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New models - Holden - Commodore ute

Holden utes head upmarket

At home on the range: The Holden Crewman (left), Ute and One-Tonner.

Alloytec V6 meets six-speed manual in Holden’s most refined ute range ever

27 Aug 2004

HOLDEN’S facelifted VZ Commodore utility range does not brandish a top-shelf 190kW Alloytec V6, a sophisticated new five-speed automatic transmission or, therefore, a new SV6 six-cylinder performance variant.

The revised two-door Ute, four-door Crewman and tray-backed One Tonner models do, however, come with most of the other changes delivered by Holden in its final facelift of the current, VT-based Commodore sedan/wagon and its long-wheelbase WL Statesman/Caprice sibling.

Broadly, these include a 175kW/320Nm Alloytec V6 and upgraded 235kW and 250kW V8s, a new six-speed manual transmission as standard and an improved optional four-speed automatic.

Added to that are subtle chassis tweaks, revised frontal and interior styling and equipment upgrades across the Ute, Crewman and One Tonner ranges.

Holden says the S nameplate was retained for its utility line-up in favour of a new SV6 variant due to production complexity issues, and that light commercial vehicle buyers will be adequately catered for by its base Alloytec V6 and revised V8 powerplants.

VZ utility development costs were amortised across the VZ Commodore sedan range but, on top of the $189 million and 1.6 million test kilometres invested in VZ sedan, Holden spent an extra $11 million and travelled a further 113,000km to develop VZ utes specifically.

While all VZ utility models are now on sale (with the exception of the One Tonner manual, to be available from November), the VZ rollout is yet to extend to Monaro (September), Adventra V8 and Crewman Cross8 (late 2004), and Adventra V6 and Cross6 (February).


THE Commodore Ute bar is raised substantially in terms of refinement and performance, with the first new V6 in 16 years combining with a new six-speed manual or upgraded four-speed automatic.

Plus there's a more powerful 250kW SS Ute with twin exhaust system and ‘fender vents’ to match SS sedan.

Under the bonnet of Ute and Ute S now lies the same Alloytec V6 that powers Commodore Executive, Acclaim and Berlina sedans and wagons, delivering 175kW at 6000rpm and 320Nm of torque at 2800rpm (not at 2400rpm as in VZ Crewman and One Tonner) – 14 per cent more power and five per cent more torque than the defunct 152kW/305Nm 3.8 Ecotec.

13 center imageIn addition, there are subtle tweaks to the suspension (new front anti-roll bar), steering (new power steering pump) and brakes (new master-cylinder and booster, plus brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution on ABS-equipped V6 variants).

Cosmetically, the revised front-end styling includes a ridged bonnet, compact headlights, single-bar sports grille with large Holden logo and new front bumper with larger air intake.

There’s also extra standard equipment for the base Utes, which rises in price by just $300, in the shape of power windows and cruise control.

There is no traction control, let alone ESP stability control as seen on selected V6 VZ sedans, while ABS remains optional on the base Ute. Only V6 Utes get brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution.

Ute and Ute S both offer the new Japanese-built six-speed gearbox as standard, increasing the towing capacity of V6 manuals to the same 1600kg as V6 autos (up from 1200kg with the outgoing five-speed Getrag manual) and comprising a lower 3:08 final drive ratio than sedan (2.87:1).

Ute V6 auto fuel economy drops from 11.9 to 11.8 litres per 100km, while recalibration and an electronic throttle for the V8 sees Ute SS auto fuel economy drop from 13.9 to 13.5L/100km.

Prices start from $28,540 for the base Ute, rising to $29,310 for the automatic version (with air-conditioning). Ute S manual is listed at $32,620, with automatic another $770. VZ Ute SS is priced at $40,640 with both a carry-over six-speed Tremec manual or revised four-speed auto.

A new Impulse blue paint colour is available on both S and SS Ute variants, with Sonic fabric trim available on all Utes, Bermuda cloth trim for Ute S and Bermuda leather for Ute SS.


EMPLOYING a modified version of the base Alloytec V6, with the same 320Nm torque peak available 400rpm lower at 2400rpm courtesy of a higher back-pressure exhaust, Crewman and Crewman S are now available with a (new six-speed) manual transmission.

The Aisin six-speeder increases the towing capacity of V6 manuals to the same 1600kg as V6 autos and comprises a lower 3:08 final drive ratio than the sedan (2.87:1).

Meantime, Crewman SS comes with a more powerful 235kW/460Nm version of the Gen III V8 – the same as that offered in VZ Berlina and Calais sedan, but not the 250kW/470Nm V8 offered in SV8, Caprice and SS sedan and ute – mated to a carryover Tremec six-speed manual and revised four-speed auto.

VZ Crewman variants receive the same steering, braking and styling tweaks as VZ Utes, plus a 14mm rear anti-roll bar.

Crewman pricing starts at $34,540 (including optional air-conditioning worth $2250), on top of which ABS is available only in a $3780 Smartpak that also includes air-conditioning and a passenger airbag.

Auto is a $770 option, as it is with the $38,620 Crewman S, while both manual and auto Crewman SS variants are priced at $46,890.

Odyssey silver has been added to the Crewman colour palette, along with Impulse blue for S and SS variants.


LIKE the revised Crewman, the VZ One Tonner features the entry level 175kW version of Holden’s Port Melbourne-built Alloytec V6 with a torque peak of 320Nm at a lower 2400rpm.

As with all VZ utilities, it is available with either a new six-speed manual as standard or a revised four-speed auto. The S is available with an optional 235kW/460Nm V8 – not the 250kW/470kW unit exclusive to SS utes – mated to a revised four-speed auto or carryover Tremec six-speed manual.

One Tonner features the same interior and frontal styling upgrades as Ute and Crewman, along with power windows and cruise control as standard for the base variant, which still excludes ABS standard.

Like the other VZ utes, the latest Bosch 8.0 ABS is only available on V6 models – which means that, like Ute and Crewman SS, One Tonner S V8 misses out on its associated brake assist and EBD functions and continues with the previous Bosch 5.3 ABS. Traction control and ESP stability control is not an option.

One Tonner does pick up the other VZ utes’ new braking and steering hardware, plus new interior trim and two new paint colours.

VZ One Tonner pricing opens at $28,540 for the V6 manual (available from November), which includes optional ($2250) air-conditioning, with the S priced at $32,120 and auto adding $770 to both.

Both One Tonner S V8 auto and manual are priced at $37,120 and, as with all VZ utilities, metallic paint remains a $315 option.

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