Ok so with this review i wanted to do something different and start with the things I don’t like about this car because there aren’t many things.
First thing is non adjustable seat belts in the front, I found it very annoying several times during the week when the seat belt dug into my neck specially after id found the perfect driving position.
Second thing was the instruments were a little hard to read sometimes as in various times of the day there was a reflection across the middle of the dials.
The third thing is something a lot of people who have driven a VE have come across and that’s the size of the A pillars i found them a little big a first and at certain times they do cause a little bit of a blind spot, but once i got use to looking around them I didn’t have any issues at all.
Everyone knows what a VE looks like as its been gracing Aussie roads in various guises since 2006, so I am not going to bang on too much about it, but in saying that i really do like the look of SV6 Z series specially in this stunning deep purple colour called Alchemy which was inspired by the Holden Efijy show car.
The body kit which it shares with its V8 stable mate the SS, the pumped guards, the black lip under the front spoiler which Holden calls sports armour combined with the awesome looking 19-inch charcoal alloys come together to in my opinion my the SV6 look like it means business.
While many imported cars are coming out with messed up happy faces the SV6 has an aggressive stance that really appeals to me a lot.
On the inside the Z Series features leather bolstered seats which are very supportive specially in tight corners, I was extremely excited to find out while going around a tight corner that seat held me in place and I didn’t have to brace myself against the door to stop myself moving in the seat like I do in my Captiva because the seats offer no lateral support at all.
The dash is standard VE Commodore fair with a nice silver strip across it which blended in well, the instruments are very easy to read and light up in white numbering.
Between the gauges is a red info screen which is where you access various different functions including a very handy digital speedo, I also like the point by point sat nav directions which made it easier to keep my eyes on the road.
The big thing for me is the Holden IQ system I really loved this system and how easy it was to use.
With full bluetooth connectivity it took me all of 30 secs for me to connect my phone and start streaming music from it.
The smallish console bin (yes I am use to my Captiva’s one which is huge) contains the 12v connect and the usb port, while it was smallish having every time hidden away in there ment my phone wasn’t on display in the open charging and more importantly I didn’t have any charging cables hanging in the cabin getting in the way.
The USB input worked a treat soon as i plugged a USB stick in the IQ system read it and I was listening to my music in secs, the only thing i didnt try out was the cd ripping feature as i was either audio streaming from my phone or using the usb.
The Z Series I tested came with optional Sat Nav system with full colour mapping and live traffic updates, my eldest daughter Madie was extremely excited when she found out the sat nav had the muppet in a chopper traffic system. I used the sat nav several times during the week and found the system extremely easy to use the directions were easy to understand and found every destination I input.
While I was extremely impressed with how good the system was i did find the sound system wasn’t as good or as crisp as the sound is in my LX Captiva.
The rear seat as you would expect offers heaps of leg room which is a plus specially on a long trip I have my seat back a little bit more than others and I had heaps of room between my knees and the seat back when I sat in there, everyone who sat in there also commented on how comfortable the seat was.
The middle of the rear seat does fold down to reveal a ski port for those extra long things and also doubles as a table and contains 2 cup holders on long trips perfect for the kids.
The boot offers a huge amount of room and more importantly Holden got rid of the boot hinges that protruded into the boot and took up room in previous model Commodore’s.
Under the bonnet the SV6 comes with Holden’s potent Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI) 3.6L double overhead cam V6 4 valves per cylinder. Packing 210kw @ 6700rpm and 350nm of torque from a low 2800rpm the SV6 can really get up and go when required combined that with the great job Holden seems to of done in gearing the SV6 was a rather entertaining drive something I thought i would ever say about a V6 Commodore.
I’ve driven many 3.0L V6 VE Commodore’s before and came away feeling underwhelmed, and thinking they were lacking the 3.6L is different kettle of fish and I never found it wanting at anytime. Sure it doesn’t have the go of a V8 but the 3.6L is great alternative for people not wanting 8 cylinders.
As with most engines it can drink a little bit when pushed but i haven’t been driving it like a granny this week and the worst I’ve seen was 15L/100km on the freeway it was down as low 7.9L/100km. Driving around town I had sitting on 9.3L/100km which was not too bad considering a lot of the time it was spent in bumper to bumper traffic. As with any with any car the higher you ave speed the better the economy.
Sure there are cars on the market that may be a bit better on fuel but you have to remember this is not a small car those other cars don’t offer the same room and convenience the SV6 does.
Holden has done a great job with 6 spd auto it seemed to worked brilliant in this car always picking the correct gear on down change when needed.
Shifting the gear lever to the left you access 2 different modes sports mode wear you leave it shift for you and manual sport shift where you pick when to change gears. I was impressed with how well it worked I even tried several times to fool it by change-up at too low a speed or down change while at too much speed and found it wouldn’t let me change gear until I was doing the right speed for the gear.
I did however find it took me a little bit to get use to it as it worked the opposite to my Captiva, in that you push up to change-up a gear and back to change down. The SV6 works the opposite way so at times I found i had to think about it when i was changing gears specially on the up shift when instinct from driving my Captiva told me to push up to change up.
I’ve driven previous Commodore’s with Holden’s FE2 suspension and found it a little stiff and bumpy on anything but smooth roads, but I was plesently surprised with just how far Holden has gone specially with the Series 2 VE.
While I did still find it a little stiff I found the VE2 rides so much better then any previous gen Commodore, even on bumpy roads I found it wasn’t unsettled. The ride is really good even my my 77 year old mother kept commenting on how well it rode which says something to how good the ride is.
I took the SV6 Z Series up the coast and found it was a dream to drive on freeway but the best thing was yet to come on the way back I decided to go the long way home and found my way onto Wisemans ferry rd near Gosford.
Wisemans Ferry Rd to honest is not the worlds greatest road it is also not the worlds fastest road with a max speed limit of 80km/h, but what does possess is a whole mixed bag of road surfaces, tight and twisty low speed corners and water from the Hawkesbury river partly covering the lane as it winds its way from Gosford to Wisemans Ferry.
I never found the SV6 wanting in anyway and never once did it fell unsettled even on bumpy surface halfway through corners, I have not had that much fun driving a car in a real ong time and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face when I got to the end of the road I really wanted to turn around and go back and do it again this car was such a hoot to drive.
I found the brakes were very much up to the task and even on my spirited drive with many low corners speed corners there was never any hint of fade. While the brakes were great I did find the pedal just a bit soft I would have liked just a fraction more feel in the pedal but that could be a personal thing. One thing I would like to see as an option on the SV6 Z Series is the Brembo front brakes the SSV Z Series gets, i think adding front Brembo’s would complete a great driving package,
I have one huge regret and the only real massive problem I had with this car was I had to give it back to Holden at the end of week as I could very easily see one parked in my driveway alongside my Captiva and Astra.
There are only so many good things I can about a car without sounding like I’m doing an ad for the company but the Z Series SV6 Commodore left that much of an impression on me.
This car was a mix of generous power, great handling and ride, comfortable and supportive seats and a very good and easy to use entertainment system wrapped up in an aggressive masculine body with a beautiful colour to match. Yes i know it does have a couple of things I didn’t like about it that I listed in the beginning of this review, but those things would not enough to stop from owning one of these.
One question in my mind before I drove it was can an SV6 Z Series be considered a great touring car and after driving one for a week I can answer yes to that question. This car can return decent economy during the week when driving it to work and doing all the things associated with family life, but can also double as great car with a massive amount of room and comfort for the family holiday and be a fun and enjoyable drivers car as well.
Would I recommend it to anybody I don’t like to recommend cars as everyone has an opinion and what I might like in a car others might not but what I would say is you would be mad to not to put an SV6 Z Series at the top of the list of potential new cars.