By on July 13, 2010

First of all, start burning that front fascia into your memory. Chevy’s new Caprice PPV is somehow even less distinctive than a Crown Vic, giving cops something of an edge until speed demons start recognizing it as an unmarked police cruiser rather than a strangely-modded G8. Speaking of which, GM still refuses to build a civilian Caprice, despite previewing what it might look like with this “Detective Duty” version of the new police whip. Because the only thing worse than getting a speeding ticket is getting a speeding ticket from an officer driving an inexpensive, V8-powered, RWD car that you can’t even purchase.

[UPDATE: carenvy.ca cites a "very, very reliable source" as confirming that the Caprice will in fact be sold to civilians in North America. We remain highly skeptical of this claim, and we will follow up on it].

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53 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Busted! Edition...”


  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Will they be available to civilians new?

  • avatar

    That was my thought exactly. Once you know what these look like, you’ll be a lot more sure about whether that’s an unmarked police car or just some tool in a Charger. I’m all for having the cops drive cars that the rest of us can’t get. I only wish there was some inverse rule to go with it.

    Of course, if I had my way the troopers would all be driving Cobalts and we civilians would get the fun cars. Once the revolution is over and I’m running things, I’ll get that all straightened out.

  • avatar
    ott

    GM is making a HUGE mistake not offering this car to the public. How many Caprices did they sell to the public in the eighties and nineties, not to mention to taxi fleets?

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      Let’s hope they first drive the prototype over to Consumer Reports, who rated the Impala 19 on a list of 20, listen to the criticisms, and do something meaningful about the real and honest issues.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      Back in the day (2009) Consumer Reports reported on the Pontiac G8 GT with the 6.0 Liter V-8 on which the Chevrolet Caprice is supposedly based.

      CR seemed to generally like the Pontiac G8 GT and praised its excellent steering, agile handling and supple, well-controlled ride. They also noted the 6.0 Liter V-8 delivered blistering acceleration, that the interior (including the rear seat) was roomy and nicely finished, and that seats were supportive.

      On the other hand they also noted rather poor gas mileage (17 mpg overall in their testing), some odd controls, and they complained that the interior was “not luxurious.”

      The car was rated below the Hyundai Genesis 3.8, Lexus ES350, Toyota Avalon XLS, Acura TL, Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV, Hyundai Azera Limited, and the Lincoln MKZ.

      It was also rated above the Lincoln MKS, Buick Lucerne Super, Saab 9-5, Chrysler 300C V-8 and Chrysler 300 V-6, Dodge Charger R/T and Mercury Grand Marquis.

    • 0 avatar

      CU was right, the Pontiac G8 wasn’t a luxury car. It was a normal and comfortable family car with a more athletic interior than anything else. I know because I own and love one.

      The version of the Caprice the US is getting is also highly decontented from the Aussie original. Cloth seats, three-knob air con, urethane wheel with no grips and the very base interior, trim and front fasica from the Holden Commodore Omega (Holden’s rental special).

  • avatar
    dhathewa

    It’s hard to tell from one photo but I’d say it’s an attractive car. How was the G8 on interior room?

    If GM’s going to import them for the police, it seems senseless not to try and sell it to the general public. Maybe they can’t take the CAFE hit (prescription: sell fewer Tahoes?).

    • 0 avatar

      You can get a good look at it here

      http://www.holden.com.au/vehicles/Caprice

      The new Caprice is a rebadged Holden Caprice from Down Under, with all the content removed to get it as cheap as possible.

      It would be pretty simple for GM to sell a civilian version. GM also sells a rebadged version in China as the Buick Park Avenue with an ultra-lux interior and extra tinsel.

      http://www.buick.com.cn/ParkAvenue/index.aspx

      They could sell both here in the US IMO.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Damn, I would buy that!

    It is the only D-3 car I would even look at.

  • avatar
    ajla

    This car is perfect and GM hates me.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Looks good. Cool, like an understated Audi.

  • avatar

    Wait, don’t I own that company? Let me see if I can make a few calls.

    • 0 avatar
      texlovera

      Ha. Sounds like something Thurston Howell III would say.

      If they’d tone down the plastic chrome, it’d be wonderful. America needs – nay, demands! – a RWD V8 Caprice. And in wagon form too!!

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Just another in a long line of bone-headed decisions by GM management.

    GM could STILL have one plant open, making just the 1996 Impala/Caprice, for police/taxi/SS sales. The ’94-96 Caprice was widely considered to be one of the best police cars ever – why? Besides the good power, handling, and reliability it had lots of ROOM inside and a huge trunk – things that most modern police cars don’t have (excepting Crown Vic/P71). Sure, there were some weaknesses such as flaky digital clusters and weak ball joints, all items that could have been corrected over time making a great product even better.

    Oh well, that IPO will fix everything, right?

    But heck yes, I’d buy one of these (oh well) . . .

    • 0 avatar
      whynotaztec

      Right on! I miss my 95 SS with column shift and acres of room. Something about cramped cockpits in sedans today, God help you if you want to bring a map and a few odds and ends with you. Well, you can, as long as you don’t have a front seat passenger.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    Sourcing a low margin fleet vehicle from a high cost, high currency risk market is yet another huge GM blunder. Mark Reuss continues his daddy’s tradition of having an inverse Midas Touch. Aztek>GTO>G8>Caprice

    They will lose money on every one they sell. Even Lutz called the idea dumb.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      So retool plants in Canada, Mexico or the US, get the high volume pricing from suppliers and make it here. This isn’t rocket science. There must be a strong business reason why this isn’t being offered to civilians. Oh wait, it’s GM. Never mind.

    • 0 avatar
      rmwill

      Hmmm… Add more cost to an already expensive platform that was engineered in Austrailian dollars, for what 20-30K (Highly optimistic) sales?

      Good money after bad. Remember all you car guys/gals really supported the GTO and G8 very nicely by buying very few of them

    • 0 avatar
      Gardiner Westbound

      The Canadian made Chevrolet Camaro is built on the same Zeta platform.

    • 0 avatar

      The Camaro uses a highly modified form of Holden’s structure. The Caprice (and G8) couldn’t be made on the same line as the Camaro.

      The Caprice will come from Australia if/when/if ever GM decides to come up with a more home-grown version.

  • avatar
    Monty

    What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing!

    I love the front clip of that car. It reminds me of mid-sixties full size Chevys, yet looks modern and sleek. Reasonably clean sheet metal and an agressive stance all speak to some classic GM cars. It’s also missing the garish and overwrought chrome bow-tie of the past half-decade, thank goodness.

    That is a handsome car, and being a RWD with V8 power would obviously make some nice underpinnings for a new Buick 225 and Cadillac 60 Series flagships.

    Sadly, GM will fuck this up somehow.

    • 0 avatar
      dhathewa

      The fleet/police aspect precludes rolling it out as a Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      Why would the fleet/police aspect preclude rolling it out as a Buick?

      GM needs to have vehicles in the line-up that mere mortals can’t afford – a flagship for both Buick and Cadillac that define each brand. Low volume, high transaction priced cars that represent the qualities most identified with the brand. Buick – luxurious cruising, and Cadillac – high performance touring.

      GM needs to create a buzz, and have the demand far outstrip the supply. Make them iconic and easily identifiable with styling cues that harken to the time when Cadillac was truly “The Standard of the World”.

      This can only be done in America with a large V8 RWD platform.

      The CTS-V illustrates GM’s engineering capabilities; now take what they learned with the CTS-V and extrapolate it into a $75,000 car that betters the best from Daimler, Lexus and BMW.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    @TriShield, yes they could sell both here and my local Chevy/Cadillac dealer and Buick/GMC dealer would wet themselves with delight.

    @Monte you’re right, it looks like the late 60s early 70s Impala updated for modern times. Hell even offer a base version with the Atlas I6 that the Trailblazer used and I’d give it a serious look.

    @Everyone else, yes GM does hate us and yes they will find a way to SNAFU this one big time.

  • avatar
    thalter

    Isn’t the whole point of unmarked police cars to look like civillian cars? So isn’t an unmarked version of a car sold only to police kind of missing that point?

  • avatar
    RayH

    I am NOT a GM fan in any way, but that car looks pretty good. Maybe it’s the lack of the current gaudy “truck” grill on all their current passenger cars excluding the Impala.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Time for a contrarian. GM should sell this car in the US, but it has no business doing so as a Chevrolet. This car needs to be a Buick. A Buick with Attitude. A Buick to make Chrysler 300C owners want one. Big, fast, comfortable and expensive. This is what Buick should be.
    Old GM would have sold this car as a Chevy. Because GM was dysfunctional, and because Chevy would kick and scream and get its way, because “we have to beat Ford.”
    Let Ford be Ford. Chevrolet is (or should be) GM’s value/Main Street division. Ford does not have Buick to hold the upmarket, but GM does. So, Chevrolet has no business selling a big V8 rear drive sedan. Unless they call it a Pontiac Bonneville or Oldsmobile Rocket 88 and sell it through selected Chevrolet and Buick/GMC dealers.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I like it, but I’m mot so sure there’s enough of a market for big domestic sedans. Seems like that crowd is still into SUVs.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Please please buy this thing in droves to keep that Down Under plant humming…

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Hat tip to tri-shield for the links to the Chinese and Aussie versions of this car. Having looked, I have to say the North American “police version” — at least in the view presented — would be my pick as the most attractive exterior of the three.

    Wouldn’t this car go toe-to-toe with the Taurus? With the 6 liter V-8 matching the SHO? For my eyes, the Taurus exterior is a little overcooked. I didn’t go to the trouble of converting the output and fuel consumption ratings into the (ancient) values that I could understand, but I assume the 6-liter V-8, OHV that it is, is still pretty potent and related to similar engines that motivate Corvettes.

  • avatar
    armadamaster

    I don’t see how GM can sustain offering this car here only to fleets, the only way to justify it is to offer it in some form to retail customers.

    And they have a real shot of sparking some interest in it since Ford is telling all their RWD sedan customers to “go away” with the cancellation of the Panthers. And the D3 Taurus won’t be keeping those customers either.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Perhaps if there is a higher power at work in the universe, cops will tell GM they have no interest in an “undercover” version of a vehicle only they can buy. I mean if I see one of these suckers parked on my street, unmarked, then I’m gonna guess that one of my idiot neighbors is making meth or something similar. A plain Impala on the other hand, well I pull up next to one at every other stoplight.

    • 0 avatar
      Amendment X

      @educatordan

      That is a great point! How can you have a true undercover car that only the police can buy? GM is going to have to either cancel the above undercover version or offer a civilian version of the Caprice to the public. No other option.

    • 0 avatar
      Dukeboy01

      Trust me, the vast majority of drivers out there are not car nuts like you and me, memorizing the details of all new car models no matter how pedestrian they are. I’ll bet 5% of the people in the US can’t tell you the make and model of the car that is currently parked in their driveway, much less what types of cars their local PD uses. The current Ford Crown Vic is for all practical purposes a “cop only” vehicle and they work just fine.

      Speaking from experience, if it doesn’t have a lightbar and decals on it, it’s invisible to 90% of the civilian population. My normal G-ride is 2005 Nissan Maxima, but when it’s in the shop I have to take a Crown Vic from the pool. About six months ago the Nissan was out of service for an extended period of time and I drew a silver 2001 Crown Vic. Unlike the Nissan it had “Official” plates and an antenna farm on it’s trunk lid. People paid no attention at all.

      When they did pay attention, they decided that the silver CV was NOT a police car, like the doctor in a new CTS-V who blew past me at 100 plus in the right lane. “I thought you could be a cop, but I wasn’t sure so I kept going.” Clueless.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Amigo I’m not talking about civilians. I’m talking about criminals, drug dealers, stone cold killas, guys who put bounties on the head of FBI agents. They will figure it out.

    • 0 avatar
      karvanet

      Dukeboy01, I can do you one better. I was driving a fully marked Chevy Suburban, (light bar, cage, reflective decals, the works) on the highway when a car blows by me, I catch up, pace him for about a mile before I pull him over. The first thing he asks me was “where were you hiding, you came out of nowhere”. There are many drivers out there that are oblivious to their surroundings.

    • 0 avatar

      karvanet, I got pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy driving a Suburban who was amazed that he’d been following me for two miles and I hadn’t seen his lights. That amazed me too, until I figured out that all three mirrors on my lowered truck were adjusted so I couldn’t see a light bar way up on top of a 4×4 Suburban.

    • 0 avatar
      karvanet

      Hi Pete,
      That does happen, especially if the PC is too close to you when they activate their lights. Sirens are also next to useless on the highway. I would get tourists from other countries that wouldn’t know what to do when the lights went on. Most times I would pull up beside the driver (contrary to policy) and motion them over. FYI, I’m up in Canada so it wasn’t me that pulled you over.

  • avatar
    segfault

    Looks like they grafted the front end of a 2005 Malibu onto the Pontiac G8.

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    After building family sedans for over one hundred years, you would think General Motors could make a full-size car that did not land on Consumer Report’s list at #19 on a list of 20 (Impala). Other reviews are similar: The Impala is a mid-pack or lower fleet queen.

    If GM decides to go ahead, I pray they do not just research the market but also research all the Impala’s sins and pledge to do a far better job with the Caprice.

    Hellow Big Ed: This one is on your watch.

  • avatar
    daga

    I love that it doesn’t have that craptastic chrome belt style grill.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    My guess is that GM will use the police variants as a way to beta test the Caprice before it’s offered to the general public in North America.

    Personally, I would think that the validation testing would have been completed by now, considering variants of this car are sold all over the world, but I don’t know if there are different considerations for North America.

    I do remember seeing spy photos of a Caprice-like car skulking in Detroit a couple of years ago on GMInsideNews.com. It looked production ready, but I’m sure carmageddon hosed their plans somewhat.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      You don’t need to guess much. Go to Holden site, click careers and watch the video ;)

      I support the beta test as a marketing move.

      In Aussiesland, the Commodore is also used as a cop car.

  • avatar
    rdodger

    This car is already doomed. Making a police cruiser out of it first and fleet vehicle to boot? If and when it is sold to the general public, the resale value will drop considerably. Why does GM always have a way of sabotaging itself?

  • avatar

    Even if these weren’t sold to the public as new cars it wouldn’t be long before the used-cop-car fanatics would be competing at auction for them with cab companies. Thus it only makes sense for Gov’t Motors to sell them as new cars and make more money. I don’t necessarily credit them with the ability to figure this out.

  • avatar
    dhathewa

    It seems to me that there should be some volume potential for anything GM does with this car in regular retail sales. So, a V6 version would be standard. Put the V8 into the SS version. Too bad the Impala name is taken.

  • avatar
    NickR

    So, when I win the lottery, I am building one of these with an LS9 and getting it painted in proper MFP colours.


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