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2015 Holden SSV Redline Ute review

Mark Higgins’ 2015 Holden SSV Redline Ute review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.

In a nutshell : The top of the range Holden workhorse is more play than work with sharp looks, performance to match and a raft of safety features and creature comforts.

HOLDEN’S FIRST UTE, the 50-2106, broke cover in 1951 and the last of the bloodline, the VF series, will disappear, along with local manufacturing in 2017. Will the ute live on as an Aussie classic and become a desirable collectable? Time will tell.

Before we say goodbye and thanks for the memories, we are spending a week with Holden’s sportiest factory workhorse ever, the SSV Redline Ute.

It claimed a new lap record for a commercial vehicle at the fearsome Nurbugring circuit in Germany, setting a world record time of 8min 19.3sec around the 21km circuit. It also claims bragging rights on building sites around the country.

What made it a success in 1951 remains today; the rear-drive layout along with passenger car comfort and load-carrying ability.

What’s changed is it’s no longer the domain of tradies and simply a tool of the trade; it’s refinement, quality, standard kit and car-like road manners, means the humble ute is bought by many for lifestyle purposes only. And the SSV Redline, which sits on the Statesman platform with a 94mm longer wheelbase than the Commodore, fits the lifestyle mantra rather well.

The SSV Redlines exterior gets the full performance styling including a sports body kit, projector headlamps, daytime running and fog lights located in the deep front spoiler, gloss-black grille panels with chrome highlights, flared front guards, quad exhausts, plus big Brembo front brakes hidden behind 19-inch alloy wheels, wrapped 245/40/19 front and 275/35/19 rear, low profile directional tyres.

Using the sensor key to unlock the doors, (great for when the key is buried in your pocket or in a bag), you sit low and snug in supportive leather and alcantara sports seats. The nice-to-hold, leather trimmed, three-spoke, chunky steering wheel has phone, audio, collision alert, cruise control and park assist function, adjusts for reach and rake. The dash is similar to all Holden sports models with large analogue instruments and an LED trip information display and there’s a start / stop button for the engine.

Unique to the SSV Redline is the heads-up display, which can be adjusted for height and brightness and customized to deliver a variety of information according to the driver’s wants.

2015 Holden Commodore SSV Redline Ute review

The top of the centre dash features the MyLink screen with functions for the phone, six-speaker audio, satnav, music streaming and the reverse camera with grid lines. The wide console includes a shallow storage tray, a large box under the centre armrest, electric park brake and two large cupholders that if occupied, get in your way when shifting gears.

Although there’s ample leg, hip, head and shoulder room and some storage space behind the seats, the cabin feels inviting and cosy. Comfortable and supportive leather and alcantara trimmed seats are manually adjusted, with the driver’s seat having electric height and lumbar adjustment. Carbon-look plastics, chrome trim, cream alcantara and leather panels add a touch of luxury and fuse nicely with the sports interior that has an upmarket feel and the fit and finish is first rate.

Like most utes, rear three-quarter vision is severely hampered by the large B-pillars, but the Redline has blind spot assist that displays a light in the exterior mirrors when another vehicle is close by or unsighted from the drivers seat.

Beyond the rear window is the deep, polyethylene lined carrying area, with six tie-down hooks that can hold up to 500kgs. The soft tonneau does a good job of keeping the elements out and is a cinch to remove and secure. Being the sportiest of Holden’s workhorses meant load lugging wasn’t a priority, but the V8’s grunt means any loads are barely noticeable. There’s also trailer sway control, hill start assist and a reversing camera that makes manoeuvring a trailer very easy, even for a novice.

Nothing beats the sound and feel of a V8 and the SSV Redline has Holden’s fourth-generation 6.0-litre Alloy version that pumps out 270kW at 5700rpm and 530Nm at 4400rpm which is happy to run on 91RON fuel. Our test car ran a six-speed manual gearbox that offered a nice short throw and precise shifting action that wasn’t too taxing on the arm and a clutch that afforded plenty of feel without being overly heavy.

The big V8 is docile under light throttle use and happy to lope along in traffic emitting a nice rumble that is heard discreetly from the cabin. With 270 kilowatts under your right foot it’s always tempting to mash your size ten to the floor, which results in the glorious V8 roar amping up several decibels and the scenery going past at a rapid rate (within the speed limit, though, of course). And with the massive torque on tap, this can be done from anywhere in the rev range, the engine is so pliable that even third gear starts with a bit of clutch slip were easy to execute.

And forget about fuel efficiency when you are having this much fun. But, for the record we averaged 14.3L/100km for the week, with one stint of cruise control highway showing 7.4L/100km on the dash.

The MacPherson strut front, multilink rear suspension of the SSV Redline Ute gets a sports-oriented steering and suspension tune. This delivers a firm ride as it is tuned for both performance driving and load-lugging.

Unladen the ride is surprisingly accommodating, though still firm and only runs out of suspension travel on larger undulations or road blemishes. The racy Nurbugring lap attests to the competence of the SSV’s chassis, which sits flat and composed through corners giving the driver good a level of assurance. When loaded it feels almost the same, though you do notice the extra weight in the rear, but in both scenarios, it remained well balanced. Helping it negotiate corners are its limited-slip differential and grippy Bridgestone Potenza tyres. The four-piston Brembo disc front and Holden disc rear brakes do an excellent job of hauling up the SSV Redline with the pedal having a progressive, solid feel.

Equipment highlights include: dual-zone climate control, electric power steering, power windows and mirrors, electric park brake, rain sensing wipers, trailer sway control, MyLink infotainment system, 19” alloy wheels, LED daylight running lamps, blind spot alert and Reverse Traffic Alert.

Like the standard SS and second tier SSV, the SSV Redline has a five-star ANCAP safety rating with world-class technologies including Lane Change Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, Forward Collision Alert, stability control, auto release electric park brake, switchable traction control and anti-lock brakes. There’s also trailer sway control, hill hold control and hill start assist and reverse cross traffic alert, plus six airbags. Parking should never be an issue with front and rear parking sensors and 90-degree electronic park assist. Ownership costs of the SSV Redline are low with servicing required every nine-months or 15,000km, which is capped at $185 for a 3year/60,000km period. The SSV Redline also comes with a three-year 100,000km warranty.

I confess to a love of utes. Do I need one? No. Do I want one? You betcha! That every moment behind the wheel of the SSV Redline was going to be a hoot was a given. But the way it looks, performs, rides, handles, along with its versatility and liveability and the way it made me feel, meant it ticked all the boxes and more.

2015 Holden SSV Redline Ute

Price : $48,990 (+ORC) Prestige paint + $550; 
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 auto (standard is six-speed manual); Body : 5083mm (L); 1898mm (W); 1494mm (H); Load Area : 2064mm; Weight : 1720kg; Thirst : 11.5L/100km (official combined)

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Mark Higgins

Mark Higgins