Holden is attacking the New Zealand medium car segment with a new front-wheel drive sedan which has impressive specification levels, and hard-to-ignore pricing.
The South Korean (GM Daewoo)-sourced Epica replaces the European Vectra, which has been gone from the NZ market for almost a year.
The Epica is Holden’s fourth Daewoo-sourced model and follows the Barina, Viva and Captiva.
GM Daewoo designed the Epica, code-named V250, with Holden doing some engineering development and making minor trim and interior changes.
The $32,990 CDX and $36,990 CDXi Epicas both have six-cylinder motors and five-speed Japanese Aisin automatics.
The new car shares a common thread with the Monaro.
Former Holden design director, Mike Simcoe, oversaw the programme, to ensure the car is recognisably a Holden.
Although its body shape isn’t memorable, the car looks pretty acceptable on the road, with a rising, wedge-shaped profile and large headlights that sweep into the front fenders.
With a 2.5-litre six-cylinder engine producing 115kW of power and 237Nm of torque, the Epica has more power and torque than the 2.2-litre four-cylinder Vectra’s 108kW and 203Nm.
At its Melbourne unveiling last week, Holden said the Camry, Sonata and Magentis are key targets for the Epica.
At 4805mm, the Epica is 10mm shorter than the Camry and 50mm longer than the Magentis.
Its 2700mm wheelbase compares with 2775mm for the Toyota and 2720mm for the Kia.
The new Holden also has more torque than the Camry, Sonata and Magentis.
Holden NZ is tight-lipped on the sort of impact the Epica will make, and isn’t predicting sales numbers.
But it says it would be disappointed if the Epica didn’t at least match Vectra sales in a market segment that last year accounted for 13,116 sales or 13 percent of all new car sales in NZ.
Holden is obviously pleased to be back in the second-largest class in the new car market.
It admits the arrival of the new Ford Mondeo later this year will cause considerable impact in the class, but the Ford will almost certainly be much more expensive.
Holden will be pushing the Epica’s refinement, fuel economy, quality and outstanding value for money. And, in the value stakes, this car is clearly hot.
“In Epica, we have a well specified and priced vehicle,” says Holden New Zealand marketing boss Matthew Woodley.
“This is great news, particularly when you consider we have the opportunity to leverage Holden’s strong brand status and extensive dealer network. We’ve been missing out on the medium segment action for too long.”