The Holden Caprice has been the manufacturer’s full-size executive four-door sedan since 1990. Originally the Caprice marque was given to the top-of-the-range Holden Statesman cars, which were the Commodore’s long wheelbase vehicle. These had been around from 1971, when the first Statesman came into production and remained so until 1984 when the Statesman was retired.
There was a 6-year break but eventually the Statesman and Caprice names returned with the latter being offered initially as the luxury model in the Commodore range. Four years later, the Caprice was badged in its own right as an independent marque taking the Commodore’s model number.
The Holden Caprice uses the same wheelbase as the old Commodores and had much in common with the Opel Omega. The Caprice was made to look like a different car to the Commodore and had a different grille and superior internal trim.
The cars at first had a sharper look, raked rear windows, and square, dipping bonnet. As they evolved over time, they took on a more rounded appearance with an optional rear spoiler, integrated bumpers, and wraparound headlight cluster. The later model had an altogether more aggressive stance, wider front end, and a smaller grille and slipstream with an aerodynamic body shape.
In 2010, the Statesman was discontinued and replaced with a Caprice, fitted with a V6 engine, while the top-of-the-range vehicle became known as the Caprice V series.
The first-generation Holden Caprice of 1990 came charged with a 5.0L V8 engine that otherwise was only an expensive option on the other cars in the Statesman range. This was hooked up to a 4-speed THM700R4 automatic gearbox. By the mid-1990s, this powertrain was kicking out 245kW of energy.
The models available in 2013 come with either a 3.6L V6 SIDI engine in the entry-level Caprice or the massive 6.0L V8 engine fitted into the Caprice V series. These are mated up to the 6-speed automatic gearbox and came brimming with class, style, and an engine to match. The 3.6L puts out 210kW of power with 340Nm torque, accelerating from 0-100km/h in just over 6 seconds and has an fuel economy level of 9.9L/100km.
The Holden Caprice comes well equipped with standard features including safety devices like traction control, electronic brakeforce distribution, ABS, electronic stability control, and limited slip differential, all working to keep the car safely on the road. There are duel-stage front airbags, curtain airbags, and side airbags to keep occupants safe in an accident, as well as parking assist, cruise control, and rear view camera to help prevent accidents.
The interior is kept comfortable with tri-zone climate control, 8-way electric seat adjuster for the driver, 4-way electric seat adjuster for the front passenger, and remote locking. The cabin is well connected with the Holden IQ system that has a CD player, USB, Bluetooth, and the option of a DVD player.
The 18-inch alloys make the car look good, while the steering wheel-mounted controls make the entertainment system safe to operate. It is fitted with a trip computer, automatic headlight control, powered windows, and a large 535L boot. These all go into making the Caprice a luxurious, well-appointed buy.
The first Caprice cars back in 1990 were amongst the earliest Holdens to be fitted with anti-lock brakes as standard, and by 1995, you were given a 10-stack CD player system. Within a year the Caprice came with parking sensors, satnav, and a rear seat DVD screen.
The main competition against the Holden was at first the Ford Falcon followed by their Ford Fairlane and Chrysler 300. These American greats though no longer pose any threat, with the Fairlane discontinued in 2007 and the Chrysler 300 rapidly aging. The Caprice V has a massive percentage of the luxury market to itself. It is more than capable of competing alongside the great German models from BMW and Mercedes Benz as well as Jaguar.
Holden built the Caprice with comfort, luxury, and the latest technology in mind; the current batch of cars, like their predecessors, ably fill that brief. If you are looking for a good, reliable second-hand executive car then the Caprice will oblige. It was designed with wide open spaces in mind, and although under threat from contemporary family cars, the big old sedans are the best way to take a road trip. The Caprice offers the ultimate in comfort, great road holding, and a firm but relaxing drive.