1995 Holden Commodore VR 3.8 V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Awesome car


The regulator was shot, but got that fixed, and it ran like a dream.

General Comments:

Plenty of power coming out of a 6 cyl can; floor it with brand new 17 inch tyres and lose traction from standing start. Has very big comfortable interior.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th May, 2008

1995 Holden Commodore Executive 3.8L ECOTEC V6 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Pleasant cruiser; will reward you if maintained well


Fixed oil leaks in valley cover seals (138,000km).

Inlet manifold gasket replaced; was leaking slightly (144,000km).

Link pins in front suspension replaced (144,000km).

Power steering pump leaks slightly, however fluid level appears to be remaining steady.

Interior has been subjected to prolonged sun exposure by past owners; minor fissures in some plastic visible. Passenger's airbag cover is warped; Holden technician advised that this does not impact operation, although will cost ~$150 to replace (not worth it IMO). Common problem in the VS, apparently.

Exhaust resonator is warped; makes more noise than normal, although no loss of performance noted.

Previous owner fitted poor-quality remolded 235/45/17 tyres; tread started separating from tube with still 70% tread left. Replaced with new tyres (145,000km).

Previous owner also inadvertently cycled ignition with instrument cluster removed (while replacing dash speakers); caused airbag computer to register "Warning light failure" error code. Had to get technician with Tech 1 kit to clear code, in order to re-enable airbags.

Sometimes cabin fan and rear window heater will not operate for first few minutes after starting (worst case was ~10min on a cold night, had to wipe rear windscreen by hand). Not sure why this happens?

Fuel gauge needle sometimes sticky and is slightly erratic at times.

Occasionally stalls shortly after cold starting, though subsequent attempts are successful. I think this might be due to the battery being old.

Engine rattles within its mounts; the whole car shakes slightly when stationary.

Rear right passenger door lock solenoid occasionally seizes (will not go down when remote locking) ; this happens rarely, difficult to reproduce.

Burns around 1.5L of oil every 5,000km. Using Penrite HPR30 (20W60), changing at that interval.

Parcel shelf rattles with louder bass frequencies from radio, even though I have factory speakers.

General Comments:

I think this particular example has been well cared for by its 3 previous owners. Although it's only done 152,000km, it's running surprisingly well for its age, and has never let me down.

Engine performance is very generous for a 6cyl. Buick 3800 V6 motors are well known for their punchy low-end torque, although they don't like to rev high (mine gets knackered around 4500-5000rpm).

The 5spd manual transmission (Borg Warner T5 g/box for VS Series I) utilises the power band nicely, although gearstick feels rather stiff when changing. Engine does 1800rpm at 100km/h in 5th.

Handling is quite good as well, although I haven't really pushed mine around corners that much. Stock suspension, but I'm contemplating getting stiffer sports type.

Fuel economy is quite remarkable; averaging 9.3L/100km for 60/40% mix of city/highway driving. Previous owner says he got 700km from 50L on country driving. Using 95/98 RON fuel improves response/economy a bit further.

Styling is pretty nice, both exterior and interior, still looks relevant today. Executive cabin trim is a bit on the dull side (grey cloth/vinyl), but passable.

Speed alert module is very handy (you can program presets for quick adjustment). I can drive in heavy traffic without having to look at speedometer; just listen out for overspeed chime, then back off throttle until orange LED extinguishes.

It is STRONGLY recommended that you undergo defensive driver training, prior to buying this sort of car. The tail has a tendency to slide outwards in wet weather; in the hands of a young, inexperienced driver, it can easily end in tears. Insurance premiums are rather high for under-25 males, so shop around and visit a broker if possible.

Options: Dual airbags, ABS, air con.

Modifications: Genie performance exhaust (2.5" single, not sure of type), Twin catalytic converter setup, SS-type heavy-duty clutch, 17" VY SS rims, 235/45/17 tyres.

Planned: Cold air induction, sports suspension.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th March, 2006

16th Mar 2006, 13:03

Hi, this is the original submitter of this review.

I should clarify that the car is a VS Series I Executive sedan; build date on VIN plate is June 1995.

I also forgot to mention that the previous owner also did a DIY installation of power windows (car originally came with manual window winders from factory). Quite an easy and popular modification to do; once you acquire the parts (motors, switches, relays), it can be done in one weekend. You can find instructions on the StreetCommodores forums.

Most VS's should have the front power-window wiring harnesses in place, but depending on what dealer the car came from, the back wiring harnesses may need to be extended. You may also need to bypass some pins on the BCM to get the driver's window to work correctly. You'll also need something to cover up the holes left by the window winders in the front doors (mine has small tweeter speakers). Finally, be sure to use a circuit breaker in the fuse box (slot #5) ; if you use an ordinary fuse, it'll keep blowing at inconvenient times!