Car buyer's guide: Holden Commodore

By Phil Hanson


The dilemma


Russell's mate is trying to sell him his 2004 Commodore VY Executive sedan. It seems to be in good condition, Russell says, and has only 70,000km on the clock.


Spurred on by the mate's gentle persuasion, and wondering whether the Executive is the best model to buy, Russell has been looking at other Commodores of about the same age, but has ended up confused.


He's seen VYs and VZs as 2004 models, so what's going on there? We're making this is an all-Holden, all-Commodore Buyers' Guide just for you, Russell.


The VY, part of Holden's Third Generation Commodore series, was built from 2002 to 2004 as the first major restyle since the VT, five years earlier.


The VZ arrived in 2004 with a new V6, the 3.6-litre Alloytec. This was touted as being more powerful and responsive than its 3.8-litre Ecotec predecessor, but there wasn't a lot in it.


History tells us that the VY was a good car with good mechanicals. If Russell does go for his mate's car with that mileage he should be in for some relatively worry-free motoring.


The Executive was the entry model, which listed at $43,990 in 2004. The prices for our examples are for low-mileage cars.


The budget:


About $15,000


THE SHORTLIST


New Zealand motoring writers take a break during the March 2003 launch of the VY Commodore, out of Canberra.


Holden Commodore Acclaim


The Acclaim is one step up from the Executive, with the same engine producing 152kW and 305Nm torque and fitted to an automatic transmission. Acclaim adds features and conveniences that take it out of the "fleet market" realm of the Executive.

From $13,000


Holden Commodore S


Here's an interesting performance version, which was pretty much the SS package but with a supercharged V6. Listing at $40,900 back in 2004, it produced 171lkW and 375Nm torque and was sold only with an automatic. What it lost in "V8 grumble", it made up for with its urgent supercharger whine. Far less common than the SS.

From $15,000


Holden Calais


Holden marketers liked us to think of the luxury Calais as separate from the Commodore. The VY Calais was equipped to a high standard and was almost sporty to drive, unlike its predecessor. It was an Aussie answer to some of the expensive Europeans. Holden offered it with three engines, the V6, 3.8 at just under $60,000 back in the day, a (now rare) supercharged version at $62,000 and the V8 at $65,800.

From $17,000


Good off-road, but a bomb on it


As an interesting aside in the VY's history, Holden developed Cross Trac, which was an electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system. It was first fitted to the Adventra, a V8 wagon crossover, on a raised chassis and with some macho styling touches. Meant to rival the hugely successful Ford Territory, Adventra bombed and was discontinued. But it was very competent off-road.


Driven recommends


Depreciation is a wonderful thing if you're a buyer and even though Russell might have to exceed his budget by a couple of grand for a top example, today's prices for the luxury Calais are too tempting to ignore. It may challenge the friendship, Russell, but Buyer is guiding you to a Calais. Might as well go whole hog and get it with the V8.

- Hamilton News

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