Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

{Timely Makeover Pays off} {Epica Answers Critics} {Timely Makeover Pays off for Holden}; among the Things That Keep Grant Edwards Awake at Night Is the Puzzling Question.Why Have Aussie Drivers Failed to Embrace the Holden Epica, Even Though It Is Poised to Deliver on Industry Expectations in Spades?

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

{Timely Makeover Pays off} {Epica Answers Critics} {Timely Makeover Pays off for Holden}; among the Things That Keep Grant Edwards Awake at Night Is the Puzzling Question.Why Have Aussie Drivers Failed to Embrace the Holden Epica, Even Though It Is Poised to Deliver on Industry Expectations in Spades?

Article excerpt

SOME things in life are baffling. The more you think about them, the more you're left perplexed.

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Why is a boxing ring square? Does Wayne Bennett have the ability to smile? Why are the Orange Creams always left until last in the Arnotts assorted pack?

And the failure of Holden's Epica has also been on the puzzling list of yours truly. The mid-size sedan has been snubbed Down Under as the Vectra replacement.

Perhaps savvy Aussies are too sceptical about its Daewoo origins? Epicas are sourced and built in South Korea as part of General Motors' globalisation program that saw the Daewoo brand come under the global car-making giant a few years back.

Despite great pricing and a whole lot of kit for your money sales have been underwhelming.

When we first drove the Epica last year we pointed out the shortfalls of the two six-cylinder engine options and the lack of electronic stability control, while also backing a call for a turbo-diesel engine option. Now Holden has answered the critics. The smaller 2.0-litre six-cylinder engine has been ousted in favour of a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel, and a six-speed auto along with electronic stability program and six airbags are standard across the range. The mid-side sedan playing field dominated by star Toyota Camry, as well as the Mazda6, Honda Accord and Ford Mondeo, now has a new contender. Getting into a mid-size car with turbo-diesel power with an auto box has never been more affordable. The closest competition is from the smaller Skoda Octavia Ambiente TDI or the Hyundai Sonata, but both are also more expensive.

The Mondeo has an oil-burner option, while one is coming in the Mazda6, but you can expect to pay close to $40 grand for the privilege.

Two variants of the Epica are available, the base model retails for just under $30,000 - a $2000 premium over the petrol equivalent.

Not only has the latest mid-sizer to wear the lion badge maintained its bargain pricing, it's addressed the biggest bothers of the early model.

It's the same diesel engine used in the Captiva, which we loved when putting it through a gruelling family road test last year.

The common rail direct injection diesel generates maximum power 110 kilowatts at 400rpm and peak torque of 320 Newton metres at 2000rpm.

That makes for some pretty impressive pull off the mark and some handy overtaking grunt, whereas the petrol version felt lacklustre.

Steering feel can still be somewhat vague at times, but mostly the Epica feels pretty good on a range of surfaces. On occasions we felt it struggled to deal with the extra torque going to the front feels, while the auto box also tended to "hunt" gears at low speeds, but we're putting that down to an aberration with the media test car rather than any widespread engineering flaws. …

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