Holden Commodore VS
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
The VS represented another Commodore upgrade where
the emphasis was on mechanical rather than visual change.
On the outside, the VS sported new wheels (or wheel
trims for the lower end versions), as well as new badges
featuring a revised lion-and-stone GMH
the third revision since the original 48/215 and makeover
for the HQ range.
Mechanical improvements to the V6 would make huge
improvements in almost every area – power was
increased by 13%, yet fuel consumption was cut by 5%. Helping
achieve these amazing figures was a new cylinder
block and manifolds, reshaped cylinder heads
pistons and a small increase to the compression ratio,
now at 9.4:1.
Smoother, sweeter and much better than
its predecessor, Holden named the new unit the “ECOTEC
3800 V6” – an acronym for Emissions and
Consumption Optimisation TEChnology.
The automatic transmission
was modified to suit the
ECOTEC, now offering even smoother shifts and better
response to throttle pressure. All in all the drive-train
of the Commodore had matured to world-beating standards.
But the Holden engineers did not stop there, providing
considerable safety improvements over the VR.
The VS Series was the first Australian built car to
offer a passenger's airbag (with a capacity of 120L),
while the Bosch ABS system was upgraded to the latest
version. Dual airbags were standard on the Calais and
Acclaim, but those purchasing the Executive could choose
it as an option.
The engineers also made a change to
the security system, allowing you to select either
drivers door or all door unlocking, while a rolling
security code system was incorporated to improve
So little was changed on the outside that it is sometimes
difficult to identify a VS over a VR – to do
so look for the revised Holden emblem, ECOTEC badge
located under the indicator lights and silver insert
around the edge of the front grille opening.
was a slight styling change to the top edge of the
boot, and the Calais was now fitted with 16 inch alloys,
and came standard with fog lights and a two-tone paint
job. And last, but not least, the VS sported revised
wheels or wheel covers.
In April 1995 the VS Statesman and Caprice models
were introduced, and featured all the mechanical improvements
incorporated into the Commodore range. In June 1996
the VS Commodore Series II was released, the update
having refinements to the V8 engine providing both
more torque and power (the power now up to 168kW),
as well as producing a quieter idle. The V6 remained
unchanged, except for the manual gearbox which was
now a Getrag unit.
A minor cosmetic change would see the side indicator
lights replaced with better looking oval shaped units,
but the big news with the Series II was the introduction
of a supercharged V6, available on the Calais, Statesman
and Caprice. The interior was given a mild make-over,
and from January 1st 1997 Holden changed its new
car warranty to 3 years / 100,000 km.