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Road Test: Holden Commodore SS V vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

By Feann Torr & Chris Shumack - 5/Apr/2007

Holden Commodore SS vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo The burning question for the Ford and Holden faithful crops up every time a new model emerges – who is the King? 

With Holden's new VE Commodore hitting the market in late 2006, we just had to pit the range-topping sports model, the SS V, against Ford's undisputed cult hero, the XR6 Turbo. How could we not? It was a heavy-weight bout that just needed to happen. And we made it so.

Combined, this determined pair generate more than 500 kilowatts of power. That's getting close to 700 horsepower in the old money. Suffice it to say they are true performance cars.

We've already published one test of the new VE Commodore versus the BF MkII Falcon, and the win went to the Holden Commodore. In the past we've conducted other Holden vs Ford comparos, but none have been quite as anticipated as this one. 

This is the test that pits the big bruisers against one another; the best sports cars that both Holden and Ford can muster in their large car garages. Indeed, this is a duel between two of the most revered Australian muscle cars on offer and though one is a turbocharged 6-cylinder vehicle and the other is a nat-atmo V8, they both come from the same mould: big, heavy, angry.

The SS V is a new model in the VE Commodore range, the 'cool' version of the traditional SS, which gets you larger 19-inch wheels, more interior luxury options and one of the most incredible interiors you're likely to see this side of an Aston Martin. It's the halo model in the line-up and as such we were keen to see how it fared against Ford's hero car.

Both cars are sporty rear-wheel drive propositions targetted at the enthusiast who wants the best that Australian large car engineering can offer, while still being able to use it as a daily commuter, a long distance tourer and a practical family car.

But this is a comparo, and there will be only one victor.

So can Holden's new billion dollar baby knockout Ford's pinup boy, or does the turbocharged Falcon have the fancy footwork to outmanoeuvre a revitalised foe? Let's find out:

Quick Links

Drive 4/5
Engine 4/5
Exterior 4.5/5
Interior 4/5

Make: Holden
Model: Commodore SS V
Price: $52,490
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Engine: 6.0-litre, Vee 8-cylinder, petrol
Seats: 5
Safety: 6 airbags (driver and passenger front, side, and curtain airbags) ABS, ESP, T/C
Car Supplier: GM Holden

Quick Links

Drive 4.5/5
Engine 4/5
Exterior 3.5/5
Interior 3.5/5

Make: Ford
Model: Falcon XR6 Turbo
Price: $45,490
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Engine: 4.0-litre, Inline 6-cylinder, turbo, petrol
Seats: 5
Safety: 2 airbags (driver and front passenger), ABS, DSC, T/C
Car Supplier: Ford Australia

Drive: H4/5 F4.5/5

Holden Commodore SS vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

The ultimate Holden vs Ford stoush

Holden Commodore SS vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

On the open road the XR6 Turbo has better
fuel economy, but isn't quite as powerful at
roll-on acceleration for overtaking other cars

Holden Commodore SS vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

Both the SS V and the XR6 Turbo are
incredibly close in terms of performance

Holden Commodore SS vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

Packing a 6.0-litre V8, the SS V is the
ultimate ubran street fighter, with 270kW

Holden Commodore SS vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

These cars are very closely matched,
but one is slightly better than the other

Before we get stuck into this comparo, we must admit that the cars are a tad mismatched. Both cars have 6-speed gearboxes, but the Ford has an automatic, while the Holden is a manual. As such, the mid gear roll on performance test from 80km/h went to the Holden.

We thought the super-powerful low end of the Falcon engine, with torque peaking at just 2000rpm, would dice up the Holden. But it seems the new Gen IV 6.0-litre V8 has a much stronger bottom end than the 5.7-litre Gen III engine it replaces; yet from higher speeds the V8 engine is a complete monster, able to generate massive levels of twist.

In terms of everyday use the Falcon wins out because of its lower fuel consumption: the Falcon XR6 Turbo drinks 12.3L/100km while the Commodore SS V uses 14.4L/100km. Other than that there was little to pick between the cars in everyday conditions. The Falcon was perhaps a little better in the city, but the SS V had much more road presence while both offer relatively smooth rides and plenty of creature comforts.

Both are large sports cars measuring around 4.9 metres in length and both are provided with fairly stiff suspension setups and hefty anti-roll bars to match, yet both cars have been tried and tested on Aussie roads and because of this they are great long distance tourers. The highway is not an enemy to these guys, nor are back country roads, and they can soak up distances with effortless ease, as the 6-speed gearboxes they aren’t too bad on fuel consumption when coaxed along in top gear.

On more demanding roads, the SS feels to be the more structurally rigid vehicle, and as such the Falcon is a little bit better on worn out suburban roads as the bumps aren't transmitted through the frame quite so succinctly.

The SS V's rigidity was to be credited to having good body strengthening and torsional design – which bodes well for the new Zeta platform (upon which the VE Commodore range is based) and it's future performance applications, such as the Camaro. A few passing comments concerning the ride in the SS drew attention to the suspension, which came across as somewhat soft in certain situations. Double rate/double acting shocks (e.g. Mitsubishi Evo) would improve it, or even an active system (e.g. RS 4).

At one point during our test the Falcon was following the Commodore and where the latter bottomed out, sparks flying where the quad stainless steel exhaust pipes kissed the bitumen, the Falcon bumped through without contact.

So, while the body of the Commodore SS V is stiffer and offers good feedback, the suspension system has to deal with its extra weight and sometimes this plays against it. It feels as though Holden has ‘Calais-ed’ the SS. The old FE2 felt like a firmer setup.

The Falcon XR6 Turbo is roughly 100kg lighter than the 8-cylinder Commodore SS V (1694kg vs 1790kg), and it shows both in a straight line and round corners. The SS V is never left behind by XR6 Turbo but it just isn't quite as nimble as the Ford.

Through corners, the SS doesn’t feel as big and heavy as it stats would suggest; testament to the new suspension rig which while not as stiff is at least more progressive than the system it replaces.

It tips into corners very precisely, with affirmation. It provides fairly crisp communication through the wheels – the independent front suspension works wonders under duress, and with big 19-inch wheels shod with grippy rubber, the cars feels very planted on the road. It’s a rear wheel drive vehicle too, so there’s a touch of oversteer under marginal throttle inputs and big-time power oversteer if you want it. It can be steered with the throttle if you turn ESP off, but at times it feels unwieldy, and mid-corner bumps in the road will upset its balance and make it shimmey like a mirage on a hot day.

The weakest link for the SS V were the brakes. They were decent, and had a lot more feel than the Commodore Omega we tested earlier in the year, but slowing the cars bulk from the speeds that this car can reach can be a daunting exercise.

In the Falcon the drive is easily explained - very firm and refined. It tracks resolutely through corners for something of this size and bulk, and the up front weight was easily directed and the driving force corresponded as expected.

Even as the rear end gets reacquainted with the laws of physics and slips out a touch toward a drift, our non-safety-pack XR6 Turbo felt quite able and was more inclined to raise an involuntary smile than a smirk or any concern.

The XR6T is sometimes limited by its DSC (dynamic stability control) through corners – it's not as smooth a system as the SS V's ESP. It can even make the Falcon XR6 Turbo understeer a bit. With traction off it's much more ebullient through corners, and generally speaking it's lighter front end makes it easier to throw into corners without the front outside wheel pushing wide.

Compared to the Holden Commodore SS V, the Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo feels lighter on its feet, because there's less weight over the front end (it has a smaller, lighter  engine) and the steering feels better in the Falcon – it’s slightly heavier.

While it's true that the Falcon can navigate the apex of a corner slightly better than its rival, both vehicles fire out of corners with colossal force, yet a good deal of poise. The independent rear suspension on the Ford was always top notch, and now the Holden has a new rig which gives it a much better feel while cornering under higher throttle inputs.

With such huge reserves of torque, you can slam the throttle in either of these cars once you’ve passed the apex and, with a slight wiggle of the rear end, the cars seem to pounce forward, spearing ahead with locomotive force. Indeed, these cars are supremely powerful, and a hugely rewarding to drive. In the dry.

The Holden is more demanding to drive and sometimes more rewarding as a result (and sometimes not), where the Falcon can be a lot easier to wring every last drop of performance from. And that typifies the major differences between the two cars – one of them you hold on to with white knuckles, and the other is slightly less insane.

The SS V has more bodyroll than the XR6 Turbo, and given its extra weight and slightly softer suspension this is understandable. Drive in the SS is very light, with a rigid race car feel to the chassis, but the suspension is geared more towards luxury than race, as is reflected in the electronic safety systems.

The combination of the 'a-little-too-light' steering with the awesome on-tap torque of the LS2 means that this thing moves very quickly, but the unfortunate ramification of the lighter steering was lower road feedback.

This feeling was all the more noticeable after driving the Falcon - with it's feel being more ‘connected’ to the road – and then jumping into the the SS V, when it seemed to steer more numbly. It's no less fun and almost as responsive as the Falcon, but you aim-and-fire rather than feel your way through corners.

Even though the interior of the Falcon lacks the freshness and show-car feel whereas the interior of the SS had a fresh German feel to it, mechanically it was the Ford that felt more like a refined German machine.

And in the all-important traffic-light drag, the Falcon again wins, it's turbocharger giving a stronger punch from standstill. That said, the Commodore was quicker in roll ons, and we should mention that the Falcon had just 4,000km friendly kilometers on the odometer, while the Holden felt crustier with more than 10,000km on the clock and showed a few signs of abuse.

The Falcon gets 17-inch alloy wheels with 235/45 tyres and they squeal a lot more compared to the SS V, because the side walls are higher. The Commodore SS V was equipped was 19-inch alloy wheels shod with 245/40 profile tyres.

In terms of deceleration, the Falcon brakes felt slightly firmer, which are now the upgraded performance brakes as standard (thanks Walker), and again, the SS V showed marks of track driving on the discs, and felt a bit spongy and less reponsive as a result.

At high speeds both cars feel quite comfortable and the underbody of the Falcon is a bit neater than the Commodore; everything is tucked away and appears more aerodynamic. The Holden seems a bit more haphazard, with exhaust plumbing all over the joint. At higher speeds, this makes itself felt, though on the other hand the Holden has a slightly more prominent rear diffuser and a more aggressively angled rear spoiler, which increase downforce at higher speeds.

At the end of the day, both cars showed us that modern Australian engineering is getting better and better, and these sports models are have impressive levels of performance.

The verdict? The Falcon is the better performance car. We like the way the Holden feels, no qualms about that: there’s something about the way it tracks through corners that makes it very enjoyable to drive and the power that the V8 can pour on to fire it out of corners is addictive in its delivery. But, at the end of the day, it’s not as accomplished as the Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo, though there were times when it felt more exciting to drive.

It's quite true that the SS has a real race car feel to it, but to that end it's more demanding and take more work to keep it on the boil. It's like comparing the raw Evo IX to the refined Golf GTI.

Overall, the Falcon is the better performance car. It’s lighter, and has a stronger initial surge of power. It’s less demanding to drive hard, and extracting peak performance from it is not as intimidating, though sometimes it can surprise you with its sideways shenanigans.

It’s a close call though. The SS isn’t hard to drive, it’s just a little more low tech in the way it delivers power, for instance. In some ways it's more indulgent, and has a stronger top end when the engine passes 5000rpm, but the Falcon Turbo is still arguably the best locally made large sports car on the market.

Chris Says: Around town I'd prefer to be driving the SS V. It's got more presence, it's got more features, and it's easier to get around the dash controls. Because of the huge reserves of torque - 530Nm - you barely need to change out of second gear around town, and the power delivery of the V8 combined with the 6-speed manual makes driving it beyond the suburbs equally enjoyable.

As for the XR6 Turbo, it offers better fuel economy (off-boost) and so for highway cruising it's the pick, and the 6-speed automatic ZF gearbox does can perform remarkably rapid shifts as well, which improves comfort and drivability.

The Falcon is a sleeper. It doesn't look crazy, but it goes crazy. But it's not as attractive as the new VE Commodore and this will be a sticking point for many buyers. The point I'd like to make is that for performance and enjoying the drive, the Falcon is slightly better. But if making a big impression is important to you and getting noticed and things like that, the SS V would be the pick, and in reality there's not a huge gap between them performance wise.

Feann Says: Looking at both cars in the parking lot, sitting side by side, Holden's new SS V Commodore makes the Ford look remarkably quaint. And whose idea was the dayglo paint job? Even inside the Commodore was miles ahead, but when it came to the all-important handling dynamics, the XR6 Turbo was my pick.

It felt lighter on it's feet and was easier to push to its limits and steering feel was more confidence inspiring. And then there's the turbo kick that begins low in the rev range gives the car incredible stomp, and all this with a power delivery as refined as any German engine - long live the turbo six!

While the SS V was never far behind the Falcon, and in some areas is dynamically a little more stable, it never felt quite as rewarding to drive as the XR6 Turbo, and I think a lot of this has to do with it's much larger beer gut. While I liked driving the XR6 Turbo moreso, the SS V is the style king here, with a look that's hard to ignore. Though the SS V may cost more than $50k, you get a good deal of equipment, like the 19-inch wheels and show-car interior.

Engine: H4/5 F4/5

This is a war we've been wanting to wage for quite some time now, where the low-tech brute force and huge displacement of Holden's 6.0-litre engine comes up against Ford's smaller but more technologically advanced 4.0-litre power core.

Firstly, Holden's new Chevrolet-sourced 6.0-litre V8 is an incredibly strong engine – even from as low as 1000rpm there’s a big kick in the pants. And though it doesn’t quite have the wheel spinning aggression of the XR6T low in the rev range, it’s not far off the mark and is an improvement over the LS1. It also feels more refined in general operation too.

It feels more muscular and has a more organic power delivery than the XR6 Turbo. The clutch in our test car was a bit shagged though, and the sound was a bit disappointing – it's still not as ripped as the 5.4-litre Ford Boss V8. In fact, it sounds pretty much like the older 5.7-litre engine. Thankfully it felt more powerful...

So powerful, in fact, that it doesn't take much effort for the engine's torque to completely overwhelm the rear tyres. On paper, the Holden SS V is considerably more powerful, with 25kW more power and 50Nm more torque than the Falcon – but on the road the cars are incredibly closely matched.

In a straight line duel, the Falcon takes off a bit quicker and edges ahead to about 50km/h under full throttle, but the SS V begins to claw its way back towards 100km/h as the hulking 364 cubic inch V8 generates maximum torque higher in the rev range than the 4.0-litre turbo. Both engines get electronic throttle control, which improves cruise control fidelity and improves throttle responsive.

The Holden V8 motor feels large and somewhat raw, with a subdued but lumpy burble that turns into an angry roar as engine revolutions pass 4500rpm that sounds more race car than traditional small-block V8. The 4.0-litre 6-cylinder is completely different, offering a far less raucous sound. It's got a very subtle presence at low revs, but becomes impressively sonorous as the revs rise, while maintaining a very refined turbine-like note. There's also a soft 'pop' from the wastegate when you take the foot of the throttle that reminds you that your steering a turbocharged sports car.

Revs limits? The big V8 hits the stops at 6250rpm, while the 6-cylinder turbo mill bangs the limiter at about 6000rpm. Both are fairly high revving units, and while the Holden V8 is charges hard all the way to its rev limit, the Ford straight six turbo operates better at slightly lower revs and doesn't need to be constantly wound up to achieve maximum velocity.

The gearshift on the Holden is good. It has a very stubby gearstick and a somewhat heavy feel, but it feels good and solid, and the clutch is remarkably light. For a manual shifter dealing with 530Nm of torque, it holds up well.

Shifting gears in the SS was great fun – right foot deciding how much grunt you acquire, and your left foot plays with a none-too-heavy clutch. And it's got very good gear ratios too, being very forgiving with all that torque.

However, the terms drivetrain shunt and axle tramp spring to mind when driving our test SS V. When engaging cruise control we felt a certain thump through the driveline, but this was accentuated by the cars condition: it had more 10,000km on the clock and judging from the marks on the brake discs it had seen some closed track work.

The ZF however, is always an absolute dream to operate, and seems to do everything as you think of it, with it’s smart programming and it’s ‘almost-a-DSG’ shift timing, that certainly feels as quick as a foot operated clutch. It holds gears for engine braking and shifts down if a lower gear can deliver more power, and the surely if ZF is still selling them to Audi and BMW to put behind V10 powerplants then something's going very right.

On the freeway the SS V sits in 6th gear doing 1500rpm, and can return between 8 and 9L/100km at these engine and road speeds. Better yet, if you tickle the throttle at this speed and in top gear, the hulking V8 will still respond quite well and will happily pull away. You can almost picture the synchronisation of the eight cylinders as you order more fuel to be delivered, resulting in contained explosions in the aluminium alloy barrels harnessed for motion.

And how’s this for pulling power: we accidentally shifted the Holden into 5th gear (thinking it was first… amateurs) when the car was standing still, and as we slowly let out the clutch it started moving forward. That’s pure madness. And pure torque. From a standing start the Falcon noses ahead of the Commodore, and it’s no wonder – peak torque @ 2000rpm? You can’t fight that without forced induction of your own, and the shifts from the Falcon’s ZF gearbox are also very, very good.

The V8 and turbo six engines have very different personalities - one is a sledgehammer, the other is a chainsaw - but both are alarmingly powerful and very nice to use. Neither car is particularly kind to the environment or your hip pocket, and when you look at it (and then drive them) there's not much separating them in terms of real-world performance, so it becomes a dead heat.

For owners of the VT to VZ SS and other V8 models, we've got an in-depth look at the differences between GM Holden's new 6.0-litre LS2 and the previous 5.7-litre LS1: click here for the full report.

Engine: GM Holden LS2 6.0-litre Vee 8-cylinder

Engine: Ford 4.0-litre Inline 6-cylinder Turbo

The longitudinally mounted 5967cc V8 engine has an aluminium alloy cylinder head and engine block. The valvetrain includes 2-valves per cylinder (one inlet, one exhaust) actuated by gear-driven pushrods (OHV).

The 6.0-litre engine features a 10.4:1 compression ratio, and can use 91 RON petroleum fuel, and the SS V has a 73 litre fuel tank capacity.

Fuel consumption: 14.4L/100km (combined cycle)

Max Power: 270kW @ 5700rpm
Max Torque: 530Nm @ 4400rpm

Holden Commodore SS vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

The longitudinally mounted inline 6-cylinder engine has a 4.0-litre (3984cc) capacity, with aluminium alloy cylinder heads and cast-iron engine block. Chain-driven dual overhead camshafts (DOHC) per cylinder bank actuate a total of 24-valves (4-valves per cylinder) and feature variable valve timing. The engine has an air-to-air intercooler and a turbocharger, and it's 8.7:1 compression ratio means it will accept 91 RON unleaded petrol (but prefers 95 RON) when filling the 68 litre fuel tank.

Fuel consumption: Average (12.3L/100km)

Max Power: 245kW @ 5250rpm
Max Torque: 480Nm @ 2000rpm

Holden Commodore SS vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

Exterior: H4.5/5 F3.5/5

Holden Commodore SS vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

If you can ignore the hideous colour, the
design isn't too bad, but is starting to age

Holden Commodore SS vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

The Holden SS V is a very attractive sports
car, with a new design that's stylishly focussed

Holden Commodore SS vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

The Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo's standard
interior trim is a cloth combination that
works quite well with the sports seats

Holden Commodore SS vs. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

And this is the Holden Commodore SS V
which gets leather, colour coded everything,
a more powerful stereo and better controls

Holden won the style contest before we even picked it up from Holden's Fisherman's Bend headquarters. Why? Because we knew it wouldn't be finished in the gaudy radioactive snot colour of the Falcon. But even if it was a tough black colour, or perhaps sky blue, the Falcon is beginning to look a bit long in the tooth, while the Commodore looks a treat and garnered a huge amount of attention of the road.

Where the Falcon XR6 Turbo gets the mandatory go-fast body bits, including the deeper front apron with fog lights, aggressive headlight clusters the curvy cutouts, a deeper rear apron with mini diffuser, a mild rear spoiler and 17-inch alloy wheels, it can't hold a candle to the SS V which exudes confidence and machismo like never before.

There has been some negativity towards the outrageously flared front wheel arches of the new VE Commodore, but in this application it works well, giving the SS V a sort of V8 Supercar look and feel that are easily backed up with its tyre-frying performance.

The SS V gets projector style headlights that add a touch of style to the front end, and the vertically stacked fog lights are also easy on the eye. It also gets a new look rear end with technical-look brake light clusters and a slightly taller and more aggressive rear spoiler. And there's also 'vents' in the front quarter panels overlaid by the side indicator repeaters, but sadly these 'vents' are simply cosmetic and do nothing to vent air away from the engine bay.

Compared to the Falcon XR6 Turbo, the Commodore SS V looks great, but at the same token it sports virtually the same trim as the budget SV6 model and when side by side, only the larger 19-inch wheels and SS V badging signal the hierarchal differences.

While the new VE Commodore - this range-topping sports SS V model in particular - display a great mix of European and Australian styles, we got somewhat of a yawn out of the exterior differences in the Commodore range, where a higher spec model used to pose a big difference, like between a family-oriented Executive and a bombed out Group-A. 

Now there are pumped guards on the SS V, but they are also seen on mum’s car too. Even the HSV range can be difficult to distinguish if you can’t see the badges.

Another interesting feature about the styling of the VE Commodore is that wheel flares are usually added to make a wider track for focused sports cars – the good Audi RS 4 being a good example having a 30mm wider body than its donor car, the Audi A4. But here, the wheel flares make the car slightly thinner everywhere apart from over the wheel arches.

Thankfully for the SS V, this looks pretty good, and the deep body kit, aggressive rear spoiler and large wheels combine to create a very sporty Aussie car. Compared to the BF MkII Falcon, it looks much better, and so takes the win in the visual design department.

Interior: H4/5 F3.5/5

Chock up another win for the Holden – it has the more appealing interior hands down and proves that the SS V has much more visual and tactile flair than its rival. It has a more upmarket feels, and one could argue that it's the newer vehicle and is more expensive too, but even with this in mind it's streets ahead of the Falcon in almost every respect, least of which is the eye candy.

So where do we start? Perhaps with the concept car look that permeates the interior. This is a standard feature on SS V models, and will make drivers of much more expensive sports car stop and take notice - it really does stand out quite dramatically. Our model had matching red leather seats, red dashboard, red dials, red LCD screens, and red door inserts to match the exterior colour. Which was also red.

As well as the colour coded cabin, the SSV interior is a real highlight and, compared to the last version of the Commodore (the VZ), the overall design and plastics are much improved and more like what you’d expect from BMW.

The SS V benefits from a powerful stereo, and the dials look a lot better than the Ford Falcon's, though the steering wheel controls on both vehicles are well designed.

The interior of the Falcon is not as plush as the SS V, and despite the dash plastics in the Falcon coming across as slightly better than the SS V with a softer rubbery finish of sorts, they're not designed in a way that makes them visually appealing like the Holden. In 2002 the Ford was leading the pack, but today it's lost that lustre and in comparison to the Holden comes across as dull.

In the Commodore SS V, the layout is well thought through and everything is easy to find, learn and operate whilst driving – you can work through almost every single toggle, switch, button and dial on the freeway without being completely distracted from the road, which isn't quite the case with the Falcon's more jumbled and sometimes even hidden controls (such as the traction control toggle out of sight behind the steering wheel).

While the SS V gets colour coded madness, this may be viewed as over the top by more conservative drivers, the XR6T gets far more subtle customisations in the form of the colour-matched seat stitching. The upholstery used on the XR6 Turbo seats comprise of a ribbed cloth material of sorts.

The Ford interior is slightly more ergonomic than the SS V, but felt just a bit dated next to the Holden's new-platform competitor. When comparing the two, it felt as if many features of the Falcon were stuck ‘wherever mate’ behind the steering wheel and around the initially confusing centre console.

However, the Falcon's seats were quite a bit better to sit in and were designed more for a standard person's build than the larger sized Commodore’s luxury bench.

As far as comfort goes – generally speaking - both cars do a bang-up job. The Falcon XR6T doesn’t look half as showy as the SS V, but in terms of comfort and practicality they are almost on a par, both offering generously sized seats, lots of leg room for all occupants and easy to use/understand controls.

These are big, broad Aussie sports cars and as well as having sporty seats with decent side bolsters to hug your body through corners, they’re very supportive for most body sizes. We reckon that when American drivers get a load of the Commodore (in the form of the Pontiac G8) and possibly the next generation 2008 Falcon, they're gonna love this stuff . 

You just can't beat them in terms of practicality, price, and the sheer amount of interior space.

Comparing the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon sports model side by side it was clear very early in the test that Holden had the better cabin, but it also hammered home yet again just how versatile these big sports cars can be. Punt them to work every day in comfort, then thrash them through the corners on the weekends. Great stuff.

Overall: H4/5 F4.25/5


 

We cruised, we charged, we steered and we poked. Then we prodded, we cursed, we took some photos, and finally we argued. At the end of the day, the comparison bore witness to an astonishingly tight race, but the burning question can finally be answered: Ford's cult hero, the XR6 Turbo is the better car.

For purveyors of performance, the XR6 Turbo is a true Aussie sports car, hitting the mark expected of it in all areas – acceleration, braking, steering and feel. The SS V - whether by design or perchance - has all the ingredients for the performance segment but leans towards the luxury side of the scale, and as a result will definitely catch the eye of buyers who would be more likely to inspect imported sports cars.

With a rip-snorting V8 engine, show-car looks and a much improved chassis, the Holden Commodore SS V was the runner up here, albeit by a small margin. The SS V has the definite edge in the style stakes, but the crisp handling dynamics and scintillating engine of the Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo and it's well balanced overall design ensure that it's still the best Aussie performance car on the market.

Pros:

Cons:

Holden VE Commodore SS V
  • V8 Engine
  • Handling
  • Exterior Design
  • Interior Space
Holden VE Commodore SS V
  • Weight
  • Fuel Consumption
  • Brakes
Ford BF MkII Falcon XR6 Turbo
  • Handling
  • Turbo Engine
  • Interior Space
Ford BF MkII Falcon XR6 Turbo
  • Ageing Design
  • Fuel Consumption

Comments on the review? The Car? Your Car? Email us.

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