The Holden Caprice, rebadged internationally as the Chevrolet Caprice, is a full-size car produced and sold in Australia by Holden from 1970 to 2017. The Holden Statesman, rebadged internationally as the Daewoo Statesman, was introduced in 1990 as a model below the Caprice but was discontinued in 2010. The difference between the two models lies within their equipment packages. A V8 engine power the Caprice with some distinguishable interior and exterior packages like the grille insert.
Both the Caprice and the Statesman are long-wheelbase variants of the Commodore range. From 2006, they held the title of the largest rear-wheel sedans produced by GM.
Statesman (HQ-WB; 1971-1984)
Before the introduction of the Caprice model, Holden marketed its long-wheelbase range through a separate Statesman marque. These initial Statesman cars did not have any "Holden" branding. The first Statesman, which replaced the Holden Brougham, was introduced in 1971 as the HQ series, with the subsequent models, HJ, HX, and HZ released later. The final WB series entered the market with a new six-window glasshouse. Despite the changes, the WB fell short of market targets, prompting Holden to drop it in 1981.
First Generation (1990-1999)
Six years after production was halted for the WB, a demand for long-wheelbase luxury sedans emerged in Australia. So Holden resurrected the Statesman and Caprice names with new luxury models designated as VQ. This generation utilised the LWB chassis of the VN Commodore station wagon. Despite the same chassis, the VN and VQ are distinct from each other. The VQ notably differed from the VQ with its more formal grille, and rear license repositioned to the bumper.
Both the Statesman and Caprice were equipped with independent rear suspension. 1991 saw the release of VQ series II. The Series II Caprice was fitted with anti-lock brakes as standard (a feature which was optional for the Statesman). The standard engine across the range was a (4,987cc) 5.0L V8 engine that generated up to 165 kW of power and a peak torque of 385 N.m. However, a (3,791cc) 3.8L V6 engine producing 130 kW and a torque of 289 N.m was offered with the Series II as optional for the Statesman only. Both engines were mated to a 4-speed Turbo-Hydramatic 700R4 automatic transmission.
There were also the HSV Statesman 5000i, SV93, and SV90 special editions of the VQ offered.
The VR model of 1994 improved on certain features, including enhanced engineering and sheet metal changes. The 3.8L V6 engine, now standard for the Statesman and optioned for the Caprice, was upgraded and now featured rolling-element bearings in the valve rocker arms. The driver's airbag was now standard for all models.
The updated Ecotec version of the Buick V6 engine was introduced together with the VS in 1995. The new Ecotec engine packed an extra 17 kW and now paired with a modified version of the GM 4L60 automatic transmission. The improved throttle characterised the new engine, and the new transmission ensured smoother changes between gears.
There were the VS series II and III that were introduced in 1996 and 1998, respectively, characterised by new alloy wheel designs and a rounder rear treatment. The 5.0L and 3.8L engines were now rated 185 kW with a torque of 395 N.m and 165 kW with a torque of 304 N.m, respectively.
There was a Honda Special Vehicle (HSV) Grange model, which was a sports variant of the Caprice produced in 1996. It was available in 185i and 215i variants powered by a 5.0L and 5.7L engines respectively. Standard features of the HSV included 17-inch alloy wheels, ten-speaker sound system, power-adjustable driver's seat, cruise control, a trip computer, sunroof, and an alarm immobiliser among others.
Second Generation (1999-2006)
The VT-Commodore-based second generation was released in 1999 and produced until 2000. It shared several features with the VT II Commodore. The WH series produced after 2000 bore more resemblance to the X Commodore.
It retained the 3.8L Ecotec engine used in the first generation VS model, while an all-new (5,665 cc) 5.7L Generation III engine rated 225 kW with a torque of 460 N.m replaced the 5.0L engine.
With wider tracks, a longer wheelbase, and ABS disc brakes with traction control, the WH was more stable. There were several other exciting features added to the WH model, such as electro-chromatic rearview mirror, which sensed headlight glare from vehicles travelling behind and adjusts the mirror tint level to reduce driver glare. The dual-zone climatic control was now a standard feature in all the models. There were two headphones jack for the rear passengers, which means that rear passengers could listen to different audio from the front seat occupants.
Some of the Caprice-exclusive features included elegant chrome vertical grille, Howe leather seats, 260-watt 12-speaker audio system, special ignition key memory for three drivers, chrome exterior door handles, and heated side mirrors, among others.
There were HSV-branded special-edition options fitted with a glass sunroof, limited alloy differential, HSV alloy pedals, and a unique navigation system in place of the front console ashtray, among other features.
In 1999, the HSV Grange received modifications, including front and rear anti-roll bars, Sensartac shock absorbers, power windows and mirrors, trip computer, an immobiliser, and a 260-watt six-CD changer sound system. It was still available in the conventional 3.8L supercharged V6 and 5.7L V8 engines.
The revised WK was launched in 2003. It received front and rear end styling changes, redesigned taillights, revised bumpers, and an overhauled interior. The powertrains were carried over from the WH, but the Generation III V8 engine now had a power rating of 245 kW.
New features were added on the Statesman, including rear parking sensors and satellite navigation as an option. The Caprice received a dual-screen DVD system for rear passengers. The HSV Grange also went through a facelift with 18-inch alloy wheels replacing the previous 17-inch alloys. It was now fitted with a 7-inch rear-seat LCD screen mated to a DVD player, remote central locking, and adjustable leather steering wheel, among others.
The WL was released in 2004. With it came the all-new Alloytec 3.6L V6 engine, replacing the Ecotect unit. The new engine had a capacity of 3,565cc and was rated 195 kW in power and a peak torque of 340 N.m. The V8 engine now had an improved engine capacity (5,967cc). The new 6.0L engine was rated 270 kW with a torque of 530 N.m. The 3.6L and 6.0L engines were mated to a 5-speed GM 5L40-E automatic transmission and 6-speed GM 4L65-E automatic transmission, respectively.
There were several safety features added, including an electronic stability program, a brake assist, and electronic brakeforce distribution. The HSV series also received some upgrades, including a 430-watt Baulpunkt sound system, Nappa leather seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, cruise control with speed alert, and front and rear parking sensors, among the notable features.
Third Generation (2006-2017)
The third generation was launched in 2006 at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre. This model, the VM, utilised the GM Zeta platform developed by Holden. It also carried over the powertrain second generation's WL - 3.6L V6 rated at 195 kW and 340 N.m torque and 6.0L V8 rated at 270 kW and 530 N.m.
The Statesman nameplate was discontinued in 2010. The V6 Caprice's price was reduced subsequently and sold as a police cruiser in the US between 2011 and 2017.
The WN series was released in 2013, which marked the end of the Australian-made Caprice. It had an upgraded dash, electronics, and alloy wheels that it inherited from the Calais V (VF). It was the most advanced Caprice model. In addition to improved safety features, it also came with an 8-inch touchscreen in the centre console, auto-park assist, and keyless entry.
There were two engine options:
- (3,565cc) 3.6L LPG6 engine rated 180 kW with a torque of 320 N.m
- (5,976cc) 6.0L LPG6 engine rated 270 kW with a torque of 530 N.m
Both engines were attached to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The thing about the Caprice is that it's very economical, comfortable, technologically advanced, and reasonably priced for a car of its kind. It's one of those cars you can use for years on end, without worry. But in case you need spare parts, contact Carpart.com.au; it’s Australia's leading hub for dealers and buyers of auto spare parts and accessories.