Stretch­ing the bud­get

Holden’s show of class, writes Gra­ham Smith.

The Advertiser - Motoring - - USED CARS -

FOR much of their ex­is­tence, the States­man and its Caprice big brother played sec­ond fid­dle to the all-pow­er­ful Ford Fair­lane and LTD. With the demise of the Ford duo, they reigned alone. MODEL WATCH: Like all pre­vi­ous mod­els in the States­man and Caprice line, the WM was based on the pas­sen­ger car model of the day. In the case of the WM, it was the VE Com­modore.

The trick was to dis­tin­guish them from their lesser sib­lings so buy­ers felt they were buy­ing some­thing spe­cial.

That was achieved mostly by ex­tend­ing the wheel­base of the VE by 94mm and the over­all length by 266mm, which was used to in­crease the rear cabin space and the boot.

The pro­file was smoothed to achieve a vis­ual bal­ance with the new, longer body and there was ex­tra chrome trim and badges to give it the so­phis­ti­cated pres­ence buy­ers in the class de­mand.

Holden of­fered two mod­els in the WM range: the States­man and the range-top­ping Caprice; dif­fer­en­ti­ated by their trim and fea­tures list.

Both could be spec­i­fied with ei­ther the 3.6-litre high out­put Al­loytec V6, putting out 195 kW at 6500 revs and 340 Nm at 2600 revs, or the 6.0-litre V8, boast­ing 270 kW at 5700 revs and 530 Nm at 4400 revs.

The V6 came with a five-speed auto with shift pad­dles while the V8 came with a six-speed auto that also fea­tured pad­dle shift­ing.

Un­der­neath the chas­sis was the same as the VE, with mul­ti­link in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion front and rear, front mounted steer­ing rack, and large disc brakes.

It was an awe­some pack­age that han­dled with the aplomb of a smaller car. In­side, the States­man had wood­grain high­lights, power front seats, front and rear park as­sist, rain­sens­ing wipers, pow­er­ful 11-speaker CD sound, MP3 and Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity.

The Caprice had alu­minium ac­cents, deep bol­stered sports seats, leather and suede trim, Bose pre­mium sound and Tri-zone air. IN THE SHOP: Over­all the WM is prov­ing a sturdy, re­li­able car but watch for a slump in ac­cel­er­a­tion when it seems the six-speed auto trans­mis­sion isn’t quite sure what is go­ing on. It’s usu­ally at low speed when you want to ac­cel­er­ate again af­ter lift­ing off the gas.

Cars­guide has re­ceived few com­plaints about the WM. Look for a ser­vice record and in­spect for pos­si­ble crash dam­age. IN A CRASH:

Be­fit­ting its sta­tus at the top of the Holden tree, the WM had an ar­ray of safety gear.

It be­gan with a solid body struc­ture, de­signed to ab­sorb the en­ergy of a crash, and in­cluded steer­ing col­umn ride-down mech­a­nism and break­away ped­als. Then it added a host of airbags, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, trac­tion con­trol, anti-lock brak­ing, elec­tronic brake as­sist and elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion. ANCAP gave it five out of a pos­si­ble five stars. UN­DER THE PUMP: Cars­guide reader Kevin Al­sop is re­signed to the fact the V8 WM Caprice is a big heavy car and is con­tent with the 12.4-12.6 L/100 km from it. Holden’s claim was the V6 would av­er­age 11.7 L/100 km and the V8 14.4 L/100 km.

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