Holden Barina

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Holden Barina
2004 Holden Barina (XC MY04) SXi 3-door hatchback (2010-06-17) 01.jpg
Holden Barina (XC MY04) SXi 3-door hatchback
Manufacturer Suzuki (1985–1994)
Opel (1994–2005)
GM Daewoo/GM Korea (2005–present)
Production 1985–present
Assembly Hamamatsu, Japan
Trentham, New Zealand (GMNZ)[1]
Zaragoza, Spain
Bupyeong, South Korea
Body and chassis
Class Supermini
Body style 3/5-door hatchback
4-door sedan

The Holden Barina is a subcompact automobile sold since 1985 by Holden, the Australian arm of General Motors (GM). Each of the six generations have been badge-engineered versions of various General Motors vehicles, namely Suzuki Cultus, Opel Corsa, and Daewoo Kalos. Barina is an Australian aboriginal word meaning "summit".

First generation (MB, ML; 1985–1988)[edit]

Main article: Suzuki Cultus
1985–1986 Holden Barina (MB)
1986–1988 Holden Barina (ML)

The first generation MB Barina was launched in 1985 as a badge-engineered Suzuki Cultus as a five-door hatchback. In the first year of production a Road Runner special model was offered complete with decals showing the Warner Bros. cartoon character. A high-profile marketing campaign featured the slogan Beep beep Barina, a catchphrase that remains in the consciousness of many Australians in the present. The facelifted ML Barina was released in September 1986, this included a coil sprung rear end replacing the leaf springs of the MB, a revised dashboard, headlights, tailgate and lights, and front grille.

In the Used Car Safety Ratings undertaken by the Monash University Accident Research Centre, published in 2008, found that the first generation Barina provides a "significantly worse than average" level of occupant safety protection in the event of an accident.[2] Achieving up to 19 km/l on the 1.0 3-cyl models, the fuel consumption on this model is outstanding.

In New Zealand, the Barina (also sold as the "Suzuki Swift") was assembled by GMNZ from 1985 until 1989.[1] From 1986 to 1989, a Holden Barina GTi model was also sold, being a rebadged Suzuki Swift GTi (see Suzuki Cultus). This vehicle used the G13B engine. General Motors sold this car in other markets as well. In the United States, it was badged as the Chevrolet Sprint.

Second generation (MF, MH; 1989–1994)[edit]

1991–1994 Holden Barina (MH) 5-door hatchback
Main article: Suzuki Cultus

The second-generation MF Barina was a rebadged second generation Suzuki Cultus, co-developed with GM using the GM M platform and marketed worldwide under nearly a dozen nameplates, prominently as the Suzuki Swift, Pontiac Firefly (Canada) and Geo Metro (Chevrolet's sub-model in the USA). A five-door hatchback was first released in January 1989, and was followed by the introduction of a three-door "GS" hatchback in September 1990.

An ordering mix-up meant that (right hand drive) NZ versions - now imported assembled from Japan - received the North American Geo tail lamp cluster with red flashing direction indicators rather than the Suzuki style cluster with amber flasher sent to Australia. Luckily for GM NZ, NZ law still allowed amber or red so the red lenses remained for the entire MH series run. The equivalent Suzuki had the amber lenses.

The MH Barina, which was released in September 1991,[3] featured an improved interior, upgraded suspension, new front and rear bumpers and revised tail-lamp clusters.[4]

Like the previous generation, the second generation Barina provides a "worse than average" level of safety according to the 2008 Used Car Safety Ratings.[2]

Third generation (SB; 1994–2000)[edit]

1994–1995 Holden Barina (SB) Joy 3-door
1996–1997 Holden Barina (SB) City 3-door
1994–1995 Holden Barina (SB) Swing 5-door
Main article: Opel Corsa

The third generation SB Barina was based on the Opel Corsa B and imported from Spain. It was released in April 1994 and was offered as a three- or five-door hatchback. Engine choices were a 1.2 and 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine. A 1.6-litre engine was also offered for the sporty range topping GSi. The third generation Barina was available in the following models:

  • 1.2 litre C12NZ — City 3-door (1994–1997)
  • 1.4 litre C14NZ — City 3-door (1996–1997)
  • 1.4 litre C14NZ — Joy 3-door (1994–1995)
  • 1.4 litre C14NZ — Swing 5-door (1994–1997)
  • 1.4 litre C14NZ — Grand Prix 5-door (1996–1997) — special edition
  • 1.6 litre C16XE — GSi 3-door (1994–1995)
  • 1.6 litre X16XE — GSi 3-door (early 1995–1997)
  • 1.4 litre C14SE — City 3-door (1997–2000)
  • 1.4 litre C14SE — Olympic City 3-door (1999–2000) — special edition
  • 1.4 litre C14SE — Swing 5-door (1997–2000)
  • 1.4 litre C14SE — Olympic Swing 5-door (1999–2000) — special edition
  • 1.4 litre C14SE — Lambada 5-door (1997) — special edition
  • 1.4 litre C14SE — Cabrio 3-door (1997–2000)
  • 1.6 litre X16SE — GSi 3-door (1997–1999)

In August 1997 there was an update featuring multipoint fuel injection across the range and suspension upgrades to improve ride and handling.[5] These models can be identified by their half body coloured bumpers, three-bar grille, and updated trim and badging.

From November 1997 until late 2000, Holden sold the Barina Cabrio soft top convertible.[6] Based on the Barina City three-door hatchback,[7] the soft top version was built in Spain like the rest of the SB series lineup.[8] However, once imported into Australia, Holden organised for the conversion into cabriolets at Clayton, Victoria through its performance vehicle partner, Holden Special Vehicles (HSV).[6] As a result, there was no Opel-branded equivalent for the unique-to-Australia cabriolet.

The final cars were built in 2000, but sales continued into 2001 until the XC model arrived. In the 2008 Used Car Safety Ratings, the SB Barina was assessed as providing an "average" protection.[2]

Fourth generation (XC; 2001–2005)[edit]

Main article: Opel Corsa
Holden Barina (XC MY03) SXi 3-door

The fourth-generation XC Barina was released in April 2001, based on the Opel Corsa C platform. It was available to the Australian market in Barina 3 Door and Barina 5 Door models with a Z14XE 1.4 litre 16-valve engine. In September of that year an SRi model with a new Z18XE 1.8 litre engine and the 3 door 1.4 litre SXi joined the line-up. The Barina was awarded the Wheels Car of the Year award for 2001. Limited edition Equipe models were released in April 2002.

In January 2003 for the MY03 update, the SXi three-door and CD five-door models replaced the base 1.4-litre cars, but slower sales prompted Holden to revert to the unbadged base model names again from mid-2004 (MY04.5), despite a facelift from January 2004 (MY04) that saw a new nose treatment, some steering and suspension modifications, trim changes and a heavily revised 1.4-litre engine in manual-only base model Barinas.

In the 2008 Used Car Safety Ratings the XC Barina was rated as providing an "better than average" level of occupant protection in the event of an accident,[2] with ANCAP rating the model four out of five stars.[9]

  • 1.4 litre Z14XE — "base" 3-door (2001–2002)
  • 1.4 litre Z14XE — "base" 5-door (2001–2002)
  • 1.4 litre Z14XE — Equipe 3-door (2002)
  • 1.4 litre Z14XE — Equipe 5-door (2002)
  • 1.4 litre Z14XE — SXi 3-door (2003; MY03)
  • 1.4 litre Z14XE — CD 5-door (2003; MY03)
  • 1.8 litre Z18XE — SRi 3-door (2001–2003)
  • 1.4 litre Z14XEP — SXi 3-door (2004; MY04)
  • 1.4 litre Z14XEP — CD 5-door (2004; MY04)
  • 1.4 litre Z14XEP — "base" 3-door (2004–2005; MY04.5 and MY05)
  • 1.4 litre Z14XEP — "base" 5-door (2004–2005; MY04.5 and MY05)
  • 1.8 litre Z18XE — SRi 3-door (2004–2005)

Fifth generation (TK; 2005–2011)[edit]

Main article: Chevrolet Aveo (T200)
2005–2008 Holden Barina (TK) 3-door
2008–2010 Holden Barina (TK) 3-door

In December 2005 Holden dropped the Opel-sourced Barina and rebadged the Daewoo Kalos hatchback as the fifth generation TK Barina. In February 2006, a four-door sedan went on sale, the first sedan type for the Barina nameplate. It is also equipped with a 1.6 litre twin-cam 16-valve variation. The decision was made to ensure Holden remains highly competitive in the fast-growing small car market in Australia, facing competition from other South Korean-sourced models like the Hyundai Getz. The Opel-sourced model sold at a loss and was sold to build up a presence in the entry-level new car market in Australia.[10] The Holden Barina was sold at A$12,990 for a base model car, which was later changed to A$13,490, due to high demand.

The Daewoo-sourced Holden Barina scored a lower two out of five star ANCAP rating than its European-built, Opel-based predecessor.[11] Criticism was focused on the Barina TK because of these crash test results, one of the worst in history.[12] As a result, Denny Mooney, the managing director of Holden, was forced to publicly defend his product.[13]

Reflecting market priorities and price point control, some safety equipment is either unavailable or available only at extra cost on some models in some markets—including side airbags, anti-lock brakes, fog lamps and a rear center position three-point seatbelts and headrests. So while the Holden Barina is itself a virtually identical iteration of the Daewoo Kalos and all its iterations—its safety content may differ critically from other market variations of the vehicle.

The updated TK Barina hatchback was released in August 2008. It has been facelifted with a bolder grille, new headlamps and tail lamps, along with the interior seen on the sedan model introduced in 2006. Power windows and electric mirrors were standardised in the updated Barina’s specification. Safety-wise, side-impact air bags have been included as standard fitment to the dual front air bags already fitted.[14] As a result of this, and structural improvements including a high-strength steel reinforced B-pillar, ANCAP rated the car four out of five stars, up from two.[15]

Sixth generation (TM; 2011–)[edit]

2011 Holden Barina (TM) hatchback
Main article: Chevrolet Aveo (T300)

The sixth generation TM series Barina debuted at the 2011 Australian International Motor Show held in Melbourne.[16] The 5 door hatch was released for sale in November 2011 [17] and the sedan was launched in February 2012.[18] The TM Barina has a similar interior design seen on the smaller Barina Spark both sharing the same ice blue LCD gauge cluster and a similar centre stack design. The exterior looks much more like the Series II Holden Captiva with similar headlight and grille designs. The TM series is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a choice of a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The TM Barina is based on the second generation Chevrolet Aveo.


  1. ^ a b Webster, Mark (2002), Assembly: New Zealand Car Production 1921-98, Birkenhead, Auckland, New Zealand: Reed, pp. 164, 174, ISBN 0-7900-0846-7 
  2. ^ a b c d "Used Car Safety Ratings 2008" (PDF). Monash University. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  3. ^ Norm Darwin, 100 Years of GM in Australia, 2002, page 358
  4. ^ Tony Davis, The New Car Buyers Guide No 5, 1993, page 46
  5. ^ Kenwright, Joe (7 April 2006). "Used Car Advice: Holden SB/XC Barina '94-04". Motoring. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Kennedy, Ewan (1 March 2013). "Used car review Holden Barina 1989-2012". CarsGuide. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "At Under $20,000, Holden's Barina Cabrio Is The Most Affordable Convertible". AutoWeb. 27 February 1998. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  8. ^ Dowling, Joshua (23 February 1999). "Holden Barina Cabrio". Drive. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Holden Barina City | 2001". Land Transport New Zealand. New Zealand Government. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  10. ^ "New Barina's price calms sentiment". The Courier-Mail. News Limited. 2006-01-14. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  11. ^ "Holden Barina Korean Safety". CarAdvice.com.au. 2006-05-16. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  12. ^ "Holden Barina | 2005 on". Land Transport New Zealand. New Zealand Government. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  13. ^ "Holden Barina 2006 Poor Safety Slows Sales". CarAdvice.com.au. 2006-05-14. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  14. ^ Mathioudakis, Bryon (2008-08-15). "Holden’s public web site reveals images and some spec details of the ’09 Barina". GoAuto. John Mellor. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  15. ^ Blackburn, Richard (2008-11-06). "Holden Barina improves crash rating". Drive. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  16. ^ Mike Stevens, 2012 Holden Barina Revealed In Melbourne, www.themotorreport.com.au, Jul 1, 2011 Retrieved on 31 July 2012
  17. ^ Holden / Barina / 5-dr hatch range – Overview, www.goauto.com.au Retrieved on 31 July 2012
  18. ^ New Barina Sedan stretches the appeal of Holden's small car star, www.mvmg.com.au, 1 February 2012 Retrieved on 31/7/2012