1996 Holden Commodore VS 3.8 ltr petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Cheap, reliable performance car


The water pump was replaced just before I bought the car.

The air-conditioning button in the dash sometimes doesn't work. A common problem.

Water leak in the boot. Happens in all Commodores regardless of age or model.

Automatic transmission starts to skip and jump gears around 90-100kph if oil levels are low.

General Comments:

Lowered on super low springs, a clubsport body kit, 2 1/2" Hi-flow exhaust and an air pod filter make this car extremely grunty.

Looks impressive with big 17" Senator rims and low profile tyres.

For a V6, 200kph seems like a walk in the park. The engine isn't even stressing.

So many small modifications to improve performance, that are cheap.

With parts readily available and most repairs possible at home, I will always stand by them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th January, 2002

30th Jul 2006, 07:48

Hi, I'm Greg, I own a 96 VS myself. I think it's a great car with very few mods. I'm currently pulling about 200 kw out of my ecotec. I think your review is spot on and has great advice on how to get a bit more punch out of your VS. The comments I thought were brilliant, well done.

1996 Holden Commodore VS II Executive 3.8 V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Australia's favorite, but way overrated


Leaking rear main seal - high oil consumption.

Various interior trims on the doors come off.

Interior window surrounds fell inside the door skin.

Constantly blowing globes in the exterior lights.

Water leaks in the boot (can't find where from - mould now forming).

Mould forming on many internal window surrounds.

Temperamental central locking...

Rear driver side door mechanism broke one way when my wife closed the door a little harder than normal.

General Comments:

Commodores are the biggest selling car in Australia. I don't know why. I worked in a Toyota dealership for 3 years (after I bought the Commodore) and a V6 Camry is far superior in every way!

It has good performance and is smooth, but once the engine is pushed a bit it becomes very harsh.

On top of all this Commodores now attract very high insurance premiums because they are high risk.

Build quality is well below Toyotas standard and Mitsubishis for that matter.

The car is also very thirsty and not really the car I expected it to be.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 24th July, 2001

25th Jul 2001, 13:16

Well, the Commodore uses a US GM powerplant, and from this survey US GM cars are pretty troublesome generally. What I don't like about the Commodore is the terribly uncomfortable seats. Lumbar support is useless. They should've just retained the German-designed seats from the VB/VC. Better yet they should've just made a straight remake of the Opel Omega with a wider and longer body, put in the local engine, and left the design as it was.

1996 Holden Commodore VS 3.8L V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Give me a manual


Crank angle sensor.

Ignition coil pack.

Rocker cover gasket.

General Comments:

Excellent car. Fast and reliable, even better since having extractors and a 3" exhaust fitted. This car will do 70km/h in first gear when hammered.

Not that great on fuel economy, but it's probably just the way I drive it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd December, 2000

26th Nov 2003, 13:42

I disagree with the last comment, The VS Ecotec motor is far superior to the previous VR motor. The VR's had more vibration on take off, and the engine was not as smooth.

21st Jan 2007, 02:18

I agree with the previous comments on the VS - its engine is far better than that in the VR (having driven both extensively). Aside from the engine, the VS is a much more accomplished handler than the VR, although still on narrow rubber and too taily for my liking. Fuel economy can be brilliant for a big six. It's not uncommon to dip well below 10l/100km. If your Commodore uses too much fuel, then your shoes are simply too heavy or your fuel system needs fixing.

5th Feb 2007, 20:52

Hi, I own a 96 VS Acclaim which I have had for bout 18mths, had no major problems (new spark plug leads is all) until now. On the climate control, the nob to change the air flow setting (from your face to feet etc) is stuck on feet. I purchased a second hand climate control module, but this also didn't fix the problem. Any suggestions? Help a girl out please guys!!! Regards Kirsty.

22nd Aug 2008, 05:20

I own a 96 VS and have had the following problems.

Leaky boot.

Key reader wouldn't read either of my keys, so the car wouldn't start.

A whole series of hoses with holes or cracks in them; they have all been sorted but may still have a leaky tranny seal!

Now for the good stuff:

She's sitting a little lower on KING springs and also rides with a set of 18's.

It blows ya brains out with a 1200w Sub kit, massive speakers and a JVC head unit.

My mate says I should flick it, but what does he know, he only owns a Japanese car!