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by Tim Beissmann

The Holden Barina RS has staked its claim for the title of Australia’s cheapest sports hatch, launching from $20,990.

The Barina RS becomes the halo model atop the regular 2014 Holden Barina line-up, which is now between $800 and $1000 cheaper than before, ranging from $14,990 for the manual CD hatch to $20,190 for the automatic CDX sedan.

Available exclusively as a five-door hatch, the Holden Barina RS inherits its 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine from the locally made Cruze small car.

Producing 103kW at 4900rpm and 200Nm at 1850rpm, the Barina RS is 18kW/45Nm more powerful than rest of the Barina range, which features a larger but non-turbo 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine.

Holden-Barina-RS-5

In overseas tests the RS warm-hatch has recorded an 8.0-second 0-100km/h (Holden has not released an official time). Combined cycle fuel consumption measures 6.5 litres per 100km with either six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

At $20,990 for the manual and $23,190 for the automatic, the Barina RS is up to $3000 cheaper than the 100kW/160Nm Suzuki Swift Sport, which has owned the title of Australia’s cheapest entry-level driver’s car for the past few years.

The Holden Barina RS sits 10mm lower than the rest of the range and features performance-tuned dampers, increased spring rates, stiffer shock absorbers and additional body bracing in the pursuit of more agile handling and a stiffer body structure.

Holden engineers created a unique electric power steering calibration for the Barina RS, offering a quick ratio (2.3 turns lock-to-lock), targeting a more reactive and sporty feel.

Further distinguishing the Barina RS are disc brakes for all four wheels, a sports body kit and five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels.

Holden-Barina-RS-2

The cabin is uniquely appointed with leather-accented sports seats and steering wheel, alloy pedals, sports floor mats, and piano black trim highlights.

Standard features shared with the CDX grade include heated front seats, cruise control, auto headlights, and the six-speaker MyLink infotainment system with seven-inch colour touchscreen, smartphone app integration, Siri Eyes Free functionality, and AUX/USB/Bluetooth connectivity.

The entire 2014 Holden Barina range is covered under the car maker’s capped-price servicing program, with the first four scheduled services over three years/60,000km capped at $185.

CarAdvice is at today’s local launch of the Holden Barina RS. Stay tuned for our review, coming soon.

Holden Barina manufacturer’s list prices:

  • CD hatch manual – $14,990 (-$1000)
  • CD sedan manual – $15,490 (-$1000)
  • CD hatch auto – $17,190 (-$800)
  • CD sedan auto – $17,690 (-$800)
  • CDX hatch auto – $19,690 (-$800)
  • CDX sedan auto – $20,190 (-$800)
  • RS hatch manual – $20,990
  • RS hatch auto – $23,190



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