Chevrolet is branching into the upper medium segment in the form of the new Epica. It's a brave move for the brand, considering it's up against the likes of the Ford Mondeo, Citroen C5 and Honda Accord, all of which are seriously decent competition. But don't rule the Epica out just yet...It's by no means a bad looking car. It's not overly stylish, but it benefits from simple lines and an uncomplicated front end design. From the side, the Epica could be considered quite sleek too. Inside, there's nothing especially flashy either - it suffers from a dated and basic centre console - but it's been solidly built and even features soft-touch plastics around the cabin and dash.The key feature of the Epica is its sheer size. At 4.8 meters long it is the same size as the substantial Mondeo and even betters the Captiva for boot space. The cabin benefits from numerous storage compartments and the rear offers an expanse of head, leg and elbow room to accommodate six-footers comfortably.
There are two trim levels on offer in the Epica; LS and LX. The entry-level model offers a raft of standard equipment including air con, cruise control, part leather upholstery, front fog lights, remote audio controls and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The engines available come in 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.0-litre diesel form, offering 141bhp and 148bhp respectively. The diesel has substantially more torque than the petrol unit, but both can propel the Epica to 62mph in under ten seconds. The diesel also offers excellent fuel economy of 46mpg whilst CO2 comes in at just under 170g/km.
You won't be surprised to hear that the Epica is no revelation on the road; large Korean cars are almost always designed to be comfortable to be driven in rather than be enjoyable to drive. It lacks the dynamism of other cars in this class, and although the steering is fluid and the brakes are positive, but both are a little lacking in feel. It can be wallowy around corners - its suspension is clearly tuned to offer passenger comfort rather than handling ability - and generally feels a bit bland and unresponsive. Both engines will hustle the car along at a decent pace however, although the diesel unit does benefit from its torque advantage on the motorway. The petrol unit offers a fair bit of grunt once past 4,000rpm and emits a pleasantly subtle growl under hard acceleration.
The important part is the price though and this is where the Epica starts to make a bit of sense. Prices start from just over £13k for the 2.0-litre LS petrol, and this significantly undercuts the rest of the segment. If you're looking for a large family car and aren't worried about the badge or the mediocre drive, the Epica's space, practicality and a decent price tag might just be the ticket.
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