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