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Holden Barina CDX and Spark CD 2012 Review

The latest Barina CDX is driving the small car into new infotainment territory.

Holden is using one of its cheaper cars to debut innovative communication systems that will put the world at its owner’s fingertips. The MY13 Barina CDX will gain the Holden MyLink infotainment system which operates by integrating the owner’s compatible smartphone and stored media, via Bluetooth, auxiliary jack or USB, with the radio.

This allows owners to enjoy easy-to-use, personalised connectivity while their smartphone is stowed. Holden MyLink launches in the New Year with the Stitcher Smart Radio application. Thereafter, additional apps will be available, with Holden MyLink the first in-car system in Australia to offer full compatibility with Pandora Internet Radio.

TuneIn Radio will also become available in 2013 and allow Barina drivers to stream radio stations from around the world. Holden MyLink will also bring innovative low-cost navigation to Barina drivers through BringGo, a navigation application which runs through the mobile device’s 3G or 4G service and is controlled and viewed on the MyLink seven-inch touch screen.


The Holden Barina CD manual entry-level hatch comes to the market at $15,990, while the range is topped off by the CDX automatic sedan at $20,990, both plus on-road costs. The new models are on sale now.

Holden also took the opportunity to wheel out the 2013 Barina Spark for the first time, due to go on sale in January. The Barina Spark CD auto will go on sale for $14,490, the manual $12,490, plus on-road costs. The 2013 Barina Spark gains design updates, including new look front grille, side skirts, headlamps, tail lamps, 14-inch alloy wheels and body colour rear spoiler with integrated LED stop lamp. 

Air-conditioning is standard and it gets benefits of Bluetooth connectivity and steering wheel-mounted phone controls are on offer, while electric power steering, remote flip key, hill start assist and a fuel-saving neutral idle feature add some unexpected technological touches to an otherwise price-pinned car.


In the cabin, hard plastic surfaces announce the Barina’s utilitarian light car character but this is balanced by a range of quality driving aids such as a modern motorcycle-inspired instrument cluster, home to a digital speedo and analogue tacho, plus trip computer recording average fuel consumption and speed, distance to empty and trip time. 

Initial impressions of the Spark are of body creases all round, while the rear lamp clusters dominate the back of the car almost to excess. The chrome tipped exhaust is a nice touch though, as are hidden rear door handles.


It comes with dual front, side and curtain airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners, collapsible pedals and Electronic Stability Control help earn the Spark a four-star ANCAP safety rating.


The new Barina offers fuel economy of up to 6.3 litres per 100 kilometres on the range topping CDX sedan thanks to its 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine (85 kW and 155 Nm) being matched with a new six-speed automatic transmission with Active Select, and electric power steering package.

The new automatic transmission is also offered as an option for the Barina CD and gives fuel consumption of 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres, around 10 per cent better than the equivalent 2012 model. CDX ownership is further enhanced by a new 17-inch alloy wheel and tyre package and an updated steering calibration, the latter being part of development work undertaken by Holden engineers in conjunction with their Korean counterparts.

The little Spark hatchback will come in CD five-speed manual and four-speed automatic form. And is powered by a 1.2 litre DOHC engine, putting out 63 kW of power and 113 Nm of torque, returning 5.8 litres/100km on the combined urban/highway cycle, the Spark automatic is happiest commuting around town where low fuel usage and manoeuvrability matter more than out-and-out performance. Emissions are to Euro 5 standard.


On the launch over a range of town, country and highway driving a Barina CDX automatic and Spark CD auto both came up with fuel consumption close to six litres per 100 kilometres. Cabin noise was low thanks to chassis-to-body interfaces designed to enhance stiffness, helping to reduce low frequency sound. Air/noise barriers are incorporated in the floor, instrument panel and inner body panels.

Four acoustic resonators from low to high frequency on the intake system help to limit engine noise and the exhaust system incorporates a front and a rear muffler.


The latest Barina CDX is driving the small car into new infotainment territory and an automatic transmission puts the MY13 Barina Spark at the forefront of light car appeal.

Holden Barina CDX
Price: from $15,990
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder, 85kW/155Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto
Thirst: 6.3L/100km

Holden Barina Spark CD
Price: from $12,490
Engine: 1.2-litre 4-cylinder, 63kW/113Nm
Transmission: 5-speed manual or 4-speed auto
Thirst: 5.8L/100km

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

(base) 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $4,999 – 10,995 2012 Holden Barina 2012 (base) Pricing and Specs
CD 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $4,995 – 11,511 2012 Holden Barina 2012 CD Pricing and Specs
CDX 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $6,888 – 11,995 2012 Holden Barina 2012 CDX Pricing and Specs
Classic 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $5,888 – 7,917 2012 Holden Barina 2012 Classic Pricing and Specs