Normally when you think of a big V8 powered long wheel base luxury sedan loaded with features and technology you think of something made in Europe well not any more.
For as long as I can remember the Caprice has been the top of Holden’s range it offered luxury and space but it has always fallen a touch short of anything made in Europe that was before the new WN Caprice V arrived in showrooms this year with the new VF Commodore.
So I will list the downsides of the car first because there just aint that many of them and I don’t find them much of a turn off or downsides but others might so I’d rather get them out of the way first.
While the new VF Commodore benefits from new looks on the outside the Caprice is pretty much unchanged from the previous model so it misses out on the DRL’s the VF gets and basically that’s it.
Like I said I don’t find it that much of a downside because I quite like the look of the Caprice specially in the gorgeous Alchemy paint job and riding on those great looking 19inch rims.
So while the Caprice doesn’t look much different on the outside, under the skin is a whole different kettle of fish as while the outside didn’t the make over the VF got, the inside got every available bit of new technology and a whole new interior upgrade that takes the Caprice to a whole new level and really puts it up there in terms of comfort, room, technology, safety that was once the domain of the expensive euro.
Stepping inside the Caprice V and it immediately feels like you’ve stepped into a car worth quite a bit more than the Caprice V is worth.
Holden have done an impressive job lifting the quality and feel of the interior on the Caprice V, the massive amount of room inside the Caprice V made me feel like I stepping into a lounge room every time I got in.
The suede and leather trim starts at the door trim and continues across the dash to the other door trim, the mix of dark leather and light suede give the Caprice V a very up market classy look indeed.
Slipping behind the wheel your greeted with leather bound flat bottomed wheel that’s very comfortable to hold and contains buttons for the cruise control, audio system and the voice recognition which basically means you don’t have to take you hands off the wheel for anything while driving.
The newly designed instrument panel looks beautiful, in between the gauges is a colour lcd info screen that lets you access various functions including a very helpful fuel saving graph.
Then centre stack in the domain of the colour touch screen for the Holden Mylink infotainment system now I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I absolutely love this system, and the sound from the Bose premium nine speaker audio system is just fantastic for a factory system.
It takes barely any time for me to Bluetooth my phone into the system, which then allows you to not only live stream music from phone, has full voice recognition accessed via a button on the steering wheel, this thing will even read your text messages for you.
Mylink also gives you the capability to play music and pod casts via the Pandora or Stitcher apps using your phones internet connection.
The system will also play DVD’s through the screen on the dash while the car it not in motion but the kids were plenty well entertained by the DVD screens behind the front seats which meant a very quiet trip for us. Good thing about the system is while the kids are watching their DVD’s we were able to listen to our own music up front.
Being a Caprice V the car comes standard with Sat Nav which works great you can also get live traffic updates through it so you will if there are any traffic problems up ahead and you can use it to find a detour around it, i used this a couple of times and found it worked great in finding me an alternative route around the problems.
The dual zone climate control aircon works great and will keep you ice cool on on hot day or coupled with the heated front seats toasty warm on a cold one..
The redesigned console is rather nice indeed and features nice storage tray at the front fits your phone perfectly, the chrome surround around the shifter adds a touch of colour and one thing you will find different from previous models is the lack of a handbrake lever as the Caprice now has a electric park brake operated by a small button which frees up a lot of space and gives it a much cleaner look.
The console bin has a comfortable leather lid but I kinda expected to be a bit bigger considering the size of the Caprice V but I am use to my Captiva’s one which is just about big enough to fit a kitchen sink.
Holden have adopted a new GM seat frame and it has made a massive different to seats, they are extremely comfortable without being overly soft and very supportive, the seats have 8 way power adjustment including lumbar support accessed via some button along the side of the seats which makes it damn easy to find the ideal seating position.
Once you have that position you can store it via the memory function buttons on the door trim which means you get your fav driving position at all times, the seats are also heated which means you stay warm on cold days.. The dark coloured leather with the contrasting light suede stripe down the middle looks very classy indeed.
The same theme is carried to the back seat which is comfortable even in the centre seat (which at times on some can be uncomfortable) and extremely spacious, even with my seat back a bit I still had plenty of room to stretch out.
Boot space as you would expect is extremely huge and can swallow a huge amount of luggage, my kids like to test out how big a boot is on the cars I’m testing by getting in it and my two teenagers had that much room I could of fitted a few more in there. When we went on holidays this year we had the bag of our Captiva full to the roof my wife recons we could fitted just about everything in the Caprices boot.
The sunroof is a well come addition great for letting in extra light or fresh air and can either opened up or tilted up wards, when closed there is a blind you can pull across to cover the glass and stops any unwanted heat come in, Hard to say which was my daughters favourite part of the car as is a toss up between the heated front seats and the sunroof.
On the road the Caprice V rides very smooth indeed even on the 19 inch low profile tyres never once did it feel unsettled on any type of surface I drove it on, On the freeway it just glides along, we took it for a good run up the coast and arrived fresh as we were when we got it.
I’ve had some knee and ankle issues and something have trouble walking after spending a few hours straight behind the but my knees and ankles felt great after a ong drive up the coast which goes a lot towards the comfort of the ride.
The electric power steering is well weighted and has great feel it’s light at low speeds but the weight increases with speed so you get plenty of feel at highway speeds.
Although it did have a slight dead zone just off centre which mainly made itself noticed on the freeway and you went around a slight bend.
The 260kw 517Nm 6.0L V8 meant there was no shortage of power and also meant the Caprice V could move off from a standing start more rapidly then you would expect from a car this size. The engine perfectly suited to highway cruising and the Caprice V could just cruises effortlessly along at high speeds infact the engine is barely ticking over. The Caprice V also has AFM (Active Fuel Manage) which means at certain times the engine drops back to 4 cyl’s saving you fuel.
The system is very seamless and you can’t tell when it drops down to 4 cylinders, you only way you it’s on is when you instant fuel usage drops down to under 5L/100km.
Fuel usage around city is a different story it is a big car with a 6.0L V8 so it does use a bit but you can still pull respectable numbers if you drive it responsibly. For those of you really worried about fuel use you can get the Caprice V with a LPG powered 3.6L V6.
But to me unless your using it for a hire car you should go the V8.
Holden has been able to move to a new GM global Electrical Architecture in the new VF Commodore and WN Caprice V allowing Holden to introduce a massive amount of new driver assistance technology and safety features not seen before on anything coming out of the Holden factory and making the Caprice V one of most technically advanced cars ever made in this Country.
Keyless entry and start means no fumbling for keys in your pocket or bag when approaching the car you just push the button on the door handle unlocks once in the car put your foot on the brake and press the start button and the car fires up.
Remote vehicle start operates via the key fob and will work at distances of up to 100m from the car, this system not only starts the car but also takes the last environmental setting and temperature it also will operate the heated front seats. So it means no more cold or hot car on a winter or summers day I used this quiet a few times on cold nights and mornings and really loved getting in and having the car and seats nice and warm.
One of my favourite features was the colour HUD or (Head Up Display) which can show info including speedo, tacho, infotainment and navigation meaning you dont have to take your eye’s off the road at all.
The Auto Park Assist as the name suggests will help park the car for you, all you do when approaching a parking spot is press the button down on the console to activate the system then it search for spot big enough for the car to fit into once it’s found the spot you follow the directions. As I said this is meant to assist you to park you still have to use the brake and accelerator and you should always check mirrors while reversing. One thing different about this system compared to others is not only will it parallel park your car it will also do right angle parking as well.
It was so funny watching my mums reaction when crossed my arms across my chest and the car parked itself it was priceless.
Check out the short video below which demonstrates the Auto Park Assist.
The Caprice V as you would expect has a 5 star ANCAP rating and is packed full of safety features some them a first for an Australian made car, including Reverse Traffic alert , Lane departure warning, blind spot alert, Front and rear parking sensors and a rear view camera, Hill Hold Control, Hill Start Assist, Trailer Sway Control, Forward Collision Alert.
There’s no secret to the fact I absolutely loved driving this car around and i can honestly say this is one of the best cars I have reviewed so far, it has the prefect mix of power, looks, luxury, room, comfort, a massive amount of new technology and more safety features then you can poke a stick at. Sure the V8 might use a little bit of petrol around the city but I would defiantly trade that just because of the ride, comfort and room the features the Caprice V offers.
With a RRP of just $59,990 that’s right it’s not misprint all this car and technology for under 60K plus on roads, the Caprice V offers more value for money then any other long wheel base sedan available on the market. I really could keep going on and on about how good this car is, the great value for money it offers and why it would make such a great choice for a family wanting a luxury car but the best thing I can say is to get yourself down to your local Holden Dealers today and test drive one that way you will understand exactly how good this car really is.
Thank you to Holden for the loan of the Caprice V for more info on Holden’s range of vehicles visit their website http://www.holden.com.au