IT'S hard to make a call on the new Holden Epica. The only way I can sum it up is that it's definitely not something I'd buy, but plenty of others might.
You see, people these days don't really seem to care as much about the little things. As long as they get all the bells and whistles they don't really mind a few aspects of them being sub-par.
By now everyone knows the Epica is a Daewoo-built car. It shows; but it's cheap as chips and that's what most people liked about Daewoos right?
And you can't blame Holden. They gave us the Vectra and sales lagged because it wasn't as competitively priced, even though it was a great car.
Sort of feels to me like a "Bugger ya then, if it's all about price we'll give you price" from the General. Time will tell whether, strategically, it's a good move for Holden or not.
Let's get my gripes out the way first.
The six cylinder engines won't set the world on fire. There are four cylinders that would put these sixes to shame. And noisy: put your foot down and it really really protests. And you've got plenty of time to listen to it protest as you take the 12 seconds from 0-100km/h.
The automatic is rather unsophisticated. When you start the engine and stick the thing in gear it "shunts". Once going it's OK (although a couple of occasions it didn't seem to know what gear to use when). But first impressions last.
One of the key reasons people buy mid-sized cars is for the missus because she doesn't like driving Commodore. Well the steering in the Epica feels just as heavy as the Commodore so it still feels big.
With all that said, none of the above is unforgivable when compared with the price. And you'd be foolish to take my word for it without taking it for a test drive.
In fact, you can take it for one hell of a test drive. Holden is offering a genuine money-back offer for 30 days/1500km if buyers are unhappy, so you don't have a lot to lose. (Full details below)
Epica comes in two variants (CDX and CDXi) with a choice of either a 2.0 or 2.5-litre in-line six cylinder engine, depending on model.
The 2.0-litre engine produces peak power of 105kW and peak torque of 195Nm. The 2.5-litre engine produces peak power of 115kW and peak torque of 237Nm. NB: These figures are using PULP, and with it only necessary to use ULP, you might expect a decrease; these torque figures are where these sixes really struggle.
A five-speed manual or automatic transmission is offered depending on model, with the 2.0-litre CDX manual sedan priced at $25,990 (plus dealer delivery and government charges).
Epica’s fuel economy (ADR081/01) is 8.2 litres/100km for the manual variant and 9.3 litres/100km for the automatic - OK for a six, but so-so compared with the performance.
CDX gets 16-inch alloy wheels, power windows, cruise, air-con, six-speaker CD, ABS, traction control, front and side airbags for driver and front passenger.
CDXi models get 17-inch alloys, sports body kit, climate control air-con, curtain airbags, electronic driver information display, eight-speaker six-disc audio system, front fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift.
A $2000 optional pack featuring leather trim (two colour options) is available on CDXi. Metallic paint is $360 on CDX but is free on the CDXi.
CDX also offers a supersized sports body kit of 18-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth kit, rear parking sensors, roof bars and stainless exhaust tip for $1800.
My overall summation of the Epica? Overall a good mid-sized car with great price, OK looks and nice interior, but actually driving the thing lets it down. It's underwhelming, but it's cheap, and that's what cheap gets you.
Epica Money Back Offer – Terms and Conditions
This Money Back Offer Contract only applies to new Holden Epica vehicles that are purchased from participating Holden Dealers and delivered to private (non-fleet) customers between 12 th Apr 2007 and 31 st Dec 2007 (applies to all new Epica “Vehicles”).
Any Vehicle that a Customer wishes to return to a Dealer pursuant to this Contract must, when returned by Customer, be in the same condition as when delivered apart from any normal wear and tear that is to be expected and must be free from any damage (including body and mechanical).
A Vehicle returned under this Money Back Offer Contract must be returned to the dealer that originally sold the Vehicle.
The Customer’s ability to return a Vehicle under this Money Back Offer Contract shall expire on the earlier of 30 days from the date of delivery (inclusive of this date) of the Vehicle or when a total of 1,500 kilometres is displayed on the Vehicle’s odometer.
The addition of any non-factory modifications or accessories to the Vehicle at any time after delivery of the Vehicle will void the Customer’s ability to return the Vehicle under this Contract.
To gain any financial benefit under this Contract, the Customer must provide proof of purchase of a new (not used) motor vehicle of equal or greater value than that appearing on the original final purchase invoice for the Vehicle (“Replacement Vehicle”). The Replacement Vehicle must have been purchased within 30 days of delivery of the Vehicle. Proof of purchase of a Replacement Vehicle is defined as either an original copy of a paid purchase invoice contract or an original copy of a contract for the sale of a new motor vehicle properly signed and executed by the Customer and a new motor vehicle dealer.
Excepting any of the above automatic exclusions from this Money Back Offer Contract (listed in 1 –6), the Dealer agrees to accept any Vehicle covered by this Money Back Offer Contract and shall upon receipt of written approval from the third party Claims Assessor engaged to review Claims, reimburse the Customer the full value of the original final purchase price of the Vehicle. A third party will be fully responsible for assessing all Claims.
No liability is accepted by GM Holden Ltd or the Dealer under this Contract for any other agreement or contract that the Customer may have entered into in relation to the Vehicle, including any agreement or contract in relation to the financing of the Vehicle and any associated early termination charges.
The Customer’s personal details will be collected and passed to the third party Claims Assessor for the sole purpose of assessing and processing Claims under this Contract. The Dealer is not responsible for assessing the Claims under this Contract but will advise the Customer within seven (7) days of whether a claim has been accepted by the Claims Assessor.