VE Commodore 2006
V6 Omega returns 10.9 litres/100km, a high output V6 11-11.3 litres/100km, and a V8 about 14.5 litres.
THERE were few more important cars in Holden’s history than the VE Commodore. With the market moving from traditional family cars like the Commodore to smaller cars like Toyota’s Corolla and fuel prices soaring, the VE had to be spot-on if it was to hold on to the market leadership previous Commodores had won.
That it still clings to the top spot on the sales charts is clear evidence that Holden got it pretty much right and the $480 million Holden invested in the all-new model was well spent.
Two years on from launch, the VE is now established in the realm of the used car buyer; the ones who prefer to buy a car after the first rush of depreciation has passed.
The Commodore has been Holden’s frontline weapon for 30 years after being introduced in the wake of the oil crises of the 1970s. The superseded Commodore shape, which dated back to the VT in 1997, was looking tired and desperately needed freshening by 2006.
The VE brought with it a dynamic shape with taut curves and athletic proportions. Importantly it was instantly recognised as being new; there was no mistaking it for a VZ.
Three engines were on offer from the start; two versions of the double overhead camshaft 3.6-litre Alloytec V6 and a 6.0-litre pushrod V8.
The base V6 produced 180kW and 330Nm, while the sporty version put out 195kW and 340Nm, and the V8 produced 270kW and 530Nm.
There was the choice of manual and automatic transmissions. The base V6 was linked to a four-speed auto, but the high-output engine could be had with a five-speed auto or a six-speed manual.
The V8 was mated to an electronic six-speed auto or a six-speed manual.
Holden also introduced a new model line-up, starting with the Omega. That was followed by the sporty SV6, which boasted the high performance V6 engine.
The V8s kicked off with the SS, but there was also a new, better-equipped SSV model, the luxury Calais with the highperformance V6 or 6.0-litre V8, and the more highly equipped Calais V.
With the VE still in production used car prices are holding up reasonably well, but could be expected to soften as more cars come on the market as leases expire.
Look to pay $17,000-$19,000 for an Omega, $24,000- $28,000 for an SV6, and $29,000-$31,000 for an SS. Add $4000 to move up to an SSV. Pay $30,000-$32,000 for a Calais, add $4000 for a Calais V.
Soon after the VE was launched, a problem came to light with the main fuel hose where it connects to the injector rail on V8s. If affected, a leak could develop. But that was addressed with a recall and all cars should have been fixed. However, if you smell fuel check it out.
Other than that, there haven’t been any issues regularly complained about with the VE. But being just three years old and with the average VE having accumulated about 60,000km, it’s still early days.
Check the body for panel fit and finish, looking for any evidence of crash repairs. Open and close the doors, bonnet and boot lid to check they all operate smoothly.
Inspect the engine bay for oil leaks that might need fixing. Check for a service record, which shouldn’t be an issue for a car so new.
Body strength, agile handling with standard electronic stability control, responsive steering and powerful anti-skid brakes all add up to a good active safety package, while standard front airbags and optional side and curtain airbags provide protection once the metal starts to crumple. ANCAP rated the VE at four stars. There was some disquiet over the VE’s fuel economy at its release, as it seemed the heavier new model used more fuel than the VZ. Holden seemed reluctant to talk about fuel economy, but such was the public concern that Holden finally sought to dampen the talk by releasing figures comparing the VE with its predecessor.
Those figures showed there was little difference between the two. Some models used slightly less fuel, others a little more, but there was very little difference.
Holden’s figures showed a V6 Omega would return 10.9 litres/100km, a high output V6 11-11.3 litres/100km, and a V8 about 14.5 litres.
Debate rages over the suitability of the Alloytec V6 for LPG conversion. Holden is adamant the engine needs the hardened valve seats and valves it fits in its dual-fuel engine and advises owners not to convert their cars to LPG, but the LPG trade has various opinions on converting the engine.
Some will advise against it, their reason being problems that have been encountered with the heads; others will say there’s no problem if it’s done correctly.