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by Tim Beissmann

The new Holden Barina has been unveiled under the guise of the Chevrolet Sonic at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit overnight.

On display in both four-door sedan and five-door hatch form, Holden spokeswoman Emma Watts today confirmed both new models would join the Australian line-up.

Ms Watts said the Barina hatch would arrive in local showrooms in the third quarter of 2011, while the sedan would follow in early 2012, around six months later.

The Sonic (as it is known in the US) will be available with a 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a six-speed manual transmission, as well as a 1.8-litre petrol with either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.

Australia could potentially get the latter option, which produces 101kW and 167Nm of torque.

Currently, the Barina is available with a 76kW/145Nm 1.6-litre petrol and the choice of either four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmissions.

General Motors clearly has the Ford Fiesta in its sights with the Barina/Sonic, especially in the US where it says the new sedan and hatch will be more powerful than the Ford, offer more space for back-seat passengers and provide more luggage space with the seats folded down.

The US specification Sonic will be better equipped than the Australian version, with standard features including 10 airbags, 17-inch alloy wheels and satellite navigation.

Ms Watts said specifications and equipment details for Australia’s Holden Barina would be revealed closer to the vehicle’s third quarter launch.




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