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Holden Barina / Daewoo Kalos / Opel Corsa

Carpedia  ·  December 11, 2019

Holden Barina / Daewoo Kalos / Opel Corsa

The Holden Barina is a subcompact car manufactured by Holden in Australia from 1985 to 2018. The vehicle survived six generations, with each generation's range badge-engineered from several GM models, including the Daewoo Kalos, Opel Corsa, and Suzuki Cultus. The Holden Barina first appeared as hatchbacks, then later as convertibles and sedans.

First Generation (1985-1988) / Suzuki Cultus

The first-generation Barina, a five-door, 5-seat hatchback introduced in February 1985, is a badge-engineered Suzuki Cultus. During its first year of production, there was a particular model, the “Roadrunner Pack,” that was offered complete with the Warner Bros cartoon character. The catchphrase Beep Beep Barina was part of the high-level marketing campaign of the first-generation Barina. There was also the ML series facelift in September 1986, which redesigned the dashboard, tailgate, headlights, and front grille. 

The car was fitted with a 1,324cc 1.3-litre 4-cylinder engine, which could generate up to 50 kW of power and 104 Nm of torque. It utilised a three-speed automatic transmission. However, the first-generation Barina had a worse-than-average level of safety for the occupants. Only a base model was available for this generation.  

Second Generation (1989-1994) / Suzuki Cultus

The second-generation Barina was a rebadged second-generation Suzuki Cultus. It was co-developed with General Motors based on the GM M platform and marketed under a dozen nameplates. The available engine was the 1,298cc 1.3-litre petrol engine rated 50 kW with a maximum torque of 101 Nm, the same one used in the first generation. The engines hooked up with either a three-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual gearbox. This generation, added a new trim level, the GS model, which is basically the same as the base except that it has a three-door, five-seat configuration. 

Third Generation (1994-2000) / Opel Corsa B

The third-generation SB Barina was based on the subcompact Opel Corsa B from Spain. These three-door and five-door hatchbacks entered the market in 1994 powered by either a 1.2-litre or 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, with a 1.6-litre variant offered for the sporty trim (GSi). For the Australian market, the following trim models were available: the base, Olympic Edition, Grand Prix (discontinued in 1997), City, City Olympic Edition GS (a three-door hatchback introduced in 1990), GSi (the sporty trim), Joy, Cabrio (the convertible introduced in 1997), Swing and Swing Olympic Edition. 

There was the Lambada, a special-edition hatchback introduced in 1997, of which only 500 units were produced. They were distinguishable by their sunroof, body-coloured bumpers, power steering, and 14-inch alloy wheels. Buyers could choose between a Casablanca White, Mint Green, or Atlantis Blue-coloured Lambda. 

These were the available engines

The engines had four cylinders and had power sent to the drive wheels either through a four-speed or three-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual gearbox. 

The Opel Corsa B only reached Australia under the Holden Barina rebadge. 

Fourth Generation (2001-2005) / Opel Corsa C

The fourth-generation Barina was based on the Opel Corsa C. It was released in 2001 as 3-door and five-door models with two engine variants: 

Four trim levels – the base, City, SRi, and Swing (later, base, CD, Sri, and SXi) – were available for this generation. In 2001, it bagged the Wheels Car of the Year (WCOTY) award. In 2008, the Used Car Safety Ratings gave it a rating of "better than average" level of safety for the occupant in the event of an accident. 

Opel Corsa D (2012-2013)

As an additional note on the Opel Corsa, both the B and C versions entered the country via the Holden Barina badge. The Opel Corsa D, however, had a short-lived stint in Australia wearing its Spanish lineage. It was launched in 2012 sporting a 1.4-litre inline-4 petrol engine (74 kW, 130 Nm) hooked up with a 5-speed manual gearbox or 4-speed automatic transmission.

It was available in three trim levels, the base, Colour, and Enjoy. The standard equipment for the base model included dual front, head, and side airbags, ABS, air conditioning, EBD, ESP, engine immobiliser, power mirrors, power steering, power front windows, and traction control system. The higher-spec models added 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, front fog lights, sport seats, and a trip computer.

In 2013, Opel Australia withdrew it from the market, ending its brief stay in the country.

Fifth Generation (2005-2011) / Daewoo Kalos

Holden dropped the Opel-sourced Barina in December 2005, opting for the Daewoo Kalos instead. The three-door and five-door hatchbacks and four-door sedans went on sale in 2005. The Opel-sourced Barina was not so popular with the Australian consumer and sold at a loss. Holden thought that using the Daewoo Kalos would ensure that they remained competitive in the small car market in Australia. 

The Kalos-based Barina was now powered by a (1598-cc) 1.6L twin-cam 16-valve F16D3 Daewoo inline-four engine rated at 77 kW with a torque of 145 Nm.

It was sold alongside its donor model (Daewoo Kalos) within 2003-2004. Outside that window of time, the Holden Barina would be the only option if one wanted to buy the nearest thing to a new Daewoo Kalos. For the first time, the Barina was available in both sedan and hatchback body styles, powered by the 1.6L F16D3 engine which came with either a 4-speed automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual gearbox. 

The 2006 Daewoo-sourced Barina was criticised for its dismal performance in the crash tests. That prompted the 2008 update, which featured structural improvements, including high-strength reinforced B-pillar with side-impact airbags as standard equipment. Other enhancements included new headlamps, tail lamps, and a bolder grille. 

Daewoo Kalos (2003-2004)

Meanwhile, the Daewoo Kalos (T200), on which the fifth-generation Barina was based, was sold in Australia only from 2003 to 2004 (using its Daewoo nameplate) although productions ran until 2011. This Italdesign-penned subcompact succeeded the phased-out Daewoo Lanos (T100/T150) in 2002. 

The Kalos entered the country as sedans and hatchbacks, sold in base models with a different engine from the one used on the Kalos-based Barina. Under its hood was a1.5L E-TEC inline-4 petrol engine with a maximum output of 62 kW of power and 128 Nm in torque paired with either a 4-speed automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual gearbox. 

The front-end styling of the hatchback differed from the sedan, with the former featuring an integrated lighting setup with V-shaped grille and the latter sporting a semi-elliptical grille and headlamps that were detached from the turn signal strip.

Sixth Generation (2011-2018) / Chevrolet Aveo

The sixth-generation Barina was unveiled at the 2011 Australian Motor Show as a five-door hatchback, while the sedan made its debut in 2012. Both body styles were available in base, CD, CDX, and Classic trim models. This generation is a rebadged Chevrolet Aveo/Sonic (T300) and has an interior similar to the Barina Spark. It shared exterior features, including the headlights and grille, with the Holden Captiva. The sixth-generation was powered by a (1,598cc) 1.6L 4-cylinder F1III engine that attains peak power of 85 kW and a torque of 155 Nm. You have the choice of either a six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed automatic transmission. 

Though the Barina was dropped in 2018, they are still very much on the roads. If you’d like to own one or buy parts for the Barina you’re repairing, can connect you to reliable sellers. Browse through our listings or send us your car parts request, and we’d be happy to help connect you to car parts sellers all over Australia

-Eric Anyega

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