1998 Holden Berlina VT 3.8L ECOTEC from Australia and New Zealand


Smooth, comfortable and feature packed


One of the rear doors locked up after I opened it, forcing me to take it to the dealers for repairs the next day. It cost $240, but would have been a hell of a lot more if it had locked closed.

I have noticed one of my headlights on the dim setting has gone out.

The steering wheel tends to squeak at certain times.

The brakes squeak a little, but it's probably due to my brake pads needing replacement.

An LED has gone out in my climate control display.

The air con doesn't seem to work/turn on (the display comes up, fan works, but the air con doesn't seem to kick in, most likely requiring a re-gas/repair)

Poorly designed boot with the water leaking into the boot itself when opened.

General Comments:

Midnight blue in colour, bought early this year in immaculate condition with 115,000k on the clock with full service history for $12500 privately.

Other than the irritating little problems mentioned, nothing truly major has gone wrong (touch-wood). As long as I take care of this car like the previous owner, it should be fine.

Average fuel consumption is usually around the 12.5L/100km, although if driven hard this can quickly rise to around 14L. Usually 470km's for 75L of standard unleaded fuel (16L/100km). This number drops to around 400km when BP Ultimate 98 octane is used, which was a shock to me, ending at around 19L/100km normal driving!.

It's the small features that I love about the car. Such as the headlight-interior lights auto shutoff feature, making it almost impossible to leave them on, thus preventing any dead battery situations.

Green floor LEDs, which not only look good, but allow for easy setup when entering the vehicle.

Loads of space making for very comfortable driving even with a 5 person load.

Bucket style seats providing great comfort.

Power for the windows even when the engine is off, a feature I found isn't even common in cars above the $18000 mark.

I absolutely love this car and hope to have it for many years to come. This car is the smoothest, most comfortable and best looking car I could find for under $16000, and I'm not at all disappointed with my purchase.

That is until I see the price of my 130k service ;)

Next it's onto a Calais!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th December, 2005

27th Jan 2006, 00:33

Update on Review: I took my car in for it's first service to the Brian Gardner Dealership. Wow was that a bad idea, not only did they try and raise the price of the service as soon as I got there, they added on $600 worth of extras, before they even looked at the car. After removing the extras they added, the service still cost over $1000, about $600 of that was labour. The rest was brake pads ($240 for front only) and an air-con re-gas ($160) amongst other things. If I did everything they mentioned, along with the things I knew needed to be done it would have cost me at least $1600. I won't go to Holden again that's for sure.

27th Feb 2006, 17:14

Update: Got cut off at an intersection and this much loved piece of machinery was written off (2/06). As much as I'd like to get a Holden Berlina again, my thoughts are wandering towards a Honda Accord V6-L which I've only heard good things about. As this smooth as silk Berlina was pretty dangerous in the wet with its rear wheel drive and lack of traction control. The Accord V6 still outputs 147kw @ 5600rpm compared to the Berlina 147kw @ 5200rpm, weighs 150kgs less and is front wheel drive which is far easier to control in winter conditions. Farewell Berlina.

24th Jan 2010, 20:58

Has anyone had a problem with the climate control?

When mine is on air con, cold, and coming out at the dash, I go over 2000 rpm, and it goes off the dash and onto the demister.

26th Dec 2010, 01:15

Hi, I own a 1998 VT Holden Berlina. It has to be the best Berlina in Victoria. I've got 152,000 on the clock at the moment, and have never had any major problems at all, just the "power steering pump", which often goes after a year or so.

Selling it soon, and getting about 8 grand for it. I would definitely buy a Berlina again.