Used 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

No changes as Caprice enters final year of production.

Vehicle overview

Chevy's behemoth Caprice Classic is quite a competent car, which explains its popularity in police and taxi fleets. It carries plenty of passengers and cargo, and handles surprisingly well for a vehicle regularly nicknamed Shamu, after the famous Sea World whale. Essentially, the Caprice's optional 5.7-liter V8 is the same engine that propels the fantastic Impala SS sport sedan (though in slightly different tune), and combined with the optional sport suspension, the Caprice moves with amazing alacrity.

However, the frumpy Caprice has never been very successful with the buying public, mostly due to its heavy-handed styling. Modifications since the current car's 1991 debut include revised rear wheel wells, restyled tail lamps, and the dog-leg rear quarter window treatment from the sportier Impala SS. Wagon models haven't changed one whit. Overall, the styling improvements haven't improved the Caprice, which we kind of liked as a pseudo-Hudson.

Inside, the Caprice looks like a taxi. A wide, flat bench seat and expansive, slab-like dashboard greet and seat six passengers in comfort. With the optional V8, sport suspension and wide tires mounted on alloy wheels, the Caprice offers good performance value in a traditional full-size sedan or wagon

We prefer the understated, muscular look of the Impala SS, but for buyers who need interior acreage, lots of chrome and miss the good old horsepower-infused days of the '60s and '70s, the Caprice Classic ought to fit the bill. Better hurry though, GM is dropping the Caprice so that more profitable, and popular, sport utility vehicles can be built in its Arlington, Texas plant. After a short 1996 model run, the Caprice will be gone from Chevy showrooms.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.