Used Holden Commodore review: 2006-2009
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A billion dollars and five years in the making the VE Commodore was a make or break model for Holden, and in many ways it also represented the future of the traditional Aussie big family car.
There was heaps riding on the VE Commodore when Holden launched it, the company had gambled heavily on being able to keep the old style large car alive in a market that was moving towards smaller cars.
With its carved curves, chiseled lines and pumped wheel arches it was a good looking car. Compared to the previous model it was also longer, wider, taller with a larger footprint, with a similar cabin that could seat five adults, and larger boot. At the same time it was heavier, and there was only a small improvement in fuel economy, an important consideration when buying a car at the time.
The Omega's engine was a 3.6-litre all-alloy V6 with double overhead camshafts and variable valve timing that put out 180kW at 6000rpm and 330Nm at 2600rpm. It was also offered with an Impco-developed vapour-injection dual-fuel (LPG) system. In that form it's peak performance was 175kW at 6000rpm and 325Nm at 2600rpm.
There was just the one transmission on offer in the Omega, it was a solid four-speed that had been recalibrated in VE for improved smoothness and shifting. Final drive, as with all Commodores, was through the rear wheels.
Underneath it had all-independent suspension front and back and larger disc brakes. Inside, the Omega was roomy with a well laid-out, well-equipped cabin boasting quality fittings and comfortable seats.
IN THE SHOP
Service intervals for the Omega was 15,000 km. Check for a service record, proper maintenance is the key to a long life for a car. Overall the VE was well built and is generally reliable, although the early cars suffered by production gremlins that were ironed out quite quickly.
IN A CRASH
At launch the Omega had ABS brakes, ESP stability control and traction control with electronic brake distribution and emergency brake assistance overlaid with dual front airbags. When tested by ANCAP it was given four stars out of five. In October 2008 Holden added head and side airbags, which enabled it to achieve a 5-star ANCAP rating.
Parents often opt for a Commodore when buying cars for their beginner driver offspring, believing its solid build and overall safety will keep their kids safe, but a powerful engine with rear drive can often bring inexperienced drivers undone. The addition of ESP as standard equipment on the VE makes it a much better choice for a young driver than earlier models that don't have the important safety feature.
UNDER THE PUMP
Holden's claim for the 3.6-litre V6 petrol Omega was 10.5L/100km, the company's claim for the dual-fuel (LPG) engine was 16.0L/100km.
Carsguide reader Dave Markham's Series 1 Omega V6 averages 12.5 L/100 km around town and 7.0 L/100 km on the highway.
Price new: $34,490
Engine: 3.6-litre V6 petrol; 180 kW at 6000 rpm/330 Nm at 2600 rpm; 3.6-litre V6 dual-fuel; 175 kW at 6000 rpm/325 Nm at 2600 rpm
Transmission: 4-speed auto; rear-wheel drive
Economy: 10.9 L/100 km (petrol), 16.0 L/100 km (LPG)
Body: 4-door sedan
Safety: 4 stars ANCAP before 2008; 5 stars after 2008
Expect to pay: $11,500-$22,000 (petrol); $13,000-$23,500 (dual-fuel)
Big, roomy family car that performs, handles, and rides well. Hard to beat if you need the space. ***1/2
Price: $11,500 plus
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WE DRIVE THEM
Ford fan Geoff Warham is on his third VE Commodore, he drives them in the course of his work doing around 70,000 km per year. In that time he has only had to have a windscreen washer bottle replaced under warranty on one them; the dealer put it down to poor quality plastic. His current car is a Series I VE with the 3.0-litre SIDI V6 and 6- speed auto.
"There is definitely an improvement in fuel economy, I can now easily get more than 840 km from a tank highway driving without fear of running out where I could only get 750 km from the previous model."
Dave Markham drives a 2006 VE Commodore Omega that he bought second hand in 2008. While overall he's happy with it he has had to repair leaking heater hoses, replace worn anti-roll bushes and update the software in a faulty computer.
"Apart from the above issues my car has been trouble free and what I mainly like is the handling and smooth ride."
|Year||Price From||Price To|
Range and Specs
|Acclaim||3.6L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO||$2,980 – 5,999||2006 Holden Commodore 2006 Acclaim Pricing and Specs|
|Berlina||3.6L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO||$2,985 – 9,990||2006 Holden Commodore 2006 Berlina Pricing and Specs|
|Berlina Dual Fuel||3.6L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO||$5,830 – 8,250||2006 Holden Commodore 2006 Berlina Dual Fuel Pricing and Specs|
|Executive||3.6L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO||$999 – 6,999||2006 Holden Commodore 2006 Executive Pricing and Specs|