1990 Holden Calais 5.0 V8 from Australia and New Zealand


Good value and performance car


Door handle broke. Later found out it was super glued.

Some of the electrics weren't working, a few fuses fixed this.

Rear tail-lights work when they want to, require a bit of fiddling.

Head lining loosened, common problem.

General Comments:

The car is well equipped: leather, full electrics including sunroof, trip computer etc.

Reasonably good fuel economy: 15L/100km for city driving.

Quick car as standard, have beaten a Toyota Soarer Limited in it:) also beaten a Gen3 Stato.

Needs lower ratio diff though, and a bit more work and it will be quite the weapon.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th September, 2005

1990 Holden Calais VN 5.0 V8 from Australia and New Zealand


A lot of car for the money


Weeping power steering fluid.

Replaced EFI hoses.

Rear left suspension bush.

Occasional coolant smell from heater - possibly a leak.

General Comments:

The v8 is unrefined, but effective at both propelling the car at a high rate of acceleration, and emptying the fuel tank if driven hard. It returns between 14 and 15 l/100k in the city (more if pushed) while highway economy is surprisingly good at between 9.5 to 11 l/100k.

The 4 speed auto is a very low tech device that certainly lets you know about every gear change. Also, it has no lock up torque converter in 4th unlike most contemporary vehicles (and the VL!).

I have heard lots of complaints about the poor handling of VNs. Maybe the extra weight of the V8 over the front wheels helps, because at sane speeds the Calais is quite good to drive. It even turns into slow corners quite positively, unlike previous narrow bodied commodores that tended to understeer. However, as the speeds rise it starts to feel wobbly and unsettled.

Ride quality is OK, but a little rough for a heavyweight car with luxury pretentions. I think this has a lot to do with the solid rear axle - IRS equipped Commodores seem a lot better in this regard. Also, the car seems to bottom out on speed bumps - the extra weight of the V8 once again!

Can't complain about the accomodation - plenty of room with comfortable, if somewhat tacky, trim. Instrumentation is typical Holden plastic, but still better than previous Holdens I have owned. The trip computer is intuitive and useful, and the cruise control works well.

Having owned this car for less than a year, I can't comment a great deal on reliability. However, one of the positive things about Holden ownership is that if things do go wrong, parts are cheap as dirt and every mechanic and his dog seems comfortable working on them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th October, 2002

26th Sep 2006, 02:31

I would agree with you on most of that. You could imagine how hard it is for me I'm 16 years old and I own one of these beasts.I've got 10,000 to spend on it what type of supercharge do you think will go well???

30th Mar 2007, 18:51

The VN/VP T700's definately have a lock up torque converter, I don't know where you got your info from.

25th Mar 2009, 09:43

I disagree with everything original reviewer posted.

I have nothing but hate for my 5 litre VP Calais. I loved it at the start, but now I'm over it.

I've had to change parts a few times (fuel pump, power steering pump/rack, two batteries, replace blown lights, etc) as well.

I'm not sure if the computer is reading it wrong, but my fuel average is 42ltr/100km. I never push it hard.

The Lemon and Dog car guide states that it does use 35.7ltr/100km. So my car's computer must be right. I refill a full tank almost twice a week.

Although I have tried to keep it as well maintained as I could, right now it is mechanically A1, except for some interior problems (the roof is bubbling!) and dash lights which work when they feel like it, and also the tacky plastics.

I'm buying a VZ Wagon or VU SS Ute, whichever comes first as soon as possible. And I'm selling this car for $2500. RWC and rego included. Just want to get rid of it!!!

14th Apr 2009, 06:11

There is something seriously wrong with your car if it is averaging 40 litres per 100ks. Unless you floor it constantly of course, driven nicely you shouldn't average more than 20lt per hundred ks.