1995 Chevrolet Caprice Reviews

1995 Chevrolet Caprice 4.3 V8 from North America

Model year1995
Year of manufacture1995
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 4.3 V8 Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired96000 miles
Most recent distance108000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Golf

Summary:

A solid car, big and safe, a few minor quirks, but if you pick out a good one, it should last

Faults:

Ignition switch broke.

Drive belt squeaks.

Rear sway bar came loose.

Engine lifter ticking.

Power window issues.

Cruise control quit.

Trunk remote broke.

General Comments:

I've owned this car for about 18 months, it has been very reliable, fairly comfortable, economical to maintain, and performs very well under all road conditions.

I researched owner reviews before buying and would like to return the favor here, I found them very helpful. I looked for a couple months until I found a non-police, low-mileage "grampa car" that was kept up and not beat up. The police package cars have stronger drivetrains and suspensions, but are also beat hard, both by the law and by the go-fast crowd that buys them at the police auctions. I looked at a few ex-cop cars before finding mine, and they were all thrashed. I'm old and slow, and don't like breakdowns or big repair bills.

I had to do the normal things with any used car after purchase, about $500 in preventive maintenance: changed all fluids including trans, rad and rear diff; new shocks; minor rust repair; new belt.

Every 6 months the belt squeaks, but it's a $20 part and takes 2 minutes to replace.

I got too rushed turning it off once and broke the ignition tumblers; cost me a tow and a $200 switch/re-keying (electronic keys).

One back window sticks going up and has to be partly pulled up by hand.

One side of the rear sway bar lost both bolts; a neighbor noticed it, and I had the bolts on hand to replace.

Cruise control quit; the dealer charged me $100 to tell me I needed a $300 switch. I bought the switch for $25 on ebay and installed, but it didn't fix the cruise.

When I first got the car, I floored it through 2 gears and a lifter started ticking, and still ticks when cold.

The 4.3 non-positrack, non-police sedan like mine isn't meant to be hotrodded, so I just take it easy, keep the fluids clean and it has been good to me.

All the issues I just mentioned, I consider minor things, as the car always starts, drives and rides good, gets 20mpg all the time, and is cheaply repaired at my local independent mechanic shop. Forget going to the dealer, a 1995 model is "too old" for them, they don't have the computers or experience to accurately diagnose; my dealer techs look like they were in 4th grade when this car was built.

I bought this "luxury" car because I have a bad back, the roads in Maine are rough, and my old VW was beating me up bad. I grew up in the 70s and remember how soft the big old boats rode back then. This car is more modern, it has a stiffer ride than an old 70's boat, but as a result, handles curves better. The seats are firm, the foam isn't super plush, but lasts a long time. A Lincoln or Caddy might be more comfortable, but costs twice as much to buy... and repair. The Caprice is probably the best combination of durability, comfort, and safety you can find in a modern, fuel-injected, radially-tuned, ABS-type of car.

I drive slow and find the brakes and acceleration fine for my needs. I tow a boat in summer and drive through snow and ice in winter (with studs), and this heavy, RWD, V8 sedan is great for that. Especially climbing hills, with 150 lbs in the trunk, it chugs up icy hills that have FWD cars and minivans spinning out. You just have to slow down descending icy hills and in curves, but any car is like that, honestly, to be safe in winter.

One day I will get a more comfortable car on the bumps for my old bones, and the only thing I can imagine would be softer ride is a 1960's/70's boat with coil springs in the seat and rear axle. Until that time I'll probably keep the Caprice, as long as I have room in the driveway.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th October, 2011

5th Oct 2011, 12:46

You are smart in that you didn't buy a used police car. Police cars are slammed around like no other street driven car.

5th Oct 2011, 15:30

20 mpg with this car. I have a 2011 Buick Lucerne, which is significantly smaller than your car, however not a bunch lighter, and I am only averaging about 19.3 mpg according to the on-board computer.

My old Park Avenue, which was also bigger, was averaging over 22-23 mpg in the same driving conditions. It really puzzles me how Detroit has seemed to go backwards in many areas, especially fuel economy. It is sad that cars like the Caprice and Roadmaster were shunned because people saw how large they were, and just assumed they were gas hogs. Many of the new "big" cars are a lot less roomy and smaller on the outside, yet don't get any better fuel economy because they are almost as heavy as the 15 year old behemoths. It makes me mad that we are all being relegated into smaller and smaller cars, because Detroit either cannot or will not build a decent sized car that will get over 30 mpg.

6th Oct 2011, 10:56

I think a lot of fuel mileage has to do with tires and how you drive. My tires are almost to the wear bars and I keep them at 32 psi, both of which lower "rolling resistance." Because the car is so heavy, it takes off down hills, so I slow down near the top, coast over the crest, then I coast down the other side, and end up needing to brake lightly if the hill is long enough. It helps to know the roads, too.

I don't have a mileage computer, but I reset the trip when I fill up and do the math in my head, best I got was just over 21 mpg. It doesn't matter if I tow or run the A/C, it always gets 20 mpg. The only exception is in winter, I have beefy winter tires, they are soft and squishy on highway curves, but with the studs, very safe on back roads. Winter mpg averages 16-18, that is without towing or running the A/C, like in summer, or it would be even less.

So I guess it would be more accurate to say I get 20mpg with worn summer tires and 17mpg with winter tires. But not everyone needs to change tires in winter or even drives a car like this in winter, so for most people's driving it would not be too hard to get 20 mpg all year round if you have the right tires and drive smoothly. I try to drive like it's a limo with passengers drinking in the back, like "there's an egg on the gas pedal," which probably saves on wear and tear, as well as fuel consumption.

1995 Chevrolet Caprice 350 V8 from North America

Year of manufacture1995
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 350 V8 Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired175000 miles
Most recent distance198000 miles
Previous carFord F100

Summary:

Big fat wallowing hog of a cruiser

Faults:

Blower motor.

Hood release.

EGR valve.

Weird unknown electrical problem that causes the car not to start sometimes.

Rusty behind the rear wheel wells.

General Comments:

Against my gut feeling I bought this puppy anyway. I needed a car that could make the two hour trek to work the next day. I had another Caprice a few years back, an ex police cruiser that had enough power to melt the rear tires and do endless donuts on pavement. While doing a brake stand, the car would shift into every gear including overdrive. But this isn't a review about that car.

Coming back to this car the previous owner claimed to have swapped in a "Corvette" LT1 350 into it. Well for all his hype the car isn't really all that fast. Quick, but not on the same level as my old Caprice. From a dead stop it will just let out a little chirp from the rear tires and be on its way.

The brakes are so so, car wallows like a whale in corners, the dash is too low. One thing it does well is cruise. It'll cruise at 90 mph all day and still get 20 mpg. But that is all the more I have been able to get is 20 mpg regardless of how I drive it. In town or pounding it on some highway it gets the same.

Car was reliable up until a month ago. Besides a few annoying problems like a broken hood release, non-functioning blower motor, and a partially plugged heater core, it never failed to start on the coldest winter days. Now it is hit and miss. Sometimes it'll start, sometimes you can crank on it all day and it won't do anything.

I guess the biggest thing isn't even that the car only starts when it feels like, it is that I got ripped off by paying 2300 dollars for basically rusty car (underneath mainly) with high miles. I knew when I bought it that it wasn't even worth half the price, but I got backed into a corner when no one else would answer on the other ads, and it was a Sunday too. I guess what are you gonna do when you need a car like right now.

One thing is for sure, I am not buying another civilian Caprice. The police cruiser is way more fun and handles like a totally different car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th May, 2009

27th May 2009, 23:13

Well you rushed to buy a car so you can make a 2hr trek to work? I understand your previous car was a PI, but come on, what did you expect with the civilian model? You basically paid top dollar for a rustbucket. Chevy Caprices are very reliable, rugged, tough and BIG. But the previous owner didn't take care of this car. If I'm going to buy a car, I'm buying to drive till the wheels fall off, but hey the car served its purpose. It got you to work.

28th May 2009, 19:15

The original poster here, yeah it isn't the car's fault that I paid too much for it. Honestly if I paid 1200 bucks for it I wouldn't have felt bad at all. I just wish it wasn't so danged rusty. Lesson learned, listen to the gut.

29th May 2009, 15:51

Caprice is a good tough car and saved my life in a pretty serious accident. Maintain them and they will last forever. I also owned a '96 Buick Roadmaster (last year made and same exact car as Caprice but with Buick styling) and that one came STOCK with the LT1 'vette engine. The engine may not be that great on takeoff but on the freeway it struts its stuff when you can blow past just about anything on the road, great passing power. I'd love a '95-96 Caprice Impala SS someday because they look so cool and are already a collectors item.

Average review marks: 7.9 / 10, based on 12 reviews