2007 Accord New Car Test Drive
Chevrolet has prepared a pleasant surprise for luxury-car buyers.
Many of these buyers have traditionally been willing to endure a little acceleration lag or suspension mushiness in exchange for opulent styling and abundant creature comforts. However, engineers of the 1994 Chevrolet Caprice Classic LS sedan have apparently spent time adapting some of the specifications of hot wheels such as the Z28 Camaro to the Caprice LS.
The result is an elegant, long, wide-stance luxury sedan that delivers a truly inspiring set of performance and handling characteristics.
Maybe, just maybe, you can have it all.
For an MSRP of $24,698, well under the prices of more pretentious domestic and imported luxury models, our test Caprice LS delivered all the amenities of a genuine luxury sedan plus the performance dividends borrowed from more muscular brethren.
Loads of power assists, standard dual air bags, a gorgeous leather interior, and a matchless Delco/Bose AM/FM stereo system were all included in the impressive package of standard and optional features on our test-drive Caprice LS.
Its power and responsiveness under the hood, combined with the muscle and agility of its steering/suspension system, place Chevrolet's luxury sedan in a class by itself. Oh, there will be smart alecks out there who will make their wry exaggerations about the 1994 Chevrolet G20 Sportvan Beauville, They'll say that with all its traditional big-van styling, the Beauville looks like something that should be in the Smithsonian rather than in a yuppie's driveway.
Very funny. And very misleading.
Sure, the '94 Beauvilles a typical, high-clearance, high-center-of-gravity van that's not exactly sleek or aerodynamic in style. But remember that this van has a different mission in life. It is, fundamentally, a van designed for carrying people and cargo as effectively, comfortably and efficiently as possible. And within that broad context, this vehicle is solid and consistent.
The Sportvan Beauville owes its G20 designation to its eight-passenger capacity and 125-inch wheelbase, while the extended-body G30 model seats 12 and has a whopping 146-inch wheelbase.
A 4.3-liter V6 was standard on our Beauville, but we opted for a littlemore muscle with an optional 5.7liter V8 that meshed well with the electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. The engine was rated as putting out 200 hp at 4,000 rpm, as well as 310 pound-feet of torque at 2,400 rpm. For added convenience, we chose an option package that included front and rear air conditioning, reclining front seats, power windows and locks, a tilt steering wheel, speed control,tinted glass, auxiliary lighting and stainless-steel exterior mirrors. We also added the heavy-duty towing package and steel-belted tires, bringing our tally to $24,315.
Many of the G20 models that Chevrolet builds are earmarked for conversion companies, while the rest, such as the one we tested, are sold through dealerships to be used as basic passenger vans. In fact, our Beauville reminded us of a bus, albeit a nicely finished bus. Unfortunately, some of the interior was lacking, either in functional convenience or in a contemporary feel. If you're big on four-wheeling, you probably should give consideration to Chevrolet's K Blazer. Sure, the basic vehicle is hardly a new entry as it celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Many of the rough edges have been smoothed in styling, handling and performance, but it's still basically the same vehicle it was a quarter century ago-and enough of a crowd pleaser to keep Chevrolet (and GMC with its full-size Jimmy) pumping them out. Ford also continues to make its full-size Bronco for the same reason.
We drove a 1994 edition Sport model with a much-improved 6.5-liter 180-hp V8 diesel. When considering the K Blazer Sport with the diesel, you have three major issues to confront. First is price. This muscle-bound four-wheeler is going to cost you nearly $30,000 MSRP when equipped like our test model. Next, people of smaller stature are going to have trouble entering and exiting unless you get aftermarket running boards. And last, the restricted rear seat/cargo space doesn't really offer a lot of easily accessible room.