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2013 Holden SSV Redline Manual Sedan Review: 5 STARS Photo:
 
 
What's Hot
Bold, brash, eye-catching and big enough for family-of-five duty.
What's Not
Just a touch too quiet, missing some fuel-saving tech.
X-Factor
Blurs the lines brilliantly between family car and track car.
Kez Casey | Sep, 09 2013 | 30 Comments

2013 HOLDEN VF COMMODORE REVIEW

Vehicle Style: Large sedan
Price: $51,490 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 270kW/530Nm 8cyl petrol | 6spd manual.
Fuel Economy claimed: 12.3 l/100km | tested: 15.7 l/100km

 

OVERVIEW

We’ve already run the SS-V Redline around Phillip Island, so we know it does the track thing well. Very well in fact.

But between weekends at the track (if you can get the ‘leave pass’), there’s school runs, cricket training, ballet practice and the weekly shop to be hauled.

Does a 6.0 litre V8 with lairy black wheels, performance suspension, launch control and a brawny six-speed manual do the job?

Yes, you better believe it. There’s no loss of functionality between this and an Evoke - there is, however, face-splitting grins no matter what the task in the SS-V Redline.

 

INTERIOR

Quality: Owners of VE and VE II sports models will immediately appreciate the new soft-touch surfaces and premium leather. This interior shares more with Calais than Evoke, unlike the VE interiors that added red gauges to a base model package.

Everything fits together impressively, the metallic finishes (and there’s no shortage of them) are richly finished - no shoddily-painted plastics here.

If we were to pick, our test car - in black and beige - wasn’t really sporty looking, despite red accent stitching. Our money would go to black-on-black every time.

Slam a door, console or glovebox and the solid build is apparent. Damped grab-handles, suede door-trims and matt carbon highlights complete the quality feel.

Comfort: There’s space aplenty front and rear, but the front seats score added bolstering that holds the driver a little more firmly. The seats are really wide so smaller framed drivers are still a loose fit.

The driver’s seat gains power adjustment, but the passenger seat is still manually set. Plenty of tilt and reach range makes it easy to settle in behind the steering wheel.

Three adults can pile into the rear bench and maintain a friendship. There’s abundant width, head and legroom for a trio of Aussie frames.

Equipment: As standard, all SS models come equipped with dual-zone climate control, a rear-view camera, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, cruise control and auto headlights.

There's also front and rear park sensors, self-park assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, sports seats with electric lumbar support, quad-tipped exhaust, sports body kit and rear lip-spoiler.

Step up to the SS-V and you get 19-inch alloy wheels, leather trim, proximity door locking, DVD player and satellite navigation, sports steering wheel and front fog lamps.

Opt for the Redline, and, as well as adding auto wipers, it ticks off sunroof, colour heads-up display, Bose audio and black alloy wheels with a wider set of rears. The handling package benefits from firmer FE3 suspension, Brembo front brakes and a ‘competitive mode’ that loosens ESP intervention, allows launch-control starts and adds weight to the steering.

Storage: Beneath the aluminium boot-lid there’s a healthy 495 litres of storage space. The Commodore still misses out on folding rear seats but there is a ski-port for longer items.

In the cabin there’s plenty of room in the glovebox and console, each door features a bottle holder and small items can be easily located in the centre console recesses.

 

ON THE ROAD

Driveability: Tap the starter button and the big 6.0 litre engine springs to life before picking up a low, rumbly idle. Nothing too outlandish to hint at the 270Kw peak that lies at 5600rpm, or the 530Nm lurking fairly high up at 4400rpm.

Push the clutch to the floor, slot the lever into first and... hang on, that’s more like it.

Straight away you’ll notice the lighter clutch action. Also straight away you’ll notice that the gearshift is a lot more fluent through the gate than the VE ever was.

There’s a monster under the bonnet, but feeding power in is smooth and simple.

Around town you never have to stray past 2000rpm. There’s plenty of pull from low down and the SS-V isn’t afraid to run in a taller gear for greater economy.

Open the taps on an open road and it feels like it could lope along all day. At the highway limit the engine barely ticks over, but can still easily glide uphill.

To pass, simply slot back into fifth for a bit more grunt, or fourth for loads more. Overtaking is a breeze.

As the roads tighten, the ESP keeps a tight rein on things when pushing on. For such a big car, it feels surprisingly nimble and well-tethered to the tarmac.

But if it’s a more white-knuckled ride you’re looking for, select Competition Mode.

Do this and the electronic intervention comes later for more adventurous oversteer. It will still keep the show on the road, but allow a lot more rear-end looseness.

Refinement: You won’t often read this, but we think the SS-V is a touch too refined. Thanks to the added sound-deadening throughout the body, the rich rumble of the V8 is a little too finely filtered.

Aside from that though everything else gets a big thumbs up. Rear seat passengers might detect a little bit more road noise from the wider rear hoops but wind noise remains barely above a whisper.

Ride and Handling: Top marks for suspension calibration. Along with the reworked, lighter and sharper aluminium VF front suspension and multi-link independent rear, the Redline package adds lower and firmer springs and dampers.

As a result, the road holding is razor sharp. The front end, in concert with the lively electric power steering, tracks exactly where you point it.

And the handling decorum on both urban and country roads is outstanding. No teeth jarring nor kidney shaking to be found. Firm yes, but still graciously compliant.

Braking: The uprated Redline brake package features larger 355mm front rotors clamped by four-piston Brembo calipers. The brake feel is firmer than standard Commodore models and there’s no doubting the ability of these big stoppers to bring the SS-V to a halt repeatedly.

 

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: 5/5 Stars - Commodore sedan and wagon models score 35.09 out of a possible 37 points in ANCAP crash tests.

Safety features: Standard safety equipment includes dual front, side and curtain airbags, ABS brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution, stability and traction control with trailer sway control, break-away pedals, seat belt warning for all seats.

The Redline also adds forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

 

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: Three years/100,000km (whichever occurs first)

Service costs: Holdenwise capped price servicing covers the first four services up to three years or 60,000km. Service intervals are every nine months or 15,000km and standard service costs will not exceed $185.

Consult your Holden dealer for full terms, conditions and exclusions.

 

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY

Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo ($46,235) - It used to be that Holden-Ford rivalry was pretty simple, but not any more. In this case, Ford’s venerable straight-six just about matches the SS range for performance thanks to its turbo.

The handling is sharp too, just not quite up there with the Redline. There are also some big gaps in equipment, but the lower entry price helps ease the pain. (See Falcon reviews)

FPV GS ($57,870) - Although FPV takes aim at HSV, the GS sort of picks up where the XR8 left off. In this case though there’s an extra dollop of power and torque from a supercharged V8 engine.

The higher price of this model mostly centres on the enhanced chassis and drivetrain. There are a few extra trinkets over the XR6, but the features list still falls short of the SS-V (see FPV reviews)

Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core ($56,000) - Billed as something of a purist’s choice, the newly released Core model packs the full punch of Chrysler’s monster 6.4 litre V8 engine, but bins uxuries like adaptive suspension, adaptive cruise control, leather trim and a stack of safety items.

There’s just as much room to stretch out in, it’ll eat endless miles and is still capable of cornering (how un-American of it). The brutal looks give it genuine appeal too. (see 300 reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

 

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

Even if we wanted to really knit-pick, the list of faults looks a little bare. The reverse camera gets dirty too quickly, the rear head-rests and seatbelts don’t adjust, and the pillars aren’t fabric trimmed.

But really, that’s it.

Understandably, the fuel use of a big V8 might not be to all tastes.

But the SS-V Redline can carry five adults in comfort, pack a cubit of their gear in the boot, is serene and comfortable enough for civic duty and yet still has a mean streak just made for track weekends.

Add genuinely eager handling and luxury interior, and while the SS-V might not be the ideal solution for every modern family, it's so damn close.

That’s before getting to the value - absolutely unbeatable! Figure on spending at two to three times as much to get the same kind of space, pace and equipment from Europe.

No matter how you slice it, Holden’s SS-V Redline is is quite possibly the best installment of the Aussie muscle car to date.

 

PRICING (Excludes on-road costs)

NOTE: Across the Commodore range, selecting the Sportwagon body style adds $2000 including GST (auto transmission only), while optioning an automatic transmission in sports models adds $2200 including GST. Prestige paint adds $550 including GST.

Recommended retail prices, comparing new VF to VE, excluding dealer delivery and government charges:

Model

VE

VF pricing

Rollback

Evoke (auto only)

$39,990 (Omega)

$34,990

- $5,000

SV6 (manual)

$42,790

$35,990

-$6,800

SS (manual)

$47,790

$41,990

-$5,800

SS-V (manual)

$55,290

$45,490

-$9,800

SS-V Redline (manual)

$57,790

$51,490

-$6,300

Calais (auto only)

$48,290

$39,990

-$8,300

Calais V V6 (auto only)

$56,790

$46,990

-$9,800

Calais V V8 (auto only)

$61,990

$52,990

-$9,000

 

Options

Evoke

  • Blind Spot Alert / Reverse Traffic Alert - $350
  • Satellite Navigation - $750 (Available September 2013)

SV6

  • Satellite Navigation - $750
  • Sunroof (Sedan only) - $1,990
  • Rear wing spoiler (Sedan only) - $500
  • Leather Appointed seats - $1500

SS

  • Satellite Navigation - $750
  • Sunroof (Sedan only) - $1990
  • Rear wing spoiler (Sedan only) - $500

SS-V

  • Sunroof & Bose® Audio Package (Sedan only) - $2490
  • Rear wing spoiler (Sedan only) - $500

SS-V Redline

  • Rear wing spoiler (Sedan only) - $500

Calais

  • 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

 
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