This Holden is far from bland and lifeless – the common association that comes with any small and cheap car. It breathes excitement and functionality, which is mixed with a small dose of technology. The RS front seats are leather and heated (although there’s only one temperature setting), the dash displays a nice 7” touch screen with reverse camera and MyLink smartphone connectivity plus there’s also a motorcycle like instrument cluster nestled behind the RS badge and the racing-inspired, flat-bottomed, sport steering wheel.
Racy but not OTT
The RS swaps out the Barina 1.6L engine and brings in a 1.4L, turbocharged power plant. The drive is fed through a 6-speed automatic transmission, which wasn’t the smoothest to operate – for added control, I’d be tempted to go for the 6-speed manual gearbox instead. That said, this vehicle is racy without being over the top and that’s due to the attention to detail.
The suspension is lowered and fitted with performance-tuned dampers, making the handling of corners easy and the ride comfortable - you certainly didn’t find yourself bouncing all over the road – and the sports exhaust and chrome tip helps the turbo engine breathe but keeps the noise down.
Inside, the RS model offers a few minor differences to the Barina, such as its interior trim and sports pedals. One minor detail, not immediately noticeable, that bugged me was the reflection of the large, round heater vent that went through the side window and on to both sides of the door mirrors.
Small but super safe
A 5 star ANCAP safety rating is a very good effort for such a small car. The Barina incorporates multiple airbags, control systems and increased structural reinforcements to keep all occupants in this little hatch safe.
At a glance
|Engine||1.4L turbocharged 4 cylinder|
|Price||$26,490 manual, $27,990 auto|
|ANCAP safety rating||5 star|
|Fuel economy||6.6L/100km combined|
|6 airbags||Reverse camera|
|Stability||ABS, brake assist|
|Electronic brakeforce distribution||Traction control|