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The Holden Barina RS will go on sale in November, adding a performance flagship to the city car range.

The Barina RS borrows its turbocharged 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine from the Cruze small car, helping the pint-sized hot-hatch accelerate from 0-100km in around eight seconds according to overseas tests.

The Holden Barina RS – a localised version of the Chevrolet Sonic RS that debuted at the 2012 Detroit auto show – joins Australia’s increasingly competitive pocket rocket class alongside the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST, Suzuki Swift Sport and Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Expected to bolster the local range for some time, the Barina RS will be priced in the low- to mid-$20K bracket, sitting above the current range topper, the 85kW/155Nm 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder Barina CDX hatch, which costs $20,490.

Holden says its engineering team has tested the Barina RS over thousands of kilometres as part of validation work for the new sports variant, and has developed a unique electric power steering calibration for the Australian market.

In the US, the Sonic RS comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission and an optional six-speed automatic, with unique gear ratios designed to give it a sportier feel than non-RS variants.

MacPherson strut suspension with coil springs and a stabiliser bar at the front and a semi-independent torsion beam set-up with gas-charged shocks at the rear join a new four-wheel disc brake package, replacing the standard Barina’s rear drums.

Distinguishing the RS from the standard Barina range is a sports body kit with unique front and rear bumpers, a larger rear spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels and the exclusive Orange Rock hero paint colour, while sports seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel create a performance theme in the cabin.

Official pricing and specification details of the Holden Barina RS will be revealed closer to its November launch.

  • Anthony Naughton

    103KW and a hot hatch?? Spare me please!!

    • dobby

      I it be considering it weighs almost nothing compared to say, a GTI or a Megane

  • 3D4

    Only if it have some decent headlights. This way it still looks like prototype being tested in camo..


    Good now the Daewoo drivers can arrive more quickly to their accidents…

  • JJ

    I didn’t think it was possible to do worse than a commodore… I was wrong.

  • atd

    Not sure which is worse, the Barina or the new Victorian number plates

    • Jim

      Aren’t they just ridiculous. I’ve noticed that most new cars aren’t actually getting them, but rather a black plate without a slogan, starting again from A with the old 3-letter, 3 number formation.

  • BP

    I fail to understand why people are on the Barina hatred bandwagon at the moment. Is it because it’s Korean? Or a Holden? Grow up, we’ve established over 5 years ago that Holden was importing Korean products and now it seem ridiculous the rants I see across the web and this website..

    Everyone should be happy that Holden at least introduced an alternate engine to combat reviews of the sluggish 1.6 litre engine to ignite falling sales and increased competition, it was long overdue.

    On another point, it’s already being made clear that Barina RS isn’t going to challenge Fiesta ST but in terms of sales and marketing, Holden will be onto a winner. Ford will do one ad and hope it’s enough to capture attention. Last time I looked both ECOnetic and Diesel variants weren’t hot sellers either.

    Good luck Holden.

    • Tom

      People ‘hate’ the Barina because its a bad car, go and read basically every small-car comparison over the past 8 years and the Barina is almost always rated the worst. Then factor in prices that aren’t significantly better than its competitors and its pretty easy to ‘hate’ the Barina. Yes, it’ll sell well, but what does that have to do with anything? Camry’s used to sell great despite being uncompetitive versus cars like Mazda 6/Mondeo/Accord, etc. That Holden blows heaps of tax-payers money on advertising imported vehicles isn’t a reason to celebrate frankly.

    • RS

      Agreed BP, the girls round here need to grow up, the Barina has !
      The quality out of Korea now is on a par if not better than Japan, look at Hyundai, they are doing better than Toyota in quality surveys now.

      • Chad

        We all know Korean made GM products are nothing but rubbish

        • EzyTarget

          Very true but aren’t all GM 4 cylinder products nothing but rubbish though .

    • Holden fan

      I own a Barina 1.6 5 speed manual and it handles well and is crying out for more power. And yes I do understand front drive handling as I also own a Megane RS 250. The 1.4T woudl be great and 1.6T would need an LSD. But bring it on. The queue for a fiesta will be long. They are awesome.

  • Tone

    I think we all know what ‘RS’ stands for in relation to this particular vehicle …

    • RS

      Oh, you mean the RS tag Ford used for years?

      • Tone

        No, this Daewoo is a completely different kind of RS …

  • NarpasSword

    I’ve heard elsewhere (okay, Drive) that the Barina/Sonic/Kalos could be getting the more powerful 1.6L turbo (132kW, 230Nm) from the Cruze in future. Problem is that would just make it a faster turd.

    • TomW

      Ah, but you forgot Holden is going to adapt it to “local conditions” – everyone knows such adaptations overcome the shortcomings international engineers build into cars…

      • Phil

        well, if the Cruze is anything to go by, Holden engineers are damn good at polishing a turd.

  • Karl Sass

    Should be the standard engine.

  • Zaccy16

    Competition has moved on from 103 kw for a hot hatch, if it handles anything like the normal barina it will be rubbish!

  • dilligaf

    Ha-ha-ha 103 kw, standard power in a Kia Rio 1.6.

  • al

    Rubbish power to weight ratio. This hatch is massively overweight for starters, so it’s a failure.

    • TheWarden

      That’s cos they are a very solidly made car, go and have a look you’ll be surprised by the weight in the doors etc.

  • Shak

    For all you folks getting your panties in a twist over the fact that this supposed ‘hot hatch’ doesnt have enough power, lets get one thing straight. Holden isnt promoting this as a hot hatch, or a competitor to the hot hatch crowd. It is simply the Sporty addition to the Barina range. And to everyone still going on about all the Korean nonsense, grow up.

  • Peter Pebbles Stone

    LOL! The number plate says ‘lacks go’… How apt.

    • JooberJCW

      Haha good pickup!


    Holden & GM both need to seriously do a power train overhaul.

    Their engines are good on paper. But in real world they are sub par. They are usually the slowest, thirstiest and least refined when compared to others.