Chevrolet has moved into the large family saloon and hatchback segment of the car market with the Epica. It is a brave move taking on some established names and the Epica makes a good start as it is quite a good looking car.
It’s not a head-turner, but it benefits from simple lines and an uncomplicated design. The front is pleasing to look at while the profile is quite sleek too. The interior isn’t too flashy with a functional centre console that is solidly built and features soft-touch plastics around the cabin and dash.
The main feature of the Epica is its incredible dimensions. At almost five metres long it offers excellent boot space while the cabin benefits from numerous storage compartments.
Epica by name and epic by nature as you get a lot of car for your money. There’s plenty of space for five adults and the boot could house a decent sized polar bear, although it would have to put up with some suspension intrusions.
The rear of the Epica offers an expanse of head, leg and elbow room to accommodate six-footers comfortably.
The controls are easy to see and use as all are big and clearly marked.
As far as the driver is concerned the steering wheel adjusts for tilt but not reach and this is achieved by hauling on a large, indicator-sized stalk rather than a discreet lever.
There are two 2.0-litre engines – a 138bhp petrol and a 148bhp diesel which is available with a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.
Running costs aren’t too bad considering the Epica’s size. Fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions from the all the engines, and in particular from the oil burner are reasonable.
The Epica is a full-blown saloon of near limousine proportions for the same price as a 1.4-litre hatchback.
Boot space is generous at 480 litres and there is more cargo room available with the rear seats folded if necessary.
While it is comfortable and relatively palatial for the price, the Epica’s handling is not as good as the best in the sector.
The Epica can’t hide its Far Eastern roots in bends where its ride is much softer than you would expect on European models.
The six-speed automatic gearbox is likely to appeal to a more mature buyer than the manual models which are well set up to satisfy a family’s needs.
Security and Safety
All Epicas come with front, side and curtain airbags and a front seatbelt pre-tensioning system. The rear seats have ISOFIX child seat mountings and stability control is available when you step up from the standard model.
The Epica takes decent precautions to deter car thieves and is fitted with remote central locking. There are plenty of cubby holes to ensure valuables can be stored out of sight.
The Finishing Touches
There are two trim levels on offer in the Chevrolet Epica – LS and LT. The entry-level model offers a raft of standard equipment including air conditioning, cruise control, part leather upholstery, front fog lights, remote audio controls and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The LT goes the whole hog with climate control, leather seats that are also heated up front, parking sensors and electronic stability controls – effectively an executive specification at a fraction of the cost.
The Chevrolet Epica bears an American badge but is actually built in South Korea – a legacy of parent group General Motors acquiring the Daewoo car company.
Since that purchase Chevrolet’s Korean-made portfolio – including the Matiz and Lacetti – have improved no end and the Epica maintains this trend.