Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head To Head -


The RS went on sale in Novem­ber priced keenly at $20,990 (auto $23,190) — Suzuki wants $25,990 for the Swift Sport. Stan­dard fea­tures in­clude a seven-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen, rear park­ing sen­sors, heated front seats and 17-inch al­loys.


The per­for­mance fo­cused Ba­rina gets sporty, ag­gres­sive front and rear body kit. In­side the theme continues with sports leather seats em­bossed with RS let­ter­ing, so too the floor mats. Good use of space in­side with am­ple rear legroom. Cheap plas­tics and lack of re­fine­ment let the cabin down.


The RS has a 1.4-litre turbo petrol four (103kW/200Nm), which Holden says burns 6.5L/100km of 95 RON in com­bined driv­ing. The six-speed man­ual is fun and easy to use but the six-speed auto feels lethar­gic. The RS has sportier sus­pen­sion with stiff­ened springs and shocks while the ride height is low­ered 10mm. It’s Korean built but the steer­ing is tuned for Aussie roads.


The RS’s five-star ANCAP rat­ing comes from six airbags, disc brakes all-round (reg­u­lar Bari­nas have rear drums), trac­tion and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, ABS, brake as­sis­tance and elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion. An in­fla­tion kit for punc­tures is stan­dard but a full-size spare tyre is a no­cost op­tion.


Han­dling and grip are good and im­pres­sive for a Ba­rina. The MacPher­son strut front sus­pen­sion works well but the tor­sion beam in the back rough­ens the ride. Holden hails the RS as the “new hero” of the range and “the most pow­er­ful Ba­rina ever” but this is not a hot hatch — it’s just a very good Ba­rina.

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