Holden SSV Ute: The Big, Butch, Manly, Hairy Chested Aussie Muscle Car.

2011 Holden Commodore VE Series II SSV Ute


The Ute is a peculiarly Australian invention. A farmer’s wife wanted a vehicle to take her to church on Sundays and the pigs to market during the week. And lo, the Ute came. Think about it, they don’t exist in any other market. Sure there are the Hi-luxes and F series Fords but no sedans with tray backs.

It means a bear –chested tradie can have his tools in the back all nice and safe and look sexy as hell while he is doing it. Mind you the gorgeous SSV ute may have a hard time getting onto a building site, or off it, should it fluke negotiating the mud and rubble in the first instance. It rides so low that the front air dam wouldn’t last five minutes so as a useful conveyance for builders bits and bobs, the SSV ute might not be too flash, but as a sexy-as-hell 2 seater coupe with the added advantage of a huge cargo capacity, it can’t be bettered. Just look at it, it’s stunning. From the back of the front door forward it is pure SSV saloon but from the door backwards is 100%tradie.

The metal is pretty much the same as the humble Omega ute but the SS body kit includes some mighty impressive wheels, 19” of course, and other assorted bits of plastic glued on for good measure. The effect of this and the lowered suspension means the SSV looks more stealth bomber than plumbers van. Since the photos were taken of our test car, Holden bunged on some rolls bars with high mounted brake light and the new 3 piece tonneau cover. The clever cover unlocks with the central locking and at least gives the impression of securing your expensive knick knacks in the rear. The roll bars are purely decorative. I loved the metallic Kermit green which harked clear back to the 70’s, the heyday for muscle cars the world over and an era upon which I look back with great fondness. The pictures tell the story outside.

You can see the difference inside between the SV6 (V6) and SSV (V8) ute is minimal. The blue ute is the Thunder which we hope to take for a thrash later in the year. You’ll notice the IQ, which is standard in all VE II’s is present and accounted for. I love this system. It’s one of the few infotainment setups which doesn’t require a degree in advanced electrical engineering and computer science. I’ve driven a few of these now and can Bluetooth my phone and tune my favourite radio stations in a thrice. While I’m ginning around I also adjust the arrival and departure lighting and the door security. It probably sounds rather OCD but if the thoughtful people at GMH put customisable features in I feel obliged to try them out. I love a jolly good fiddle. Naturally you get the MP3/Ipod input and audio streaming and for some reason a CD player via which you store 15 CDs although I’m not sure who actually still owns CDs. If you don’t fancy plonking your shopping in the tray you might like the bins behind the seats. All in all the cabin is simple yet tasteful.

Amusingly, I tried starting the beast but, nothing happened, zilch, nil, nada because I had completely failed to notice the extra pedal on the floor. Imagine the kafuffle if Holden allowed their cars to start without your foot on the clutch, and I had bunny hopped across the carpark and into the newly refurbished service department! In a blonde moment I had assumed my conveyance was automatic and did not have shift-em-yourself gears. The manual feels clunky to begin with.

Driving automatics, DSGs and the frankly awful CVTs has an air of sameness about it so shifting my own gears is a joy. The first few changes can be a bit hairy but stick with it because a few kilometres bring reborn confidence to you shifts. There were a few “bum-clenching” moments as I pulled onto the street a little too enthusiastically. When y6ou have 270 willing kilowatts at your disposal, you just can’t mash your foot mindlessly with the floor regardless of how much traffic is bearing down on you. The electronics sort out your misdemeanours leaving you to the pleasure of that glorious visceral growl from under the bonnet.

You don’t get the level of advanced features that the Euro makers throw at their products and it’s this level of simplicity is, in a way, the Holden’s biggest charm. You feel like you’re actually driving the car. There is no need of the nannies which tell if a drunk yobbo has wobbled out in front of you or if you have drifted over a lane marking because Holdens have windscreens which seem to work much better anyway.

The best thing apart from the looks is the superb handling which keeps the rear end nailed to the road in all but the most extreme mistreatment. The engine is loud, very loud, and the temptation is to sink the boot just to hear that fabulous Wagnerian crescendo but beware, you might find yourself having more than your fair share of serious conversations with a little man in a blue uniform. Track days aside, you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on that errant speedo.

As you would expect, the fuel consumption goes stratospheric at the merest hint of enthusiasm but Holden claims 12L/100 k’s of combined highway/city driving. The best we could manage was 10.5 on the Sydney ring-road even with the engine management shutting down un-needed cylinders. Still, you don’t buy a V8 of any description and expect to get Prius fuel figures.

The week was marred only very slightly by the 3 piece tonneau cover. It looks brilliant and functions very well but it almost completely blocks the rear window. The ute comes sans rear-view camera and parking sensors. Perhaps they think those who buy and drive Holden utes never look back!

The last few things worth mentioning are the rear tray liner with built in stubby holders on the rear tailgate and the interior of the tray has tied owns should you need to secure that big load.

With the sad demise of the much loved Monaro, the SSV Ute might just the be the best alternative for the man who wants a muscle car. After all what other 2 door, 2 seat 6.0L V8 can you get for under 60k?











6.0 GEN IV V8 270kw 530NM petrol 291g 12.3 comb

6 sec



2011 Holden Commodore VE Series II SSV Ute2011 Holden Commodore VE Series II SSV Ute2011 Holden Commodore VE Series II SV6 Ute interior2011 VE Series II Thunder Ute.2011 VE Series II Thunder Ute.


2 thoughts on “Holden SSV Ute: The Big, Butch, Manly, Hairy Chested Aussie Muscle Car.

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