Slick Barina an appy

Holden engi­neers turn an av­er­age car into a good one

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@cars­guide.com.au

headache of in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems that date within 18 months of a car’s launch.

It’s a smart move— if the PRICE, run­ning costs and looks are fac­tors that light car buy­ers ag­o­nise over.

The Holden Barina has two of the three cri­te­ria down pat and up­dates to its six-speed au­to­matic have brought it back into the game on fuel ex­penses.

With a youth-ori­ented in­te­rior that now has the My Link app-based in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, it is on the money as a prac­ti­cal in­ner-city com­muter.

VALUE

The CD kicks things off at $15,990 with a 1.6-litre en­gine and five-speed man­ual gear­box. The auto adds $2500, which makes the self-shift­ing CDX at $20,490 the pick of the pair. It runs on 17-inch wheels fit­ted with de­cent Con­ti­nen­tal rub­ber. It also has re­verse park­ing sen­sors, heated front seats and fog lamps. The price puts it ahead of the pack— the top-sell­ing Mazda2 Genki costs the same money with a man­ual gear­box, as does the Ford Fi­esta Zetec.

TECH­NOL­OGY

Holden is mak­ing the most of smart­phone tech­nol­ogy and soft­ware apps to avoid the apps suit the mar­ket. The Red Lion sees in­ter­net ra­dio as a big sell­ing point, along with an app-based sat­nav due next year. My Link copes with most smart­phones and, by be­ing just the in­ter­face, should stay con­tem­po­rary long past its ri­vals.

The auto gear­box is now good for 6.3L/100km, which is a mere 0.2L more— or a cou­ple of ag­gres­sive take-offs from the lights— than the likes of the Fi­esta, Kia Rio or CVTe­quipped Suzuki Swift.

DE­SIGN

A clean and mod­ern look with­out too many fussy lines helps ex­plain the Barina’s ex­ter­nal ap­peal.

The dis­tinct dual head­lamps give it an up­mar­ket look and the chrome high­lights on the CDX say you’ve got the pre­mium package.

It looks good in­side, too . . . just don’t touch. The plas­tics are a marked im­prove­ment on the Barina Spark but are still far from best in show.

SAFETY

No wor­ries here. The Barina’s five-star AN­CAP rat­ing is at the high end of the light car scale, with a rat­ing of 35.32 out of 37. Six airbags are stan­dard and the ba­sic struc­ture was praised by the crash-test­ing body for its rigid­ity. Don’t hit a Com­modore— size still mat­ters.

DRIV­ING

Lo­cal in­put into the sus­pen­sion and steer­ing can be felt from

Smart move: Holden is mak­ing the most of smart­phone tech­nol­ogy

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