Our Holden Commodore Series II SS V Redline Sportwagon (possibly the longest model name in history!) sat gleaming in the midday sun. With its ‘Poison Ivy’ paintwork glistening and polished 19-inch alloy wheels glinting, this V8 muscle wagon was just waiting to be driven hard.
But wait a minute, this is a wagon right? Used by sales reps and families?
Well, yes actually, but with the latest Series II SS V Redline model, Holden has again given the once-humble wagon a high performance makeover
Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon Overview
At a rough count there are 12 Sportwagons in the Series II Holden Commodore lineup, starting at $41,990 for the Omega. Our V8-powered SS V Redline Sportwagon (six-speed automatic) was stickered at $61,790.
While many wagon buyers have been shifting to SUV products, sales of vehicles like the Holden Commodore Sportwagon and Ford’s European-sourced Mondeo wagon prove demand is still strong. That shouldn’t surprise as both the Holden and Ford products are excellent packages, tailor-made for families and fleet customers.
On top of the already well-equipped SS V Holden Sportwagon, the Redline version scores some significant enhancements including Brembo front brakes, colour-mapping satellite navigation, a reversing camera and polished 19-inch alloy wheels. Sedan versions also gain the motorsport-inspired FE3 sports suspension.
Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon Engine
The big news for Holden’s outstanding 6.0-litre V8 engine for the Series II Commodore is its flex-fuel capability. Now the Aussie-developed 90-degree V8 can run on a variety of fuels – bio-ethanol, E10, unleaded, premium or any combination.
Holden says its fuel partner Caltex will have 100 service stations selling its Bio E-Flex fuel by the end of next year. This will mean 90 per cent of Holden Commodore drivers will live within 10 kilometers of a pump handling the fuel, which is a mix 85 per cent ethanol (from renewable sources) and 15 per cent petrol.
That’s great news because the Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon with that 270kW/530Nm V8 provides effortless acceleration and comfortable highway cruising.
For the Series II facelift, Holden is claiming a six per cent improvement in fuel consumption for the 6.0-litre V8. Changes include fitting a clutched air-conditioning compressor (so it doesn’t pump when turned off) and underfloor panels to improve aerodynamics.
Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon The Interior
The sports theme continues inside for the Holden Commodore SS V Redline with alloy pedals, sports front seats, sports red instruments, some racy red trim and leather for the rake/reach adjustable steering wheel. As usual for Holden, the driving position is top-shelf.
There is also a sports center stack for the console which houses the 6.5-inch colour touch screen. And this is the major news with the Holden–iQ infotainment system which places music, telephone and satellite navigation operations onto the screen.
The new system has 1GB storage and can rip and store up to 15 CDs. USB and iPODs can be plugged straight-in for touch screen control and Bluetooth telephones display address book and recent calls on-screen.
For back seat passengers there is the usual Holden Commodore space and out back there is up to 2,000-litres of cargo space.
Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon Exterior & Styling
The Holden Commodore Sportwagon is one good-looking wagon and the SSV plus Redline enhancements build on that sharp package.
It’s all change at the front with a sports fascia, larger grille, sporty lower air intake and projector headlights with black bezel.
Redline models also score the stylish 19-inch forged alloy wheels with low profile tyres and those Brembo front brakes with 355mm rotors.
Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon On The Road
During our week with the Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon we ran our usual combination of city and rural roads. With Holden’s excellent satellite navigation system giving warnings about speed cameras we were surprised to discover locations we’d never previously thought of – thanks for those tips Holden.
We also set the trip computer for a visible display when the V8 went into fuel-saving four-cylinder mode. Around town, and on deceleration, Holden’s excellent system automatically shuts down four cylinders and again you are surprised at the amount of time the 6.0-litre V8 actually spends operating as a four-cylinder
Over our high speed mountain roads test loop the Holden Commodore SS V Redline excelled with balance, precision and just the right amount of feedback from the power steering. The strong torque of the V8 was a delight and refinement levels were high.
In the city, the Holden Commodore SS V Redline was relatively easy to maneuver although you are aware of its size in tight inner city carparks – and the low front spoiler needs to be on your mind when tackling gutters and driveways. Parking was made considerably easier by the reversing camera and 11.4-metre turning circle.
Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon Challenges
We remain fans of the Holden Commodore Sportwagon because of its practicality, good looks and driving dynamics – we just wish Holden would upgrade the interior plastics (especially considering the $61,790 price tag of our test car).
Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon Verdict
When you consider European high performance wagons (BMW 335i M Sport for $115,200 and Mercedes-Benz E350 Estate for $138,100) the Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon has a lot to offer. We reckon the Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon makes a bold statement for local automotive engineering – world standard by any measure.
Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon The Competition
It’s hard to make direct comparisons to the V8 Holden Commodore SS V Redline Sportwagon. On the one hand there’s the pricey Europeans (which are excellent vehicles) and there is the Ford Mondeo Wagon (also excellent and the range-topping Titanium model wagon is stickered at $44,190).
You should also consider the sporty Volvo V50 T5 R-Design.