The new, svelte Commodore ute is all about performance and style, but there’s no sacrificing safety.
Story By Ian Glover
What's got more cred than arriving at a B&S with one of the McClymont sisters? Simple. Arriving at a B&S in a VE Commodore SS V ute.
This is a car with more attitude than Anthony Mundine. Its lines are powerful, purposeful, street aggressive. Work ute it’s not – the low front spoiler and 19-inch alloy wheels immediately tell everyone that this is about style with a capital 'S'. Holden’s lead designer (exterior) Warrack Leach (a country boy who hails from St Arnaud in Victoria) set himself some high goals with the ute.
“What makes a ute successful is the right combination of functionality, performance and timeless visual appeal,” Warrack says. “A ute needs to have attractive and lasting styling built on a solid base of good proportion and stance; the VE ute has this and goes further in terms of styling integration – it’s hard to see where the sedan finishes and the ute starts.” He believes the VE has the goods to become as iconic as the HQ and VU, and it’s hard to disagree with him.
Some of the design improvements can’t be seen. VE features new forward-mounted rack-and-pinion steering, a stronger engine cradle and a multi-plate limited slip diff on all models from SV6 up. (There are four models to choose from: baseline Omega Lite, SV6, SS and, of course, the range-topping SS V.)
It’s available in colours like Atomic (a vibrant lime green metallic), Crunch (old gold metallic), Redhot (hey, you guess), K-Pow (blue metallic) and Nickel Metallic – a light battleship grey, complemented by an Onyx (rich black) interior with Onyx and Redhot leather-faced seats, and a Redhot instrument panel in an Onyx dash.
Those seats don’t just look good either. While extremely comfortable, they’re also hip-hugging – a great safety feature for ‘spirited’ driving. Holden scores a safety first by including stability control as standard on the entire ute range. The average ute can be a handful when cornering with nothing in the tray. Stability control eliminates this tendency, detecting wheelslip immediately and applying braking pressure to the affected wheel, keeping the vehicle on the course the driver intended. The result is a ute that handles like a sedan, and Holden is to be congratulated in being the first to offer this in the ute sector. But the paddock fun aspect is still there – the program can be deactivated via a button on the centre console when circle work’s the go.
This story excerpt is from Issue #58
Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2008