speed auto with a man­ual shift­ing op­tion.

Un­der­neath it had a com­bi­na­tion of MacPherson strut front sus­pen­sion and in­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion, power steer­ing and larger, more fade-re­sis­tant ABS­sup­ported disc brakes front and rear.

With a body 50 per cent stiffer than the old model, a new sus­pen­sion and nearly 50:50 weight dis­tri­bu­tion, the SV6 was blessed with a han­dling bal­ance more of­ten associated with Euro­pean than lo­cal mod­els.

On the road it was a rev­e­la­tion. It sat flat on the road, soaked up all the bumps with aplomb and went where it was pointed.

In­side was a dif­fer­ent story. Awash in dark tones and dull grey plas­tics, the new cabin was dis­ap­point­ingly plain.

The hand­brake was in the cen­tre con­sole and awk­ward to use. You had to be care­ful not to pull it too hard, as it could be very hard to re­lease if you did.

The SV6 was equipped with stan­dard fea­tures such as air­con­di­tion­ing, cruise con­trol, multi-func­tion steer­ing wheel, alarm, im­mo­biliser, trip com­puter, seven-speaker CD sound sys­tem, power driver’s seat, body kit in­clud­ing a rear spoiler and 18-inch al­loy wheels.

IN THESHOP Fit and fin­ish were an is­sue im­me­di­ately af­ter the launch of the VE. Odd noises were ev­i­dent in early cars, so look and lis­ten care­fully when test driv­ing cars.

The V6 en­gine is quite ro­bust and gives lit­tle trou­ble, al­though some own­ers feel it’s a lit­tle weak at low en­gine speeds. This can make man­u­als hard to get off the line smoothly and make it feel un­re­spon­sive when you crack the throt­tle.

As with the en­gine, the trans­mis­sions are solid and give lit­tle trou­ble. En­sure your car of choice has been ser­viced and in­spect for crash re­pairs.

INACRASH The SV6 was well equipped with safety fea­tures, com­ing stan­dard with dual front airbags and side front airbags, along with ac­tive sup­port from anti-lock brakes, elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion, elec­tronic emer­gency brake as­sist, trac­tion con­trol and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol. ANCAP rated it at 4 stars.

UNDERTHEPUMP Holden’s of­fi­cial claim was 11.0L/100 km for the six-speed man­ual and 11.3L/100 km for the auto.

Reader Glenys Rus­sell re­ports that she gets 12.0L/100 km in city driv­ing, but as low as 6.0L/100 km on the high­way. Holden says the SV6 hap­pily runs on reg­u­lar un­leaded and ap­proves it for E10.

Come­back: Holden’s VE SV6 sedan

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