Meet the car that’s likely to replace the Vectra in Holden’s New Zealand line-up.
The version pictured here wears a Chevrolet badge, and will be sold in Europe as the Epica. It’s a GM Daewoo product, like Holden’s recently launched Viva and Barina, which started life as the Daewoo Lacetti and Kalos.
Holden has already indicated that it will be dropping the Vectra from its Down Under line-up (like the previous model Barina, the current Vectra was designed and developed by Opel in Germany). After existing stocks are sold, no more will be imported.
Autmotive pundits have suggested the car’s place will be taken by a re-badged GM Daewoo sedan, completing the Korean-isation of Holden’s four-cylinder passenger car range.
The Chevrolet Epica will be sold with a choice of two transversely mounted engines – a 145bhp 2.0-litre straight six and a new 150bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail direct injection turbodiesel. Chevrolet says the six-cylinder petrol engine is the shortest six available in the world, enabling the whole power unit to be neatly packaged in a lightweight transverse configuration. Both engine types are available with a five-speed manual or five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.
Chevrolet says the Epica “will offer a comprehensive range of comfort and safety equipment as standard and will be exceptional value for money. “The interior sets new standards for Chevrolet passenger cars in Europe with the use of high quality soft feel mouldings with chrome highlights, luxurious leather seat facings, climate-control air-conditioning and a high power FM tuner/CD system all giving the car a sense of executive luxury but at a bargain price.” The move to softer materials will be a welcome change from the Viva and Barina which rely heavily on hard plastic trim which looks cheap and old-fashioned.
The front-wheel drive Epica is 4805mm long, 1810mm wide and 1450mm tall, with a wheelbase of 270mm. It has a rising, wedge-shaped profile, pull-type door handles, chrome grille with a crossbar carrying the bold Chevrolet bowtie emblem, large headlights that sweep into the front fenders and striking taillights. Standard safety features include ABS, driver and passenger airbags and side
and head airbags.
The Epica will go on sale in Europe later in 2006. What do you reckon Holden would call its version of the car? If it went for Viva for the rebadged Daewoo Lacetti, might it raid the disused Vauxhall name bag again? How about the Holden Velox, or the Holden Victor or Cresta (though Toyota makes a Cresta); or, best of all, the Holden Wyvern? Now there’s a name to conjure with.