Long-legged gearing means the Ute isn't as quick as the aforementioned Camaro, but it still serves up plenty of punch and a wonderfully wide torque band. Holden's pipe benders have tuned the exhaust system for less rumble than Americans want in a musclecar, but it still sounds terrific. The Ute clearly outdoes the old F-bodies in terms of chassis rigidity, ride quality, and suppleness. Holden's firmly tuned and well-damped independent suspension glides over mid-corner bumps that would have a Firebird stepping sideways. Our only gripe is some flapping and drumming from the cargo area's plastic tonneau cover.
The Caprice (remember that name?) is Holden's long-wheelbase sedan variant; at 206 in. overall, it's a half-foot longer, though a bit narrower, than a BMW 745i. This car is sold not only in Holden's home market, but in several Middle-Eastern countries (it's the police car of choice in Dubai, by the way). Most of the added room is found aft of the B-pillar, which makes the already adequate rear-seat area S-Class large and comfy. The fake wood trim and interior plastics aren't up to the levels set by premium German sedans, but the Caprice is a lot less expensive. A GM four-speed automatic replaces the six-speed stick in this application.
In spite of the greater weight and automatic trans, the Caprice's acceleration is still plenty quick. Aggressive gear ratios and the torquey V-8 combine for impressive mid-range passing prowess. This model's suspension is tuned more for suppleness than cornering ability; the ride is luxury-car smooth, yet never mushy. It feels like what a modern American full-size rear-drive luxury sedan would feel like--if GM made one. Is there a Buick Roadmaster to be found here? HSV is to Holden what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz and SVT to Ford. In this case, the Holden Special Vehicle group has applied its treatment to the Commodore sedan (the one most closely related to the Catera) to create the HSV 300. The recipe is much the same as that employed by Ford and Mercedes: Performance-tuned suspension, rolling stock, and brakes combine with a high-output engine, a sportier interior, and a snarkier exterior package to make a limited-edition supersedan.