Holden Commodore (VR)

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For a complete overview of all Commodore models, see Holden Commodore.
Holden VR Commodore
1994 Holden VR Commodore Acclaim.jpg
Holden VR Commodore Acclaim Sedan
Manufacturer Holden (General Motors)
Also called Holden Calais
Holden Ute [1]
Opel Calais
Toyota Lexcen (T3)
Production July 1993–April 1995
Assembly Australia: Elizabeth, South Australia
Body and chassis
Class Full-size car
Body style 2-door coupe utility [1]
4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Platform FR layout GM V
Related Holden VR Statesman/Caprice
Opel Omega A

[2] V6

  • 3.8 L 3800
    (non-IRS models 130 kW (174 hp))
    IRS models (132 kW (177 hp))


L6 (Not available in Australia)

  • 2.6 L Dual Ram Inline 6 (110 kW (148 hp))



Predecessor Holden VP Commodore
Successor Holden VS Commodore

The Holden VR Commodore is an automobile which was produced by General Motors-Holden's Ltd in Australia from July 1993 to April 1995.

It came with an updated, sleeker and more modern design, as well as safety enhancements such as anti-lock brakes (ABS). From the side, the biggest change was the use of a round rear wheelarch, instead of a squared-off shape used on the previous VN and VP model Commodores. The VR Acclaim and Calais included a driver's side Supplemental Restraint System (SRS)[3] air bag as standard, which was a first for an Australian car. They also had standard ABS brakes and independent rear suspension (IRS). The airbag, ABS brakes and IRS were also available across the range for both automatic transmission and manual transmission models. The rear-end treatment saw raised tail lamps, which were recessed high up on the boot lid for safety reasons. A new electronic version of the Turbo-Hydramatic 700R4 (TH700) automatic transmission was introduced, known as the GM 4L60-E. The VR Commodore was Wheels Car of the Year for 1993.

Specification levels[edit]

Commodore Executive[edit]

Commodore Executive opened up the VR lineup, although it was primarily projected at fleet customers. Power steering, electric side mirrors and four-wheel disc brakes were standard, with automatic transmission optional.

Only one limited edition model was offered in the VR range:

  • Commodore Equipe: introduced in 1995, a Series II model in either sedan or wagon bodies was based on the Executive.

Commodore Acclaim[edit]

Holden VR Commodore Engine Bay with the 3.8 L 3800

With the introduction of the VR Commodore, Holden added the Acclaim model to the Commodore range. Sitting one notch above the Executive, the Acclaim was based on an automatic transmission Executive with a safety pack that was aimed at families and featured ABS brakes, IRS, driver's side airbag and cruise control as standard.

Although the Acclaim came standard with automatic transmission, a buyer could, by taking an Executive with manual transmission, and adding the ABS brakes, IRS, and airbag options, have a Commodore that was almost a manual transmission Acclaim. Only cruise control was not available as an option.

Commodore S[edit]

The Commodore S was a sports option based on the Executive, retaining its 3.8&

Commodore SS[edit]

Interior of an SS

SS models were similar to the S, except that they were fitted with Holden's 5.0 litre HEC 5000i V8. A unique-to-SS alloy wheel design was also featured. Also as an option they had the choice of a 185 kW (252 PS; 248 hp) engine


The Berlina was the first of the luxury-oriented variants. Alloy wheels, electric windows and automatic transmission were standard fitment.


The Calais topped the VR lineup with an automatic transmission, driver's airbag, IRS, and ABS as standard, as well as features, such as climate control and velour trim or optional leather, to differentiate it from the lesser Commodore models.

Holden Ute[edit]

A coupe utility variant of the VR Commodore was offered in Holden Ute and the Holden ‘S’ Ute models.[1] Unlike the Ute which carried no external model badging, the ‘S’ Ute was fitted with "Commodore" badges.[1]

HSV (VR)[edit]

Holden’s performance car partner Holden Special Vehicles produced a number of models based on the VR Commodore and sold under the HSV brand.


The VR Clubsport was launched in 1993 along with the new Holden VR Commodore along with the Maloo Ute and Sedans Manta (level Below clubsport) an GTS (Level Above Clubsport). The Clubsport, Maloo and Manta still used the same 5 litre Holden V8 as the VP Clubsport while the GTS got a Stroked out version, making it a 5.7 litre Holden V8 that produced 220 kW (295 hp).


277 produced


The VR series Maloo utility was introduced in August 1993 with new front sheetmetal and a reworked interior appearance. The 5.0 litre V8 engine was upgraded slightly to 185 kW (248 hp). 156 examples were produced.[4]


In 1993, the significantly redesigned VR Senator was released, based on the VR Commodore it was the first radical body change since the 1988. The rear seating was from the Holden Statesman. Along with the rest of the HSV range, the Senator bodykit was penned by designer Ian Callum to produce a sleeker, more aggressive stance along with a 185 kW (248 hp) version of the 5.0-litre V8. A new suspension setup was developed, known as the touring package which aimed to provide capable handling and a smooth ride. Additionally from May 1994 onwards, the Senator could be optioned with HSV's new 215 kW (288 hp) 5.0-litre "stroker" V8 known as the '215i'. The $10,000 "stroker" engine option was handbuilt as an upgrade over the 5.0-litre V8. This engine could be coupled to either the 4-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission.[5] 0–100 km/h (0-60 mph) takes 7.8 sec for the 185i and takes 7.3 sec for the 215i. Total number built for both versions was 855.[6]

Toyota Lexcen (T3)[edit]

Toyota Lexcen (T3) CSi wagon

The United Australian Automobile Industries (UAAI) joint venture agreement with Toyota Australia first starting with the VN Commodore continued with the VP and VR. The VR Lexcen equivalent was known as the T3 series, and was introduced at or about the same time as the other VR models; featuring subtle styling differences, particularly, the front panels. While the VR badged as a Holden was either first or second in the monthly Australian automotive sales, the Toyota Lexcen sold substantially fewer, with some[who?] interpreting the Toyota Lexcen as Japan returning to its copycat roots. This was due to Toyota specifying styling that was in common with the then new "wide body" Camry, while retaining the original Commodore bodywork and interiors. Lexcen sales were still quite low, also another factor in this is Holden restricted Toyota in the number of Lexcens it was to provide to them. The number of technical service bulletins, recalls and customer service exercises on Holden-supplied Lexcens exceeds typical Toyota exercises on Toyota built vehicles in the era by more than five to one.


  1. ^ a b c d The Legendary V6 And V8 Holden Utes, 12 page brochure AD10510 of July 1993 covering the VR Series Holden Ute and Holden ‘S’ Ute
  2. ^ Holden Owner's Handbook VR Series, General Motors - Holden's Automotive Ltd, 1993, page 8-2
  3. ^ Holden Owner's Handbook VR Series, General Motors - Holden's Automotive Ltd, 1993, page 6-5
  4. ^ "20th Anniversary Maloo R8 Brochure". HSV.com.au. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "The arrival of the VR". Archived from the original on 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  6. ^ "(1993-1995) HSV VR". Retrieved 2007-03-08.