Tony Bosworth road tests and reviews the new Holden VF SSV Redline Ute with pricing, specs, ride and handling and verdict.

IN A NUTSHELL: The VF SSV Redline Ute is based on the latest Commodore VF, so it gets all the bells and whistles the sedan and wagon received in the recent revamp, with the addition of tighter suspension

PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS: Well featured, great looking, V8-engine, and made in Australia. For many buyers that’s all they need to know. The downside is it’s only a two-seater. Fact is, there isn’t another ute on the planet that will touch the Holden VF SSV Redline ute for performance and overall price as it proved at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

I LOVE THE AGGRESSIVE wide-stance frontal look of the latest Commodore, and the SSV models in particular, and the ute is no exception. And at the back, two sets of twin exhaust pipes poke out the rear like sawn-off double-barrelled shotguns, barking out that ear-trembling V8 note. The tailgate is a single-piece drop-down affair with an internal lever – towards the top and centre of the tailgate – so an easy one-handed operation. Beware though, the tail-gate is pretty heavy and it’s not on assisted struts, just tie straps, so it can come down quick and hard. There’s a tough flexible plasticky cover over the deck area that’s easily unlatched and unrolled, though I do wonder how long the plastic strips that fit into grooves along the top edge of the deck will last. Inside the cargo area you’ll find six tie-down points to stop stuff shifting around.

The SSV leather seats are among the very finest from any car maker, no matter what price you pay; they’re well made, look like leather, (so many look like fake leather these days, which seems rather pointless…) they’re supportive and superbly comfy on a long journey. Thing is though, and this is common to the SSV sedan too, the driver’s seat is electrically adjustable while the poor passenger gets to push and pull themselves manually into position.

The Holden VF Commodore SSV Redline interior is well laid out and functional

The quality of switchgear is good and the dials are clear and easy to understand and the large central touchscreen screen is fully featured – including a good navigation system, via MyLink – and it’s all easy enough to use. The leather-clad flat-bottomed SSV steering wheel is lovely to hold and just the right chunky thickness and size to allow for quick steering inputs. Despite being a two-person cab there is some spare room behind the seats and you’ll also find four netted holders of a decent size so you can stuff a fair bit of paperwork in. A toolbox should just about fit behind the seats, if you’re not too tall.

Burbling away under the bonnet you’ll find Holden’s US-built 6.0-litre V8 driving to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. This unit produces a whopping 270kW of power at 5600rpm and 530Nm of torque at 4400rpm and, fortunately, the traction/stability control works a treat. Take a corner fast and you can feel it working away, tugging gently, keeping the rear driving wheels from losing grip. You really can corner at terrific speeds and the harder ute suspension means you corner flat too. Steering is quick, well weighted, and allows for very quick turn-in.

Thanks to the 530Nm of torque, you can pull strongly even in high gears and from lowish revs. Third in particular has a wide and useful spread. And what a noise. Though this latest V8 sounds a little less burbly than some of its predecessors, and the sound proofing is perhaps a tad more than I’d like, it still barks when you push it, and it never, ever feels strained.

The Holden VF Commodore SSV Redline ute offers huge bang for your bucks

Fuel consumption is not the Holden Commodore SSV Redline ute’s friend, though to be fair I wouldn’t call it poor considering the performance on tap. I achieved 16.4L/100km, compared with 14.1 when I drove the non-Redline but identically engined SSV sedan the week before. Those returns reflect a mix of all sorts of driving with periods of flat-out performance, and some trundling around too. Realistically it’s what most drivers are likely to see.

At $48,990 (+ORC), for the SSV Redline ute, there’s no doubt that you are getting a lot of machine for your money, but you really have to put that against this vehicle’s practicality. After all, it’s only got two seats… then again, so does a sports car, and in terms of performance and equipment that’s the best way to look at the ute – it’s a performance machine. End of the day, personally I’d pay the extra few dollars for the sedan.

Carrying a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating, the Holden VF SSV Redline ute features rear-view camera, front and rear park assist, hill start assist, trailer sway control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and more.

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Holden VF Commodore SSV Redline Ute

PRICE from $48,990 (+ORC) WARRANTY three-years/100,000 kilometres SAFETY five-star ANCAP ENGINE 6.0-litre, V8 petrol POWER 270kW at 5700rpm TORQUE 530Nm at 4400rpm TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual BODY 4.89m (L); 1.90m (W); 1.47m (H) WEIGHT 1739kg THIRST 12.2L/100km (official combined)


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