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Holden Commodore SV6 2004 Review

It's a strange sensation to think you might be the first person to sit in a new car but, just to be sure, I hopped in the back seat for a little while, too. I bet no one has sat there before.

'Tis the season for black – clothes, scarfs and cars. With its toasty red-shimmer upholstery, the new SV6 Commodore is a safe haven on cold mornings and the black, which could be a little daunting in summer, is most welcome this weather.

With the headlights switched to automatic, there is no fear of not being seen by drivers in wet conditions and no chance of a flat battery. The new Holden is designed to give the driver V8 power without the V8 fuel bill. A week of city driving barely moved the fuel gauge.

And while I didn't have a chance to launch it on the expressway or freeway, I could feel the power rumbling, there at my disposal if required.

Of course, one has to be politically correct about powerful cars now. I mean, they don't really need to go at over 200km/h, as has been tragically demonstrated only recently. Sensitive manufacturers have found innovative ways to promote their powerful cars. Hence the rise of the new era of V6s – all the power of a V8 but not the petrolhead stigma.

The advertising for the new SV6 is clever, too. A stand-alone engine is revved through the gears by a young and enthusiastic bloke: perfect way to show a fast car without even showing the car.

Still, this vehicle does have a split personality. It's not just about power and speed. This is the sort of car that doubles nicely as a family car. Plenty of storage, comfortable rear seats and rear airconditioning vents all attest to its willingness to carry passengers.

It has cruise control but no climate control. I kinda like that.

I find it a bit disconcerting to get into a car which immediately blasts cold or hot air at you. I don't like pre-setting a temperature much. I just know I want a little bit of hot now and a little cold then.

The new Commodore has another little trick up its sleeve. You can't start the manual version without your foot on the clutch. I'm more of a car-in-neutral, handbrake-on starter so this took a little getting used to.

The clutch start is billed as a new safety feature but I think it's really so you don't look like a klutz when you accidentally start your cool new car while in gear and lurch forward.

Very, very hard to look like a klutz in this sporty power package.

Even middle-aged mums can go into a time warp ... now, where is that Madonna CD?

Pricing guides

Based on 204 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

Acclaim 3.8L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,700 – 6,050 2004 Holden Commodore 2004 Acclaim Pricing and Specs
Berlina 5.7L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $1,890 – 8,999 2004 Holden Commodore 2004 Berlina Pricing and Specs
Equipe 3.8L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,499 – 4,990 2004 Holden Commodore 2004 Equipe Pricing and Specs
Executive 3.8L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $1,490 – 5,999 2004 Holden Commodore 2004 Executive Pricing and Specs