1998 Holden Commodore VT 3.8 from Australia and New Zealand


A slow end for my VT


The first three years owning this car were great, the car ran like a dream, no major problems. BUT... since then it's been one thing after another, from minor really annoying issues like external door handles - 3 of 4 broke (plastic clips), front window winders both broke, bonnet release broke, hydraulic bonnet lifters died so bonnet would fall on your head, air conditioning gave up and the roof lining collapsed, to the more major under the bonnet issues, like the radiator blew at around 140,000, the thermostat being replaced, and it looks like the head gasket has gone, plus a constant running water sound somewhere behind the dash under the bonnet.

Now I'm lucky to make it to work and back, it splutters all the way to town and all the way home (20 minutes each way). I don't trust the car to do a longer trip, in case I end up stuck on the side of the road.

General Comments:

I have always been a Holden lover, having owned a Torana, a HZ Kingswood and a VL Commodore, they had their issues too, but never to this extent.

The VT is the most expensive and newest model car I have ever owned. Unfortunately this will be the last Holden I will own as I have lost my passion/ faith for this great Australian brand. Perhaps I will visit the Ford dealership next.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd February, 2010

5th Mar 2010, 22:29

Ford wouldn't be any better.

17th Mar 2010, 14:56

I had a VN Commodore 10 years ago, and while good for the first 2 years, it then had many problems. Have had Fords since. Much more reliable. They are not perfect either, but excepting head gasket failure on the E series 6's, they are more robust than Commodores.

1998 Holden Commodore 50th Anniversary Edition 3.8L V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Fantastic car to own and drive with power to boot


Rear main oil seal wore out and was replaced @ 147,000.

Shock absorbers got soft - replaced @ 145,000.

Drivers side power window failed -broken clips.

Engine mounts sagged @ 150,000 - $500 to replace.

Key needed to be replaced @ 152,000. Buttons failed.

All of these repairs I would list as natural wear and tear and not major issues, considering the age of the car.

General Comments:

This is a beautiful car to own and drive. I have had no serious issues with the vehicle whatsoever since ownership in 2008. Interior space is plentiful, my suspension is excellent (nolathane bushes were fitted aftermarket along with factory FE2 suspension), steering is sharp and responsive and the power... just amazing. The previous owner fitted VX Calais wheels to the car, which have a lower profile and are wider, resulting in the car gluing to the road a lot more.

Like most 6cyl cars, its heavy on the juice around town. I average about 15L per 100km in the city, but on the highway that drops to a figure of 9-11L per 100km. This is not a problem for me though, because when it goes to get serviced the bill is cheap. Being a locally made car, parts are readily available and cheap too!

One problem with the car that I don't like is the boot. Every time I wash it or it rains and I open it, water comes in. And the price of keys. I paid $110 from Mr Minit, but average price from Holden is $180. Otherwise this is a great car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th April, 2009

1998 Holden Commodore VT 3.8L V6 petrol. from Australia and New Zealand


Quality car, driving it is very rewarding, and I would definitely recommend it as a used car


Indicator stalk clicks constantly unless it is placed into a specific "at rest" position, which it does not fall into naturally.

Transmission hunts between fifth and fourth gear when travelling at 100km/h freeway speeds.

General Comments:

I own a 1998 VT Commodore Executive sedan, with a few factory fittings, cruise control, ABS, and such.

I don't have many problems with it, the transmission changes smoothly, although I do have a minor quirk where sometimes when going 100km/h (freeway speed), it will decide to cruise in top gear, leaving my revs at 2000rpm (where I want them) and sometimes it will down-shift and run the revs at 2800rpm (higher fuel usage), but that doesn't happen often, and I can usually fix it by accelerating manually to 80km/h, then engaging the cruise and accelerating to 100km/h using the cruise.

The indicator stalk also makes clicking noises constantly, unless I move it to a specific spot that I have found works quite well to minimize the noise. Annoying, but hardly something that's going to make me criticise the car as a whole. I'll probably get a quote to get it fixed, and then weigh up the pros and cons of having that money or fixing the problem.

The boot lid water leakage does annoy me, but I very rarely carry any loads in the boot (being a P plater, I don't carry kids in the car), and whenever I do have something to go in the boot, I usually just put it in the back seat, because a) I don't usually have anyone in the back seats and b) I have a 12 inch sub in the back, which I don't want to be colliding with luggage. So the amount of time I'm opening the boot is minimal.

The range at which the keyless entry works also seems to vary massively. Sometimes it will work from up to 15-20m away, sometimes I have to be almost right next to the car for it to work. Minor quibble... you can't get in the car from 15-20m away.

Fuel economy is nice, I'm not a typical cash-strapped teen, so I can afford to run the car a bit heavily on fuel usage, I usually get about 500km to a tank, which is plenty for me. I would prefer the electronic readout to just tell me exactly how many liters of fuel I have in the tank, rather than making an (inaccurate) estimate of how far I could go.. but that's a comment directed at ALL cars with fuel estimation, and not just the VT.

Performance is about what you would expect from a 3.8L V6, at a claimed 147kw... my car feels a little more powerful than that, I believe the previous owner installed new extractors, which may have increased performance.

Looks are unquestionably sexy, the car is long and wide with an aggressive stance, and although the camber on the wheels does impact tyre longevity, it widens said aggressive stance making it much more appealing. The spoiler also looks nice. The stock wheels I've seen on other VTs are not particularly good, although not particularly bad. Not something that affects me, as the previous owner installed 18" mags.

I bought the car with 155,000kms for $5500AU, and have since done another 3,000 kms with no problems, and the full service history indicates the only serious problems they ran into was replacing the ignition system at 110,000, and replacing the alternator at 130,000.

Overall I love my VT, it's much nicer than my previous ride, a 1993 Hyundai S Coupe, which was slow, unattractive (to me), uncomfortable in the interior, unrewarding to drive, and had mechanical problems out to Tuesday, despite having done 50,000 LESS kilometres than my Commodore. Pretty much the only advantage the Hyundai had was getting 500kms to a tank of fuel the same way the VT does, except doing it with a 25L tank instead of a 75L tank. However maintenance costs more than swallowed the saving from that.

In summary, if you can find an immaculate circa 98 VT Commodore Executive for less than ten grand, snap it up, especially if it has moderate kms, and no major mechanical problems in its history. I love my VT, it's a joy to drive, and it has enough performance power to keep me ahead of any other P plater on the road who didn't get their rich daddy to buy them a WRX STi or an SS ute.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st August, 2007

8th Oct 2008, 01:44

You said you would rather see fuel-usage in litres, and litres left in tank rather than kilometres to go. Well the my VT Berlina has that option if you scroll through with the trip computer's buttons. My brother has the same car Executive though and he doesn't have these display options.

Though Berlina has 3 screen displays in the dash, and Exec only has 1.

Probably the reason, wouldn't stress though.