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Sunraysia Daily Saturday, January 17, 2015
Last of the line:
Holden’s excellent SV6 ute
Striking frontal shape of Holden SV6 Ute puts it deeply into the sports-ute category.
BY EWAN KENNEDY
EMEMBER when utes were just that,
utility vehicles? Cargo carriers with a
sedan front end and a big tray behind into
which lots of stuff could be stuffed.
Some still do use their utes in the old
fashioned way, to cart things, but many are now
bought as large sportscars with extraordinary
Utes, such as the Holden SV6 Ute that spent
time in our driveway last week, are increasingly
popular with ‘the boys’ and sometimes girls as
The trouble with being a motoring journo is
that neighbours, family and friends spot a ute
in the driveway - and call in to ask if perhaps we
could help them move things.
So last week we did a couple of trips to the
tip and spent time loading up flat packs of
unassembled parts from a well known Swedish
store that specialises in allen keys.
Many external styling changes to the VF Ute
distinguish it from the VE Ute it supersedes. The
new front gives it a stockier look, partly because
the bonnet has been raised to incorporate
pedestrian protection, but also to follow the
global General Motors latest design theme.
Although it’s built on the same platform
as the VE Commodore, around 60 per cent of
chassis components have been either modified
or replaced. The use of an aluminium bonnet
has trimmed a bit off the mass of the Ute, but it’s
still a large hefty vehicle.
While the VF sedan has significantly different
styling at the rear, the Ute and station wagon
remain much the same as before. This has been
a ploy with Holden’s local designs for many
decades and buyers understand the cost-saving
Changes to the interior are extensive and
give the VF Commodore a fresh, modern look.
The centrepiece is the large, easy-to-read 8-inch
colour touchscreen with well-spaced controls
that are big enough to avoid hitting two-buttons
at the same time.
Visibility outwards is still marred by the wide
A-pillars that we have been complaining about
since the launch of the VE Commodore. Some
alterations have been made to the trim to try and
cure this. Slimming the underlying metal was
going to be expensive so we will have to live with
the need to move our heads about to negate the
blind spots created by those big pillars.
The awkward handbrake we found irritating in
the VE Commodore for so many years has finally
been replaced by a small electric unit in the
centre console, it’s so much easier to use.
The big VF Commodore Ute lopes along with
a minimum of fuss and makes light of coarse-
chip road surfaces that can rattle even the most
expensive Europeans. It deals with corrugated
dirt tracks as though they’re barely there. The
phrase ‘built tough for Australia’ is an oldie but
On the open road the interior of the
Commodore is noticeably quieter than before
and there are times when you forget you’re
driving a commercial vehicle because it feels like
a relatively upmarket sedan.
The 3.6-litre V6 and the six-speed automatic
behind it are both responsive; they communicate
electronically with one another to give pleasing
amounts of torque at all times.
However, the V6 is still not as smooth as
similar engines used in many competitors. It’s
certainly not as harsh as when first introduced
almost a decade ago, but it really should be
better. Now, it may never be...
Performance is strong, yet fuel consumption
is surprisingly low for a big utility. Expect the 3.6
V6 to use about seven to nine litres per hundred
kilometres when cruising in the country. And
around nine to eleven litres when driven sensibly
in suburban areas.
Handling is excellent with good feedback
through the steering. The new electric power
steering (EPS) unit gives a sharp feel that’s all
but indistinguishable from that of the hydraulic
units used in all previous Commodores. EPS is
there primarily as a fuel saver because it only
takes power from the engine when it’s needed,
not all the time as when a hydraulic pump is
There’s something just right about settling
into these big Holden utilities. They give a
feeling of easygoing security on all roads,
good, indifferent, bad, awful that’s simply not
there on many imported cars. We will miss this
‘s omething’ when Australian designed and built
car vanish from the motoring scene forever in
Contact Mildura Holden for drive-away prices
on 5024 4500 or call in to their office at
689-691 Fifteenth St, Mildura or visit
• Ute 3.6 -litre two-door utility: $33,490
• SV6 Ute 3.6 -litre two-door utility:
$33,490 (manual), $35,690 (automatic)
• SS Ute 6.0 -litre two-door utility:
$39,490 (manual), $41,690 (automatic)
• SS-V Ute 6.0-litre two-door utility:
$42,990 (manual), $45,190 (automatic)
• SS-V Redline Ute 6.0 -litre two-door
utility: $48,990 (manual), $51,190
Note: These prices do not include
government or dealer delivery charges.
Contact Mildura Holden on 5024 4500 for
AT A GLANCE
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