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Car reviews - Holden - One-Tonner - 2-dr utility range

Our Opinion

We like
Performance, refinement, fuel economy, six-speed manual, revised autos, extra V8 refinement, extra equipment
Room for improvement
Lack of standard ABS, old-tech ABS on V8, no traction control, no SS variant

31 Aug 2004

HOLDEN’S answer to the successful cab-chassis Falcon ute, the half-monocoque half-chassis One Tonner has paid handsome rewards for The General, even if it had to go back to the drawing board to come with a "torque arm" that bolts the rear frame to the front tub.

And harder-core tradies will rejoice in the fact that in VZ form the legendary Holden nameplate is more civilised, better equipped and more fuel efficient than ever.

As with other VZ utes, subtle new trims, a distinctive new exterior look, standard fast-glass and cruise and a smooth new V6 represent an impressive value improvement for the incremental price rise at base level.

Similarly, a sweet-shifting six-speed manual to go with a vastly more refined V6 will make driving One Tonner on a daily basis far less of a chore.

Having said that, while Alloytec brings a whole new realm of performance to One Tonner, the new V6 is not exactly music to one’s ears. Although there’s none of the Ecotec’s coarseness up top, there’s still plenty of noise.

What’s more, the manual V6 offers a towing capacity to match the V6 auto and a light clutch action to boot. So while the upgraded four-speed is certainly a vast improvement over previous versions, it still lacks Falcon’s sequential-shift auto and there’s now fewer reasons to pay extra for it.

Again, however, while the premium Alloytec V6 and five-speed auto probably only add unnecessary expense in this application, the absence of ABS as standard at the base level of a model likely to be used for a daily living seems a little cheap, as is the unavailability of traction control and the latest ABS for One Tonner V8.

At least there’s improved brake hardware, including a new master-cylinder and booster that seem to deliver more initial pedal response.

Similarly, steering changes have wrought sharper off-centre response, even if the trade-off is a narrower handling envelope because of earlier understeer. Still, with a full load on, it’s far better than oversteer.

Of course, One Tonner misses out on the sports buckets as found in Ute SS and Crewman SS variants and nor does it offer their projector headlights, foglights or centre storage compartment.

But there’s no doubt One Tonner is now a vastly better product than before, with the sophisticated new V6 manual combination in particular raising the Aussie work ute stakes considerably.

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