This particular diesel engine has some peculiar qualities.
But it is not just the fixtures and fittings that give the impression of a more expensive car; the ride quality plays a large part too. The Epica 2.0-litre diesel will smoothly cruise the motorways and has a top speed of 124mph. Around town, the drive is relaxed while on twisty roads, the chassis and suspension setup allows for fairly flat cornering with predictable handling.
This particular diesel engine has some peculiar qualities. The VCDi, similar to that in the Captiva, develops 150PS at 4,000rpm and 320Nm of torque at 2,000rpm. Nothing odd there nor in the 0-62mph time of 9.7seconds but, after turning a corner, say, there is a period of torque-dwell, which caught me out on more than one occasion. It doesn’t occur under acceleration from standstill and, at the other end of the scale, there is no problem and the performance is surprising making overtaking at motorway speeds, easily accomplished.
The engine in the test car was mated to the 5-speed, manual transmission as opposed to the 4-speed automatic that is also on offer, and which, Chevrolet tells us, is more economical for high-speed driving. Unfortunately, the figures don’t back this up, with those for the manual posted as 37.3, 53.3 and 46.3mpg for the urban, extra-urban and combined, respectively. The automatic returns 27.7-, 47.1 and 37.2mpg on the same cycles and creates some 210g/km of CO2 in the process that’s 41g/km more than the stick box.
When it comes to safety, the Epica is not overly endowed with electronic gizmology but it does have ABS with EBD and LT cars gain Electronic Stability Control (ESC). They all have ISOFIX fittings to the outer rear seats and side impact and curtain airbags at the front, along with front airbags and seatbelt pretensioners.
There is no doubt that the Epica has a great deal going for it. It drives well, is nicely appointed although, curtain airbags for the rear passengers wouldn’t go amiss, and it looks good. What is more, the price is right to make more than a few conquest sales. If I could change one thing, it would be the name - too many times have I typed Captiva instead of Epica.20 November 2008
Chevrolet Epica Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Chevrolet Epica 2.0 VCDi LT|
|Body Type||4-Door Saloon|
|Colour||Poseidon Blue Mica|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||9.7 Seconds|
|Top Speed||124 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||53.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3-Years / 60,000 Miles|
|Price (when tested on the 20/11/08)||£17,045|