A history lesson...
While there's nothing epic about the Chevrolet Epica's sales figures or styling, it was nonetheless a respectable earner for Chevrolet. Its short, two year lifespan makes it hard to judge against rivals in its family or executive saloon class, such as the Ford Mondeo or BMW 5-series. Launched in 2008 with two models available, an entry level 2.0 litre petrol and a distinctly more desirable 2.0 litre turbodiesel, the used Chevrolet Epica was discontinued without flourish in 2010 in favour of the Cruze.
Bang for your buck
Rather pedestrian styling means that while there are no standout beauty spots on the second hand Chevrolet Epica, neither are there any glaring carbuncles, easiest comparisons being with the Honda Accord. The front end shows more personality than the rear, with large headlights, a somewhat intrusive Chevrolet badge on the neat grille and a smooth, clean bottom line.
It's a bit bigger than comparable saloons with very impressive spec levels, including air conditioning, cruise control, electric front and rear windows, a CD-stereo with MP3 facility, remote audio controls, front fog lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels, front, side and curtain airbags and electric mirrors as standard equipment even on the entry level LS. Upgrade to the used Epica LT and you'll also get electronic climate control, rear parking sensors, leather seats, heated front seats, rain sensitive wipers, a CD autochanger, electrochromatic rear view mirror, electrically controlled driver's seat, trip computer, electronic stability control and 17-inch alloys. That's a lot of car for the money.
What you'll pay
The Chevrolet Epica LS petrol starts at just over £6,000 but it's really worth hanging on for an LT at less than £500 more. However the diesel holds its value much better due to lower running costs and better power output, with a top of the range 2008 LT commanding about £8,000. The relative newness of the car means prices are changing rapidly, plus the last few models before discontinuation were a steal, which might be reflected in resale values. The largely mature and low mileage customer base has helped to keep insurance costs low.
What to check
No major faults have been reported on the used Chevrolet Epica and a good warranty package means most used models will have been well maintained. Epicas are sensitive to incorrect tyre pressure at the front so keep an eye on the steering when you test drive and check that wear is even. The odd faulty oil cooler and air conditioning unit have been reported but go for a dealer serviced vehicle with a full history for a safe bet.
Front and rear brake pad sets are about £45, a new radiator is around £115, clutch assembly kit £150 and starter motors are available for £325.
How it drives
Fuel consumption is reasonable for a 2.0 litre petrol straight six but emissions are rather high, so stick to the 148bhp diesel, manual if possible for better emissions figures. Other than slightly too independent steering, the Epica offers sensible if unexciting handling and acceleration. As a whole the Chevrolet Epica lacks dynamism but is a practical and good value used buy.