Epica step to a cheaper option
The Holden Epica 2007-2008 isn’t breathtaking, writes Graham Smith.
THE Epica was one of the new generation of small and mid-sized cars Holden imported from Asia to replace its expensive European range, in particular the mid-sized Vectra.
The mid-sized Vectra was well regarded here for its responsive performance but it was a premium product with a premium price and never really got going.
It wasn’t surprising that Holden turned to Korea for a cheaper replacement.
By adopting the Epica, Holden became more price-competitive in a market that was growing as buyers downsized out of bigger cars, like the Commodore and Falcon.
Given that the Vectra was a premium European model with all the technology and features expected of a car from that part of the world, Holden’s decision to replace it with the Korean-built Epica seemed something of a step backwards.
But it wasn’t the giant stride feared, particularly once Holden’s engineers had tweaked it to ensure it was in tune with the Australian market.
Local engineers played a hand in the suspension settings, transmission controls and equipment levels.
It was also given a cosmetic makeover by Holden’s designers so there was nothing that jarred when it landed here.
The result was that it had an appealing look and was packed with features Australian buyers wanted.
Inside, the cabin was roomy and comfortable with space for three adults across the back seat, and there was a good-sized boot.
There were two engines offered which were both six-cylinder units, and two models – the CDX and CDXi.
Porsche designed the double overhead camshaft straight-six engine, which was an unusual choice for a front-wheel-drive car given it has to fit across the nose.
In its smaller 2.0-litre form, it put out 105kW at 6400 revs and 195Nm at 2600 revs while the bigger 2.5-litre produced 115kW at 5800 revs and 237Nm at 2600 revs.
The 2.5-litre engine was the pick of the pair and while its performance
wasn’t breathtaking, it was smooth and steady when the 2.0-litre lacked spark. The Epica came with plenty of the features expected, with standard airconditioning, cruise control, alloy wheels, power windows and mirrors, and six-speaker CD sound.
Pay $11,000 to $13,500 for a 2.0-litre CDX, add $1000 if you want a 2.5-litre engine.
Pay $13,500 to $16,000 for a 2.5-litre auto CDXi.
It does most things reasonably well but there’s little to get excited about.