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Archive for March, 2016

Private Fleet Car Review: 2016 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline

2016 VF2 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline frontIt’s a quirk of automotive manufacturing that makers leave their best ’til last. Ford recently unveiled their Sprint Falcons, in both turbo six and supercharged V8 guise. In late 2015, Holden released the series 2 update for the VF Commodore range. Not unexpected was the lack of any real change, with minor bodywork and some under the skin electrical modifications.

In the case of the SS-V Redline, the American sourced LS3 6.3L V8 was massaged slightly, with power bumped to 304 kilowatts at 6000 revs, while peak torque of 570 Newton metres arrives at 4400 rpm. Make no mistake, there’s plenty of urge below that number.2016 VF2 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline engine
Fuel consumption finished on 14.4 litres per 100 kilometres, with a solid combination of rural, suburban and highway driving undertaken. Driven gently and with no inclination to bury the welly (to hear that glorious V8 soundtrack), it’s reasonable to presume a sub 12 litre figure could be achieved.

Inside, the SS-V remains unchanged, mostly, with the most notable change for trainspotters being slightly amended dash dials. There’s the charcoal coloured seats, complete with pointless fabric inserts down the centre, the same fabric covered slab of a dashboard, balanced by the off white colour of the pillars and sunroof fitted ceiling.

There’s the MyLink navitainment system with Pandora and Stitcher apps, a Bose sound system with pretty decent quality (some high end audio makers just don’t sound right in some cars) and a sub menu to adjust settings, including the exhaust baffles for the bi-modal exhaust, allowing Aunty Mavis to tiptoe around town or utter a feral roar when the right slipper goes down.2016 VF2 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline front seats
It’s underneath where the changes you feel but can’t see have been made. The car was fitted with 19 inch black painted alloys, with different width Bridgestone tyres front (235/40) to rear (275/35).
Yes, that’s monstrous grip, but those tyres would come to naught unless the suspension worked hand in hand with them.2016 VF2 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline front wheel
The ride quality is superb. Low profile tyres on big wheels on an Aussie car normally spell three nights prone on a hospital bed with a sore back, however you’d be well and truly forgiven you were piloting a luxury German speed wagon.
Small bumps are flattened, larger ones smoothed, ripples and undulating roads are communicated to you with an air of indifference, as if the car has sniffed and said “I suppose I should tell you…”.
The steering ratio allows for fingertip precision and the power assistance allows for fingertip guidance, such is the balance and feedback.

2016 VF2 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline dash
The size of the car certainly helps in the spread of weight across track and wheelbase (1593/1590 mm front/rear and 2915 mm) with the fluidity and stableness of the chassis making it an absolute delight and simple enough to drive around town for anyone with a license. Yep, even Aunty Mavis could drive it.2016 VF2 Commodore SS-V Redline
It’s helped by that silky smooth torque delivery, delivered to the ground via a paddle shift equipped six speed auto.
It’s a shame that the SS-V won’t see anything like a seven or eight speed auto before local manufacturing wraps up in late 2017.2016 VF2 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline tail lightThere’s more safety equipment than before, so Aunty Mavis can be told of oncoming traffic from behind, with blind spot monitoring. Should her attention (and car) wander, Lane Departure Warning will bring her back to the straight and narrow, and if it’s raining there’s Remote Engine Start to get things warmed up inside. She can reverse safely thanks to the standard camera, or leave it all up to the car due to the auto parking system on board.

Parking sensors front and rear will let her know if the wall is too close and if she’s of the mind to look straight ahead, the HUD (head up display) will tell her what speed she’s doing, how many revs and even how much G-Force she’s getting through the long sweeping turns or tight corners the SS-V will do without so much as a blink.2016 VF2 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline HUD
Traction Control and Stability Control programs are standard, just in case Aunty Mavis wants to get a bit frisky and see if she can match the sub five second time to 100 kmh that Holden quote for the 1800+ kilo machine.
If she’s nervous about her speed, the Brembo brakes (four piston callipers front and rear)will haul her and the SS-V down to manageable speeds safely, smoothly, and efficiently time and again, with the brake pedal telling her she’s got bite and plenty of it as soon as she lays the slipper on it.2016 VF2 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline front2
For the fashion conscious, Holden have fitted working bonnet vents into the aluminum bonnet; which although lightweight, did flap around somewhat on certain road surfaces. There’s a decent sized rear wing, at just the right height to block out, in the rear vision mirror, any following cars ergo plates and indicators. The VF2 update gave the car reprofiled bumpers front and rear as well.2016 VF2 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline rear
At just over 60K for the manual, with an extra 2K for the slushbox, people will question that ask for “just a Commodore”, yet the SS-V really is a greater car than the sum of its parts. It’s a big car, yes, (4964 mm in length, 1898 mm wide and stands 1474 mm tall) and offers rear seat passengers 1009 mm of legroom, plus a cargo volume of 495 litres. Weight is over 1800 kilograms, making the ride quality even more amazing to consider.2016 VF2 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline rear seats
Bearing in mind the donor car, built and engineered to deal with a wide variety of Australian road conditions, from flat tarmac to ripped up surfaces, from gravel to turf, the end result has provided possibly the best hi-po Holden badged car Australia has seen. It’s quick, it’s comfortable, it’s poised, it has a brutal personality when pushed yet is as dainty around town as Aunty Mavis needs it to be.2016 VF2 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline console
It’ll sip like a baby from a cup or drink like a sailor on their first night of shore leave but it’s never anything less than a truly brilliant car to drive and a startlingly sad reminder of what Australian car manufacturers could deliver.

Factor in a nine month/15000 kilometre service cycle and capped price servicing and there’s numbers Aunty Mavis can live with.
Head to for details and download a brochure.

Where In the World?

When I look out over the busy city streets, I often am left asking the question: where on earth do all these new cars keep coming from?  Did you know that around the world there are over 70 million new passenger cars produced every year?  If you break that down further, you could say that around the world 191,000 new cars are made every day.  Literally, where on earth are the cars being made up?  And, which country produces the most cars?

You may already be in the know, but China is the greatest producer of cars.  Over a quarter of the world’s new cars, that are produced in a year, are made in China.  This number over doubles that of the second biggest new car manufacturer: Japan.

Why such the big numbers from China?  China continues to grow its economy; and where there is more money for spending, the Chinese people want to own their own cars.  Most of the Chinese made cars are being sold locally in China; however, around 1 million cars are exported from China around the globe.  You may be familiar with Chery and Great Wall vehicles that are sold here in Australia.  Export sales for China are still much lower compared with other countries, but China’s exported car numbers are continuing to grow rapidly.  In Australia, new car sales would suggest that we all love our Japanese made cars, but let’s just get to grips with the fact that China is making cars at a rate that outstrips all other countries around our globe.  So, it would be reasonable to suggest that in another decade or so Chinese made cars may be the top sellers in our country.

As far as the quality of product goes, Chinese made cars are rapidly becoming as well-made as cars made elsewhere around the world.  Some predict that by 2018, Chinese made cars will be as good as any other equivalent model made elsewhere in the world.  Chinese indigenous automobile brands include: Beijing Automotive Group, Brilliance Automotive, BYD, Dongfeng Motor, FAW Group, SAIC Motor, Chang’an (Chana), Geely, Chery, Jianghuai (JAC), Great Wall, and the Guangzhou Automobile Group.

So what about the rest of the world?  New cars are made in Japan, Germany and South Korea at a high rate compared with other global manufacturers, but they still, individually, trail well behind China in production rates.  The next tier of high automotive production includes India, USA, Brazil, France, Spain, Russia and Mexico.  Iran, UK, Czech Republic and Canada produce around 1 million cars each year.  Poland, Slovakia, Turkey, Argentina, Indonesia, Belgium and Thailand produce over half a million cars each year.  Malaysia, Italy, South Africa, Romania and Taiwan produce between 250–to–500 thousand cars each year.  Hungary, Australia, Sweden, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, Portugal and Austria produce between 125–to–150 thousand cars, while the Ukraine and Egypt produce between 50–to–100 thousand cars each year.  The Netherlands and Serbia produce between 25–to–50 thousand cars each year.  Finland produces around 2,500 cars, while numerous other countries put together all add up to around 350,000 cars each year.

Toyota Motor Corp. has retained its position as the world’s best-selling automobile maker, saying that it had sold over 10 million vehicles worldwide in 2015.  Toyota, Volkswagen and GM account for roughly a third of the vehicles sold world-wide.  The top five car manufacturers who sold the most cars worldwide in 2015 were: Toyota 10.8 million, Volkswagen 9.5 million, General Motors 8.9 million, Ford 8.6 million and Hyundai 7.3 million.