AFTER six gruelling years, Holden has finally put the 2002-era Daewoo Kalos-based TK Barina out of its misery, replacing it with a bold and attractive five-door only hatch that strives to right its predecessors’ many wrongs.
And in many areas the new TM series succeeds, thanks to a strong and spacious body, heaps of standard safety and convenient equipment, and a very appealing overall presentation inside and out.
There’s still some work that needs to be done, but at last we can finally once again recommend a Barina.
Model release date: November 2011
BASICALLY a rebadged 2002 Daewoo T200 Kalos but with a 77kW/145Nm 1.6-litre twin-cam four-cylinder petrol engine that always felt too rough and noisy, the fifth-generation Barina was a backwards step compared to its award-winning Opel Corsa-based XC Barina from 2001.
Two body styles were initially offered – a three-door and five-door hatch – while a slightly larger four-door sedan joined the range from 2006.
Very low pricing and Holden’s impressive marketing machine sustained sales, but critics continued to ravage the TK.
A neat facelift arrived from mid-2008, but the Barina was a bottom-of-the-barrel cheapie that did nothing for Holden’s reputation.
The sooner we all forget about this Korean-built aberration the better, but run-out stocks the previous-gen Barina hatch will continue to be sold alongside the sedan, which won't be replaced until early 2012.
To distinguish those outmoded vehicles from the all-new model, they will be known as the 'Barina Classic' hatch and sedan, while the smaller Barina Spark hatch continues unchanged.