The cars we loved.
The Daewoo Tosca is one of those cars that never made it to the United States, but had an indirect impact on GM’s small car development in the States, and perhaps more globally in the development of the Cruze. The Tosca, an acronym for “The Car of Tomorrow” went by a lot of names like Epica (for Holden in Australia) as well as being branded as a Chevrolet under the Tosca name in Europe.
As a mid-sized car introduced in 2006, it would have been slotted nicely between the American Malibu and Cobalt size wise. The whole car of tomorrow theme might have applied to new thinking that was emerging at GM at the time the Tosca was on the drawing boards. New thinking that never quite materialized in the Cobalt or to a lesser extent the Malibu. The Tosca came from a Suzuki/Daewoo platform that was less advanced than the GM’s Epsilon platform which it used in parallel during the Tosca’s initial development. The Tosca replaced the Giugiaro styled Leganza/Mangus and was available only as a four door front wheel drive sedan.
The attractive design was not particularly outstanding, but it was much more pleasant to look at than most of the Chevrolet products of the pre GM bankruptcy era. Much on the new GM thinking that went into the GM Daewoo developed Tosca ended up more refined in later cars like the Cruze. The least of these advances was the improved ergonomics and polished interiors that would become more commonplace in GM cars later in the O’s. The Tosca’s understated interior still looks good when compared too many recent cars who’s dashes look as if they were inspired by Transformer robots. It had an understated, almost sophisticated European flair to it.
The Tosca was never interned to be a sports sedan, but it did have a Porsche designed transversely mounted straight 6 engine. Code named the XK, at only 2 liters it produced 139 hp. A more powerful 2.5 litre version would come later that was mated to an optional six speed manual transmission. The engine was developed to serve emerging markets, but was sold in Europe alongside GM’s other more modern Epsilon platform. Normally mid-sized cars designed for emerging markets in Asia were somewhat smaller than those in Europe and America, which might explain why GM decided to not use the Epsilon based platform in Asia. However, the Tosca was about an inch shorter than the new Chevrolet Cruze.
In addition to the straight 6, there were a slew of four-cylinder engines, one of them a turbodiesel. A Opel designed common rail diesel appeared in 2007, one of the earliest applications of common rail technology in a GM car. Technology aside the Tosca sold well in despite having stiff competition in places like Australia where it competed with the likes of the Mazda6 and Toyota Camry. Tosca or whatever it would have been called has been described as being well an appointed car with good road manners. One Australian journalist even described the Holden Tosca as having an American character, mostly because it was roomy and smooth riding. Ironic, considering that similar GM cars like the Cobalt were being accused of being too American in a way that was not particularly good at the time.
The Tosca was an attractive car by any measure and may have done well if it were sold in North America. It could have been positioned just below the Malibu or as a sporty alternative to it (Chevelle?). GM’s 2009 bankruptcy has forced it to further refine and consolidate car platforms. The last Tosca was produced in 2011 and is slated to be replaced by the next Chevrolet Malibu (under a different name?) on the Epsilon II platform.