Mark Higgins’ first drive 2014 Holden Commodore SSV Redline review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.

In a nutshell Not much to say, really… this is the last ever hothouse Commodore. We’ll miss it when it’s gone.

Practical Motoring Says When the VB Commodore was introduced, it set new standards in refinement, quality, safety and driving dynamics for an Australian built car. Thirty-six years on, the bookend VF range has achieved the same.

THE COMMODORE SSV Redline launched with the VF model in May 2013, is the performance king of the range that’s also been a solid sales performer for the General. It recently received a mild update in the form of paddle shifts and some other bits and bobs, but we’re testing the manual here.

Gloss black panels with chrome surrounds accent the grille, large air intake, fog and daytime running lights within the front spoiler give the SSV Redline a purposeful look. It’s silhouette shows muscular body lines, a long bonnet and short boot, (both in aluminium for weight reduction), chrome air vents in the flared front guards, full-length side skirts, a discreet rear spoiler and black rear valance with four exhaust pipes. Gloss-black 19×8-inch alloy wheels and low profile tyres complete the picture.

Inside there’s a fusion of sport and luxury with first rate fit and finish and while the interior space is vast, with acres of leg, head and shoulder room for all, from behind the wheel the cabin tends to shrink down around you. Gloss black and chrome garnish together with contrasting titanium alcantra and perforated leather highlights are used across the dash, door panels and on the extremely comfortable and supportive soft leather sports seats lift the basic black interior. The flat-bottomed, chunky, multi-function leather wrapped steering wheel, has good levels of reach and rake making it easy to find a comfy driving position.

2014 Holden Commodore SSV Redline review

The SSV Redline has analogue gauges and a multi information LCD screen. There’s also a heads-up display, with a choice of four screens that projects speed, revs, infotainment and even turn-by-turn navigation information on the windscreen. Integrated into the centre stack is the eight-inch, My-Link infotainment touch screen you connect to via Bluetooth, the auxiliary outlet or USB. It can be customised and gives you access to audio streaming from your smartphone or MP3 player, as well as displaying time, digital radio functions, HVAC, exterior temperature; band selection and frequency; rear camera, sat-nav with live traffic updates as well as front and rear park assist symbols. The clarity of the optional 220Watt nine speakers, sub-woofer Bose audio system is brilliant and a welcome companion on long drives.

At the heart of the SSV Redline is the sequentially fuel injected, 90-degree OHV 6.0 Generation IV Alloy V8 Engine that runs on standard 91RON unleaded fuel (as well as E85), and pumps out 270kw at 5700rpm and 530Nm at 4400rpm. The low down torque is impressive, so much; we even performed standing starts in third gear with no driveline shudder. Power delivery to the rear wheels delivery is smooth and progressive when a gentle throttle is applied, but stand on it and the power delivery becomes more brutal with the corresponding V8 roar. And although it knocks the fuel efficiency for six, you buy a V8 for its power and performance and the fun of doing just that.

2014 Holden Commodore SSV Redline review

Coupled to it is a six-speed manual gearbox with a solid, somewhat heavy shifting action that takes a bit of muscle. Likewise the clutch; its not overly heavy in its operation but the gear engagement point takes getting used to and resulted in a few truck like changes early on. Oddly for a sports oriented vehicle the pedal placement made it awkward to blip the throttle and brake on downshifts. For those wanting to test their mettle on the racetrack, the SSV Redline features Launch Control (in manual form only) for fast getaways.

The SSV Redline is the most extreme of the hot-shoe Commodores, and its suspension has been tuned more for performance than comfort, although it does a good job of insulating you from the worst of the road. Navigating corners is effortless fun and it’s easy to balance the thing on the throttle. Because it has so much torque on tap, gear changing, even when pressing on, is far less frequent than you’d first think. While electric power assist and performance cars don’t always go that well together, the set-up in the SSV Redline seems to work well with more than enough feel and weight.

Keeping the 1777kg (kerb weight) SSV Redline in check are the 355mm front discs with meaty Brembo calipers and 324mm rear disc brakes that provide a solid, progressive and reassuring feel.

The SSV Redline builds on the standard kit from the SS and SSV, with its key features being; Brembo brakes, 19-inch alloy wheels, Colour Heads-up Display, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, sports suspension, 9-speaker Bose premium audio (sedan only) and Launch Control with Competitive Mode.

2014 Holden Commodore SSV Redline review

The VF Commodore range has a five-star ANCAP rating and boasts the highest levels of safety technologies in an Australian made car. In the SSV Redline, this includes Lane change assist, Lane departure warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, Forward Collision Alert, Reverse traffic alert, ISOFIX anchorage points across all three rear seats. There’s also Ultrasonic Park Assist, Emergency brake flashers on rear lamps and centre high-mounted stop lamp, ESC and eight airbags.

Ownership costs are low with the SSV Redline getting a three-year 100,000km warranty, and servicing required every nine-months or 15,000km, which is capped at $185 for a 3-year/60,000km period.

2014 Holden Commodore SSV Redline

Price $52,490 (+ORC)

Warranty three years, 100,000 kilometres

Safety five-star ANCAP

Engine 6.0-litre, 90-degree V8 petrol (91RON)

Power/Torque 270kW/530Nm

Transmission six-speed manual (standard)

Body 4966mm (L); 1898mm (W); 1470mm (H)

Weight 1777kg

Thirst 11.8L/100km (combined)


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