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Holden Monaro 2005 review

Sitting out the front of my place over the weekend, the brightly coloured CV8-Z – the last incarnation to allegedly carry the famous Monaro moniker – managed to attract more attention than any other car that I have brought home in recent memory.

That includes the full gamut of Porsches, M3s and AMG-badged Benzs – most two or three times the price.

I mean, people were literally pulling over and getting out of their cars to come over and a have a closer look at the car.

If I'd been a bit quicker off the mark, I could have charged admission.

Which begs the question: where's the business sense in stopping production of a vehicle that holds this much attraction for punters – a car that has sold six times its original quota?

What prey tell was the company thinking when it made the decision?

Reading between the lines, Holden will bring back the name again.

But this car when it comes will most likely not be a real Monaro (whatever that is).

Most likely, it will be a rebadged version of some American model, as the company looks to other divisions of the General Motors conglomerate.

Certainly, production plans for the new VE Commodore slated for launch by the middle of next year do not include a coupe.

And, you may have noticed, that even though the current Monaro is dubbed a VZ, the styling is still that of the old VX-shaped model on which it is based.

Holden talks about "managing the life cycle" of the car, to ensure ongoing demand and continued resale value, and to preserve the car's reputation as a classic.

However, Holden boss Denny Mooney admits the "Monaro means too much to Holden to not have another Monaro at some time in the future."

Whatever it's future, the CV8-Z is a stunning looking car and one that has to be very collectable.

At $60,490 before on-road costs, just 1200 of the runout model will be made.

In terms of choice, there is only one colour worth considering and that is the bright metallic burnt orange called Fusion, a colour unique to the CV8-Z.

It's a colour that screams look at me and really when you get down to it, that is what this car is about.

With its bonnet scoops and menacing set of twin tailpipes, the Monaro is not what you'd call a shrinking violet.

Revisions to the 5.7-litre Chevy V8 have seen power output rise to 260kW at 5600rpm and peak engine torque now 500Nm at 4000rpm, with 93 per cent of torque available across a wider rev range.

That's using premium unleaded petrol but the issue of the big V8's fuel consumption is another story, with the way petrol prices have been going lately.

Our test car was thankfully fitted with a six- speed manual transmission.

A four-speed auto is available but not recommended for the enthusiast.

Special features include a factory fitted sunroof, black bonnet scoop accents, machined 18-inch alloy wheels with one spoke embossed with the CV8-Z logo, modified rear lamps and unique gun metal chrome CV8-Z badging on the rear.

Inside, you get a matching dash and leather trim.

The Monaro is a fun car to drive by any standards and a fun to be seen in, but you'd have to admit that it is not the most practical means of transport.

Apart from the fuel consumption which runs between 15 and 16 litres per 100km (three times that of a Toyota Prius), there's not much headroom with the sunroof fitted and the two rear seats (it seats four not five) remain difficult to access.

The electric powered front seats seem to take forever to move forward (even longer in the rain) and getting in and out is still something of a gymnastic event.

However, that scowl is quickly replaced by a smile when the big V8 roars to life.

Given its size and weight, Monaro is more of a grand tourer than full on sports car.

The box is hardly what you'd call short throw and it is not the most agile beast in tight corners, but it does sit low and there's plenty of grip from the spectacular 18-inch wheels and 235/40 series tyres.

The note from the twin tailpipes is music to the ears and throttle response is deeply satisfying.

Braking performance is equally impressive.

Monaro might not be the quickest car in the Holden range but it is certainly the best looking one by a country mile.

Pricing Guides

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Range and Specs

CV8 5.7L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $42,998 – 55,880 2005 Holden Monaro 2005 CV8 Pricing and Specs
CV8-Z 5.7L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $34,500 – 52,999 2005 Holden Monaro 2005 CV8-Z Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


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