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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new 2012 Holden Barina hatch has been unveiled for the first time before it goes on sale in Australia in October.

The new Barina has already been launched in Europe and the US and now it arrives in Australia to join the Barina Spark and the Cruze in Holden’s small car ranks.

The Barina has been styled with a hip, young market in mind. The exterior showcases one of the most dramatic light car designs, with an aggressive headlight and grille assembly, pumped front wheel arches, concealed rear door handles and black-based taillights.

Inside, the instrument panel is dominated by the tacho, with all other vehicle information (including digital speed readout) displayed on an ice blue LCD screen. The centre console looks clean, modern and functional.

Safety will be a strong suit, with the new Barina to offer the full suite of active and passive features as standard, including six airbags (dual front, side and curtain) and electronic stability control, among others.

The Barina will be equipped to meet the expectations of the younger market too, with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, USB input with iPod connectivity, cruise control and steering wheel audio controls all included in the package.

The Barina will be powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine and teamed with either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Holden is yet to reveal specific power, performance and fuel consumption figures.

Holden Barina interior and exterior design leader, Ondrej Koromhaz, said he believed the new model would have a wide appeal in Australia.

“After several years in the making, it’s very satisfying to see the finished product ready to hit Aussie roads. I think customers in this country will respond really positively to the new Barina,” Mr Koromhaz said.

“We worked hard to give it an assertive appearance with lots of character that will appeal equally to men and women.

“We also aimed to deliver a really strong road presence with modern, sporty details like exposed headlights and concealed rear door handles.”

Full pricing and specification details of the all-new 2012 Holden Barina hatch will be revealed closer to the vehicle’s Australian launch around October. The current model is officially priced from $16,290 to $17,990, although now in runout mode there are many deals to be found.