The SS draws
the biggest crowd.
the L98 6.0-litre Gen IV V8 under the bonnet, which pumps out 362hp
and 391 ft-lb. That’s enough
to sling the 3,895 pound (1,767kg) Holden Ute from zero to 100-km/h (62-mph)
in just 5.5 seconds. The acceleration in itself is impressive, but the
guttural roar being belted out the quad pipes in the rear bumper makes
it even more enjoyable.
a time when the Holden V8s were so muffled that you couldn’t
tell what was under the bonnet. Those days are gone and the new V8 trumpets
to all around that this is a vehicle that must be taken seriously.
standard transmission is the Tremec T56 six-speed manual which has
been improved with a nice light clutch or a GM-sourced six-speed automatic.
Both do the job well enough, but the stick shift is the most fun.
their power levels, Australian utes haven’t had the benefit
of traction or electronic stability control until now. The VE has both,
which is a nice safety net to have. Thankfully, anyone after a bit of
fun can just flick the switch and the traction aids turn off. The prospect
of a Ute that couldn’t perform circle work (donuts)
would have been too much for the Ute fraternity.
without stability control engaged, it's clear the VE Ute is a handling
star. Just like the VE sedan, the Ute feels like its body was carved
The SS Ute
simply drives like a refined muscle car. Its firm suspension tune,
which can be a bit jolting on rough roads, means there is almost no
body roll in the turns and the car sits flat under hard braking and
steering is direct and gives you all the feedback you need. You can
place this baby wherever you want in a turn.
slippery gravel tracks of country in New South Wales, the SS is remarkably
well behaved. With the
stability control turned off, you can come hooking into a turn, get
on the gas just before the midpoint and powerslide your way out of
the turn like a rally ace.
to treat it with respect, but the VE Ute is very predictable. It has
an impressive amount of grip on the tarmac. With fresh rubber on the
rear, you can accelerate very fast without breaking traction.
the other had, if you are in the mood for a Bridgestone barbeque, just
press a little harder with your right foot.
smoking them up, the SS Ute can get you into a lot of trouble. Most
highways in Australia have a speed limit of 100-km/h, and the VE Ute
goes past that in second gear. The super tall gearing also means the
VE Ute lumbers along at highway speeds doing about 1,200rpm, which is
perfect for covering endless outback miles.
The SS costs
$39,990 Aussie (US $34,650) and comes standard cruise control, cloth
sports seats, six-stack CD, Bluetooth phone preparation, leather steering
wheel and sits on 18-inch alloy wheels.
A more luxurious
SSV is available for an extra $5,000 Aussie (US $4,330), adding leather
seats, dual zone climate control, projector headlight lamps, alloy-faced
pedals, colour-coded instruments, a 6.5-inch colour information screen,
sports steering wheel chunky 19-inch rims.
models benefit from an improved interior which features 245-litres of
space behind the seats as compared to 90-litres of the previous model.
be mentioned the SS Ute comes with a plastic tub liner a soft tonneau
cover and six tie-down points.
you take this beast out for a run, take my advice – tie
everything down really hard.