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It doesn't pay to rest too long on your laurels in our highly competitive motor industry and Holden moved quickly to maintain the success of its popular VR series Statesman. Only a year after the VR's introduction, Holden came out with the significantly improved VS series, and consequently, has put the pressure right back on the opposition.
Like in the VS Commodore, the current V6 Statesman and Caprice models get Holden's new ECOTEC engine, which brings worthwhile gains in performance, smoothness and quietness. New insulation has further reduced intrusion of road noise into the cabin and there's a new 10 stack CD player to keep the stereo buffs happy.
Safety has been enhanced by the inclusion of both driver and passenger airbags as standard, and security has been upgraded, with two-stage remote unlocking that allows just the driver's door to be unlocked, if desired.
Just two Statesman models are available; the V6 at $47,695 and the V8 at $51,079. Both come with automatic transmission only.
Holden's arch-rival, the Ford Fairlane Ghia, is priced at $47,217 for the six cylinder version and $50,291 for the V8.
In addition to items already mentioned, just some of the other standard Statesman features include anti-lock brakes, climate control air conditioning plus glovebox cooler, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, multi function trip computer, eight speaker stereo system, steering wheel adjustable for height and reach, all outer seat belts height adjustable, webbing clamps on the front rest for the driver.
Rating exercise, the Statesman is one of the top-scoring cars. Its security features include key-operated deadlocking, automatic ignition disabling after engine switched off, an alarm, rolling security key cod, electronic radio security, plus the two stage remote locking.
Stretch out space is one of the Statesman's big attractions. It's one of the few cars on the market in which you can set the front seats right back and still leave more than enough leg room for even larger-than-average adults in the back seat.
The four outer seating positions offer excellent comfort; the centre rear occupant isn't quite so well off, being perched higher and straddling the fairly large floor hump. Occupant comfort is further enhanced by the Statesman's excellent ride over all surfaces and its very quiet operation. One aspect of the Statesman that mildly disappoints is that detail finish still isn't up to the standards of the imports in this class. Things like untidily fitting door sealing rubbers, sharp edges on interior moulds and some trim items not fitting as well as they might, just make the difference. Overall finish and paint quality looks good.
The previous VR Commodore and Statesman introduced many improvements in engine performance and smoothness, but the VS models have raised these standards to new levels. The VS 3.8 litre V6 is smooth, quiet and super responsive throughout its rev range and less touchy on light throttle application. The V6 is now so good that it makes the V8 just about superfluous unless you have a particularly need for maximum power, such as heavy duty towing.
On the subject of towing, Holden lists three capacities - 1200 kg., 1590 kg., and 2100 kg - dependent on equipment fitted. However, in NSW, the regulations state that a trailer plus load can't exceed the tare mass of the vehicle, which for the V6 Statesman, is 1513 kg.
With its improvements and extra features complementing what was already an impressive combination of effortless performance, excellent space and comfort, and high levels of safety, security and luxury, the latest VS Statesman offers an unbeatable combination in the lower luxury class.
Test vehicle supplied by General Motors-Holden Australia Ltd.
|Price of vehicle tested||47,695|
Improved engine smoothness and refinement
Large cabin floor tunnel
|Country of manufacture||Australia|
|Warranty||2 years/50,000 kilometres|
$47,695 - V6
|Number of cylinders||6|
|Engine size||3.8 L|
|Wheel size||15 "|
|Turning circle (measured)||11.4 m|
|Width (including mirrors)||1794 mm|
|Fuel capacity||80 litres|
|Max towed mass (trailer plus load)||1513 kg|
NRMA Theft Rating
|Points on scale 0 - 120 (high score is best)||81|
Acceleration - Test results
|50 - 80km/h||5.2 secs|
|60 - 100km/h||7.0 secs|
|0 - 80km/h||6.6 secs|
|0 - 100km/h||9.7 secs|
|Best recorded during testing||11.3 L/100km|
|Worst recorded during testing||15.8 L/100km|
|Average on test||13.4 L/100km|
|Distance to stop (from 80km/h)||34.0 metres|
|Interior noise at constant 80km/h||66 dB(A)|