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Epica Holden?s budget performer

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The Korean built sedan replaces the Vectra at a much lower price.

From the start, things went well for the new Holden Epica. First off, I mistook it for a Commodore in the Holden car park, so it really must look like it belongs in the lion-badged family.

This mid-sized, Korean-made sedan that replaced the slow-selling, European-made Vectra, is smaller than a Commodore, but not by so much it stands out. Less than 9cm narrower and shorter, less than 3cm lower. Then there's the similar grille, similar-style headlights, similar stance.

Something else that bodes well for the Epica: tell people you have a new cut-price Holden outside and they take a look at it, showing the brand's strength.

Petrolheads might dismiss it as not a “real” Aussie Holden, but are fascinated by the Epica's layout: a front-drive car with an in-line, six-cylinder engine. That's highly unusual in 2007.

There is a choice of engines; a 2.0 litres capacity with manual gearbox or a heartier 2.5 litres with automatic transmission, both designed by Porsche. The Epica doesn't go like a Porsche, but then it's not priced like one.

Fuel economy, rather than sizzling performance, seems to have been the goal, but it goes along well enough, considering how much it costs.

Just don't expect typical six-cylinder power. Since the Epica's engine is the size of many four-cylinder units, that's the sort of performance you get.

Overall, it is not exactly special to drive, nor is it anything awful. Think average fare at a within-reach price for most people.

Unfortunately for the Epica, it is probably fashionable to knock cars like this: a budget design brought in to replace one with a better pedigree. Trouble was, the Vectra proved too expensive to survive.

The Epica's engine is generally quiet and smooth, but seems short of torque, or pulling power, at low revs. Or even medium revs. So when cruising at the highway limit in hilly country it tends to drop back a couple of gears to maintain momentum, and this can get tiresome.

Dynamically, it lacks the poise of spot-on Japanese designs like the Mazda 6 and Honda Accord. As for refinement, the Toyota Camry and Mitsubishi 380 feel like they're in another league.

So, cutting edge it's not. Still, there is plenty about the Epica to make it popular. Certainly it amounts to a fair bit of car for the money; though classed as mid-sized, it has generous leg room for people in the back seat, along with a roomy boot.

There is the convenience of a split-fold back seat, too, so there's something big brother Commodore could learn from the Epica.

In some ways it is generously equipped: alloy wheels on even the cheapest version, plus cruise control, six-speaker audio system. The rear seat has a fold-down armrest with cupholders.

But keep looking and you find things missing; no stability control system, no manual-change mode for the automatic transmission, no driver's footrest, no normal spare tyre, but one that can be used only up to 80km/h.

Obviously there have been trade-offs to keep that price down.

 


Key points

Holden Epica

Details: Medium-size, front-drive sedan with six-cylinder engine. 2.0 litres (105kW power, 195Nm torque) or 2.5 litres (115kW, 237Nm). Five-speed manual or five-speed automatic.

Features: Front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes, airconditioning, alloy wheels, cruise control, remote central locking, power mirrors, power windows.

Cost: CDX 2.0 manual $25,990, CDX 2.5 auto $27,990, CDXi 2.5 auto $30,990.

 

 

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 14 comments

  • Love the look and for a medium sized car plenty of room for my family. I have just taken one for a test drive and it is quiet and smooth and easy to handle. I am trading my EL Falcon to purchase one. I really like the CDXi and I will be buying one! Hope its as good as it looks.

    Margaret Metcalfe Posted on 13 September 2007 9:38am
  • I am so impressed by the Epica I have asked the wife to trade in the Caprice for one !

    John + Janette Howard Posted on 22 August 2007 9:51am
  • Every
    Piece
    Is
    Crap
    Australia

    Nick Guerin Posted on 10 August 2007 9:40am
  • I hope no one bought this korean junk because I bet you you thought it was Australian made and now that you seen the reviews, comments and reports, you now have this sinking, empty feeling awwwww, I would give it back while Holden still has some sort of deal because I'm pretty sure most people out there driving this korean daewoo would better off with a KIA now that's funny LOL

    zztop Posted on 10 August 2007 9:40am
  • On the point of the exterior of the car it screams BMW 5 series with its overly flamboyant head lights and the grille if it were replaced with BMW's Kidney grllled could resembe a fictious "4 series" due to its size.
    So far i have spotted one of these cars out and about since its release and that was some time ago so I'm thinking of how popular this car is going to be, having said a TOYOTA corrolla rolls out the door every 23sec's this car doesnt looks like its doing to well since there are 100's of new look corrolla's are around the place already, probably the same case story for the Camry which was in big numbers in just days, which its up against. good luck Holden to get the car to appear as frequent as a Opel/Vauxhaul built Vectra. do Aussies like Korean made Aussie badged cars??

    Toby Evans Posted on 09 August 2007 9:59am
  • Oh my gosh what a banger! On a test drive I could have sworn I had time travelled back to the 70's. Inside looks like it was ikea and it handled like a drunk drag queen. It's sloppy and old fashioned with almost no road feel. It was noisy inside and reminded me more or old Japanese rather than new Holden (albeit DeaYUK). The Vectra was ugly and expensive but nice quality. The Epica, contrary to what the name might suggest, is going to be a very short story. It's not enough to make me want a Ford, YET, but they have continued all the things that sent Deawooful broke in the first place. YUK, don't waste your time test driving, go to a movie instead.

    alan zurvas Posted on 09 August 2007 9:59am
  • i test drove this car and bought one and it is awesome so quiet so smooth a little low on power until you go above 3000 rpm and then it takes off. fuel economy is fantastic no touble for 700k's on a tank city driving i haven't been far on the hwy yet finish quality is beautiful no a thing out of place so i would class this car a winner

    michael bacon Posted on 08 August 2007 10:46am
  • I previously owned a VZ SS commodore but found the fuel consumption to much to keep it, my family down sized to the CDX Epica and so far i have found it to be not only a great looking car but a reliable and cost effective way to go. I will agree with the torque level at low revs is poor but for a mid sized car at a mid sized price you cant expect to get all the gadgets and bells with it, it is great at around town or on the highway. Value for money is all i have left to say.

    matt stonestreet Posted on 08 August 2007 10:46am
  • So Australians are asked to pay more for last decades tech again… didn't the Vectra show how to NOT re-badge an already failing car.  Honestly, Holden should hang their heads in daewoo shame and if they have 2 brain cells to rub together will avoid the shame by leaving it out of the lineup at the upcoming Australian Motor Show in Sydney in October!!  I drive a 2001 V35 Skyline… now compare that tech / chassis design of Japanese engineering with ANY Korean misery!!  Heres hope we get a glimpse of the new GTR tongue laugh

    Mark Henley Posted on 08 August 2007 9:44am
  • If this were badged Daewoo it would have been rated poor.  Let's not forget this is a Daewoo badged Holden, as Joel mentions "doesnt fool me" but I am sure they will fool 1000's of aussie's

    Jeff Aquilina Posted on 08 August 2007 9:44am
  • your story on the epica. well for startters it looks nothing like a commorde.some of the oldies. might go for it. its another gmh idea that will come an go. well you cant say there not trying can you.

    robert wilson Posted on 08 August 2007 9:44am
  • Correct Joel, just a dull and inferior effort again by another stupid holden I not jealous but why support holden's south korean made Daewooooo ahhhhhhhhhh and settle for second best shortly after buying the car then feeling empty all I can say holden fans is hahaha nice try…

    zztop Posted on 08 August 2007 9:44am
  • Not in the same league as the new hyndai sonata that i am driving! i found the epica to be extremely sluggish and the over all finish quality was poor. Just another pathetic holden attempt to disguise a daewoo as an aussie car, doesnt fool me. better to stick with koreas superier manufacturer, hyundai all the way

    joel minahan Posted on 06 August 2007 4:43pm
  • Well, I must admit that im impressed. What I thought to be a dreadful car claiming to be Porsche designed (soooo embarrassing for the Germans) actually turned out alright. Im no fan of Front wheel drive and I have to admit the weakness of the engine BUT I find it stylish and spacious.
    Pretty much, I guess its just an improved replacement for the Vectra?

    Alex Clout Posted on 06 August 2007 2:31pm
Read all 14 comments

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