I don’t go to church. Nor do I have any pigs that need ferrying to market on a Monday.
Nonetheless, having a modern interpretation of Lew Bandt’s coupe-utility concept has been extremely handy for a multitude of reasons. Holden’s SS ute cops a bit of a flak for not being a ‘real’ ute, and it’s true that with a maximum payload of 646kg you’re not going to cart a tonne of topsoil with it (though that’s also true of a few full-size utes).
It is more accurate to think of the SS-V Redline as a coupe with a big boot, but there are plenty of occasions where this amount of space is useful. Need to carry a couple of bikes? Or flat-pack furniture? Or timber from the hardware store? All no problem. While realistically a Commodore Sportwagon could also accommodate these items, the ute’s plastic tray liner is a lot more durable than the wagon’s carpeted load area.
For example, I wouldn’t want to carry 16 rally tyres – eight of them used and encrusted in dirt – in the back of a wagon, whereas they were happily thrown in the tray. This experiment did reveal a couple of shortcomings, however. If you’re going to leave anything valuable in the tray overnight – like, say, a couple of grand’s worth of rubber, but equally a tool box, etc – then you’re going to want to invest in a lockable hard tonneau cover, three styles of which are available from Holden ranging from $2970-$3600.
But that creates another issue, as had the hard tonneau been fitted, I wouldn’t have been able to carry all the tyres. The best of both worlds appears to be a canopy; mounting 70-odd kg high over the rear end isn’t going to do much for the handling balance but you could always remove it for track days – or just rock the quasi-Sandman look.
Sadly, the Redline’s towing duties have been limited to carting the scissor lift during this year’s Bang For Your Bucks – hardly very taxing. However, having previously towed cars with an SV6 without difficulty – which would be right at the limit of the ute’s 1600kg towing capacity – it’s difficult to see why a 6.2-litre V8 would make it any harder.
As for why the auto-equipped sedans are rated to tow 500kg more, Holden says the sedan has a stiffer bodyshell – just as a convertible is bendier than a coupe, so too is a ute bendier than a sedan.
On a slightly different note, we also took the opportunity to run our long-termer down the strip. With a couple of track sessions and a few thousand road kilometres under its belt, the rear tyres aren’t exactly in pristine condition, but it nonetheless managed 0-100km/h in 5.12sec and a 13.21sec quarter mile at 178.37km/h, only a couple of tenths off its claims.
Unless I was having a particularly uncoordinated day, the gearbox is starting to show its age a little after thousands of hard press kays, as beating the synchros on the one-two shift was a regular occurrence.
It also provided another opportunity to activate the one-foot rollout function on the VBox, which we’ll do with all our regular performance testing from now on. The result was 0-100km/h in 4.9sec and a 13.0sec quarter at an identical 178.4km/h, so a 12.8 or similar should be achievable at the Wednesday night drags.
LIKED: Getting the dirty jobs done
DISLIKED: Worrying about tyres being nicked
FAVOURITE MOMENT: Hearing that V8 roar every day
FUEL THIS MONTH: 14.9L/100km
DISTANCE THIS MONTH: 1070km
Want more info on the SS-V Redline? Check out how it compared against HSV's Maloo R8.
We're giving away the last great Aussie Holden V8! Enter here for your chance to win!
Get your free weekly report from the world of fast cars - subscribe to the MOTOR newsletter!