New car on horizon at tax time?

Holden Commodore SVZ

It’s “that” time of the year again. The 30th of June and the end of the financial year is fast approaching.

It’s the time of year when leases lapse and doctors grapple with balloon figures whilst dodging phone calls from car salesmen who are eager to do a deal with the many medicos in the market for a new car.

But if you like the feel of leather and wouldn’t mind a luxurious saloon you won’t get much change from $120K for a new BMW 530i.

So as a non-proceduralist I went looking for a deal in my price range.

On a limited budget I was taken by those ads for locally-built six cylinder family cars for under $33,000. According to the ads you’re getting six or seven thousand dollars worth of options for free. So why not take a closer look?

There’s a great Ford deal at the moment for $32,888, but the smell of animal skins has lured me to the Commodore SVZ for “$32,990 on the road drive away”.

With the BMW 530i still on my wish list I noticed that the home- grown Commodore stacks up fairly well against its German competitor.

After all they’re both the same size and both have rear wheel drive. And they have almost identical performance figures.

The Commodore even has nearly 10% more torque than the BMW and it has a legendary reputation for being quick off the mark.

The Holden has more interior space and a bigger boot and with the money I’d save buying locally I could educate my children, buy them cars, take my partner on an overseas holiday and retire early compliments of Mr Costello.

But it’s a pity the Commodore just can’t keep up in the technology stakes with the BMW which sports a six speed automatic and a pricey options list longer than most phone bills.

And there is also the small matter of a vast difference in build quality and refinement between the Commodore and the car from Munich.

Anyone who has ever owned a VN Commodore will remember they were very rough around the edges. The V6 engine vibrated more than a Victa lawn mower and its design dated back to the days before the discovery of penicillin. VN’s also had an uncanny capacity to fall apart even before being driven.

It’s great to see just how far the 2006 Commodore has come in the past 18 years.

My Dad still drives a VN which cost him $19,990 plus ORC back in 1988.

That’s $33,300 in today’s dollars, almost an identical price to the 2006 SVZ. But the current model is loaded with goodies that weren’t even options when my father bought his car.

Leaving aside the airbags, electronic brake assist, ABS and other 21st century safety items on the SVZ there’s a powerful V6 engine with 172 kW, but still only an out-dated four speed automatic transmission.

The SVZ looks like it will move though with a rear spoiler, 17 inch alloys and sports suspension.

On the inside air conditioning is standard along with a six stacker CD.

And there are those partially clad leather seats which are surprisingly comfortable and grippy.

As an affordable package the SVZ really is very hard to beat and Holden wants to sequestrate buyers who can’t wait for the all new VE model.

The VZ Commodore comes at the end of the V series alphabet and for reasons I don’t fully understand Holden have skipped the VD name for their next car and will be going straight to the VE.

They did the same thing after the VC Commodore. Perhaps they’re superstitious or just worried about offending micro-biologists!

Safe motoring,
Dr Clive Fraser

For: Great performance and value.

Against: Low tech and about to be superseded.

This car would suit: Taxi drivers and pharmaceutical representatives.

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    Medical Motoring is an online record of the articles written by Dr Clive Fraser and published in the Australian Medicine magazine by the Australian Medical Association.