2015 Holden Commodore SSV review
Mark Higgins’ first drive 2015 Holden Commodore SSV review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.
In a nutshell: IN YEARS TO COME WE WILL MISS AUSSIE CARS, LIKE THE COMMODORE SSV, WHICH BLENDS SHARP PERFORMANCE, A CAVERNOUS INTERIOR, STYLISH LOOKS AND MORE THAN A TOUCH OF LUXURY.
THE 2015 COMMODORE SSV is the middle sibling of the General’s performance family sedan trio, bookended by the standard SS and the SSV Redline and was launched with the VF model in May 2013. Eighteen months after its launch, Holden gave the VF range a freshen up, with minor equipment tweaks.
The 2015 SSV carries over its familiar looks. A gloss black grille, lower air intake and fog light surrounds are each separately housed within chrome trim surrounds. It has an aluminium bonnet and boot for weight reduction, chromed air outlets, with side indicators in the front guards, body coloured door handles and exterior mirrors, tinted side glass, a roof mounted antenna, side skirts, two banks of twin exhausts and five-spoke, 19-inch alloy wheels on 245/40/19 tyres. The test car was finished in stunning dark green/black premium paintwork called Regal Peacock, (add $550), that executed the sports-luxury theme to a tee.
The theme transfers neatly inside with leather and alcantara on the door trims, dash and the comfortable and supportive (and electrically adjustable for the driver) seats. Given the constant hot temperatures in parts of Australia, it would have been nice to have a cloth trim option, (and that goes for all Australian made cars). The interior packaging ensures plenty of leg, shoulder, hip and headroom for even the tallest folk. Like all VF’s, once behind the wheel it shrinks around you and feels cosy. The surfaces and controls have a soft touch to them and tailoring the setup up to suit you is easy with the flat-bottomed, leather wrapped steering wheel that provides both rake and reach.
Easy-to-glance-at analogue dials with chrome trim surrounds keep you informed of the vehicle’s status and between the tacho and speedo is a multi-function display vehicle information menu with trip information, fuel economy menu and warning/messages. Integrated into the centre dash is the eight-inch, My-Link infotainment touch screen with embedded apps and a long list of functions and menus.
My Link displays the HVAC settings, exterior temperature; radio band selection and station, the rear camera with grid lines, the full-colour sat-nav with live traffic updates and front and rear park assist symbols. Despite the powerful fan of the HVAC system, it took too long to cool the interior and I think the vents are simply not big enough, to push out enough air. Partial help was at hand with the remote start device from the key fob that allows you to start the car and have the aircon running before you arrive to open the door.
The eight speaker audio system punched out an impressive sound quality across a variety of music genres and added to the enjoyment of each journey. There are loads of storage space and cup holders through the cabin and the boot is a decent 496 litres, although the small aperture restricts the size of the items, you can load in.
Under the bonnet is a fuel injected 6 litre alloy V8 that runs on standard 91RON unleaded fuel (as well as E85), and produces 270kW at 5700rpm and 530Nm at 4400rpm. Power delivery is impressively linear, becoming more urgent when a heavy right foot is applied and delivered to the rear wheels via the cost-optional six-speed auto; a six-speed manual is standard. The V8 roar is somewhat muted but never fails to spark the senses. On the open road the SSV proved quite economical, registering a tad under 8L/100km and after a week of city and open road driving, it returned 13.4L/100km.
The SSV is fitted with Holden’s tried and tested mid-level, FE2 sports suspension, with new damper settings and a faster steering ratio of the speed variable electronic power steering system, resulting in excellent balance and a flat stance through corners and sweeps, with the steering providing a high level of feel and feedback without being overly heavy. Thanks to the impressive torque of the big V8, smooth and rapid acceleration out of corners was added to the driving experience. Large 321mm front and 324mm rear disc brakes have a solid, progressive and reassuring feel.
Despite wearing grippy low profile Bridgestone 245/40-19 tyres and riding on MacPherson strut front and independent multilink rear sports suspension, the ride felt luxurious and dealt with road blemishes without fuss or noise. Don’t think the thing’s a roly-poly barge, because it isn’t. Rather, Holden’s engineers have done wonders at giving the thing excellent real-world ride without upsetting the handling.
As the mid-spec model of the Commodore performance trio its feature list builds on the SS and includes: LED daylight running lamps, a discreet boot spoiler, Blind Spot Alert, Reverse Traffic Alert, Sports body styling comprising of front and rear sports fascias, side skirts, leather and alcantara seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, sensor key with push button start, front fog lamps, colour digital instrument display: Sat-nav with colour mapping and live traffic updates, and eight speaker stereo system with rear subwoofers that includes a DVD player.
The VF Commodore range has a five-star ANCAP rating with the highest safety technologies ever seen in an Australian car. In the SSV this includes: eight airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, ABS brakes with EBD, blind spot monitoring, an electric park brake, 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.
The SSV has a three-year 100,000km warranty with servicing required every nine-months or 15,000km and it is capped at $185 for a 3year/60,000km period.