1997 Holden Commodore Berlina 3.8 V6 from Australia and New Zealand




We have owned two Holden Berlina's, the first one replaced after the dealer short circuited all systems, setting the car on fire. How? By attempting to replace the Body Computer with an inferior module.

The replacement vehicle has horrendous quality problems which include:

- misaligned doors and pillars;

- atrocious tyre wear;

- vibrating/drooping doors;

- faulty alternator;

- poor/disintegrating window trim;

- distorted fuel flap;

- blown bulbs (brake lights & rear power window control)

- collapsed front suspension;

- faulty air conditioning compressor

- etc.

This situation is also related to:

- financial loss arising from the failure to deliver the vehicle on time;

- an assault by the dealer staff;

- fraud by dealers;

- etc.

General Comments:

We have decided to take action against Holden and the dealer. If anyone is interested in providing additional information or any assistance, we'd like to hear from you.

Please e-mail Eric at LE003@yahoo.com

(that's LE-doublezero-3)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd September, 2002

15th Nov 2002, 19:09

That window problem to do with the 'helicopter noise' is the same with any car... try it...

18th Nov 2002, 06:39

I don't think the writers of the last 3 replies actually bothered to read the review in the first place. The fact that cars with this sort of build quality can be allowed to leave the factory is frightening. This year for 9 months I had possession of a '98 VT Exec (company car). All I can say is that I'm glad I had no financial interest in the car. To get it re-registered from W.A. to Queensland required nearly $800 worth of work on the car to get a road-worthy certificate for the rego change. From split door seals to oil leaks (the bulk of the bill). After only just clicking over to 90K's. Have just taken possession of a brand new Falcon and can honestly say that it leaves the Commodore for dead in the design and build quality departments, no question.

1997 Holden Commodore VT Series 1 3.8 from Australia and New Zealand


An expensive example of poor engineering


1. The whole car rattles. The material used to make the interior is very cheap. The plastic above the gearbox rattles.

2. Doors rattle. Poor engineering. Rubber squeaks. An old Corolla squeaks less than a VT.

3. Clumsy brake system. Brakes wear out too quickly because of bad design.

4. Water leaks from the boot. Another Holden design fault.

5. Heater core pipe just corroded. Poor manufacturing. Costed me more than $400 plus a lot of hassle. I still have to ask Holden about this one.

6. If your key battery is gone, you need a new key worth $90. Whose stupid idea is that?

7. Too many updates too quickly. Can't they make a perfect model like BMW or Audi. Holden cost nearly as much as them.

General Comments:

This is not the best car in the market. It's all looks. Holden has failed to provide its customers with a decent car.

It handles good, it has good fuel economy, but a poor body. A little bit more firmness would have made it a lot better car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th May, 2002

1997 Holden Commodore VS II BT1 Police Pack 3.8L petrol from Australia and New Zealand


A high performance and safe car


Windows seals in the inside have all fallen down.

Rattles within the passenger seat and door.

Outside trim around rear windows starting to fade back (protective black shiny coat coming off).

Security system error, when the car is turned off and the keys are left in the ignition you have to pull out keys for 5 seconds before you want to start the car, otherwise the car won't start cause the immobiliser does not detect the key for some reason (all lights on the dash turn on, but the engine does not even turn).

Radiator cap leaks, general wear and tear.

When switching from Park or Reverse into Drive you can feel a clunk noise in the transmission.

General Comments:

Commodores drive and handle so well, I had a VR and had major issues with stalling whilst driving, but the VS has given me very little problems. The above problems are very minor, I bought an ex-police car that has heaps of power and takes on all Japanese imports and V8's with very little effort. The BT1 pack was a bonus, especially with the suspension and extra handling.

I reckon that its the safest car to drive, I am 19 and I feel really safe driving the VS II Commodore and I have had no expenses yet. The only thing I guess I found really negative is the fuel consumption, I am not sure why, but on my old 3.8L VR I managed around 9.5L / 100, now with my 3.8L VS I am getting around 12.5 L / 100 and these are all taken with normal driving. The worst I have made was around 17 L / 100, so I would not know whether anyone else out there would have the same problem, maybe I just need to get my car tuned up or something that could result in high fuel usage.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th February, 2002

30th Jul 2002, 05:50

Hello. I too own a 1996 VS II Exec with BT1 add on police pack, and I personally have had no problems with the vehicle in my two year ownership. It has 127 000 kms on the clock at the moment.

I look forward to now selling my current car and buying a VX II 5.7 litre 9C1 police pack car. Hopefully I will have more trouble free motoring. It appears from the other comments on the VT/VX models that this may not be so. Here's hoping.

22nd Nov 2002, 05:14


Regarding the young man with the ex police cop car which can beat jap imports and V8s. I don't think you'd expect the car to have good fuel economy if it can beat a V8. It is a ex coppa car and they have different engine management settings obviously to create more power and not to worry about fuel economy.

26th May 2004, 07:14

Just a few questions as to what to look for to work out if it is a ex cop car... I have recently bought a 96VS series 1 exec wagon... in the boot there are screw marks along the window lining in the roof, as well as along the back door?!?! on the passengers side there is a rubber cap between the front and back seat windows?!?! a few extra wiring clips and looms under the hoods?!?! any ideas guys? is there an easy way to find out for sure?

If you can email me at dghv007@hotmail.com for any suggestions, that would be great!


3rd Nov 2004, 07:36

This is an important message for all owners of commodore's from 1988 through to 2000 models v6 and v8. The auto trans must be driven in 3rd gear around the city and only slip it up to D when speeds exceed 80kmh, these transmissions have a tendency to over use the overdrive which is essentially D. Over drive will kick in at around 50kmh with light acceleration, thus burning overdrive out.

1997 Holden Commodore VS SS Series II 5.0L V8 from Australia and New Zealand


A great car


Bottom radiator hose leaking - just required tightening.

Trim between the driver's door trim & glass came off. New trim cost $14.00.

General Comments:

Very nice car - bit difficult to drive as a manual - but it may just be me needing to get used to it. Very quiet inside - I'd expected the V8 to be noiser but it isn't.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th December, 2000

30th Aug 2005, 22:00

Yes my dad own a 1997 model SS Vs S11 and it drives like new. They are a top car to own and drive. My dad pick it up for $13,000 with 148 on the clock.

9th Jun 2010, 08:13

Yes the VS SS series 2. Bought mine in 2000. 27,000 ks and it's a manual.

Now in 2010 I've only got 101,000 on the clock. Nice car, A/C could be better as it's Dark Green... or should I say Panther Mica.

Rear springs could be a little stiffer (IRS & LSD), though it's a good reliable car.

One must look after the paint work. Can scratch easily.

What have I done...? Pinon bearing in the diff at 100K (wasn't happy!), water pump, clutch, set of brake pads front and rear. New front wheel bearings (ABS type), new front rotors. Other than normal servicing, plugs, filters.

And that diff. Yes, got it rebuilt. How many VR, VS, VT's have noisy pinion bearings... Heaps!

1997 Holden Commodore SS VS Series 2 5.0 Litre V8 from Australia and New Zealand


Sticky speedo was replaced under warranty. Nothing major.

General Comments:

A comfortable car to drive, with great highway performance, and a sporty look.

The fuel economy around town isn't great getting about 420km's from 60L of premium unleaded petrol, but overall a great vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd August, 1999

8th Jan 2002, 16:24

If it is an SS Commodore, it comes from the factory with a long-range fuel tank 80Ltr not 60Ltr.