1 Sep 2007
HOLDEN gave its utility commercial vehicle the “clean sheet” VE treatment. It became available in October 2007 and was based on the VE Commodore sedan platform that emerged in August 2006The two-door Ute introduced variations of the VE sedan’s monocoque body, with a coupe-like shape to the cabin, interior and engineering technologies, including the sophisticated multi-link independent suspension set-up that was eight years in the making.
More interior space and comfort, improved performance, better safety – including the fitment of electronic stability control throughout the range – and a higher level of flexibility were the upshot.
Compared to the VE sedan, over 60 body panels were unique to the Ute, with the rear structure having been substantially reinforced to accommodate the load-bearing forces, capacity and robustness that are needed on such a vehicle.
A heavy-duty cargo liner – moulded to fit snugly – came as standard on every model and all but the base model came with a tonneau cover featuring the ‘snap lock’ clipping system.
Unlike the Omega sedan, the Omega Ute could be specified with a manual gearbox. Next up was the SV6 model, with lower, firmer, sportier suspension and also available with the six-speed manual with the option of a five-speed automatic gearbox with a Tiptronic-style sequential-shift facility. Topping the VE Ute range were the V8s.
Ditching the 1970s Opel-derived independent system found in the VZ, the VE’s so-called Linear Control Suspension added a far-higher degree of sophistication to Holden’s commercial vehicle.
The front comprised of a multi-link strut with a direct-acting anti-roll bar. Out back, a four-link independent rear suspension featured coil-over shock absorbers and a decoupled anti-roll bar, that together offered better handling and improved ride comfort thanks to the inclusion of elastic bushes fore and aft, while a rubber-isolated rear suspension frame dramatically reduced NVH.
In September 2009 the VE range was updated, and the 3.6-litre engine continued received direct-injection.
In addition to the new engine, Holden also improved noise and vibration levels through the use of low rolling-resistance tyres for models fitted with 16 and 17-inch wheels. Suspension revisions designed to increase high-speed stability, lane-change performance and on-centre steering precision also made it into the upgrade.
A new dual exhaust system reduced noise, along with extra acoustic deadening between the cabin and the engine compartment.