The rising popularity of mid-size cars with buyers eager to downsize, and Holden once again looking to its Korean affiliations for product cheaper than that previously sourced from GM’s European divisions helped spawn Epica.
It was based on an elderly Daewoo model and effectively replaced the Holden Vectra.
Value was the name of Epica’s game with sharpish pricing and sound equipment levels. Relatively unloved though, Epica is now in class terms, cheap and practical albeit unexciting used transport.
Buyers could choose between the CDX and the better equipped CDXi sedans. Standard features on series one CDX included air conditioning, 16” alloys, tilt steering column, anti-lock brakes, dual front and front side airbags, traction control and front seatbelt pre-tensioners. The CDXi extras included climate control, curtain airbags and 17” alloys. ESP wasn’t available on either.
Series two, released in July 2008, brought steering reach adjustment, stability control and curtain airbags as standard on both versions. CDXi also gained park sensors. A turbo-diesel engine was also on offer.
Petrol models featured inline six cylinder engines of Porsche design transversely mounted driving the front wheels. Performance from the entry CDX’s 2.0-litre with five-speed manual only is feeble and lifeless. You’ll need to be desperate for a manual to choose one.
Auto versions (five speed in series I, six speed in series II) in both grades get a 2.5-litre engine. Their performance is acceptable but nothing to write home about. The 2.0-litre diesel offers better fuel economy, useful torque and cheaper rego fees. Turbo-lag is quite evident, but it’s still the better option.
Epica offers soft comfortable ride, but dynamically it’s ponderous and only mediocre, while steering is devoid of feel.
Cabin and boot are spacious. A temporary use (80km/h limited) spare wheel is standard.
Reliability appears to be sound with no real stains on its character reported. A broad dealer network and availability of used examples that carry balance of new warranty add peace of mind. Check for proper scheduled servicing, and a professional pre-purchase inspection is still recommended.
Under the pump
Epica will use between 7.0 and 14.0 litres of ULP or 6.4 and 12.0 litres of diesel, every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.
What will it cost?
For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to RACQ's online car price guide or contact our Motoring Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.
Mazda6 2007 - 2011
Stands out from the mid-size herd. Choose from sedan, hatch or wagon. Excellent chassis. Peppy performance. 2.3-litre petrol replaced by higher output 2.5-litre early 2008. 95 RON PULP required pre March 2009. Manual-only turbo-diesel models available. A polished act, but more expensive than Epica.
Toyota Camry 2007 - 2011
Perennially popular, sedan only, competent enough and reliable, but bland. Only average performance from 2.4-litre petrol four. Good cabin and boot space. Stability control standard from September 2007.
Hyundai Sonata 2007 - 2010
Value for money Korean sedan. 2.4-litre petrol four and 3.3-litre V6. Six replaced mid 2008 by fuel efficient and torquey 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with manual or auto, plus more torque and power for petrol four. Dynamics trail class front-runners.