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Holden Barina RS manual 2014 review

EXPERT RATING
6

We turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering would you buy one?

What is it?

This is Holden's 'hot-rod' Barina with a turbo petrol engine and a host of other goodies for not very much money.

It's a five door hatch with seats for five, front wheel drive and six speed manual or optional six speed auto transmissions. Some local dynamic set-up has been carried out.

How much?

Goes for $21,390 with few options apart from the auto.

What are competitors?

Not many, possibly no direct competitors for the dosh. The Fiesta ST is five grand more and no other light car comes close for the money and what you get.

What's under the bonnet?

Power comes from a 1.4-litre, Austrian built, turbo petrol engine with a cast iron block, variable valve timing and, get this, chain drive to the twin cams - meaning no expensive timing belt change down the track. The engine has been modified for low internal friction and the oil pump is variable to help efficiency.

How does it go?

It goes OK, apart from a slight throttle calibration hiccup which holds high revs too long when gear changing. It could do with a bit more go, but the available torque is adequate for all normal driving situations. The gear change is a bit rubbery but actual gearing is good, fully tapping into available power.

Is it economical?

Not too bad on this score either rated at 6.5L/100km on 95RON.

Is it green?

Scores a 4.5 star rating from the Green Vehicle Guide.

Is it safe?

Five stars.

Is it comfortable?

Not too bad actually with sporty leather front seats, cruise, multi-function leather sports wheel with rake and reach adjust, MyLink infotainment and connectivity (you have to reconnect every time you get in the car), auto headlights, cool motorcycle style instrument pod, metal pedals, trip computer, large info screen, six speaker audio rear park sensors.

What's it like to drive?

OK, not the most engaging thing we've had in the car park lately, bit soft, bit underpowered, not much wow factor but comfortable and safe. Very practical when you need it. Don't mind the looks either apart from the cheap plastics inside - and the acrid smell from same. And it gets disc brakes all round.

Is it value for money?

Yes, as already mentioned, there isn't anything competing directly with the RS for the money, features or performance.

Verdict

Would we buy one?

No. We'd probably go Renault Clio GT at a bit more dosh or stretch further, cop the three doors and go for the awesome Ford Fiesta ST.

Pricing Guides

$9,990
Based on 104 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$6,990
Highest Price
$14,490

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
CD 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $7,999 – 12,990 2014 Holden Barina 2014 CD Pricing and Specs
CD Trio 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $9,990 – 9,999 2014 Holden Barina 2014 CD Trio Pricing and Specs
CDX 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $9,990 – 13,990 2014 Holden Barina 2014 CDX Pricing and Specs
RS 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $8,995 – 14,490 2014 Holden Barina 2014 RS Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6