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How surprising that Holden’s little Korean baby, the Barina has scored 2/5 from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) . Apparently its the first time in ANCAP’s history that a car model has gone backwards in ratings (the previous – European built Barina scored 4).

“Two stars is a very poor result, when most vehicles in this market segment, and really most other market segments, are scoring at least four stars and increasingly five stars, the industry standard is four stars. We encourage customers to look to buy vehicles with four stars in ANCAP crash tests, and five stars where possible.”
RACV chief engineer Michael Case

Am I surprised? Not really, I mean what do you expect from a Korean budget car? Nevertheless, with a 1.6L engine delivering an awesome 76Kw of power and an even more astonishing 145Nm of Torque, I guess you wont be in much of a hurry to get in an accident. However what does surprise me are the favourable reviews that are now coming out for the Barina.

…all in all, the new Barina is a great value for money runabout with enough modern functions to appeal to a wide range of drivers, and in particular the youngsters looking for a new car with a decent warranty. In fact, at it’s price, why not buy two so you don’t have to share the car on weekends? It is easy to operate and drive (if a little uninspired), is fuel efficient, and even has an effective sense of style….

As a young driver myself, I would have to say the above comments are somewhat, hmm what’s the word to use here, incorrect? I guess that’s the most polite way of putting it. Why not buy two? Ha? Its like, since you are going to put a loaded gun in your pants with the safety off, you might as well make it two guns? Seriously though, this is quite possibly the worst car a young driver should buy. For $13,000 you can find such a better second hand car that wont explode when someone reverses into it. Why do you need a new car? Specially one like this? Yes, you get the warranty but really, with a car like the Holden Barina after the warranty runs out you are going to sell it for what.. $7000? At most? High Resell value and Korean cars are generally two terms that aren’t used in the same sentence. And Effective sense of style? Effective? As in, people will pull over to let you go so they don’t have to look at your car?

The Australian has got it a little more sensibly :

If you think of driving as nothing but a chore the automatic TK will do nothing to change that view. The manual, we’ll grudgingly admit, is slightly better.
The Australian

At the end of the day, don’t be fooled by the Barina’s Lion badging, its not Australian made. It has some basic Holden influences in its design. The idea is to sell a car that is cheap, rather than good. I can assure you for $13,000 you will find a second hand car that not only increases your chance of staying alive but will also stop the flow of “aw.. so you bought a Korean car” comments from friends.

  • M

    Get over it you Korea-phobic!

  • alborz

    I am not a KoreaPhobic, I just don’t recommend Korean Cars. For small things that don’t exactly matter, Korean products are great, but if you had a choice of buying a PaceMaker that was Japanese made or Korean made, which one would you buy? I know which one I would buy! A car should be thought of in the same way, everytime you get in a car, your life is at risk, so you better hope you have maximized your chance of staying alive.

  • B

    Korean made, sure with GM’s equiptment. I think you are korean phobic!

  • http://www.swollenpickles.com Swollen Pickles

    I don’t care where the car is made, Korea, France, Australia, Tasmania. If it’s a crap car, then it’s a crap car, no matter where it originates from. Fact is, the latest model Barina is a crap car! 2 star safety rating is basically criminal in this day and age. I’m not sure whats worse, that Holden are selling this 2 star piece of garbage, or the fact that they brought this model to Australia knowing full well it was one of the worst cars ever tested!

  • http://blog.chrisduran.eu/ Chris

    B: Korean-car phobic? Definately (for a reason with a well documented history). Korea-phobic? That’s a bit of a jump in logic don’t you think?

  • john barsk

    Writer says that Japanese cars are better than Korean cars (“…what do you expect from a Korean budget car?”). The Hyundai Getz received 4/5 in crash testing and it’s a Korean car.

    Furthermore, where a car is assembled does not influence where the parts come from. The VE Commodore is made in Australia but a substantial number of its parts are from overseas. It’s only about 65% Australian. Furthermore, Holden parent company GM is American, not Australian, and even if it is based on American its shareholders can be of many differing nationalities. Nissan has shares in Renault. Ford has shares in Mazda. GM Daewoo is a GM subsidiary. What’s my point? When it comes to cars, nationality is meaningless.

  • Nathan

    what a crap car! 2 stars safety… what a little s**t box. Holden already has questionable build quality, reliability and hidious style on its entire range.. but now this

    anyone who buys this car is insane.

  • mojo

    The VE Commodore is not 65% Australian. It’s more like 50% Australian.

  • Christina

    i absolutely agree with you. i am disgusted with the safety rating of the daewoo derived barina, not to mention the styling, finish, etc etc…

    i bought one of the last opel derived barinas in 2005 and i love my little XC to bits! (not to mention its FOUR STAR safety rating).

    at the end of the day, holden seems to care more about making sales than preserving reputation.

    btw, if anyone’s not seen the 07 opel corsa on the net, google it now. it’s absolutely beautiful and could have been out here, if not for the evil kalos.

  • dakar

    I bought my missus a Getz 1.6 and it is heaps better than a Daewoo Barina. Build quality is great, 5 year warranty is unbeatable. A lot of car for $16k.

  • mike

    Doesn’t mean that all Korean stuff is crap… It’s just they… make… alot more… crap stuff than others

  • Carol Brownlie

    I watched Today Tonight last night and was waiting for my 2005 xc Barina to come up as being on the lemon list….since buying this car mid year 2005 I have had nothing but ongoing problems with it.
    Yje emission light either stays on all the time or flickers on and off,the car runs sick as and Im fed up with it to the point where I have had it out with the Holden dealership in Brisbane where I bought it at including Holden in Toowoomba where I got the first free 3 months service done and then the first year car service done. Holden don’t want to know about any of the problems with the car which really began after Holden in Toowoomba did the first year “car service”. I have contacted Holden Head office in Melbourne via phone and email many times however they don’t want to know about my problems,they pass it on to the dealerships.
    I wouldnt own another Holden ever again.
    My daughter bought a second hand holden Commodore and she has had ongoing problems with it and my son and his mates who were right into Holdens have bought different cars as they have had a gutful of the probs that my daughter and I have had with our Holdens including with the lack of help,respect and duty of care Holden dealerships offer.
    BTW my car was bought outright,nothing owed on it at all,when i drove my car out of Holden in bris it had done over 100kms and 2 wheel trims had to be replaced as they were scrathed and chipped to the max but the car was brand new…yeah right…more like a demo car trhat they flogged onto me… It won’t be long before i dump the thing at Holden in Brisbane where i purchased it from and have it fixed properly, which i wont be paying for, and or they can replace it with a car the actually goes without any problems. Stuff them!!!

  • Linda

    I have the 2005 xc Barina which I bought from Toowoomba Holden and have had no issues with to date.

  • Al Juraj

    Bottom line is: Don’t count on a Holden. Made with parts from God-knows-what countries, iffy quality and to add insult to injury, a 2-star safety demerit. Pick any model on the range and there’s always, as in always, a better car than that. Sure, many of their vehicles offer a lot for a given amount of cash, but they’re never the best in class.

  • Sharpy

    I bought a XC Barina in 2004
    and i just Bought a TK Barina in 2008
    Both 3 door Auto’s

    To me, they are both similar in alot of ways…
    the only real difference is the TK has a better sound system (6 speaker MP3 with AUX input) and The indicators are on the right side! Happy with them Both

  • http://qwe Kai

    Does anyone know where 04 barina made in? cheers.

  • flame time

    @Carol Brownlie


  • Nic

    Kai-the 04 barina is made in spain by gm opel europe.

  • Aaron

    I hte all of those crap daewoos that holdens bringing over here if you go to the opel site you’ll see so many modles that holdens gotten rid of such as the zafira,vectra,corsa(barina)and the european captiva.

  • Aaron

    I hate all of those crap daewoos that holdens bringing over here if you go to the opel site you’ll see so many models that holden had gotten rid of such as the zafira,vectra,corsa(barina)and the european captiva.

  • Wheelnut

    I agree Aaron – I never really understood why Dumb a–e Denny Mooney decided to stop importing Opel Barinas in favour of Daewoos.. yet continued to import Astras.

    Thankfully though Holdens current CEO Mark Reuss is seriously looking at importing a number of new Opels including the Corsa and the Insignia.. as is HSV. Whilst Holden will most likely export their new unnamed “Small Car” [Torana?]

    One particular Opel I’d like to see Holden import is the GT Roadster.

  • Aaron

    But is only a few cars i bet don’t make it to australia like the astra van the corsa van and the astra sadan mainly because the astra sedan is only sold in ireland and i think its realy sad when you see a daewoo kalos on the street by the way you have to see the opel vans at

  • OzzieGuyz

    Hey Carol Brownlie,was great reading your commentabout the Holden Barina.Thanks for your guts and honesty about Holden cars and for having the guts to say and do something about it. Good for you.All Holdens are crap.

  • stan

    Remember when the hyundai excel arrived on our shores and all the press, The wheels will fall off etc etc (yes that joke has been done)
    Next time your driving look for cars built in the 90s and see how many are xls also check for wheels. At the moment Korea is making some of the best cars in the world hyundai 130, 120, iload, at half the price of the european market. By the way Astras have a bad mechanical reputation.

  • mike

    hi all, the TK barina does indeed have only a 2/5 safety rating, though the new TK model has 4/5. The thing is, is that the cars’ only bad point ? I mean reading most of the comments on here doesn’t say that the car has mechanical problems, and thats a good thing.

  • Tony

    I know for a fact all the problms that certain people were having with a Holden Barina.Holden didn’t help in any way at all and couldn’t have cared.They should have been recalled asap.Sure was a turn off for me and my family in dealing with Holden at anytime for anything.

  • jack

    There’s not enough information in the article. Ok so it’s definitely manufactured in Korea. But where was it designed? In Korea too? Or somewhere else? The design matters far more than manufacturing. Who oversaw the design?