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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.