Used Holden Commodore review: 2006-2010
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Samuel Cass is shopping for his first car and has his eye on a 2006 Holden Commodore Omega V6. It's priced at $6500 and has done 167,000 km. He wants to know if that is too many, and he also wants to know about any problems that have afflicted this model.
The VE was Holden's first $1 billion program, with nearly half of that invested in engineering to deliver a car that was safer, smarter and more powerful.
With more power and torque, a sophisticated new suspension, new crash avoidance technology and better protection in the event of a smash Holden aimed to hold its traditional place at the head of the sales race.
The VE was longer, wider and higher than the outgoing VZ Commodore. It was also stiffer, stronger and handled better, and more refined as well with reduced wind, road and engine noise.
There were two versions of the 3.6-litre Alloytec V6 engine first seen in the VZ; the version used in the Omega had peaks of 180 kW and 330 Nm.
While Holden trumpeted the engine's performance it stayed quiet about its fuel consumption. For good reason, it wasn't any better than the VZ.
In an environment in which buyers were looking for better economy the VE was a disappointment and the company quickly embarked on a fuel saving program that did cut the fuel the V6 used by a claimed 1.1 L/100 km.
The rear-wheel drive Omega used a four-speed automatic transmission, which boasted smoother shifting and improved launch feel.
Safety was a key with the VE and on top of the stronger body it had larger and more fade resistant brakes, as well as a raft of front, side and curtain airbags, but importantly it boasted electronic stability control across the sedan range.
Buying a first car is a balancing act between having the car you want and the car you should have. With the VE the balance is probably titled more towards the former than the latter.
There is heaps of performance with 180 Alloytec kilowatts available under the driver's right foot, which in combination with rear-wheel drive makes for a thrilling drive experience, but it's one that can easily get out of control with an inexperienced steerer. That's where the Omega's ABS braking and ESC stability control come in, and if it all goes horribly wrong it's got plenty of airbags.
On average a 2006 VE Omega will now have done between 120,000 and 200,000 km, so Samuel's car is within the expected odometer range, if towards the higher end.
With a car that is eight years old, and done nearly 170,000 km condition is paramount, and condition is a product of the care and attention it's had since new.
Start by inspecting the body carefully for bumps and scrapes, looking closely for possible crash repairs.
The paint is showing signs of deterioration on a lot of VEs so take a close look all over the car. One that has been regularly polished will have better paint quality now than one that hasn't been. Walk away if there is any sign of the clear coat peeling.
Maintenance also means regular servicing with regular oil changes, so check the service book to confirm that the car has been serviced as required.
It's worth noting that Holden moved to 15,000 km service intervals with the VE. For some that's too much. Engines need clean oil to survive and 15,000 km intervals is stretching it. It's better to change oil at 10,000 km intervals, or even more frequently.
Take note of the engine and any odd noises you hear, particularly from the front of the engine. The cam timing chains can stretch and when they do they make a rattling type noise. Replacing the chains can be expensive.
When test-driving the car take particular note of the way the auto transmission performs. Like all manufacturers Holden follows the filled-for-life philosophy and doesn't recommend servicing the auto. Check for smooth shifting without any reluctance to shift up or down gears, listen for odd noises or vibrations.
If a car is fitted with a tow bar ask the owner about the towing it's done. Towing puts extra strain on an auto transmission. If it's done heavy towing, with a caravan for instance, consider moving on, or think about having the transmission serviced.
Safe, solid, and generally reliable car for the newbie driver.
|Year||Price From||Price To|
Range and Specs
|Acclaim||3.6L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO||$1,758 – 6,990||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||$800 – 6,990||2006 Holden Commodore 2006 Executive Pricing and Specs|