Holden VE Commodore SS
(2006-2013)

  • Affordable to own, service and work on
  • Excellent practicality and reliability
  • Some examples are becoming collectable
  • Superb bang for your buck
  • Higher chance performance models have been abused
  • Ageing infotainment and safety technology
  • Can be very thirsty
  • Manual transmission can feel crude
Overview

With a development and engineering program reported to cost over $1 billion dollars (AUD), the introduction of the virtually all-new VE Commodore in 2006 saw the iconic Australian car receive a design that was clearly influenced by its European competitors and real enhancements to the ride, handling, performance and build quality.

In fire-breathing V8 form, the SS, when new, was a celebrated and revered car, offering immense performance from its 6.0-litre LS V8, excellent chassis balance and dynamics with a near 50:50 weight distribution and a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension set-up.

Receiving continual updates during its production run, most notably the Series II update late in 2010, now the VE range in general is pushing a decade old, are they still worthy of their accolades and should you buy one? Read on.

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What goes wrong
  • Early VE SS Commodores had a clutch that was troublesome with slave cylinder-related issues
  • Rocker bearings can develop a sideways slop which can damage engine valve tops
  • Lifters are the achilles heal of these engines and some have had failed lifters
  • Six-speed automatics can slip and cause harsh shifts
  • Lower interior trim panels and glove box parts known to fail and fall out in early cars
  • Check for worn sway-bar bushes and suspension strut mounting plates
  • Radiator end plates may wear, requiring a new radiator
  • It is essential that these engines have frequent oil changes to protect their bearings and lifters from premature wear and failure
  • It should be noted that the V8 was far more reliable than the Alloytec/SIDI V6 in cheaper model grades and in general, is a tough and reliable power plant
Check out some of our other Cheat Sheets
Model range, pricing and features

SS (2006-2013)

  • Price when new: $44,490 - $51,790
  • Price used: $12,500 - $55,000

A 2009 or 2010 base SS with a manual transmission is quite possibly our pick when it comes to value for money in the VE range.

All the performance you’ll need for public roads, great practicality and, with the possibility of an aftermarket upgrade to the infotainment system, a fantastic package.

Standard features:

  • 18-inch Alloy Wheels
  • 6 airbags
  • Occupant protection system
  • Zone-based front and rear park assist systems available on selected models
  • Multi-function display reporting system
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Cruise control
  • Traction control
  • Bluetooth
  • Auxiliary plug in audio systems to accommodate MP3 devices
  • Fog lamps
  • Limited-slip diff
  • Leather steering wheel
  • CD stacker – 6 disc in-dash/cabin
  • Onyx leather seats (optional)
  • Rear park assist (optional)
  • Sunroof (optional)

Series II updates:

  • 6.5-inch touchscreen
  • New dashboard
  • Rearranged controls
  • Reconfigured circular ventilation outlets
  • Updates to trimmings and illumination colours
  • Rear camera (optional)
  • GPS (optional)

SS V (2006-2013)

  • Price when new: $51,990 - $59,290
  • Price used: $15,000 - $50,000

The SS V, or officially the SS V-Series, is an SS boasting extra features and luxuries

SS-V adds:

  • Leather interior
  • Metallic-look pedals
  • Instruments matched with the exterior colour
  • Dashboard could be optioned in a range of loud colours
  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • 20-inch wheels (optional)
  • Halogen projector headlight (Series II)
  • 11-speaker sound system
  • Dual-zone climate control

SS-V Redline (Series II 2010-2013)

  • Price when new: $57,790 - $61,790
  • Price used: $20,000 - $45,000

The special edition SS V Redline is our other pick of the range and a true icon of Australian motoring.

Its additions make for an excellent performance car and one worth hunting for.

SS-V Redline adds:

  • Lightweight, forged and polished 19-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels
  • Four-piston Brembo brakes
  • “FE3” performance suspension
  • Chrome window surrounds for sedans
  • Tyre inflator kit on the ute

 

SS and SS V Z Series (2012-2013)

  • Price when new: $47,790 - $59,290
  • Price used: $22,000 - $50,000

Combining luxury and performance, the special edition Z Series saw out the VE Series II life cycle with excellent value for money.

Z Series adds:

  • Front foglights
  • Rear park assist (excludes ute)
  • Rear view camera (excludes ute)
  • Leather seats
  • Chrome door frame trim (sedan only)
  • Z-Series carpet mats and badges
  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Exclusive colours

SS V 60th Anniversary (2008)

  • Price when new: $55,790
  • Price used: $17,000 - $45,000

Created to celebrate, you guessed it, Holdens 60th anniversary. Mechanically identical to the SS V on which it’s based, adds purely cosmetic upgrades.

SS V 60th Anniversary adds:

  • 10-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels
  • Satellite navigation
  • Rear parking sensors
  • High-mounted rear spoiler
  • Chrome exterior door handle highlights
  • “60th Anniversary” badging and floor mats

SS Thunder ute (2019-2020)

  • Price when new: $39,990 - $44,490
  • Price used: $17,000 - $40,000

Created to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the first Holden ute, the Thunder received some attractive additions.

SS Thunder adds:

  • Charcoal coloured 19-inch alloys wheels
  • Lowered sports suspension
  • Satnav with camera warning and traffic info
  • Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity
  • Partial leather sports seats

SS V Special Edition (2009 - 2010)

  • Price when new: $55,290 - $59,290
  • Price used: $17,000 - $40,000

Following the 2009 cancellation of the Pontiac brand in North America, the Pontiac G8 front-end fascia and other trimmings were fitted to approximately 1,500 Commodore SS Vs

SS V Special Edition adds:

  • Pontiac G8 Front fascia
  • Exclusive colours
Should you buy it

The VE SS Commodore, in all its various iterations, is a simple, solid and reliable vehicle.

However, it’s not perfect and we don’t think it necessarily deserves the cult-like status it seems to receive but there is no question that from a value-for-money perspective, very few vehicles offer the sheer bang for your buck with genuine practical appeal the VE SS provides.

Find a stock, low-kilometre example with a solid service history and yes, you should buy one.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

3 years/100,000 kms

Servicing:

15,000km or every 9 months

Tech Specs

Body style:

  • 4-door sedan (SS, SS V, Redline, Z Series, 60th Anniversary, Special Edition)
  • 2-door coupe Utility (From 2007 SS, SS V, Redline, Z Series, Thunder, Special Edition)
  • 5-door wagon (From 2008 SS, SS V, Redline, Z Series, Special Edition)

Engine & outputs:

  • 6.0 Litre 8-cyl petrol: 260-270kW / 517Nm-530Nm

Transmissions:

  • 6-spd manual, rear-wheel drive
  • 6-spd automatic, rear-wheel drive

Fuel use:

  • 12.2L – 14.4L/100km – (Combined)

Dimensions:

Height:

  • 1471mm – 4-door sedan
  • 1479mm – 5-door wagon
  • 1480mm – 2-door coupe ute

Length:

  • 4903mm – 4-door sedan
  • 4905mm – 5-door wagon
  • 5040mm – 2-door coupe ute

Width:

  • 1899mm

Kerb Weight:

  • 1740kg – 4-door sedan
  • 1819kg – 5-door wagon
  • 1735kg – 2-door coupe ute
Disclaimer

Information correct as of April 30, 2021.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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