1989 Holden Commodore berlina 5l V8 from Australia and New Zealand


The car is good it has plenty of power when you need it and it's a comfortable ride


The only thing that has gone wrong with the car is the rubbers have gone in the sway bar for the front suspension.

General Comments:

The car is quick and has plenty of power.

It handles well just need a wheel alignment.

Good on petrol unless you flog it around town.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th April, 2006

1989 Holden Commodore Executive 3.8 V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Quickest car under $1000


Hole in thermostat, engine overheated.

Rust in door sills.

Head lining starting to sag.

Gearbox is starting to become noisy.

Interior rattles quite badly.

General Comments:

Before this I owned the same model, but with an auto box, the 5 speed feels nearly twice as quick, wheel-spins easy in 2nd gear.

In stock form this car is one of the quickest I've driven (feels faster than a VN SS manual).

Handling is average, I recommend lowered springs (I have Lovell's Super lows).

Brakes are OK for a 17 year old car, could be better.

Interior is very basic and not very comfortable, I've upgraded mine with Leather seats from a VN Calais, they are extremely comfortable and make the interior look so much better.

Steering wheel is way too big (feels like you are driving a bus). I recommend upgrading for a smaller sports steering wheel.

Manual version struggles for traction when you give it a bit, I've fixed this with a Limited Slip diff (with 3.45 ratio for better acceleration) and bigger wheels and tyres (18" VY SS).

Unfortunately this car is the most stolen in Australia (mine has already been stolen once) I definitely recommend getting an alarm and Immobiliser.

VN's are one of the most common cars around therefore you can buy them from about $500. The performance is unmatched for this price.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th February, 2006

1989 Holden Commodore S V6 from Australia and New Zealand


The car that never dies


Blew head gasket at 285,000.

Blew water pump at 290,000.

Holed both mufflers 295,000.

Catalytic converter at 295,000.

Door rubbers on drivers and passenger side falling off.

Front LH speaker blown.

Lost 3 passengers side wiper arms due to snapping.

Oil sensor at 295,000.

Map sensor at 295,000.

Lost idler pulley on motorway.

Fuel filter blocked at 300,000.

Oxygen sensor at 301,000.

Another head gasket at 310,000.

Brake light sensor under brake pedal failed on the motorway at night.

Consistently blown head lamp and tail lamp bulbs.

2 clutches during ownership.

Timing chain constantly rattles.

Most dash gauges fail on start up, and you have to hit the dash to get them going.

Head lights come on, dash lights come on and brake lights come on when you hit the brakes, with the lights off!!!

Fuse box cover over pedals falls down during driving due to poor manufacture of retaining clips.

No sound insulation, very noisy in car when driving.

Power steering pump was very noisy until it blew, easily replaced.

Clips retaining visors broke off.

Automatic boot latch fails intermittently.

Air con switches off in hot conditions, and yes it was re-gassed recently.

Indicator arm holder came away from dash.

General Comments:

Bought the car in 01 for 5,500 with 121,000 k's on it. It is a five speed manual, with fe2 suspension and it goes like a rocket. Although I have had a lot go pear shaped with the car, I have enjoyed owning it every minute I have had it. It never broke down in the middle of the motorway. When it did, I could always get to a servo to repair it.

I blew an idler pulley on the Bruce Highway with only the bearing left after the pulley disintegrated. I pulled over and saw there was about 10 mm of drive belt left, so I drove at 80kph until I got to a servo. Had it fixed and back on the road in about an hour.

The car is a very cheap make. As Holden had the deal with Toyota to make lexens after Nissan made the VL engine for them, they must have got the short straw.

The VN Commodore is the worst built Australian car ever to hit the road.

It is the most stolen car in three states, and can be hot-wired in about five seconds.

Reliability wise, it never let me down. I drove from Wagga to Melbourne at least 20 times, Wagga to Brisbane 5 times, and Brisbane to Tasmania twice.

I've put over 200,000 k's on this car, and yes I have had some issues, but I couldn't resist buying another one.

I just hope the VZ doesn't go down the same road.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th December, 2005

25th May 2006, 23:59

Very informed and helpful review that gives a balanced view of the VN Commodore.


8th Sep 2009, 06:37

Check one of the brake light globes to stop your dash lights coming on when you brake, cos some people put in the single element globe, and some how it shorts out and causes your dash lights to come on, cos it happened to a mate that had a Nissan Pintara.

18th Oct 2010, 20:54

It sounds like you were driving a zombie car or 'THE LIVING DEAD'.