Holden Ba­rina and Trax up­graded

Holden has up­dated both its Ba­rina small car and the Trax, the com­pact SUV which is based on it. Damien O’car­roll re­ports.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - NEWS -

With the re­lease of the ac­claimed Spark city car, the two cars that sit just above it in Holden’s range, the Ba­rina and Trax, were sud­denly a bit be­hind the times. But that wasn’t a sit­u­a­tion that was ever go­ing to last long, and, thanks to the com­pany’s con­certed ef­fort to up­date or re­place pretty much its en­tire model range as the Com­modore slides qui­etly into obliv­ion, heav­ily up­graded ver­sions of both have just ar­rived lo­cally. Holden New Zealand is very proud of the fact that it has man­aged to keep the prices the same across both ranges, de­spite ad­ding more equip­ment. The Ba­rina starts at $23,990 for the LS and tops out at $25,990 for the LT, while the Trax range starts at $32,990 for the LS and fea­tures a new en­trant in the range in the form of the$35,490 LT. At the head of the Trax range sits the LTZ at $36,990. All mod­els of Ba­rina and Trax are equipped with au­to­matic trans­mis­sions. The sole en­gine in the Ba­rina line up is a 1.6-litre that pro­duces an un­changed 85kw of power and 155Nm of torque, hooked up to a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Mean­while, for the Trax, Holden has dropped the wheezy old 103kw/175nm 1.8-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated four-cylin­der en­gine in favour of the far su­pe­rior 103kw/200nm 1.4-litre turbo across the range. Pre­vi­ously, to get the good en­gine you had to buy the top-spec LTZ, but now it is stan­dard across the range, along with the six-speed auto. Along with a new face, in­te­rior de­sign, bon­net, head­lights, tail­lights and rear bumper, the Ba­rina LS comes stan­dard with 16-inch al­loy wheels, Blue­tooth phone con­nec­tiv­ity and au­dio stream­ing, cruise con­trol and au­to­matic head­lights, with the MY17 up­date ad­ding rear park as­sist, a rear view cam­era, LED day­time run­ning lights and a 7-inch touch­screen Mylink in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem that in­cludes Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid Auto. The LT adds 17-inch al­loy wheels, ar­ti­fi­cial leather trim, heated seats, key­less en­try and start, fog lamps, a leather steer­ing wheel, and gear shifter and a trip com­puter. The Trax also gets a new face, in­te­rior, head­lights, LED DRLS, rear fas­cia and tail­lights, with the LS kick­ing off the small SUV range with 16-inch al­loy wheels, cloth in­te­rior

trim, cruise con­trol, rear park as­sist, a rear view cam­era, the Mylink in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid Auto and a leather steer­ing wheel as stan­dard. The new mid-level LT adds 18-inch al­loy wheels, a cloth/pvc in­te­rior, a sun­roof, front fog lamps, chrome ex­te­rior trim, front seat arm­rests, DAB dig­i­tal ra­dio and key­less en­try and start. The LTZ tops the range with ar­ti­fi­cial leather heated seats, rain sens­ing wipers, turn sig­nals in the door mir­rors, blind spot alert, rear cross traf­fic alert and LED tail­lights. The Ba­rina’s new face is nicely hand­some and ma­ture look­ing, bring­ing a larger car pres­ence to the small car and the in­te­rior changes are nice, if not ex­actly ex­ten­sive, while the new dash ges­ture and colour has nicely done away with the re­flec­tion in the wind­screen that an­noyed in the last model. The same can be said of the Trax, but with more ef­fort in the in­te­rior pro­duc­ing far nicer re­sults, par­tic­u­larly over the last model. The new faces are hand­some, but there is lit­tle fam­ily re­sem­blance be­tween the two, con­tin­u­ing with Holden’s new de­sign di­rec­tion of “all com­pletely dif­fer­ent.” The fact that the aw­ful 1.8-litre en­gine is gone is prob­a­bly the best news though. On the road, both feel broadly sim­i­lar to their pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tions, which were al­ways tight, com­pe­tent and com­fort­able, and re­main so. Both MY17 updates add bet­ter looks, ex­tra equip­ment and up­grades in qual­ity across the Ba­rina and Trax range, although the Trax does get a far bet­ter in­te­rior up­grade than the Ba­rina. While the new looks are good, the big­gest news is the ad­di­tion of the 1.4-litre turbo en­gine to the en­try LS Trax. It is a slight shame that the Ba­rina didn’t get sim­i­larly ex­cit­ing en­gine-re­lated news. Both re­main pleas­ant enough to drive, with the ad­di­tional equip­ment be­ing a wel­come ar­rival, par­tic­u­larly with prices re­main­ing un­changed over 2016 mod­els. The ad­di­tion of An­droid Auto and Ap­ple Carplay brings a sim­i­larly im­pres­sive boost in ex­tras, with nav­i­ga­tion through the phone be­ing the big­gest bonus here. While Holden hasn’t done any en­gi­neer­ing, han­dling or per­for­mance up­grades to ei­ther, both still hold up well, although the Ba­rina is still in need of a more mod­ern pow­er­train, the Trax does well in the MY17 re­fresh. Hand­some, com­fort­able and well equipped for the money, the Ba­rina and Trax both make for com­pelling pack­ages, with the Trax man­ag­ing to be a bit more ap­peal­ing, largely thanks to its bril­liant lit­tle en­gine.

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