In 1984, the Chevrolet Caprice Classic was a unique vehicle. It was an old-school sedan designed for large families that required a large vehicle. According to Motorweek’s John Davis, the third-generation sedan, which was first unveiled in 1977, was already out of step with the trends by 1984.
Davis laments the demise of large sedans in this throwback review, claiming that this one was built at a period when most automobiles were downsizing. “It appears that downsizing has spread across the country,” Davis added. “This creates a difficulty for the extended family.” They just cannot fit into the amazing shrinking automobile.”
However, the Caprice Classic was part of the third-best-selling range in the United States in 1983, demonstrating that American families have always desired large cars, whether sedans, minivans, or, more recently, SUVs and crossovers.
The Caprice Classic was long enough to transport six people, measuring 17.5 feet (5.3 meters). When compared to the increasingly FWD marketplace, it was undoubtedly a throwback, powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that supplied power to the rear wheels. Nonetheless, Chevrolet was able to do just enough to keep the Caprice alive.
The EPA scored the Caprice Classic at 17 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, despite its thirsty V8. Although it isn’t particularly amazing now, Motorweek reports that the 1984 car scored twice as many miles per gallon (21) on its test loop as the 1974 model, so it was definitely an improvement.
Even in terms of driving characteristics, the large sedan performs admirably. “For its size, the Caprice seems more nimble than it should,” Davis noted. “While it’s still a little mushy, it shows some chassis prowess.”
What’s more unexpected is that, despite Davis’s obituary-like assessment, the third-gen Caprice would live on for another six years, until it was replaced by another Caprice with a similar fundamental formula.