Holden Commodore VF SS V Review and Road Test

by under Review on 03 Mar 2014 10:56:27 PM03 Mar 2014
Price Range
$NaN - $NaN
Fuel Consumption
NaNL - NaNL/100km

SS V styling; leather-trimmed interior standout; alluring V8 growl; fast in the twisty stuff


Minor interior plastics aren’t optimal; ESC a bit too abrupt

This is the Holden Commodore we would buy in a heartbeat – the SS V-Series. Spec-for-spec, dollar-for-dollar the V8-powered high performance sedan - designed and engineered in Melbourne and made in Adelaide - is a world-class high performance sedan all Australians should be proud of. 

Priced from $45,490, the Holden Commodore SS V is a remarkably good buy. Performance and technology by the bucket-load and wonderfully kitted inside and out…well it’s not often passers-by stop us in the street to ask about our car, but they did so frequently during our week driving the Holden Commodore SS V.
The performance model of the Commodore range has a cult following and a couple of owners of previous generation models asked us about the all-new VF model’s attributes. Fuel consumption was raised and we took great delight in talking about Active Fuel Management (AFM) – yes thanks to Holden’s nous you can have a racy V8 without being on ‘first-name’ terms with the nearest petrol bowser.
That technology is just one example of why the Holden Commodore SS V is a world-class sedan.

Holden Commodore SS V Overview

CarShowroom.com.au tested the Holden Commodore SS V with the six-speed ‘Active Select’ automatic transmission ($47,690). Our car was painted in the raucous new burnt orange paint colour and looked superb.

We’ve no doubt the Gen-F models from HSV are brilliant, but with a starting price of $60,990…well again we must say the SS V is remarkably good value. A production line performance V8 gets our vote.

Holden Commodore SS V Series Engine

For many, the starring role in the Holden Commodore SS V Series goes to the marvelous 6.0-litre V8 engine. No matter how many times we drive the Holden V8, each occasion sees us falling in love again.
In the six-speed automatic version we tested, the sonorous V8 punches-out 270kW of power at 5800rpm and peak torque of 517Nm at 4400rpm. The six-speed manual version is rated at 270kW/530Nm.
Fuel consumption (combined cycle) is 11.7l/100kms.

Holden Commodore SS V Series The Interior

Here’s where the value proposition of the SS V model is crystal clear – leather trim, superb sports seats, nice-looking dashboard trim and the best Holden sports steering wheel yet (leather-wrapped, flat bottom). All of this is a full-size V8 sedan priced under $48K.
You also get the upgraded multi-function display instrumentation and eight-speaker DVD audio.
Like all VF Commodores, the SS V comes with a standard reversing camera and Holden’s MyLink infotainment system with its eight-inch colour touchscreen and embedded apps for Pandora and Stitcher Smart Radio and voice commands. Call us Luddites but some smarty had set the satellite navigation maps in our car to New Zealand and using voice control we couldn’t get the system to swap back to Australia. 

And like all Commodores, the SS V comes with the massive rear seat and luggage space which are part of the Commodore DNA. How many other high performance sedans offer that?

Holden Commodore SS V Series Exterior & Styling

Critics agree the VF Holden Commodore is a winner in the looks department. Despite using the same roof and door panels as the previous VE model, Holden stylists have crafted a handsome beast highlighted by the kick-tail bootlid, seriously good-looking tail-lights and a modern spin on the hallmark Commodore grille.

To that the SS V Series adds very nicely styled 19-inch alloy wheels, projector headlights with black bezels, fog-lights, low-mounted LED DRLs, four exhaust outlets, bootlip spoiler and the sports styling (front/rear fascia and side skirts). 
And of course the all-new burnt orange paint of our test car really accentuated the SS V’s standout looks.

Holden Commodore SS V Series On The Road

It’s been some months since we first drove the VF Holden Commodore range but we knew what we had to do as soon as we collected our SS V from Holden – head to our favourite mountain roads test loop. Passing showers were just a minor hindrance.

Sure there’s turbo-this and supercharged-that but when climbing the hills we just thought: there’s something about a Holden V8 – the surge in the back under acceleration and the growling exhaust note…well it takes some beating on the old ‘fun-o-meter’.
When the going got twisty we switched to manual mode for the six-speed auto. Holden uses a forward flick for down-changes and a rearward flick for up-changes (personally we prefer it the other way) and when pressing-on hard, cog –swapping was a tad delayed.
But we soon got it all dialed-in and the Holden Commodore SS V was just as we remembered – brilliant. How Holden has managed to get a large car like this so well balanced and precise continued to amaze us – sure HSV’s set-up is sharper but when the SS V responds with firmness, sharp turn-in, a racy mid-turn ‘set’ and great exit speed you must remember this is a production car which comes down the assembly line in Elizabeth alongside like the Cruze.

There’s a noticeable upshift in grip with the 19-inch wheels of the SS V (compared to the 16-inch wheels on the Evoke model we tested the previous week). If pressed we would prefer slightly firmer front dampers – but that may be too firm for many buyers and there’s no doubt the Holden Commodore SS V rides very well over bumps.
Around town the Commodore SS V burbled along happily in peak-hour traffic and when AFM is active you do notice a changed exhaust note (the payback is of course at the petrol bowser). Automatic park assist and the reversing camera made for easy parking (maybe it was the heavy rain but our test car seemed to easily get the camera dirty/blurred). 

Holden Commodore SS V Series Issues

As per other VF model Holden Commodores we worry about some of the interior plastics of the SS V – particularly around the centre console where (like others we’ve tested) scratches from everyday items (mobile phones, keys etc) were noticeable even though our test car had covered less than 10,000kms.


Our only other points deduction was for the ESC. Performance drivers may find its intervention just a tad too early and abrupt – particularly when compared to the latest generation of German high performance sedans (which admittedly cost a lot more).

Holden Commodore SS V Series Verdict

We drive a lot of cars at CarShowroom.com.au and no doubt about it the Holden Commodore SS V is one we’d be happy to have in our garage permanently. By any measure this is a world-class high-performance sedan.
Sure, we like our high performance sedans but moreover the Holden Commodore SS V is a credit to the prowess of Australian car making. In many ways its all-round excellence and value-for-money show the folly of those who criticize the local industry.
Holden’s smart engineering has made the 6.0-litre V8 fuel-efficient and, as we know, its large sedan chassis technology is so good the entire General Motors world is looking to Holden to take the lead on a global front.
All of that with family-friendly interior space. 

Holden Commodore SS V Series The Competition

Ford doesn’t have a standard V8-powered Falcon (you’ll need to go to FPV for that) but the XR6 model ($39,990 for six-speed manual or $40,990 for the six-speed automatic) is a good buy. We like the looks of the FG Falcon model range and the interior of the XR6 is a cracker.

Similar Cars

Keep Reading

Share Your Thoughts On Holden COMMODORE