Epica step to a cheaper op­tion

The Holden Epica 2007-2008 isn’t breath­tak­ing, writes Gra­ham Smith.

The Advertiser - Motoring - - USED CARS -

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.

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