The Chevrolet Lumina UTE V8, BIG BOY TOY of The Year 2008

Winner: Chevy V8 UTE

Are you UP for some 

 270KW of pure unadulterated FUN

Lumina Road Test  
If its instant ‘street cred’ you seek then the all performance Chevrolet Lumina SS UTE is what you want. Having recently slipped behind the steering of the luminous green beast I’ve been left hankering after what can only be described as one of the most adrenaline fuelled hell-rides of my short life.

From the first turn of the key something wild detonates deep within; the unmistakable V8 sound exploding from the quad exhaust pipes and blasting from the rear as the engine revs, thrusting you back in your seat through every gear change.
Delving into the belly of the beast you will find the new light alloy 6.0 V8 block, with 270kw at 6700rpm and 550Nm at 4400rpm of torque willing you to test its power. Being a utility vehicle I was prepared for a less than smooth ride but was pleasantly surprised. The UTE was remarkably comfortable. In fact, and as soon as ‘Schumi’ took the wheel this ‘bakkie’ became a taught racer that gripped and held corners ‘like a fat kid on a cupcake’ with hardly any body roll to speak of.

The first complete revision since 2000, the Australian designed and built UTE offers a more functional interior space, enhanced storage flexibility and greater performance than its predecessor.

The Lumina owes its sleek silhouette to the use of a single piece of sheet metal, eliminating three panel joins in the body to enhance the appearance of the vehicle. Clean lines shroud a fierce commitment to safety. The use of high strength steel renders a stiffer body formation, which together with structurally optimised crush zones and dual stage airbags, offers its passengers enhanced peace of mind. 

Oiling my way into the driver’s seat I was struck by the quality appearance of the interior, which would not have been amiss on an executive sedan. The seats, as one would expect, were bucket-like and replete with full-leather finish offered enhanced driving comfort. Standard on the Beast is ESP with ABS, DSC, EBD and TCS, leaving its predecessor in the dust in terms of safety options. Dual zone climate control, electric windows, electric sports seats and cruise control are all standard features; plus a six disc-in-dash audio system and a comprehensive trip computer to boot.

My only quibble, if pressed, would lie with the wasted dash space occasioned by the oversized digital display indicating oil pressure and battery voltage. Useful to some I’m sure but perhaps dash-space could have been put to more efficient use.

Where functionality meets passion, Rand for Rand you will be hard pressed to beat the Lumina SS UTE. Priced at R359 900 I challenge you to find more excitement and enjoyment in a car in this price range. Overall I was superbly impressed with the Beast; it made me feel like a boy with a new toy I couldn’t put down.

This sports car-cum-workhorse is the stuff of testosterone-injected dreams. If ever there was a car that could personify ‘MAN’ this would be it - brute force and agile performance while still able to maintain a cruising feel. I give the Beast 9/10 in its class, which is super-bakkie/workhorse. Whatever the category, who cares, I want one.
Engine & Gearbox
Acceleration 0-100kph 5.9sec
Bore x Stroke 101.6x92.0 mm
Camshaft OHV
Cylinders 8
Engine CC 5967 cm3
Engine Design Longitudinal
Engine Location Front
Fuel Supply Electronic multi-point fuel injection
Fuel Type Petrol
Gearbox Manual
Gears 6
Power KW 270 KW
Power Revs 5700 rpm
Supercharger No
Torque NM 530 Nm
Torque Revs 4400 Rpm
Turbo No
Valves per Cyl 2
Air Con Yes
Audio Yes
Climate Control Yes
Power Steering Yes
Seats 2
Safety & Security
Immobilizer &/ Alarm Yes
SRS Airbags Yes
Boot Max 662 cm3
Dimensions 5058x1476x1845
Doors 2
Front Track 1560 mm
Gross Weight 2275 Kg
Ground Clearance 110 mm
Kerb Weight 1613 Kg
Rear Track 1570 mm
Tank Capacity 70 Litres
Trailer Weight 1600 Kg
Tyre Size 235/45 r17
Wheelbase 2938 mm
Suspension & Drivetrain
Brakes Front Ventilated discs
Brakes Rear Discs
Drive Wheels Rear
Front Suspension Independent, macpherson struts, lower i-arms, hydraulic tension rod, coil springs, hydraulic dampers, jointed mount stabiliser bar
Rear Suspension Independent, semi-trailing arm, lower control link, coil springs, hydraulic dampers, fixed mount decouple stabiliser
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