2008 Chevrolet CSV CR8 | road test

Posted on Oct 5, 2008 by

are two types of new car buying decisions; those made by the head and
those ruled by the heart. Your head will tell you to weigh-up all the
pros and cons of each car and buy the most fitting vehicle to suit
your needs and your budget. Then there are the times when your heart
leads the way to a car that you just cannot resist, regardless of
what facts and figures your head will tell you as reasons not to buy
this car of your dreams and stick to the original and more sensible
motoring plan.

glance at the all important facts and figures, and the fast, focused
and sometimes ferocious new would surely seem to be
one of those heart-felt purchases that only a very few of us can
really justify. For a start there’s the 6-litre, 400hp, V8 engine
firing this midsize motorway marauder to 100kph in less than
6-seconds – surely just this collection of mind-blowing numbers
would make the CR8 too fast, and more importantly, too expensive for
the man and woman in the street. Well, let me try and persuade you
that that’s just not the case.

towards our ‘burnt’ orange test car I felt a little in awe of its
aggressive styling and menacing car park-presence – and the thing
wasn’t even moving! In any body colour the CR8 just looks so tough,
and for me that’s a good thing. If you’re looking at our pictures
right now and thinking ‘mmm, that’s nice’, then read on. If
already you’re thinking the car is a little OTT for you, keep
looking and keep reading, because this wild-child just might grow on

this is a Chevy Lumina SS, so you will recognise the shape, but this
is an SS with a bad attitude and a gymnasium addiction, and it’s
these go-large, bad-boy traits that make this car look and go just
great. It’s actually HSV or Holden Special Vehicles that builds
this car; HSV being the in-house tuners at Holden, Australia; Holden
builds the Luminas and . General Motors (GM) owns Holden.
All of this is not of particular importance other than knowing that
HSV have had years of road and race experience making RWD,
V8-engine’d cars go fast and handle well – so we’re in safe
hands here. And HSV have done a great job in pumping-up the CR8.

front and rear bumpers are bigger, deeper and more purposeful, the
smooth and tidy front grille is unique, as are the front wing cut and
meshed side vents, space-age LED taillights, super-sized rear
spoiler, quad-exit exhaust tips and 19-inch, double-five-spoke alloy
wheels – the CR8 is in your face, and with this shouting and
screaming styling package makes no bones about what it wants to get
up to… all the mischief you can throw at it! And it’s the growl,
rumble and roar of that truly visceral V8 engine that urges you to go
in search of the fun stuff.

down into the ‘CSV’ embroidered leather seats and the firm and
shapely, well-bolstered and supportive design already makes you feel
like a racing driver, without so much as the key going near the
ignition. These seats perform as well as they look, keeping you
locked and loaded into your chosen seating position, even as the
G-forces increase, and for me, in this kind of car, that’s the most
important thing. OK, so the rest of the interior is nothing special
over and above the donor Lumina SS, but it all works well enough and
there’s nothing there to annoy you while you enjoy the drive from
the extra-ergonomic world of those excellent seats.

a bit, well, err black really and some of the plastics can look and
feel a little on the cheap side, but the A/C gets a good blast going
and the steering wheel fits the sporty bill, while the rest of the
controls are easy to work out and use – it’s all pretty basic,
but it’s all there. The stereo isn’t great, hitting distortion
levels pretty early on in the volume range – nothing a set of
up-rated speakers wouldn’t cure. But remember, this car comes with
a very special soundtrack already, something that no CD tune can ever
beat, and where Chevrolet may have skimped a little on some interior
specs, they’ve spent the savings elsewhere – under the hood and
under the wheel arches…



‘LS2’ engine comes straight out of the Corvette, dropping right
into the CR8’s engine bay and taking up pretty much all the room
there was on offer. Make no mistake, this is a big, thirsty engine,
especially when you drive it vigorously – 6-litres is no joke, but
where better than our cheap petrol, heavenly haven of the UAE to own
something a little less politically correct – so you might see some
fairly shocking fuel figures… so what… the CSV-enhanced
mega-motor churns out 400hp at 6000rpm and 550Nm of torque at
4400rpm. And this engine, partnered with the 6-speed manual gearbox,
serves up blistering acceleration and the biggest motoring grins that
around AED 180,000 can buy, time and time again.

gearbox isn’t exactly as slick as a knife through butter and it
does take a little getting used to to get the shifts short and sweet.
The slightly stiff clutch pedal also takes a little mastering, but
all of this adds to the experience, rather than detracts from it, and
once you’ve worked with the CR8 for a few days you really start to
feel a part of the driving experience. And that’s exactly what this
car is about.

grip, firm but not too firm ride, and surefooted feel through the
bends always inspires you with confidence and the safety net of the
huge brakes bitten hard by large 4-piston calipers and perceptive
traction control take away any worries you might initially have about
manhandling this beast. Push hard through the turns and the back end
will start to over-steer, rather than drifting the front end into
under-steer, but only in a gentle, progressive way, whilst the
stability aids will always gather you up if speed exceeds ability.
Switch the traction control off, mind you, and you’ll be smoking
and roasting the rear rubber like its silly season! The CR8 is as
great as you can be and want it to be, delivering a huge package of
fun to any driver, regardless of their level of skills – as long as
they love some fun, they will love the CR8. Praise indeed.

will your head let you buy one? Well, if you have this sort of money
for a new car and your Dubai-inspired instinct leads you towards yet
another large SUV, think again before signing on the dotted line. The
CR8 offers plenty of interior space and comfort for four adults, a
large boot and plenty of ‘look at me’ style and aggression. And,
more importantly, it offers the sort of driving thrills that pretty
much no other car, and certainly no sluggish and heavy SUV, can offer
for this sort of money. Regardless of what type of car you think you
are in the market for the Chevrolet CRV CR8 is definitely a highly
recommended test drive – just take it for a spin and you might just
find yourself in a car that can satisfy your head’s and your
heart’s desires.

Technical Specifications
Chevrolet CSV CR8
Body style4-door
Transmission6-Speed Manual
in 4.96secs
Image Gallery


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