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2007 Holden Epica CDX 2.5 Road Test
2007 Holden Epica CDX 2.5 Road Test
2007 Holden Epica CDX 2.5 Road Test

Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to driving Holden’s new Epica. For those not in the know, the Holden Epica is basically a re-badged Daewoo Tosca. So the stigma associated with the Daewoo brand, along with the recently released crash test results of the Holden Barina (2-stars) had me in two minds.

Upon first inspection, it didn’t actually look that bad from the outside – in fact, I thought it looked quite attractive. The swept back headlight design and flowing lines make this Korean-built mid-sized sedan quite appealing to the eye.

The interior is also a nice enough place to be. The driver’s seat is quite accommodating and provides adequate viewing space over the front and sides of the vehicle. Rear seat room isn’t too accommodating for adults though, making it a kids only space. The boot has a 480-litre capacity, trailing the Toyota Camry by around 55-litres.

Surprisingly, the build of the interior seemed quite solid and robust. Aside from a slightly loose glove-box cover, the interior felt well built and quite solid to the touch. The steering wheel felt like it was made entirely out of plastic though; it felt extremely cheap and nasty. The steering wheel did feature volume, audio and cruise controls, somewhat making up for its shortfalls.

Our test vehicle – the CDX – was optioned with the Daewoo-Porsche co-developed 2.5-litre inline-6-cylinder motor, producing 115kW of power and 237Nm of torque. Although it sounds great on paper, the engine is devastatingly short of torque throughout the lower end of the rev range. Stomping on the throttle from a standing start provides no general feeling of motion or torque delivery, things only begin happening north of 3500RPM where the engine makes an almighty racket.

2007 Holden Epica CDX 2.5 Road Test
2007 Holden Epica CDX 2.5 Road Test
2007 Holden Epica CDX 2.5 Road Test
2007 Holden Epica CDX 2.5 Road Test

In general terms, the engine was a total disappointment; the 5-speed Aisin gearbox didn’t help either, providing slow and lifeless shift patterns. The handling dynamics were also pretty average, the extremely soft suspension worked wonders over some of our B-grade roads, but when pushed through a corner, the whole experience felt wrong. The entire body pushed onto the outer wheel, creating a sense of awkward motion. The steering had very little feel and didn’t provide natural kickback whilst driving, it took quite some time to get used to.

The Epica range is available in two models. The CDX is available in both 5-speed manual and 5-speed automatic, along with the option of either the 2.0-litre or 2.5-litre inline-6-cylinder engines. The CDXi is only available with an automatic transmission and the 2.5-litre engine. Prices start at $25,990 for the manual CDX (2.0-litre) and reach $30,990 for the CDXi.

Standard features available across the CDX range include: Cloth trim; 16” alloy wheels; air-conditioning; ABS brakes; traction control; cruise control; power windows and mirrors; remote central locking and alarm; six speaker MP3 compatible stereo and front and side driver and front passenger airbags. Unfortunately, ESP isn’t available – even as an option, across the range.

As competition to the Toyota Camry, it doesn’t really offer the same amount of room (both inside the cabin and boot) and also lacks in terms of its engine and handling dynamics. But it does undercut the Camry when it comes to price – quite dramatically. The top-of-the-line CDXi model can be had for around the same coin as a base model Camry. The Epica’s not a bad car for getting from A to B and if you don’t expect much in the way of performance; it’s probably quite a wise purchasing option.

2007 Holden Epica CDX 2.5 Road Test
2007 Holden Epica CDX 2.5 Road Test

But, I wouldn’t go rushing into Holden dealerships just yet. After the dismal crash test results of Holden’s Daewoo sourced Barina, I’d wait until ANCAP release similar results for the Epica.

CarAdvice rating (out of 5):

– by Paul Maric

  • Lost out there…

    So, it is gutless, the boot and rear seats are small, it lacks safety features and it doesn’t feel great to drive.

    You may as well get a smaller, higher quality car for the same price while likely getting better resale ?

    It isn’t a Camry Competitor at all really is it ?

  • JW

    After dominating the medium sized car segment for over a decade, the Toyota Camry isn’t going to just roll over and die just because this Epica came along.

  • Myke

    That’s why I think Holden should have keep trying to sell the Vectra. That built up a reputation in the 90s and the Astra is proof that people are willing to purchase european cars over their korean equivalent (Viva).

  • http://AustralianCarAdvice Dingo

    I will directly attack Holden on this occassion because they are the ones that stated that the Epica is squarely aimed at the Camry.

    With some exceptions towards the Commodore, Holden has become a very boring, dull, dead, mundane motoring company at the very least. Base model VE’s are ordinary with a ruff, gruff and vocal engine mated to a very dated 4 speed clunker and quality issues that still persist. Alot of Holdns range is now occupied by rebadged Daewoo’s while the Combo, Tigra and Rodeo do nothing to enhance it’s motoring appeal. Quite frankly, i believe Holden has just become a company of poor affairs indeed.

    Holden squarely aimed the Epica at the Camry and has utterly missed the marked. Apart from being dog ugly and smaller, it’s engine has be reviewed by all as being gutless and the handling mundane at the very best. Basically, the Epica has got nothing on the Camry and i reckon Toyota would be rolling in laughter at Holdens dismal attempt.

    The Camry however is globally renouned for being a quality, dependable and durable family hack offering trouble free motoring. Infact, it is widely known for travelling in excess of 200 000 km’s with nothing more required then just regular servicing. The Camry has earned itself a trusted reputation but the Epica has no history to speak of but Daewoo’s less then ordinary past.

    Infact, why even purchase a 2.0 base model when a higher spec Corolla, Mazda 3, Honda Civic etc could be purchased at a similar price with greater packaging. Epica is just another mundane example of what modern Holden is all about… NOTHING !!

  • Paul

    Yes I think no matter how creative Holdens marketing team is the Epicas faults cant be hidden. Fact is this car had to offer alot to get in over the Camry when you place it in competition… it hasnt delivered. I find it funny that this review and many others have stated its sluggish because many pro-holden individuals and even Holden itself have been boasting how it will beat the Camry in this department… obviously not.

    So the only real positive is its price… but you get what you pay for. Im sure it will take some sales from Camry, people who just want to travel from a to z and are totally uninformed… but most will stick with the dependable Camry/Aurion combination. I think Holden need to watch out as well, they are quickly cheaponing whatever image they already have, a fair few Daewoos in their line up, consumers are already and will continue to cotton onto it… they are at a crossroads imo which could have a profound impact on their existence in Australia (or at least successful existance)!!!

  • troy

    um…… just look at it????


    Enough said!

  • 280ZX

    Paul and Dingbat ! Now i will admit this car is nothing special in fact its boring and ugly but having a shot at Holden when Toyota bring out the same Microwave whitegoods in alarming numbers! When i look at this car i think “Sportivo” so there just as bad as each other but at least Holden will make sure the steering wheels in tact LOL….

  • Paul

    You sure they will make sure the steering wheel is in tact? Holdens ‘superior’ products which aernt Korean have fuel pumps and more alarminly seat belts having probs with them… I cringe at what an even more inferior car will have wrong with it!!! Not only in the short term, but long term… dont expect reliability to be one of this cars strong points (or most of Holdens for that matter). Another cheap substitute to quality Japanese car manufacturing… consumers aernt fooled and unlike the Commodore, the Epica wont get a massive boost in sales from fleets! Toyota and the like are the companies for people who actually dig deep in their own pockets to buy cars, whereas Holden n Co are for those who use someone elses money and couldnt give a shyte whether they are getting a good deal or not (80%+ of Falcons and Commodores are fleet sales!)

  • Jimbo

    What an ugly POS! Don’t know why people bag the Camry/Aurion for being boring, they look better than anything Holden can offer.

  • steve

    The sad part about all of this is, Holden’s head honcho was kinda right when he was quoted here a few weeks ago stating that Aussie’s want cheap nasty cars and are more interested in them, then some European equivalent of slightly higher value. Not to those exact words, but you get the drift.

    I have seen more of these Korean crap-boxes then the new Camry or Aurion on the road already.



  • Jason

    Gotta say I don’t agree with most of the review or the comments posted. Everyone seems to be having a go at the Korean cars that Holden is bringing in but these babies are saving Holden’s life!

    Just look at the sales figures. May sales for Epica were 480 units, that’s 3x the old Vectra’s outgoing figures and only just behind the Honda Accord Euro (498) who is third place in the segment. [Also notable were Korean Barina sales for May, which were the best since 2001!]

    Sure the car is no Camry killer, but be realistic, it undercuts the base model Camry by some $3000 and has more standard fit accessories. The handling may be soft, the look understated and the engine lacking any real urge but then what do you expect? I mean it is marketed as a good value, quasi-luxury, highway cruiser and personally I think it appears to have hit the mark.

    If Holden needs these Korean cars to sustain its profitability whilst continuing to develop new Commodores then I am all for them.

  • Paul

    QUOTE = I have seen more of these Korean crap-boxes then the new Camry or Aurion on the road already.

    Dont know where you have been looking… I have not seen one Epica on the road and not many other Koreans… the most popular would be the Captiva and aint many of those (And I drive ALOT).

    As for the above poster, you raise some good points…. but long term, when these cars start breaking down or having problems due to their poor quality, Holdens image will pay the price.

  • troy

    Barina is saving holdens life!!! yep maybe


    It will cost many a young girl THEIR life in a crash.

    great one Holden!

  • http://AustralianCarAdvice Dingo

    Jason – the resale value of a Camry alone will recoup the 3 grand (or more) straight up. I also agree with Troy – might save Holdens arse but kill Barina owners while doing it with thier dismal 2 star crash ratings.

    I will take a reputatable brand like Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, VW etc anyday. I do not like Holdens new range and it recks poverty. What i find even more amusing is how Holden loyalist try and justify Holdens new found love of Daewoo cars. If it was anyone else then the very same people will be laughing their heads of especially if it was Toyota.

    The fact is, GM (Holden) are finacially strained and thier direction reflects it whole heartedly. There are alot of good cars coming onto the market and they are not from Holden.

  • Jason

    Dingo I certainly agree that the poor crash rating of the Barina needs to be improved however I think you take it a step far with your argument that Holden aren’t delivering good cars to the market.

    A quick look at the range would suggest otherwise; VE Commodore range, previous model Monaro, SS Ute, Astra SRI Turbo, Astra Twintop and Captiva diesel. All these models are accomplished cars within their segment and ensure Holden’s ongoing profitability.

  • Jason

    Gotta say I don’t buy the Camry resale argument either, just having a look at Redbook’s used car prices shows that Camry’s resale values aren’t abnormally high. In fact they are worse than the Holden Vectra and Mazda 6.

    See for yourself:

    Toyota Camry 2002 Auto (Base Model)
    Price when new (RRP) $27,900
    National average price – private sale $8,000 – $10,300

    Holden Vectra 2002 Auto (Base Model)
    Price when new (RRP) $27,190
    National average price – private sale $8,900 – $11,200

    Mazda 6 2002 Auto (Base Model)
    Price when new (RRP) $30,350
    National average price – private sale $16,400 – $19,600

  • http://www.alborzfallah.com alborz

    All Fleet cars are hurt by the massive glut on the market when Fleet cars go on sale. This includes the camry

  • 280zx

    Talk about re sale ! Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III 1971 Sell’s for around $5000 sold recently for $750,000 ! How does the Camery stack up now??? LOL

  • Bavarian Missile

    Thats nothing ,recently at the GT Nationals in WA one of members was offered 1.3 million for his Phase 3 …NO SHIT. He declined. He already owns several HO’s and GT’s.

  • jdm102

    “Talk about re sale ! Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III 1971 Sell’s for around $5000 sold recently for $750,000 ! How does the Camery stack up now??? LOL ”

    mate you are perhaps the biggest tool I have come across. listen to what you’re saying , comparing something like that prestige vehicle with a simple passenger car. Have you hit puberty yet?

  • http://AustralianCarAdvice Dingo


  • http://AustralianCarAdvice Dingo

    280ZX – Holdery offered ‘DIRECT’ competition against the 351 GTHO of the same era yet are worth virtually nothing in comparion. Torana’s and all the other competitors not only have a fraction of ‘respect’ but only a fraction of ‘value’ as agianst the GT Falcon that they competed against in the same era. To me, that is nothing shy then embarrissing and degrading for Holden in times of reflexion.

    Jason – i (grugedly) stand partially corrected but regardless, i am confidant that the Epica’s resale value would be considerably less then that of the Camry.

    The Camry is not only globally renouned for it’s reliability, dependability and durability but trouble free motoring history. For 6 generations the Camry has not only withstood, but bettered the greatest challenge of all… ‘Test Of Time’.

    The Epica however has no history to speak from but it’s less than favourable ‘Daewoo’ history. Respect is something that is not granted lightly but earn’t over time. Somtimes, that recognition could be hard ‘come-by’ especially when up againt highly regarded competition like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Mazda 6 etc…!! To date, i believe the Epica fails to satisfy most requirements.

  • Jason

    Dingo I respect your opinion mate and I completely understand where your coming from, I honestly believe that most new car buyers will be judging the Epica with the same suspicion as yourself 😉


    i dont like it..

  • Pingback: Janice()

  • zac

    this car lacks alot of safty has a small boot no room in the back seat and its gutless the kia magentis is almost i denticall in looks has a five FIVE STAR SAFTEY RATING compleate with six air bags esp abs braking bigger every thing and has more power and ITS WAY CHEAPER even the luxury model is cheaper than this

  • zac

    soz lacks alot in safty feature

  • zac

    go kia magentis

  • Duck

    I know somebody that traded or sold their VZ Commodore Executive sedan for a epica. And im so comfused. Would have kept the VZ Commodore instead!

  • Amanda Ahrak

    dont read a book by its cover,i find 98%of the people that are commenting havent even driven an epica.I own a 2008 model and i have driven a toyota tarago,mazda tribute,toyota camry,hyandai lantra and have found the epica to be the best car in every way.

    • T Zaidan

      I m 100% with you, the Epica offers more reliability than most camrys I owned and like you I own an 2007 Epica manual and it drives like a porche.

  • lacey

    i own one of these the epica cdxi black its f’n awesome love it to bits !

  • http://Thomas Thomas

    Hey guys I have been reading what u have been saying about the holden epica. Yes it is ugly and I no the power is crap because I have one lol but it is better then the camry. I have both now and I actually liked the epica better because of the fact that I got the 2.5 litre and I have all of the stafty thing as I have just got it in 2010. Yes the leg room is smaller but it is just a womens run around car (with a huge petrol bill aswell)

  • raggy

    i dont know what all you d, heads are talking about i have a cdx 2.5 it is good to drive i also tow a 5,2 mt boat fibre glass have no trouble with the front wheel drive getting out of boat ramps tow for long distance all the time a lot of people expect to much well done epica

    • Perky

      i have driven my friends one for a long car trip, i have to say, for a big car – its gutless.
      If this engine was in a corolla or civik, power would be OK, but in this large car, its like driving a boat.

Holden Epica Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$4,400 - $5,000
Dealer Retail
$5,460 - $6,490
Dealer Trade
$3,200 - $4,000
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
195Nm @  4600rpm
Max. Power
105kW @  6400rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
8.2L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1200  Unbrake:700
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
205/60 R16
Rear Tyres
205/60 R16
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Traction Control System
Cruise Control, Power Steering
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Power Mirrors
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Eng Scuttle
Country of Origin