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About the VU Commodore Utility
December 2000 to October 2001
Total production – Included in VX series total
Released in late 2000, the VU utility series was effectively a subseries of the VX model range. Styling was pure VX. Front doors, windscreen, front sheetmetal and bumper fascia were lifted directly from the VX parts inventory. Rear panels were unique to the utility body-style, but general design profile was borrowed heavily from the wagon. VU tail-lights were VX Commodore wagon items. Available in three versions – Holden Ute, S Ute and SS Ute, all mechanically based on the VX wagon platform, including IRS, the first for a Holden commercial vehicle.
The VU series model codes were applied differently to previous Commodore-based utilities. The base model was no longer· called P.O. A9K, but simply tagged 8VK80. The S and SS models had the same option codes as VX sedans – P.O. A90 for S and P.O. A9F for SS. The regular Commodore 3.8 litre V6 was standard for Ute and S Ute, the 5.7-litre Gen 3 V8 was standard for SS and optional for S. The supercharged V6 was not available for the VU series. The 5-speed Getrag manual was used behind the V6. The V8 was coupled to the 6-speed Borg Warner T56 manual transmission. The good old 4L60-E 4-speed automatic transmission was optional for both engines in all models. A limited-slip differential was standard fitting for S and SS, but optional for the base model. Split front bench seat and automatic column shift, often fitted in VG to VS utes, were not available for VU. Two front bucket seats and console floor shift were fitted to all models. Interiors received the same equipment as equivalent VX models, including 4-way electric driver’s seat adjustment.
The VU limited-edition variants included SS Fifty released late in 2001, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the very first Holden utility (50 -2106) in 1951. The Storm Ute and the companion HBD Storm Ute, appeared in early 2002. A Sandman panel van design concept featuring Mambo graphics made various motor show appearances, but did not reach production. A Sandman Ute and another concept vehicle, UTEster were similarly displayed. The VU was also a platform for concept and prototype versions of the upcoming Crewman and Cross 8 variants. These did not see the light of day as production realities until the upcoming VY model series.
HSV continued naming its Ute, Maloo. Also available was Maloo R8, in a similar vein to Clubsport R8. Maloo and Maloo R8 received the same 255kW V8 powerplant as theHSV VX range. The VU was given a Series II upgrade at the same time as VX II and WH II in August 2002. The control-link addition to VX II rear suspension was not fitted to the Holden VU II Ute range.