New Chevrolet Epica
The Epica, priced from just £13,595, is off to a decent start. That price is not only less than you’d pay for some Focus-sized hatchbacks but also around £3,500 less than you’d pay for this car’s nearest direct Korean competitor, Hyundai’s Sonata.
The Epica offers a lot of car, the tape measure showing it to be fully 4,805mm long. By way of comparison, an Accord is 4,665mm long, a Mondeo 4,731mm long and a Peugeot 407 breaking the tape at 4,676mm. In fact, the Epica is closer to the 4,841mm length of a BMW 5 Series than the current crop of family saloons and hatches.
Two engines are offered for sale in the UK, both of 2.0-litre capacity. The petrol unit is a 141bhp straight-six which is set transversely across the car. This would be a problem with most straight sixes as they are, by their very nature, rather long engines and are usually mounted in line, driving the rear wheels. The Epica is a front-wheel drive car, so the transverse mounting makes sense, but this configuration is assisted by an engine which Chevrolet claims is the shortest of its type in the world. Although technically intriguing, this powerplant looks set to play second fiddle – in terms of domestic sales at least – to the 148bhp common rail turbo diesel engine.
The LS diesel offers the same specification as the petrol at £14,595, while LT spec cars add electronic climate control, rear parking sensors, leather seat trim, heated front seats, rain sensitive wipers, a CD autochanger, electrochromatic rear view mirror, power-adjustable driver’s seat, trip computer, electronic stability control and 17-inch alloys. LT models will be diesel only and will cost £16,595 with a five-speed manual gearbox, or £17,695 as an automatic.