2016 HSV Clubsport R8 LSA long term car review, part 3

HSV Clubsport R8 Tourer

Alex joins the mortgage club; Clubbie plays the short-haul game.

IF YOU’RE to believe the media hype, last month I achieved the impossible, at least for a young person living in a major capital city. I bought a house. Sure, it’s not exactly how I pictured my first home, but it’s close to the city, has oodles of space, and it’s mine. All mine.

The downside to this, apart from being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, is that buying a house meant I had to move. Normally I’d rather barbeque my own tongue than spend a weekend lifting furniture, but with the huge red minus on my bank statement still fresh and a big blue wagon sitting in the driveway, I decided to forego the removalist company and do the move myself.

How hard can it be? I thought. Bloody hard, it turned out. Just ask the mates I roped in to help manoeuvre my fridge, dryer and washer up the world’s narrowest staircase.

HSV-Clubsport -R8-bootBroken friendships aside, moving allowed me to explore another facet of the Clubbie’s personality: its practical side. Until now I’ve really only enjoyed the HSV’s back end for its brilliant, shooting-brake looks. And the only thing I’ve thrown in the back has been the dog.

Drop the 60/40 split-fold seats, though, and the HSV can swallow an astonishing amount of stuff. Officially, the HSV Clubsport’s boot space is rated as 895L with the rear seats up and 2000L down, but it feels considerably more than that. 

There’s plenty of storage up front as well, with twin cupholders, a large central tub, and door pockets that swallow one-litre bottles. HSV has also deleted the bulky gauges that used to fill the storage cubby in front of the gear-shifter for VF2 models, which is a handy place to park your mobile phone.

HSV-Clubsport -R8-interiorSo the Clubbie passes the practicality test. What I’m liking most is the sheer scale of the thing. I’m still in love with its hulking, heavy-handed design, its nicely judged ride on 20-inch wheels and its chassis agility and adjustability. I’ve also become addicted to the blown V8’s grunt.

The downside is that this larger-than-life character profile doesn’t only apply to the engine, dynamics and brakes, but to the fuel economy as well. Good lord, it’s a thirsty bugger.

A cavernous star

The Clubbie wasn’t the only vehicle used for moving duties. While the HSV lugged most of the boxes and smaller items,

I needed a van to transport the fridge, TV and couch. Enter the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. It was a LWB model, which is van-speak for ‘bloody enormous’. In fact, it’s so huge we were able to move all my life in one trip. An added bonus was the van’s eye-catching “AMG Drive Experience” decals, which made me feel like part of a race team.

Read part two of our HSV Clubsport R8 LSA long-term car review.

Price as tested: $85,990
Part 3: 1867km @ 16.3L/100km
Overall: 6482km @ 13.7L/100km
Odometer: 12,050km
Date acquired: March 2016

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