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Used Holden Barina review: 2006-2011

Avoid the early models, go instead for the later ones with improved safety.
EXPERT RATING
7
NEW The Korea-built TK Barina got off to a rather rocky start when the Euro NCAP people could only give it a miserable 2-star rating. At a time when carmakers were making great strides in the area of safety the littlest Holden stood out for all the wrong reasons. But by 2008 things were looking up when it was given it

NEW

The Korea-built TK Barina got off to a rather rocky start when the Euro NCAP people could only give it a miserable 2-star rating. At a time when carmakers were making great strides in the area of safety the littlest Holden stood out for all the wrong reasons.

But by 2008 things were looking up when it was given it a four-star tick of approval after much needed changes were made. The Barina was one of the first models Holden released as it transitioned from European sourced small cars to ones built by Daewoo in Korea.

Daewoo was already on the nose with Australian car buyers having sold a range of underwhelming cars here previously. Holden clearly had plenty of work to do to sell its new Daewoo-built cars to a sceptical public.

By 2006 when the 2007 MY update was launched Holden was offering the little front-wheel drive Barina in three body styles, a three-door hatch, a five-door hatch and a four-door sedan.

None were particularly pretty, they were best described as bland, even after getting a facelift by Holden's local design team, but nor were they ugly like some others from that part of the world. The interior was similarly bland with hard and unfriendly finishes, although a few metallic highlights brightened things up a little.

Under the bonnet was a 1.6-litre double-overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine with enough punch for the purpose. It performed quite well, if a tad noisy, and was quite economical. Backing it up was either a four-speed auto or a five-speed manual, both of which were acceptable, and the final drive went through the front wheels.

Holden's engineers worked on the Barina's suspension to make it more suitable for local conditions and they did their job well. As a result the little hatch handled with aplomb, although the ride was firmish and the suspension could at times crash and bash on bumps.

On the safety front by mid-2008 the Barina had dual front airbags and side airbags, along with ABS braking and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD). It was enough to get a four-star rating from ANCAP.

NOW

The Barina has no serious flaws that should be of concern to secondhand buyers. That said they are subject to those annoying niggly little issues that seem to strike most cars today, ie. mostly sensors, electronics and the like.

Servicing is important to a long and reliable life for any car, and the Barina is no different. Regular oil changes are crucial and not to be missed. The cam-timing belt needs to be changed every 60,000 km and this is a critical one. Ignoring it is to risk damaging your engine.

Owners are generally happy with their lot. Steph Gray bought a 2009 Barina auto second-hand with 69,000 km on the clock and rates it as a great little car for city driving, although she says the brakes require too much effort to take effect, the auto takes too long to change gears, and audio quality is poor. Steph also emphasizes the need to change the cam-timing belt when the required service (60,000 km) comes up.

Steph's concern about the brakes could be due to a sticky valve in the Electronic Brake Module, something that caused the brakes to feel spongy and Holden to issue a recall in 2012 on cars built between 2009-2011.

Queenslander Peter Nortje bought a 2007 Barina sedan demonstrator that had done just 57 km. It has now done 62,000 km and he is happy with it. Apart from regular servicing, including a new cam-timing belt at 60,000 km, and three sets of tyres, he has only had to fit a new oxygen sensor. He says it is a bit basic inside, but the seats are comfortable, and the boot is a good size. On the road the steering is ok on good sealed roads, but average on uneven tar.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2011 $2,400 $5,830
2010 $2,100 $4,840
2009 $2,000 $4,400
2008 $1,850 $4,070
2007 $2,000 $4,070
2006 $1,850 $4,070

View all Holden Barina pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$4,789
Based on 65 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$2,400
Highest Price
$6,999

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 1.6L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,400 – 4,070 2006 Holden Barina 2006 (base) Pricing and Specs
(base) 1.6L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,400 – 4,070 2006 Holden Barina 2006 (base) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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