Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The August 2008 Holden Barina mid life facelift improves the front-end looks; styled by Italian design house Giugiaro.
Not so good Look past the styling updates and the overall shape (which arrived in Australia back in December 2005) of the Barina is getting a little bit dated...
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good The new and improved dashboard with an integrated audio and a new instrument cluster.
Not so good Where are all the storage options? Updated dash still lags behind leading competitors in both materials used and the 'fit and finish'; front seats are wide but too flat and lack support. Rear seat room is nothing to shout about; it feels cheap in here.
Performance

Performance

Good We found that with a driver and one passenger aboard, the 1.6L engine has ample power for city driving.
Not so good Slightly disappointing 1.6L engine feels like its working more than it should at highway speeds; five-speed manual doesn’t like to be hurried (the 4-speed auto is a better bet).
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The ride and handling balance sits about mid-field compared with other light cars.
Not so good Power steering is not the best, a touch too heavy in heavy traffic; too much cabin noise at speed; tyres lack grip. No sports hatch.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good ANCAP has rated this model with a 5 star safety rating. The additional 2 airbags compared to previous models is a big tick; the Holden Barina nameplate is well known to Aussie car buyers so resale should not be a problem.
Not so good Having to pay extra for ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System); No Electronic Stability Control (ESC), not even as an option; fuel economy is close to the back of the pack for a light car.