Walking into the Melbourne docklands warehouse that hosted the Holden Barina launch I was immediately confronted with two vehicles. One was Holdens first attempt at the Barina, its boxy awkward frame reminded me of my mothers old 1980’s Ford Fiesta which would break down at the most inopportune of times (once on the beach as the tide was coming in). The other was the all new Holden Barina, which despite its less aesthetically pleasing predecessors offered a very unique and bold take on small car styling. This week I took a closer look at the new Barina and what it can offer the small car market.
|Holden Barina in a flash|
|Fuel Efficiency||6.8l(manual) 7.2l(auto) per 100km|
|ANCAP rating||5 stars|
In black or white the Barina really does stand out and as small cars go, the front end (which will remind many of the most recent Mitsubishi Lancer) does look much better than previous models. The back end is not as sleek as it could be, however, on the whole the styling; with sharp lines and a prominent grille, still stands head and shoulders ahead of most cars in its class.
With the usual Holden centre console and easy to use and reach dials and controls, the Barina passes the usability test with flying colours. While the inside of the car is functional, it doesn’t quite manage to sign off with its own unique style. The only really unique feature on the interior is the motorcycle look-alike speedo display which unfortunatley looks slightly out of place. Despite a slight lack of design flair on the inside the Barina does boast some impressive features as standard (Bluetooth, cruise control and iPod connectivity).
Like most small cars the Barina is not the greatest driving experience and despite my high hopes I didn’t find a significant difference between the auto and the manual. Unfortunatly both transmission types were pretty much devoid of the zippyness that could have endeared the car to an even bigger audience . While I wasn't overwhelmed by the car I would say that for the money you pay the Barina is great value and does represent a genuine improvement on previous models. All things considered, the new styling and value for money proposition should help Holden seriously compete with the Hyundai i30 and the Mazda2, both of which have sold very well (6th and 7th respectively) so far this year.