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HSV Senator auto 2006 review

Holden has a 6.0-litre V8 and so does its go- fast department HSV, but they're not the same engine.

HSV's 297kW Gen IV LS2 unit has been adapted from the American C6 Corvette and as such has been designed from the outset for high performance.

Even more confusing perhaps is the fact that HSV's all-wheel drive models are still powered by the old 270kW 5.7-litre Gen III LS1 engine, that dovetails with the all-wheel drive system.

2006 HSV Senator

Explore the 2006 HSV Senator range

In comparison, Holden's very good 6.0-litre Gen 4 L76 engine found in the SS Commodore puts out 260kW of power.

Not much in it you might say, but the proof is definitely in the pudding.

Our test vehicle was the upmarket Senator, priced from $72,390, fitted with the optional four-speed automatic transmission – a no-cost option.

It's been a while between drinks, but the new Senator is significantly more powerful and much smoother to drive than we remember.

In fact, it's the first HSV vehicle in a long time that we have "really" enjoyed driving.

Our test car looked fabulous in light metallic Odyssey blue with good use of grey shades inside, with suede leather trim.

The 6.0-litre engine sounds fantastic and the power hits hard, much harder than the previous engine.

In HSV form the LS2 delivers 297kW of power at 6000rpm and 530Nm of torque at 4400rpm, an increase of 12kW and 20Nm respectively from the LS1 engine.

Incredibly too, the auto is a tenth of a second faster from 0 to 100km/h than the manual, at 5.1 seconds compared to 5.2 seconds.

It's a bit of an antique in technical terms, but we still like the way it kicks in when you ask the question.

In response to customer feedback, HSV has calibrated the auto for what it describes as "a quick, firm, precise shift feel".

There's no Power mode anynore and we agree with HSV that it's actually superfluous.

We can't help but wonder what these cars are going to be like when Holden finally gets its hands on a five-speed or six-speed auto to match Ford's excellent ZF tranny?

Almost as impressive as the punch from the larger engine is the ride quality which is remarkably smooth and comfortable on Sydney's sub-standard roads.

At a time when manufactuers are looking to more fuel efficient sources of power, much has been made of Holden's move to an even larger capacity V8.

But you wouldn't swap it for quids and, we've got to say, fuel economy is impressive for an engine this size, coming in at around 14.0L/100km.

Premium unleaded is recommended for best performance, but the engine will also run happily on the ordinary stuff.

The reduction in engine weight with the all alloy unit has also aided weight distribution and chassis balance.

Traction Control action is fitted as standard and has been further refined, leaving little reason to switch it off during normal driving, especially since it permits the wheels to spin and the car to give a little twitch changing from first to second under hard acceleration.

The HSV Performance Braking package has been upgraded with Corvette twin-piston front callipers.

They are more rigid in construction and deliver a higher clamping force and increased brake pedal feel.

Standard equipment includes 19in 10-spoke chromed alloys, with 245/35 Pirelli P Zero premium rubber, Luxury 3 suspension includ- ing rear self-levelling, rear park assist and sports seats with eight-way power adjustment.


Pricing guides

Based on 3 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

(base) 6.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $10,800 – 15,840 2006 HSV Senator 2006 (base) Pricing and Specs
Mark Skaife Signature Edition 6.0L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $11,300 – 16,610 2006 HSV Senator 2006 Mark Skaife Signature Edition Pricing and Specs
Signature 6.0L, PULP, 6 SP SEQ $15,200 – 21,450 2006 HSV Senator 2006 Signature Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on 3 car listings in the last 6 months

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