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New models - Holden - Barina

First look: Barina puts on a brave face

Midlife crisis: All 2004 Barinas get a new trapezoidal grille and new bumpers, while three-door SXi adds colour-coded mirrors and door handles.

Holden's Barina gets a price slash and a subtle makeover for 2004

12 Jan 2004

AN UPDATED XC Barina is just what the doctor ordered for Holden, whose light car sales dropped almost 50 per cent in 2003.

Easily outsold by Toyota’s Echo, the Hyundai Getz, Honda Jazz, Kia Rio and even Mitsubishi’s aged Mirage - in its swansong year before being replaced by the Colt this year - Holden’s Barina comes armed with a new engine, cosmetic changes inside and out, and a cheaper pricetag for 2004.

Originally due to be released in November, the facelifted Barina cannot come soon enough for Holden, which announced the updated hatch on January 5 but will not reach most dealers’ showrooms until later this month.

All 2004 Barinas are $1000 cheaper than before, with the entry level three-door SXi manual dropping to $15,990, the five-door CD now $17,990 and the three-door SRi manual flagship now $22,490.

Air-conditioning remains optional across the board at $1880 - as does metallic paint, which rises $60 to $300. ABS stays standard on SRi but, unlike with the newer Jazz and Mazda2, remains unavailable on other Barinas.

Headlining the 2004 changes is a new 1.4-litre Twinport four-cylinder engine for manual SXi and CD models only. Producing the same 66kW (and 125Nm of torque at 4000rpm) 400rpm lower in its rev-range at 5600rpm, the new longer-stroke engine employs variable intake control to deliver fuel economy of just 5.9 litres per 100km.

While the manual SRi continues with its 92kW/165Nm 1.8, auto versions of the base SXi and five-door CD continue with the previous 1.4 Ecotec four, which consumes fuel at a claimed 7.5L/100km.

All 2004 Barinas gain Brake Assist technology to reduce brake pedal effort during hard braking, while Barina’s speed-sensitive electric power steering has also been retuned for model year 2004 and the base SXi gains steering wheel height adjustment.

Inside, a 60/40 split-folding, two-stage lockable rear seatback has been added across the range, along with a new charcoal grey Onishi fabric trim and charcoal metallic centre console with black dials with silver surrounds.

Rounding out the 2004 changes is a fresher exterior look, including a new trapezoidal chrome grille, new colour-coded bumpers with integrated rub strips, body-coloured tailgate handles and a new silver-green metallic paint colour, Spearmint Silver, to replace Aztec Gold on SXi and CD variants.

Finally, SXi and CD join SRi in getting colour-coded door handles, CD gets body-coloured protection mouldings and SXi gets body-coloured wing mirrors, while SRi and five-door CD get dark-tinted tail-lights and the SRi gets projector-style headlights.

SXi three-door manual $15,990
SXi three-door auto $17,990
CD five-door manual $17,990
CD five-door auto $19,990
SRi three-door manual $22,490

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