Safety first for Barina
Standard side airbags lead the charge to safety in Holden’s Barina, writes PAUL GOVER
SAFETY is the new buzzword for the Holden Barina. After scoring a twostar rating in ANCAP testing, a new and improved Barina is now claimed to be better in a crash.
The Barina is still basically a Daewoo carryover design, not one of the forthcoming global GM vehicles, but it has been upgraded with side airbags and more body reinforcement in a mid-life change that includes the predictable facelifting work to the body and cabin.
‘‘We are trying to address the safety in the car,’’ GM Holden’s director of marketing, Phil Brook, says.
‘‘In our view, we have made some significant improvements from a safety point of view. It’s the only car in its class with standard side airbags— and has some changes to the structure of the car. It’s a way of addressing any concerns about safety.’’
Brook says Holden will not donate a car for an updated NCAP test because it believes its work is more than good enough.
‘‘We design the car for real-world tests and NCAP is only one measure. Obviously, we would prefer a better safety image.’’
The latest Barina comes with a slight price increase at a time when GM Holden says it is struggling to keep pace with Australian demand for the car.
‘‘We have people screaming for them,’’ Brooks says. ‘‘Given we have them, the car is good for probably 1200 units a month. It varies from 900 to 1200, depending on stock.’’
Brooks says Holden has lifted the bottom line on the Barina, but the increase is down to improvements and the costs of the airbags and raw materials.
‘‘It’s up at retail by about $800. It’s to cover the cost of a number of changes,’’ he says.
The latest Barina has a new grille and changes to the headlights and tail-lights, as well as a cabin including an updated instrument panel, console and new seat fabrics.
The new-look dash has a four-circle instrument cluster with matt-chrome trims.
Prices run from the three-door hatch, from $14,490, to the four-door sedan and five-door hatch from $15,990. The major option is antiskid brakes with alloy wheels at $1190.
‘‘It’s what we would call a minor change to this particular generation of Barina,’’ Brook says, hinting that the all-new replacement is about two years away and definitely part of the global GM product push.
At a cost: the upgraded Barina range will rise in price by about $800. There is more body reinforcement and a facelift to the body and cabin.