July 1, 2005
For 2006, the Chevrolet Epica has only minor changes. Its two trim lines have been reduced to a single one, the LTZ; there is also electronic cruise control, and a new Pearl White exterior colour.
In different trim, the Epica is also sold as the Suzuki Verona. Although the U.S. also gets the Verona, the Epica is unique to Canada. It’s built in Korea by GM-DAT, a company formed when General Motors bought controlling interest in South Korean automaker Daewoo.
The Epica comes with a 2.5-litre inline six-cylinder, mated to a four-speed transmission. Standard features include automatic climate control, heated leather seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, 60/40 folding rear seat, leather-wrapped tilt wheel, colour-keyed floor mats, fog lamps, power sunroof, power locks with keyless entry, power mirrors, CD player with MP3 capability and wheel-mounted controls, cruise control, and 16-inch aluminum wheels.
The Epica’s styling is by Italdesign-Giugiaro of Turin, Italy. While it isn’t stop-the-press gorgeous, it’s uncluttered and understated, with excellent proportions.
The inline six-cylinder is as smooth as cream; there’s not a vibration or a shudder to be detected. The problem is that, at 155 horsepower, it’s underpowered; the Honda Accord’s four-cylinder makes 160 hp, while the Nissan Altima’s four-banger produces 175 hp. The Epica is also thirsty for its size. The Epica packs in a lot of luxury features, but it’s easy to do better, especially when looking at vehicles like the redesigned Hyundai Sonata or the Chevrolet Impala.