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First look: Holden has high hopes for Epica

Vectra replacement: The Epica will offer CDX and CDXi models.

Holden gets its hands on a fair-dinkum Camry fighter with the Korean Epica

31 Jan 2007

GM-HOLDEN will unveil its new medium-sized car – the South Korean-built Epica – at the Brisbane International Motor Show on Friday, ahead of its showroom release in April.

Pricing will be announced at the show, however Holden sources this week confirmed that the sedan would range from $25,000 to $31,000, making it a strong contender against the formidable Toyota Camry and other medium-car rivals – not least because it will offer six-cylinder-only power and a highly competitive level of standard equipment.

The latter will include four airbags, traction control, ABS brakes, air-conditioning, an MP3-compatible six-speaker CD stereo, front and rear power-operated windows and 16-inch alloy wheels (with a 15-inch steel spare).

As GoAuto revealed as far back as December 2005, the Epica is an Australian-tuned version of the new-generation GM Daewoo Magnus/Leganza (codenamed V250), which subsequently made its world premiere as the Chevrolet Epica at the Salon International de l'Auto in Geneva last March.

Holden confirmed this week that the front-wheel drive car would be sold with both the 105kW/195Nm 2.0-litre and 115kW/237Nm 2.5-litre versions of the transverse-mounted inline six-cylinder engine.

Paired solely with a five-speed manual transmission, the 2.0-litre engine achieves fuel consumption of 8.2L/100km according to the ADR 81/01 benchmark, while the 2.5-litre version – which combines exclusively with a five-speed automatic – returns 9.3L/100km. Both versions also meet the Euro IV emissions standard.

13 center imageModel designations on the Epica will emulate those used on the European-built Vectra it replaces. The standard equipment listed above will be offered on CDX model variants across both engines, while a top-spec CDXi grade will also be available with the 2.5.

Additional features on the CDXi will include side curtain airbags, climate-control air-conditioning, a trip computer, eight-speaker six-CD audio, leather-clad steering wheel/transmission lever, front foglights, a sports bodykit and 17-inch alloys. Leather trim (with two colour options) will also be optional.

With no CD model variant, Holden has left open the possibility of a cheaper variant down the track. This could include a model with either a four-cylinder petrol or turbo-diesel engine, both of which are available in overseas markets but still to be confirmed for Australia.

GM Holden chairman and managing director Denny Mooney told GoAuto last week that he expected Epica would produce some cannibalisation of sales from its all-important Australian-built VE Commodore, although he insisted that buyers would understand fundamental differences such as front-wheel drive versus RWD.

Holden claims the Epica, which is built at General Motors’ Bupyong plant in South Korea, was "extensively tuned" by its own engineers in Australia. It will be the fourth vehicle Holden now sources from GM Daewoo, joining the Barina and Viva small cars and the Captiva SUV. A compact SUV is due to be confirmed later this year.

Holden is also set to announce pricing and specifications for its circa-$55,000 Hummer H3 SUV at the Brisbane show. Watch out for full details next week.

Gaining increasing importance on the Australian industry calendar, the Brisbane show will host a number of new Australian vehicle debuts.

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