Big and bold on the outside, with plenty of bling in the cabin - there’s no mistaking the new Holden Caprice V Series

Big and bold on the outside, with plenty of bling in the cabin – there’s no mistaking the new Holden Caprice V Series

Holden Caprice V offers astonishing value for money. At $59,990 the big long-wheelbase Australian limousine costs about a quarter of the price of similar models from the big name German brands.

We will freely admit the quality of finish of the Audi, BMW and Mercedes models is higher than that of the home grown Holden, but the local car gives you, in round numbers, about 85 per cent of the car for 25 per cent of the outlay.

To be fair, on-road costs have to be factored in, and the Holden doesn’t attract the huge luxury car tax (LCT) that hampers the German marques.

Holden_Caprice_V_rearBut, all this is ignoring the fact that image is everything in cars of this class and the Holden obviously lags a long way behind the big Germans. If you can afford a quarter of a million dollars for a prestige car then why not spend it?

All these thoughts passed through our minds when we happened to be driving ‘our’ road test Holden Caprice V during the week when General Motors in the USA finally decided it wasn’t economically viable for Holden to keep on manufacturing in Australia.

Big and bold, with an obvious eye on being exported to both the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates, these Holdens have plenty of of bling inside and out. While you can see that the Caprice and Caprice V are extended versions of the Holden Commodore the job has been done well and is far less obvious than it could have been.

That’s externally; it’s easier to see Commodore bits in the cabin, but they have often been dressed up and the overall effect works well in the Caprice V Series.

The range-topping Caprice V Series that we tested has V8 performance from its 6.0-litre engine driving the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.

In an interesting move aimed at selling into the limo market Holden the 3.6-litre V6 Caprice comes only with an LPG engine. It too has a six-speed automatic transmission.

Holden Caprice V Series has a Bose premium nine speaker audio system. There’s a rear seat entertainment setup, with remote control, DVD, AUX input and dual channel wireless headphones.

The Caprice V has sensor key technology; satellite navigation with full colour mapping and live traffic updates; an eight-inch, high-resolution colour touch screen with Holden’s MyLink, including enhanced voice recognition and Siri Eyes Free integration; full iPod integration and Pandora and Stitcher SmartRadio built-in apps.

Leather front and rear bucket seats, quaintly called ‘Deluxe’ seats by Holden, add to the upmarket air.

Holden Caprice V has been crash tested, and easily achieved a five-star rating. Crash avoidance and/or mitigation system include: Forward Collision Alert; Lane Departure Warning; a colour Head Up Display; Auto Park Assist for parallel and right angle parking; Reverse Traffic Alert; Blind Spot Alert; Front and rear parking sensors as well as a rear view camera; and Trailer Sway Control.

Built tough for Australia may sound a bit corny these days, but it still means something if you’re doing endless miles in the middle of nowhere.

This Australian designed and built Holdens copes with rough and ready backroads in the bush better than the aforementioned highly priced imports.

Handling is precise and the big car offers good feedback through the steering and the seat of the pants.

You can never expect nimbleness from a car of this size and mass, but new Caprice V is vastly better than its ancestors from the 1970s and ‘80s.

Torque from the big 6.0-litre V8 feels endless and Caprice V auto seldom has to change down to pick up extra power. Both the engine and transmission are responsive, though the automatic is not quite as smooth and sharp as the latest eight-speed automatics coming through from other makers.

Fuel consumption of the big V8 was generally in the seven to nine litres per hundred kilometres range when driving outside metro areas. In town it likes a drink, with 10 to 14 litres per hundred being the norm.

A big car for a big country? Sounds trite, but it really is true about the large comfortable Holden Caprice V, a machine that’s capable of dispatching big distances in the roughest of country with elegant ease.


Caprice 3.6-litre LPG V6 four-door sedan: $54,990 (automatic)
Caprice V Series 6.0-litre V8 four-door sedan: $59,990 (automatic)
Note: Prices do not include government or dealer charges. Contact your local Holden dealer for driveaway pricing.

SPECIFICATIONS (Holden Caprice V 6.0-litre four-door sedan)

Capacity: 5.967 litres
Configuration: V8
Head Design: OHV four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 10.4:1
Bore/Stroke: 101.0 x 92.0 mm
Maximum Power: 260 kW @ 5600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 517 Nm @ 4400 rpm

Driven Wheels: Rear
Manual Transmission: Not offered
Automatic Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive Ratio: 2.92:1

Length: 5160 mm
Wheelbase: 3009 mm
Width: 1898 mm
Height: 1470 mm
Turning Circle: 12.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1851 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 71 litres
Towing Ability: Up to 2100 kg (with braked trailer)

Front Suspension: MacPherson strut
Rear Suspension: Independent, multi-link
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Ventilated disc

Type: Petrol 91RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 12.1 L/100km

Greenhouse Rating: 6.5/10
Air Pollution Rating: 6.5/10

Three years/100,000 km

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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