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Paris show: Holden’s next Barina takes a bow

Beep-beep: All-new Barina was designed by an Australian in Korea, where it will be built for Australia.

New Holden Barina surfaces, faithful to Chev’s Oz-designed Aveo RS concept

8 Sep 2010

HOLDEN’S next-generation Barina city-car has emerged in full production trim, five days after the reveal of another Australian-designed small car, the Cruze hatchback.

The replacement for GM Holden’s smallest current model - and direct rival for the likes of Toyota's Yaris, Ford's Fiesta, Hyundai's i20, the Mazda2 and VW Polo - is the third of four new Chevrolet models to surface prior to their Paris motor show debuts on September 30.

The first was the production version of the seven-seat Orlando people-mover concept, which was also styled by a Holden designer, while the fourth will be a facelifted Captiva with four new engines.

While the upgraded Captiva will come here from Korea and the Orlando remains under consideration for local sale, Holden will produce the Cruze hatch alongside the Cruze sedan (and Commodore) at its Elizabeth plant near Adelaide from late 2011.

The redesigned Barina hatch and sedan will go on sale here around the same time, in both four-door sedan and five-door hatch guises - the latter pictured here in Chevrolet Aveo form for Europe.

The new Barina/Aveo hatch and sedan will be released in Europe in mid-2011, before completing Holden's small-car line-up in Australia by the end of next year.

Before then, Holden will introduce an updated 2011 model year Barina and its first sub-light model - the all-new ‘Barina Spark’ hatch – both of which should go on sale following a Sydney motor show launch on October 15.

Appearing almost identical to the cheeky Australian designed and built Chevrolet Aveo RS concept revealed at the Detroit motor show in January, the production Chevrolet Aveo is larger than the current Barina, making way for the smaller, cheaper Spark, which replaced the Chevrolet Matiz in some overseas markets earlier this year.

GM’s new light-sized (B-segment) model was styled at GM Daewoo in Korea by Holden designer Ondrej Koromhaz and, like the current Barina and new Spark (but unlike next year’s small Cruze twins), will be built for Australia and Europe in Korea.

Holden will not reveal any official details of its upcoming light and small car line-up, but this year’s Barina Spark will likely come with a 60kW/111Nm 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine matched initially only to a five-speed manual gearbox.

Expect an automatic option to follow within months, along with fuel consumption of around 5.0L/100km, CO2 emissions of about 120g/km and a lower pricetag than the Barina (which currently starts at $14,790), to match some of the lowest-priced cars on the market.

13 center imageLeft, from top: production 2011 Chevrolet Aveo (Holden Barina), 2010 Aveo RS concept, 2011 Chevrolet (Holden) Cruze hatchback, 2011 Chevrolet Orlando MPV and 2011 Chevrolet Spark (Holden Barina Spark).Meantime, the MY11 TK Barina, which started life as the discontinued Daewoo Kalos, will continue in three, four and five-door body styles powered a Euro 4 emissions-compliant version of the current model’s 76kW/145Nm 1.6-litre petrol four, matched with the same five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions.

GM Europe has now confirmed the next Barina/Aveo will – at least in Europe – be available with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, as well as the model’s first diesel engine, matched with a fuel-saving idle-stop system.

While the turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol four that appeared in the Aveo RS show car should remain exclusive to the locally built Cruze in Australia, the new Barina/Aveo will be available in Europe with 52 and 64kW 1.2-litre, 75kW 1.4-litre and 86kW 1.6-litre petrol engines.

The bigger two engines will available there with Chevrolet’s first six-speed automatic in a small car, while the manual-only 1.3-litre turbo-diesel will be offered in Europe in 56kW and 70kW tunes.

Electronic stability control, ABS brakes, six airbags and electric power steering will be standard in the new Barina/Aveo for Europe and most likely Australia.

That should be enough for it to at least match the four-star ANCAP crash test rating achieved by the current Barina since it was upgraded in 2008, before which it was roundly criticised for a two-star safety rating.

GME claims the new car’s body frame integral (BFI) structure makes it one of the most torsionally rigid models in its class and says its chassis has been “fine tuned to satisfy European tastes with a ride and handling ratio that combines comfort with responsiveness”.

Set to debut alongside the production Orlando and Cruze hatch concept, the road-ready Barina/Aveo features the same twin-beam clear-lens headlights and deeply creased bonnet as the Aveo RS concept, but does without the slightly more aggressive show-car’s low front bumper with large lower grille and foglight recesses.

The wheel-arches are less prominent too, but the VW Polo-like Aveo RS’s wedge-shaped proportions, rising shoulder and bodyside sculpting lines, short overhangs and ‘hidden’ rear door-handles remain.

GM says the new model, which will be longer and wider than the current Barina/Aveo, offers cargo volume that will be among the best in its class, as well as a spacious, family-friendly interior.

Designed like the Spark to attract a new generation of young buyers, the new Barina/Aveo cabin features upmarket blue centre console backlighting, a wrap-around fascia that extends from both front doors and can be colour-coded, and a motorcycle-style instrument binnacle with analogue tacho and digital speedo and warning lights.

GM makes much of the new light-car interior’s quality materials, multiple centre-stack storage spaces and full-function sound system with USB, aux-in and Bluetooth connectivity, and says final specifications will be carefully tailored to each market.

“It's just such an exciting time to be at Chevrolet,” said Wayne Brannon, president and managing director of Chevrolet Europe. “Not only do we have new entries into the MPV and compact classes, in Aveo we have a car which is ready to compete against the best in the small car segment, which is also Europe's largest segment.”

Chevrolet, GM’s largest global brand with annual sales of about 3.5 million vehicles in more than 130 countries, will celebrate its centenary in 2011 not only by releasing the new Aveo/Barina, but also the Orlando, Cruze hatch, facelifted Captiva, an all-new family van and the Volt, which GM plans to sell in Australia as a Holden from 2012.

The Cruze, Orlando, Volt and Astra (not sold here) are based on GM’s Delta II small-car platform, while the Barina/Aveo and Spark will share its Gamma II chassis architecture with Opel’s next-generation Corsa.

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