27 September 2016

Holden Barina RS 2016 car review

31 years later and the household name Barina is still going strong, with the new RS boasting a sophisticated European design and packing in plenty of sporty and enjoyable elements.

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Holden Barina RS 2016
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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
Models Barina RS
Engine 1.4L turbocharged 4 cylinder
Price $26,490 manual, $27,990 auto
ANCAP safety rating 5 star 
Power 103kW
Transmission 6-speed auto/manual
Fuel economy 6.6L/100km combined
Towing capacity N/A
Seating capacity 5
Safety systems
6 airbags Reverse camera
Stability ABS, brake assist
Electronic brakeforce distribution Traction control
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