Holden VF SSV Ute Launch Review

Tim O'Brien | 12 Comments

What’s hot: Sharp handling, absolutely hauls, and amazing buying-value
What’s not: Looks too much like a VE with a front clip; V8 has lost some raucous edge
X-Factor: A thumping drive with surprising finesse - the Australian interpretation of the modern sportscar

Vehicle style: Sports Ute
Price: $42,490 (SS Ute $38,990)
Engine/trans: 270kW/530Nm 6.0 litre Gen IV V8/six-speed Tremec manual
Fuel economy listed: 11.5 l/100km | tested: 12.1 l/100km

Holden’s new VF SSV Ute is just like the last one - the VE - except better, quieter, sharper, faster.

Oh, and a huge slice cheaper.

The VF SS V Ute, though vastly improved and better equipped, is $5000 less than the model it replaces.

Certainly it’s a little more civilised and has a whole lot more finesse and polish than the VE, but remains an absolutely cracking drive.

Inside, outside, everywhere you care to look – this is a world class sportscar. The fact it’s a ute is because this is Australia.

INTERIOR

Snug leather sports seats, leather multi-function sports wheel, and loaded to the gunwales with high-end features, the VF SS Ute comes with so many unexpected features at this price.

The feel inside – black on black with carbon-fibre and brushed metal highlights – is all sportscar, but with a premium ambience everywhere the eyes rest.

Being a ‘coupe-ute’, it’s tight, but there’s enough room behind each seat for an overnight bag. And, in the tub, room for a dozen or more surfboards (try that in a BRZ or 86).

Sedan cabin pictured.
Sedan cabin pictured.

Add standard features like self-parking (auto park assist), front and rear sensors, rear view camera, reverse traffic alert (warning of cross-traffic), sat nav, traffic alert, and the MyLink infotainment system with voice recognition and high-res touchscreen.

You can talk to the car (it talks back in an Aussie accent) and access a range of really smart features (or use the touchscreen) like Pandora and Stitcher Smart Radio apps, plus Bluetooth and audio streaming.

Down below are 19-inch alloys. There’s also an electric park brake, sensor key and push-button start, trailer sway control and hill start assist.

Few cars can touch it for features. But even fewer can get near the VF SS V Ute’s performance at this price.

ON THE ROAD

You’ll pick a classy suspension by the feel of the wheels tracking to the contours of the road.

The compliance, rebound damping and tuning front to rear of the SS V Ute’s suspension (strut front, independent multilink rear) is seriously good. It’s sharp but free of jarring, and properly sporting.

Sure, you can throw a half-tonne of sand and bricks in the back (if you should suddenly take leave of your senses), but workhorse origins or not, even perfectly unladen this is a nicely balanced drive.

Except when accelerating hard out of a corner, provided you don’t look over your left shoulder, you would barely know that you’re driving a ute.

The flat-bottomed leather-bound wheel feels great, and even better is the ‘sports’ tuned electric power steering. You have to look a long way up the price ladder to find a better EPS.

And with that Gen IV in the nose, the SS V ute goes like a shower. Axle tramp has been all-but eliminated through the use of unequal length rear axles (damping torque oscillation back through the drivetrain).

2013 holden vf commodore ss v ute australian launch road test review 05

With 530Nm waiting to be summoned, it is effortlessly powerful, and riotously quick. Few cars offer such enjoyment around a winding road.

You’ll find the six-speed Tremec manual a delight to use: the weighting of the shift and clutch pedal is just right, as is the nice feel when slotting through the gate.

The VF SS V’s only downside compared to the VE is that the former model’s V8 bellow has been attenuated. That’s what extra refinement will do.

Braked tow rating is 1600kg.

VERDICT | OVERALL

Great car, Holden. Once again (as we noted in our Evoke review), our rating reflects the value-for-money proposition with this car.

It is a terrific drive, ridiculously well-featured – high-end technologies are dripping out the doors – and extraordinarily well-priced.

If Holden can keep to this pricing, and there is no reason why we’d doubt it, why wouldn’t you buy this car?

For two-door sports performance, what else comes close? Just consider the V8 under the nose a gift.

PRICING (excludes on-road costs)

Recommended retail prices, excluding dealer delivery and government charges:

Model

VE

VF pricing

Rollback

Ute (auto only)

$35,490 (Omega)

$32,990

- $2,500

SV6 (manual)

$38,490

$32,990

-$5,500

SS (manual)

$42,490

$38,990

-$3,500

SS-V (manual)

$47,490

$42,490

-$5,000

SS-V Redline (manual)

$49,990

$48,490

-$1,500

Automatic transmission adds $2,200 including GST
Prestige paint adds $550 including GST

VF Ute Factory Fit Option Pricing (includes GST)

Holden Ute
Blind Spot Alert and Reverse Traffic Alert (bundled) - $350
Satellite Navigation - $750
Soft tonneau cover - $490

SV6
Satellite Navigation - $750
Leather Appointed seats - $1,000

SS
Satellite Navigation - $750

MORE: VF Commodore And Ute range REVIEWED
MORE: VF Commodore Pricing Announced
MORE: HSV Gen-F Pricing Announced
MORE: Unveiled: VF Calais V | Commodore SS | VF Ute | WN Caprice
MORE: HSV Gen-F range revealed

Filed under: Featured, review, Holden, holden commodore, ute, holden ute, lcv, utility, launch, light commercial, holden commodore ss, Holden SS-V, Holden SS, holden ssv, Advice, special-featured, holden commodore ss v, enthusiast, holden sv6, tim o'brien, available, 40-45k, 2013my, 2014my, holden vf

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  • Karl says,
    2 years ago
    It should read braked towing capacity is 1600kg (not unbraked).
  • pro346 says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    Autos can tow 2100kgsmile
  • FrugalOne says,
    2 years ago
    3 likes
    .....It it only had bench-seat and injected LPGsad
  • WarrenY says,
    2 years ago
    Mike, any idea what LPG options will feature across the range?
  • GT says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    Hi Tim / Mike,

    Any update on when you will review the SS-V Redline Sedan?

    Thanks.
  • Ron says,
    2 years ago
    The comment that axle tramp has been eliminated with unequal length axles doesn't make sense. The VE has unequal length axles too and the VE SS has horrendous tramp. Did you mean to say different axle diameters like the Camaro? The Camaro also tramps badly!
    • MotorMouth says,
      1 year ago
      How can you have axle tramp with IRS? I would think it was impossible.
    • Karl Pilkington says,
      1 year ago
      1 like
      Thanks Holden..you bastards...jammed it into those of us who supported you ..now you show a massive discount on VF car pricing...GAGF.
      Have never experienced axle trap in my 09 SSV SA...check your tyre pressures suggest you running them too low.
      New VF SA runs the same 260kw engine as VE..everything largely the same as I can tell having visited the showroom....why they wont sell ..I'll tell you why..the COLOURS ARE BLOODY AWFUL
      • Tim Fitz says,
        1 year ago
        1 like
        Agreed. They should not have binned the Alchemy and Chlorophyll.bleh
  • humanbeing says,
    1 year ago
    I wish I could drive it here in Malaysia.
  • Phil says,
    10 months ago
    Just test drove the ss manual. What a beast. I ordered the regal pea*** (metallic green) with contrast trim can't wait for it to arrivelaugh sooooo much car for not much money ....
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