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Car reviews - Holden - Commodore - SS sedan

The Car

14 Nov 2002

PERHAPS the most convincing of all the facelifted VY models, Commodore SS is the wildest, most HSV-like Holden ever produced.

The clean, contemporary and unmistakably new front-end styling carries GM corporate cues already introduced for Monaro. The slipperier new shape is said to reduce aerodynamic drag by 4.2 per cent to 0.319Cd, thanks to the sharper lines of the bootlid and front fascia.

Combined with attention to the underbody, the changes also mean lift has been reduced by a big 47 per cent to 11.7kg at 100km/h, resulting in a reduction of the yawing moment coefficient of seven per cent and therefore slightly better crosswind stability.

As SS is based on the low-series VY Commodore, there's no chrome and no projector headlights but a simple, single-slat black grille incorporating a prominent Holden lion badge.

The new grille is flanked by twin headlights behind a single, clear lens with black bezel backgrounds and the interesting "bullseye" parking lights.

Further down in the aggressive new bumper there are circular foglights and a huge, gaping air-dam with a blacked-out lower section to match the grille, while the full-length shoulder crease has been made more prominent in the front quarter panels.

Meantime, the trailing edge of the deep new wedge-shaped bonnet pressing rests on a somewhat unsightly new black plastic plenum ramp to deflect wind more cleanly over the wipers and windscreen.

Sculpted side skirts, body coloured rub strips, new-design wing mirrors, V8 front quarter badging, twin chrome tailpipes and a new, floating-style rear spoiler further set SS apart from Executive in terms of exterior styling, as do the massive new and exclusive five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels.

But if the new front-end design is modern and distinctive, the jury is still out on the VY SS rear end, which appears more compact due to its sharper, edgier new styling treatment and attracts claims that its somewhat triangular tail-lights are similar to Magna's, making the rear a mismatch with the front-end's rounder proportions.

Either way, it will be interesting to see if the slightly controversial VY styling will be as widely accepted in the longer term as VT's ground-breaking shape was.

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Did you know?

Holden says the reshaped plenum ramp reduces noise at 120km/h by up to 2.5dB(A) across the high frequency range from 1000-6000Hz, while the new wing mirrors were also computer and wind tunnel designed to reduce sound pressure levels by up to 3dB(A) between 500 and 5000Hz to near "no mirror" levels

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