Caprice easy to handle despite its large size


It seems everyone has something to say about the way the 1991 Caprice looks.

Young people point out the unmatched front and rear wheel openings, and they seem to think the styling is somewhere between silly and awkward.

Older people love the way it looks, and more than that, they are buying Caprices almost as fast as Chevy can build them.

Regardless of how you feel about the rounded looks of the restyled Caprice, chances are you will like its ride, handling, fuel economy, interior and performance. Base price is $17,370.

The Caprice can be ordered to suit a variety of budgets and can be decked out to suit many tastes, because Chevy has made available a bevy of options.

The seats front and rear are couchlike in comfort, style and appearance. When optional leather is ordered, the seats take on an Ethan Allen-like quality: traditional, elegant and stylish.

You would think a car the size of the Caprice -- nearly 18 feet long -- would handle about as well as an average-sized blimp. I found the Caprice, thanks to an optional $220 handling package, to have a firm yet giving suspension.

The Caprice will not be flustered when taking a sharp curve. There's little body roll and no tire squeal when it is called upon for fast maneuvers. Road noise is nearly locked out of the interior.

Acceleration is a little on the lax side, but fuel economy for such a large car with a V-8 engine is excellent. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Caprice averages 17 miles per gallon in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway. The test car was within a mile or two of those figures.

The Caprice is powered by a 305-cubic-inch V-8 that is connected to a four-speed overdrive automatic transmission. Like all Caprices before it -- and unlike many of today's full-size cars -- the new Caprice remains a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. Other standard mechanical items include power anti-lock disc/drum brakes and power steering.

The Caprice comes equipped with a driver's side air bag and anti-lock brakes.

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