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First drive: Holden extends Barina range

X factor: Holden's Barina gets a more up-market flagship, the CDX, as part of a range update.

Barina CDX range topper and revamped auto make Holden’s baby a better urban runabout


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28 Nov 2012

HOLDEN is introducing a more efficient and economical automatic in its year-old TM Barina series, as part of an MY13 range rejig that includes a new CDX flagship with Australian-tuned steering, suspension and tyre differences compared with the base CD version.

The light-car stalwart will also be the first Holden to offer a subscriber-based multi-media interface known as MyLink in the new range-topper.

Out now, the revised six-speed automatic transmission offers up to 10 per cent reduced fuel consumption when fitted to the CDX compared to its MY12 predecessor, with figures tumbling from 7.2 litres per 100km to between 6.3L and 6.7L/100km depending on model and body style.

This is partly because the 17-inch alloy wheel and tyre package that Holden desired could only be taken in conjunction with a new EPS electric power steering system in place of the hydraulic set-up found in the now entry-level Barina CD.

This means that Barinas with the regular, 15-inch alloy wheel and tyre package still receive the improved automatic transmission, but must make do with the older and less fuel-efficient hydraulic power steering system.

The switch to EPS on the CDX with 17-inch wheels gave Holden the opportunity to respond to media criticism by improving this model Barina’s dynamics and feel, tuning the EPS with the suspension and tyre package to suit Australian driver’s tastes, according to Scott Doughty, Vehicle Performance Manager for the brand.

“Holden integration engineers developed the calibration for the electric power steering and the tyre and suspension tune to ensure Barina continues to meet the needs of Australian drivers,” he said.

“The new auto transmission, EPS and the new wheel and tyre package on Barina CDX combine to offer an improved driving experience for small car drivers.”

Holden says MyLink, meanwhile, operates by integrating the user’s smartphone and stored media – via Bluetooth, auxiliary jack or USB – with the radio.

It will also launch the Stitcher Smart Radio embedded phone application next year, providing full compatibility with internet radio like Pandora and TuneIn Radio, for global audio streaming.

An inexpensive navigation app (about $80) is also on the cards next year, using the mobile smartphone’s 3G or 4G service, so there are ongoing charges involved.

Other than that, the MY13 Barina changes mainly centre on the CDX and its specification increase – a move that is rumoured to be preparing the market for the return of a SRi warm hatch variant sometime in the near future, powered by a 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine.

Along with MyLink and the 17-inch alloy/EPS/retuned suspension package, the newcomer brings fog lights, leather-trimmed wheel and gear lever, vinyl seats, heated front seats, a trip computer, extra storage and a sprinkling of chrome accenting.

The continuing Generation III version of GM’s long-lived 1.6-litre twin-cam 16-valve variable valve four-cylinder petrol unit remains unchanged, still delivering 85kW of power at 6000rpm and 155Nm of torque at 4000rpm.

Like all TM Barinas, underneath the MY13 is a conventional transverse engine front-wheel drive architecture built off General Motors’ Gamma platform that also underpins a variety of models sold overseas, including the Opel Corsa and Fiat (Grand) Punto.

Co-developed by GM Korea, with significant input from Opel in Germany and Holden in Australia, the T300 is underpinned by MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam rear axle with a 21mm hollow type anti-roll bar.

Holden new model pricing*
CD hatch$15,990
CD hatch (a)$17,990
CD sedan$16,490
CD sedan (a)$18,490
CDX hatch (a)$20,490
CDX sedan (a)$20,990
*Plus on-road costs

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