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Chevrolet Impala, Sedan
#57 of 107 SS vs Caprice (to andre1969, #55)
Jun 01, 2001 (3:27 pm)
According to my copy of GM's 1996 Specifications for the Caprice/Impala SS...
The same 260 hp/330 lb-ft torque 5.7L LT1 V-8 engine was used in both the Caprice sedan (optional) and Wagon & SS ( both standard). The same 4L60-E 4-speed automatic transmission, including gear ratios (3.06, 1.63, 1.00, & .70 overdrive), was used for both the 4.3L and 5.7L V-8s.
The SS came standard with a 30 mm from stabilizer bar and 26 mm rear. SS had front and rear vented disc brakes. The SS came with tuned De Carbon shock absorbers. It also had standard limited slip differential, quick ratio power steering, and transmission oil cooler. Plus 45/45 bucket seats. SS also had "Salisbury 4-link coil steel alloy spring" rear suspension.
SS had P225/50ZR-17 tires standard versus largest Caprice tire option of P235/70R-15 (non-speed rated).
The Caprice could be ordered with following options: G80--limited slip differential w/3.23 final drive; QMU--P235/70R-15 blackwalls; G67--automatic levelling suspension (wagon only); and B4U--sport suspension (incl. trailering package w/HD cooling and engine oil cooling, and G80 LSD & 3.23 axle, and requiring QMU tires). There were no bucket seats, only 55/45. All had rear drum brakes. No rear stabilizer bar; 26 mm front. Had "4-link solid axle coil steel alloy spring" rear suspension.
4.3L Caprice used a 2.93 rear axle. 5.7L Caprice used a standard 2.56 rear axle, with an optional 3.23 available. The SS had only a 3.08 rear axle.
Empty 4.3L Caprice weighed 4,061 pounds. 5.7L Wagon at 4,473. SS at 4,036.
Due to the similarities and fact the Caprice could be ordered with the 3.23 rear axle, it was actually quicker. But due to its non-speed rated tires, the SS had a much higher top speed (drag limited at over 140 mph). There was no real comparison, though, in handling or hard braking.
One of the best comparison tests of the time is reported in the May 1996 issue of Popular Mechanics' CarSmart. They compared the SS to MB S500, Cadillac Fleetwood, Buick Roadmaster, Chevy Caprice (w/optional 5.7L V-8 & suspension), Lincoln Town Car, Merc Grand Marquis LS, and Ford Crown Vic LX:
The Caprice Classic is "the fastest car in this group, even out-dragging the more performance- oriented Impala SS. But its ride is more comfortable than the SS, more like the Roadmaster... Where the Caprice fell short was its handling... Its stability rating is the worst of any here... the Caprice warrants attention, but for another $1,283 you can purchase an Impala SS, which makes the Caprice seem unnecessary."
"Hands down, the Impala SS is the best value here... it simply delivers the most car for the money... it outhandled and outaccelerated the Mercedes, and equaled the Benz's remarkable braking performance."
Their test results:
Car SS Caprice
0-60 7.5 7.3 secs
30-50 2.7 2.5 secs
50-70 3.8 3.8 secs
60-0 cold 118 130 feet
60-0 hot 121 139 feet
Handling 47 43 mph
Jun 01, 2001 (4:33 pm)
...thanks for all the great info! You've got me starting to regret that I didn't end up buying that '96 Caprice! I ended up backing down because of the price, and the fact that it stunk to high heaven of cigarette smoke. They wanted $13,860 for it, and it had about 36,000 miles on it. In retrospect, that doesn't sound too bad considering what Impala SS's seem to be going for.
I ended up buying a 2000 Dodge Intrepid 2.7 about a month later. I'm happy with it, but there's a spot in my heart for an Impala SS, or 350 Caprice! Maybe when I wear the 'Trep out, I'll come back to GM and get a used one.
#59 of 107 purchased an '01 impala
Jun 03, 2001 (7:58 am)
Well, I looked into the '96 imapala ss purchase and found a really nice on for less than $18,000. It had less than 50K miles and was very clean and well maintained with a really good paint job.(which is important to me).
I actually took my intrigue in to early terminate the lease and the dealer told me about GM's program to pay my lease off if i by a new GM car.
By the time they took all the discounts and incentives off of the new impala it was over $7000!!. So i bought the new car.
One of these days i will own a black '96 SS. They will probably still be selling for over $15,000 five years fom now.
#60 of 107 No Comparison (to b4z)
Jun 03, 2001 (12:17 pm)
Not sure you were ever serious about a '94-'96 SS. There is absolutely no comparison, whatsoever, between the '94-'96 SS and the run-of-the-mill pedestrian FWD Impala you bought. Like comparing lobster to celery. Your Impala is "competitive" with your average Taurus or Concorde. But strictly minor league to the SS's major league capabilities.
Hope you do like it. My brother, a clergyman who isn't into cars at all (viewing them like appliances), loves his '00 Impala LS. That says a million words to me about who the target market is for new Impala.
Can't tell exactly what you paid, but I'm assuming you got $7,000 "OFF" MSRP sticker. A loaded Impala LS will sticker for around $22,000. So you had to end up paying about $15,000 or thereabouts for the car (unless you bought a base model with few options). Not too much less than for the SS.
Give your Impala a year and then compare its resale value. Bet the '96 Impala SS will be worth more!
#61 of 107 New Impala: Epitome of Mediocrity
Jun 03, 2001 (12:45 pm)
If you want to quickly appreciate how mundane and mediocre is the new Impala, check out the April 2001 New Car Issue of Consumer Reports. Here's what a non-performance oriented publication had to say (p. 37):
"competent though unexceptional model"
Is this akin to damning with faint praise?
CR tested a '00 Impala LS in their May 2000 issue. Currently out of 17 6-cylinder family cars CR has tested over the past 2 years, the new Impala LS scores AHEAD of only 4: the Chysler Sebring LX, Mazda 626 LX, Mercury Sable LS, and Ford Taurus SE. It TIES with the Chevy Malibu LS, Dodge Intrepid, and Mitsu Galant ES.
CR rates the new Impala LS BEHIND the VW Passat GLS, Camry LE, Maxima GXE, Accord EX, Olds Intrigue GL, Grand Prix SE, Olds Alero GL2, and Hyundai Sonata GLS.
Is almost laughable to compare new Impala to old one. The new one is barely competitive in its class, and falling behind. Old one was in a class by itself. Only the '03 Mercury Marauder will be competitive.
#62 of 107 giowa
Jun 03, 2001 (2:48 pm)
I am a car guy and consider myself very knowledgeable.
The '01 was simply cheaper for me to purchase. I am 6'8" and most of the cars on your list don't work for me. I came out of an '99 intrigue so i know all about that car. I don't have the time to spend at the olds service department anymore. And i am not prepared to take a $10,000 depreciation hit in one year on an intrigue.
Part of the deal on the intrigue termination was that they forgave my remaining lease payments. If i had turned the car in in may i would have had to pay $2445.00 out of pocket. The total discounts on the '01 was about $4500. MSRP was $25,504 I paid $21,068.00. S.C. sales tax is only $300.00 maximum.
Back to the comparison. They are different cars, the '01 doesn't handle like the SS, but it only gives up about .5 second 0-60 mph.
Once i get the grey mouldings off of it and slightly tint the windows i will have a pretty good looking car. True, it is still front wheel drive. But the '01's aquisistion cost was less.
If i don't like the car in a couple of years i can buy a SS or a Marauder. I am sure my income will allow me to do that by then.
CR is not a great magazine to use when comparing cars. If it were everyone would be driving camrys and accords.
#63 of 107 Misc (to b4z)
Jun 03, 2001 (2:56 pm)
1. Real car guys don't drive '00-'01 Impalas as their car of choice. People who don't care much about cars or care about things other than pure driving pleasure do.
2. Real knowledgeable car guys don't confuse old and new Impala. They are as different as night and day.
3. Darn near everyone is driving a Camry or Accord (they have led the sales charts for years). That is why Chevy only made about 60,000 '94-'96 Impala SSs. You had to be in the know to know. And want to stand out of the crowd.
4. Appears you bought your pedestrian conveyance primarily to save some dough. Great for you and Chevy. But you didn't get anything other than a bland, boring, low performance car that sullies the name "Impala". God help us if Chevy has the gall to stick "SS" on this FWD taxi cab wanna be.
5. Hope it holds enough resale value so you can trade it in on a new '03 Marauder. But I'm guessing there will likely be another fire sale on a bland car and you might be inclined to go for that. Hope not!
#64 of 107 giowa
Jun 03, 2001 (6:19 pm)
Don't really want to get in an arguement with you about my credentials. You and i have posted before in the marauder thread.
My other car is an '87 IROC that i special ordered. It is the 215 hp TPI motor with 5 speed. 3.45 rearend, limited slip and 4 wheel discs. It will be in and out of the shop until this fall. Part of the work being done on it will a 336 CID small block with about 300 hp.
I felt that the SS was inappropriate for my job as a real estate agent. I did not know that my not buying the SS excludes me from my hobby.
According to you i am no longer a car enthusiast.
#65 of 107 Not True
Jun 03, 2001 (6:29 pm)
My comments are entirely in regard to what you have said about the new Impala vis-a-vis the real Impala (i.e., the '94-'96 years) and your justifications for buying same. You write as if there is some legitimate way to compare the old and new Impala. There isn't. And no enthusiast would, either. They are two entirely different cars for two entirely different markets & drivers. I find it odd that you could claim to be seriously interested in a '96 SS and then suddenly be smitted by an '01 LS. Either you weren't serious about the former or are rationalizing the latter.
Do you honestly believe there is any valid comparison between your LS and my SS? If so, please enlighten me. And I don't mean things like "each has 4 wheels, 4 doors, a steering wheel, etc."
#66 of 107 giowa
Jun 04, 2001 (3:32 am)
I don't ever think i said the two were directly comparable. The only thing they have in common is the name and the impala logo. Even if GM were to put a LS1 in the current impala it is impossible to compare FWD to RWD.
I do not feel that I settled for a bad car though. I have thoroughly enjoyed driving it these past three days. It is not as sporting as the intrigue was, nor does it have the intrigue's incredible passing power. It still drives great and i have gotten lots of compliments.
The deal that Gm offered me was to good to pass up. Remember, i would have had to pay almost $18,000 for the SS, and $2445.00 to get out of the lease on the intrigue.