Make / Model Search

Car reviews - HSV - Grange - sedan

Our Opinion

We like
Performance, dynamic advances over Caprice, relatively restrained visual additions for an HSV, undeniable value
Room for improvement
Auto still jerky and unpredictable, VE/WM wind noise and quality issues still present, HSV instrument graphics cheapen Caprice’s cabin ambience

25 May 2007

THE problem with Holden’s WM Caprice is that it is dynamically inferior to the VE Calais.

In a nutshell, while miles better than any previous big Holden, the Caprice does not seem to have quite the same impressive tautness of body control, while the car pitches a little over some road surfaces for a less stable and smooth ride than its shorter-wheelbase stablemate.

It is enough to undermine a luxury sedan that is otherwise a compelling mix of modernity, space, value, V8 performance and size.

But if you are used to any of the last two generations of BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-class or Audi A8, the Caprice still behaves more like a jumped-up Commodore than a cut-price sports saloon.

That would be that, except for the fact that Holden Special Vehicles has attacked the Statesman/Caprice duo’s shortcomings on two fronts with its version of the WM long-wheelbase cars, the Grange.

Firstly, it employs the Delphi-developed Magnetic Ride Control damper device that instantaneously adjusts pressures to suit road and driver-input conditions via several sensors around the vehicle.

Small but noticeable differences in the car’s handling and cornering attitude can be detected when pushing on.

Just as importantly, the Grange’s ride quality seems calmer and more settled than on its Holden-badged cousin.

The overall effect is a big step in the right direction.

Grange drivers can more ably explore the big American 6.0-litre V8’s mega power and torque reserves, thanks to its ability to better carve-up corners while doing a more successful job cosseting its occupants from unwanted and sudden movements.

Why Holden has not adapted this technology for the Statesman and Caprice is a mystery.

The Grange’s interior is slightly sportier in presentation than its donor car, with three extra binnacles perched in the centre, bespoke instrumentation graphics and illumination, and minor trim and material differences to spell the more athletic nature of this car.

It is much more tasteful than you might imagine, and the result is dependent on the beholder. We believe the target audience will lap it up, particularly if they are coming from Commodore SS and the like. Others might find the additions unnecessary and tackier than the WM Caprice’s.

Grange’s exterior alterations are far better executed than we expected.

Still, the Grange does not completely exorcise some of the Caprice’s other shortcomings – namely, untoward wind and road noise, and the odd cabin rattle and squeak.

The V8 may have a king-of-the-jungle exhaust rumble that matches the unrelenting forward thrust that accompanies it, but the six-speed automatic gearbox that feed it to the rear wheels has a few grumbles of its own.

As with the other Holden-badged models using this drivetrain combination, there are issues of smoothness and response.

This GM-derived gearbox can be slow to react and does not change up as happily in certain situations, such as after a spell of hard driving.

HSV says that driver-adaptive software ‘determines’ changes, and so may be slow to settle down again, but even during gentle driving periods, the same criticisms have applied.

Blue-collar image aside, this transmission malady is perhaps the Grange’s biggest hurdle in truly being an Audi S8 rival at a fraction of the funds, but the fact that the HSV gets close is great news for Australians.

There is a gaping hole in the market for a car of this performance, luxury, size and value, and we should be grateful that it exists. It would only take a little more polish for the Grange to give the Europeans and Japanese something really serious to think about.

Although they are remarkably similar, the items that make the HSV unique under the skin are also what make it better than the Caprice V8 to ride in and drive.

VE Calais owners now have something in the HSV stable to trade up to without feeling that they are moving down.

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new Grange

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here