The Holden VU Ute was introduced as a replacement for the old Holden VS utility. The new VU was the first utility vehicle launched since the old VG model was released back in 1990. The new model was based on the VX Comodore sedan and shared the same front and interior design with its donor.
The vehicle had a sleek exterior design combined with a long load bed and a spacious cab.
The VU ute was available in three versions namely the Base, S and SS. The entry level and S models were equipped with a 3.8 liter V6, while the SS received a 5.7 liter V8 unit. The base model has a payload capacity of 780kg, while the S and SS versions have a payload capacity of 735kg.
The Holden VU had a pretty modern exterior style, with a lot of sleek lines which gave it a sporty look. From the front end to the B pillars the VU looked identical with the Comodore sedan, but the rest of the body was unique.
The VX Comodore wheel base, on which it’s based the VU was longer than the one of the previous model, so the ute’s load bed is bigger and the body is more rigid. Compared to the old Holden utes, the new VU has also better crash protection.
The front end comes with a sporty kidney grille flanked by a pair of elongated headlights. The hood continues the sleek design and is traversed by two sporty creases which converge toward the grille. Along the sides there are also two horizontal body lines which enhance the dynamic look of the vehicle.
The low hanging front bumper smooths out the lines and adds to the aggressive attitude to the front fascia.
The Holden VU uses a modern ’snap lock’ flush fitting tonneau cover that requires no external tie down hooks and offers a more integrated design.
The 2000 Holden VU ute shared the same exterior design with the VX Commodore. The cabin offers a lot of space with proper leg room and decent head room. The interior design looks well put together and we also like the central tunnel which is nicely integrated into the overall design.
The center console features a pretty ergonomic design and most of the controls can be reached without too much drama. The plastics are of good quality and the build quality is also pretty solid.
The instrument cluster can be read fairly easy during both night and day trips while the driver is greeted by a pretty sporty four spoke steering wheel which offers a confident grab and it’s not intrusive.
The seats are comfortable and supportive with a good range of adjustments available. Fortunately, you won’t have any complains about the all around visibility.
In another train of thoughts, storage space is a bit limited including only a lockable glovebox, door pockets and a centre console storage bin arrangement. Luckily, you’ll find some extra storage space behind the seats for bigger items.
Engines and performance
The standard V6 unit delivers a maximum output of 204 hp and offers sporty performance dealing great with heavy loads too. It’s also pretty smooth and refined offering a strong response every time you push the go pedal. The four-speed automatic transmission upshifts sharply, as smoothly as an expensive sedan when your foot’s on the floor, and doesn’t hunt a lot when the engine is being challenged on hills.
Needless to say that the stronger V8 engine, which comes with 302 hp on tap is astonishingly quick. It accelerates up the sharpest inclines with tenacity, scrubs off speed with authority and tackles a seemingly endless barrage of direction changes with aplomb.
The six speed manual gearbox is easy enough to operate provided gear changes are not rushed. You can cruise all day long at 100 kmph and you’ll be surely surprised to notice that the tachometer indicator shows only 1500 rpms.
Ride and handling
The vehicle received a new independent rear suspension combined with firmer springs and improved dampers. Thanks to these tweaks the tires have a stronger grip and the balance between ride and handling is nearly perfect.
The steering is also among the best you’ll find around and offers a great road feedback, being nicely weighted.
Thanks to the wide track the ute stays well planted on its wheels with limited body roll into corners. Though, if you’ll go frisky with the accelerator pedal the rear breaks away during hard cornering.
Compared to the previous Holden utes, the 2001 UV is built on a larger body which gives it a longer wheel base, hence a better road stability.
The new platform is also translated into more interior space and a bigger load bed, improving the vehicle’s functionality.
The standard equipments are also part of the first class and both the V6 and V8 engines deliver sporty performances. Moreover the overall road manners are class leading and the vehicle tackles corners with tenacity.