Street smart

The best car to wear a Com­modore badge could hon­ourably carry HSV liv­ery

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cover Story - JOSHUA DOWLING NATIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDI­TOR joshua.dowling@news.com.au

IT’S the fastest, most ca­pa­ble and most ad­vanced car to ever wear a Com­modore badge. The new SSV Red­line is the high­light of the new Holden range— this side of the epic su­per­charged HSV GTS.

So imag­ine how frus­trat­ing it was to get tan­ta­lis­ingly close to driv­ing it, only to have Ford drop its bomb­shell. On the me­dia launch for the new Com­modore I had my hand on the driver’s door-han­dle to the SSV Red­line when Ford Aus­tralia an­nounced it would shut its fac­to­ries in 2016.

At that mo­ment I lit­er­ally be­came a pas­sen­ger— along with ev­ery other jour­nal­ist at the event, I worked my lap­top sit­ting in the pas­sen­ger seat— so I could cover the big­gest au­to­mo­tive story of the decade.

With that grim news be­hind us, the me­dia had an­other crack at Holden’s hero car, with some track driv­ing added for good mea­sure. We’d also get the clear­est in­di­ca­tion yet of what North Amer­i­cans can ex­pect when ex­port mod­els ar­rive at the end of the year.

VALUE

The SSV Red­line has ev­ery­thing the Calais comes with, and more. At $51,490 plus on-roads, it sits at the top of the Com­modore peck­ing or­der and is the most ex­pen­sive of the line-up, even if the price has been slashed by $6300. (Sport­wagon auto starts at $55,690, man­ual Ute at $48,990.)

In ad­di­tion to techno gad­gets such as a for­ward crash alert and a head-up dis­play that re­flects the car’s speed into the wind­screen, the Red­line gets mas­sive race-bred Brembo front brakes and wider rear tyres (as HSV has done since 2006).

It also gets sports seats and Holden’s lauded faux-suede ma­te­rial on the dash and doors.

The only op­tions: au­to­matic trans­mis­sion adds $2200, metal­lic paint $550 and lookat-me boot spoiler $500.

Fifty-plus grand is a lot of money for a Com­modore but it’s still $10,000 cheaper than a new HSV Clubs­port— and, as we dis­cover, ev­ery bit as good.

TECH­NOL­OGY

In ad­di­tion to the above gear, the big news on the Red­line is the in­tro­duc­tion of a launch con­trol set­ting (for man­ual mod­els only). There are also two modes of sta­bil­ity con­trol and two modes of steer­ing feel (for track or street).

The Red­line is, in ef­fect, ex­actly what North Amer­i­cans will get ex­cept ex­port mod­els come with the 6.2-litre V8 re­served for HSV while Aus­tralian Red­line edi­tions make do with the still highly ca­pa­ble 6.0-litre V8.

Power out­put from the 6.0-litre V8 is un­changed form be­fore (and the auto still has less grunt than the man­ual).

But the 43kg sav­ing due to the light­weight alu­minium bootlid, bon­net and other parts means the new model feels a lit­tle lighter on its feet.

DE­SIGN

The only ex­ter­nal vis­ual clues to the Red­line edi­tion are the 19-inch wheels (the rear rub­ber is wider than the front, con­tribut­ing to im­proved grip) which are avail­able in chrome or gloss black.

In­side there is a gaudy SSV logo em­broi­dered on the light- coloured dash and a match­ing thin strip in the cen­tre of the seats. Black ma­te­rial with­out a logo would look bet­ter.

SAFETY

Six airbags and a five-star crash safety rat­ing if things go awry — and as it’s the best-han­dling Holden V8 sedan ever built, there’s a bet­ter chance of

Top Com­modore: SSV Red­line spec is up there with Calais; Ute is the fastest work­horse Holden has ever made

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