My favourite Commodore recently got a hand-finished special edition to celebrate the dying days of Australian built vehicles. Some bloke called Craig Lowndes has his name all over it.
The hand finished bit refers to a couple of huge decals and some vinyl panels which I can take or leave. The wheels look enormous because they are 20 inch monsters. The remainder of the additions are signatures on the dash and seats because there are few mechanical changes.
Craig Lowndes had our test car sideways on a track. I’m not suggesting you do that to your $64 grand car but it would be fun to imagine yourself trying.
It is a great shame they weren’t able to coax more power out of the engine. As grunty as it is, the 6.0L pushrod V8 manages only 2 KW more than Volvo’s 3.0L straight 6 turbo which uses much less fuel while doing it. The drive is much more pleasurable with a manual gearbox but if you simply can’t abide shifting gears in city traffic, the 6 speed auto is smooth. The Lowndes gets a smart set of steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. Some say it is better than shifting the floor lever back and forward like a demented woodpecker. I think we can all agree that it’s the best alternative if you don’t a proper clutch to deal with. As for the mechanical stuff, that’s about the limit of it. I suppose they couldn’t do too much without a demarcation dispute with the blokes at HSV. Never mind it’s a great pleasure to drive none the less. The ride is superb, the handling on the grand-tourer side of racy, and the acceleration is leisurely for an engine the size of a small moon.
The “My Link” infotainment system is one of the best in the business. It’s so easy to use even an idiot could pair a phone and input a satnav address. The voice dial system works too. It doesn’t require big hugs after every command and doesn’t want 15 confirmations before getting on with it. Of course the voice command doesn’t work with every application but hey-ho you can’t have everything. We aren’t too far from the day where you’ll be able to speak to your car and tell it to do whatever you want it to do without wanting to slap it in the process.
Holden Won’t be making their Commodores for much longer. Chances are the V8 will be banished to the history books along with the commodore badge so this may well be our last chance to drive one. I know of several motoring writers ordering there V8 Holdens now before it’s too late. There was only 230 made so if you can still find one, you can expect to pay 59 grand plus onroads. You’ll be paying $5,500 more than an SSV and I’m not sure if there is that much extra value.
Would I buy one? Yes, I love a thobber.