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by Tim Beissmann

Holden will consider introducing a Barina hot hatch to its local line-up following the international unveiling of the Chevrolet Sonic RS at next month’s 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Holden’s Shayna Welsh said the brand would look at the Chevrolet Sonic RS “with interest”, but admitted there were currently no plans to launch a sporty Barina in our market.

The Sonic RS will go on sale in North America late in 2012, suggesting an Australian launch of a rebadged ‘Holden Barina SRi-V’ would be unlikely until sometime in 2013.

Under the bonnet of the Sonic RS is the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the Holden Cruze. It produces 103kW of power and 200Nm of torque, and should propel the RS from 0-100km/h in around 7.5 seconds. The engine is teamed with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, both of which have revised gear ratios for a sportier driving feel.

The RS gets a sporty front bumper, grille, fog lights, rear bumper and spoiler, a retuned exhaust with chrome outlets, 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, lowered and stiffened suspension with performance-tuned dampers, and RS badging.

Inside, the Sonic RS scores front sports seats, thick-rimmed and flat-bottomed steering wheel, sports gear knob and aluminium pedals, sports-inspired instrument panel graphics and RS interior trim colours and inserts.

The all-new Chevrolet-sourced Holden Barina enjoyed a strong debut sales month in November. Its 1283 sales marked the nameplate’s best monthly result in Australia since February 2008, and made it the third-highest-selling light car in the country behind the Toyota Yaris and Mazda2.

The four-door Barina sedan will join the five-door hatch in February. Like the hatch, the sedan will be offered in just one specification level. Prices should mirror the hatch at $15,990 for the five-speed manual and $17,990 for the six-speed auto.




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