2002 Holden Commodore SV8 Series 1 5.7 V8 from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

A wolf in sheep's clothing

Faults:

The electronic seat adjustment only raises the front section of the drivers seat.

The boot spoiler rubbers needed replacing - done under statutory warranty. UPDATE: 15/02/2010: I later discovered the rubbers weren't replaced and water entered the boot. This was rectified by myself, using Genuine GM gaskets at the base of the boot spoiler

One of the original electronic keys malfunctioned, causing the car stall and not be able to be restarted using said key. Car was started and runs fine using the spare key. A replacement key is $90.

Engine check light came on at 98,500. This was diagnosed to be a fault caused be the failing of the 'engine oil pressure switch. $200 supply/fit.

The infamous Holden LSD chatter noise was present, but I've since changed to a synthetic diff oil, which has quietened the noise greatly.

General Comments:

This is the 4th VT-onwards model Commodore I have owned/driven for greater than 20,000km.

For a 7 year old car, it is absolutely immaculate and shows a testament to previous owner's care and good build quality.

Standard FE2 suspension handles fine, until pushed past 7/10th. Reasonably comfortable ride over rough surface. Forgiving handling.

I find the auto trans much easier to live with than fitted to V6 models.

This is no mistaking, a fast car. I give it 10/10 for straight line acceleration for a standard vehicle. Anyone who requires more power in a daily driven street car is insane. In saying that, I cannot wait to throw some basic modifications at the Gen III V8 and revel in the glory!

Comfortable seats and seating position and enough room for a party in the back. HVAC system work well. NHV is good even with 235/45/17 tyres, but some brands are quieter than others.

Quite reasonable fuel economy given the vehicle's performance. 13.0L/100 urban 11.0L/100 extra urban and 15.5L/100 towing a 750kg boat in urban conditions.

An attractive vehicle that does without the boy racer look of the SS, but delivers the slightest in greater performance due to lower mass. Still, buy the SS so us SV8 owners can continue stalking the streets in small numbers.

Update 3rd March 2010:

It's now some 7 months on from my initial review, and I am still greatly pleased with this vehicle. Now 108,500km. The car has performed faultlessly in this period.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th September, 2009

2002 Holden Commodore SS 5.7L from Australia and New Zealand

Faults:

Leakey coolant reservoir hose.

Noisy rear diff. when hovering just off idle.

Apart from those, it's been great.

General Comments:

I love this car, it is so much fun to drive and I'm a bit gutted I'm selling it, only due to underuse-downgrading to an '05 Magna ES ; (

I don't think fuel economy wise it's that bad for a large V8, sure if you cane it you will see the petrol needle drop quickly but around town it's not that bad IMHO. My missus 2001 RAV4 feels as thirsty at times! Mine is manual though (quite rare in NZ) and I run on either 95 or 98 unleaded exclusively. On the open road economy isn't improved that much, maybe that's because I'm driving a bit harder and NZ roads aren't like AUS and the UK (bendy and single laned i.e. crap.).

Don't get me wrong, the chevy powered SS is a fast car, but at low RPM's it feels a little lethargic. Once the revs are up then it's literally an untamed beast. Traction control is great. The most fun I have with this car is through roundabouts and turning quickly through intersections. Due to NZ police you can't drive at a comfortable speed on the open road, this car was not designed for 100km/h top speed.

The 6-spd manual feels like something out of a small truck, it's a real effort to handle and 6th gear seems like a waste of time on NZ roads, definitely only required when attempting land speed records (I don't blame the car for that though, just an observation).

I like the LS1, as mentioned it feels a bit sluggish at low rpms and rather agricultural at high rpm but all round it's a great package.

Mine has a big bore exhaust, which sounds great, I don't like the look for the factory twin exhausts, the big bore looks more manly in my opinion, which is important when you drive an SS!

The car was also optioned with red leather interior, which feels great and looks even better. There is a lot of wear though on the driver’s side where the seat belt makes contact with the leather.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th March, 2008