2002 Holden Commodore VX - Series II 3.8 V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Not bad value for money, but the build quality, attention to detail and finish are poor


It has an extremely annoying squeak that emanates from the Auto stick shift area. Dash has an intermittent rattle that can be temporarily cured by squeezing the top of the instrument binnacle.

This car is blue and the quality of the paintwork is poor. In strong light the finish appears very uneven. The duco also seems very soft and is extremely easy to scratch. I don't know if this is inherent with blue duco, but my previous car (a white Camry) had duco that looked like new even after 10 years. It didn't pick up scratches like this car either.

The panel fit is poor in some areas. The boot looks like it was fitted by somebody with myopia. The door hinges sag visibly when the doors are fully opened. The fuel cap looks like it was pressed to fit a completely different car, but is obviously very cheap for Holden to make.

The inside trim is mostly OK apart from the door seals which look very cheap, is poorly fitted and is already coming loose in places.

General Comments:

I bought this car from Pickles auctions with 17000kms on the clock. It now has 24000kms up with no major problems experienced, apart from annoyingly poor build quality and finish.

The performance and handling are good for a car of this size and you would have to be trying hard to lose control in the dry. Oversteer is evident in the wet which is only to be expected in a rear-wheel drive/front-engined car.

The brakes are excellent, providing great stopping power and fairly fade resistance.

Ride is very good, with most bumps being well absorbed by the suspension.

Cabin ergonomics are generally good. However, I will never know why the headlight switch is still on the dash when every other decent car has the control on the indicator stem. I think this is a hangover from the original VN design and Holden can't be bothered to change it. There is also no "Door Open" dashboard warning light! Wake up Holden.

Engine has good mid-range power, but it has asthma when pushed above 4,500 rpm. Engine displays disapproval of being asked to go to the 5,000 rpm region by a lot of vibration and generally unwillingness to rev. This is probably not a problem for most drivers though.

All up, not bad value for money (it cost 24,500 with 17,000km on the clock), but I will get rid of it when the 3year\100,000k warranty expires as the build quality and design doesn't fill one with confidence that the car is not going to fall apart!

My previous car (a 94 Camry) displayed much better build quality and finish compared to this car. Camry was still rattle free and drove like new after 10 years and 170,000kms. The paintwork was still pristine as well.

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

Review Date: 11th January, 2004

23rd Jan 2005, 02:32

I'm sorry to say, but you should have considered buying from a more reliable place. There may have been a reason the car was being sold at auction with such low km on it.

29th May 2005, 10:02

You said your car was blue and I am guessing it is metallic paint, which unfortunately is always a softer and more expensive paint to fix. I was told by a friend of mine who used to do panel beating that it is something to do with the metallic flakes weakening the bonds in the paint. As you said white does not suffer from this weakness.

27th Mar 2006, 04:44

Well I still own this car. Since I wrote the review the alternator packed it in ($300). The trim is falling of the rear of the driver's seat and the boot wouldn't close (easily fixed but should never have happened). Oh and the door on the little storage compartment centre console boke.

This happens on just a lot of Commodore's I gather. Two friends had exact same problem.

Can't see how buying it from Pickles has got anything to do with it. It had hardly any Ks on it and was 12 months old. The trim was going to fall off regardless...

6th Jun 2006, 00:01

I’ve had my 2002 VXII Commodore Exec wagon since new and I definitely can’t complain about the (white) paint, it’s excellent as is the finish in the rest of the car.

I reckon I’ll keep in for at least another four years. Maybe you bought a Lemon?

1st Sep 2009, 00:01

As is mentioned by one of the threads on a VT, mine is terrible for getting water leaks on the passenger floor after big rain and water dripping in the boot. My brake and headlights have been mysteriously coming on by themselves when car is off, which has just flattened my battery. Seems possessed.

1st Dec 2009, 08:10

Quick fix for the leaking boot - clear the drain holes at all corners as some bright spark decided to cover them in sealant.

15th Jan 2010, 20:57

I have a 2002 VX Equipe and my console storage compartment broke as well. This is so common it's unbelievable. It's only got 97 on the clock, and my engine mounts are starting to sag, and my steering rack and bushes need replacing. It's going to cost me a fortune.

I don't like the auto trans either. Other than that, it's a good car, but a little over priced brand new.

2002 Holden Commodore SS VX II 5.6 Liter LS1 from Australia and New Zealand


Stunning car with performance to suit!!


Rear disks were scraping slightly. Not really a problem, but got it fixed anyway.

General Comments:

I have found this car to be, all-in-all, a great car.

When looking at these cars I was tempted for HSV etc, but saw the SS as a more aggressive styled car that said performance without the the cost factor.

How true! I can say without doubt that this car performs, pulls looks and offers comfort like an $80,000 HSV.

Mechanically sound, I have had next to no trouble, but secondly I love to work on my cars and have found the SS to be a dream to fit a new stereo into, and a bunch of customized options.

I have fitted it out with many nice features, HSV rims make it look unique and like a HSV.

I am however selling the car now due to a move overseas, but all in all a top vehicle. I'm looking forward to when I come back to purchasing the SSX!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd August, 2003

28th Jun 2004, 00:31

Beware of engine noise after a cold start, it sounds like tappets. The next sign will be high oil consumption. 3 litres or more in 5,000 klms.

They are rebuilding them by the dozens. Piston slap is the noise, oil consumption increases because the cylinder bore is being worn abnornally.

Do not take my word for it check with your local Registry Department how many engines numbers they have issued. Blocks are being replaced also as the alloy motor does take kindly to being rebuilt.

When the head bolts are removed the block can fracture.

The dealer will tell you it is common engine noise and oil consumption for the Gen 111 5.7 alloy engine. It is not normal. I paid an engineer to check it out and it is a big problem.

It has taken 2 years and 10 months to get my vehicle fixed.

Then the dealer stuff the rebuild.

Failed to plug USA dip stick hole leaked oil and nearly caught fire.

You may have been lucky with yours. Cheers.

30th Sep 2007, 07:10

I bought my 2002 VX SS Commodore about a week ago and have found it to be a fantastic car, no probs at all.

I think it all comes down to how they are treated. I bought mine of a older couple.

The car has only 47.000 klms on it and drives like new.

I will look forward to driving this car for the next 2 years and the upgrading.

Keep up the good work Holden.