Review: 2013 Holden Barina CDX Hatch

The Holden Barina has been the name that will forever be dear to most as their first car since its introduction in 1985 to Australia. Fast forwarding to 2013 and the Barina has certainly grown up. Not just in size, but also in sophistication.   The 2013 Holden Barina CDX Hatch is the top the range Automatic model from $23,677 with a large number of features as standard including leather seats, 17inch alloy wheels, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, electric power steering, six-airbags and a five star ANCAP safety rating. Oh and there’s also Holden’s MyLink system, which is a 7inch touchscreen, smartphone like system. There are a whole heap of features on the Barina CDX Hatch meaning that expectations are high. So how did it perform?

Initial Impression

Straight away, the exterior looks of the Barina CDX Hatch are enough to give a hint that there is more than meets the eye. The design itself commands a little more presence than you would expect and the 17inch alloy wheels amplify this. In photos and certainly in person, the hidden door handles on the rear doors are deceptive in making this 5-door hatch look like a 3-door. This design choice could come in handy for when you don’t want to give a lift home to that friend who lives on the opposite side of town to you. Stepping inside of the car, the interior would have to be the most impressive aspect. Immediately you’re eye catches the fully featured car dash that looks like it has been borrowed from the larger Holden Cruze.  And then your eye travels to the seats which are fully covered in leather – a touch of sophistication! From this point on, we were pretty convinced that this was going to be a much better drive than expected.

Target Market

Despite the growth in features and looks, the Barina still has the appeal towards first car owners. The new features, includes the MyLink system, with its comprehensive iPhone integration seem fitting for the younger market. Being able to control your media and utilise the Siri integration from the steering wheel also shows best practice for young drivers in not touching/using their phone whilst driving. The MyLink system is extremely easy to use and ensures that you spend more time focusing on the road and not handling your smartphone. Size in the Barina CDX Hatch is also great!  We know from our own activities, that young drivers love to drive their friends, and move everything and anything. It ticks all of the boxes for its demographic and provides the experience only usually experienced in larger, more expensive cars. Bonus read: Apple’s ‘Siri’ Voice Control System set to feature in the New Holden Barina!

Practicality

As mentioned, the Barina CDX Hatch can be deceptive and it’s practicality & versatility are my two favourite features. Unlike most compact cars where the rear seats are only designed for small people, the Barina was able to seat four men at 6feet tall comfortably. The only compromise made was that you wouldn’t be able to fit that 5th person in the center seat. Boot space is quite adequate with a deep floor and seats, which can be easily dropped down if needed. You would be able to do the shopping for yourself and a few housemates for the week quite easily and still be able to fit four of you in the car. Not bad Holden, not bad at all! The previous generation Barina had some efficiency issues and sluggishness that has been improved for this current generation. The six-speed automatic that we tested proved to find the right gear for the right speed almost every time. Of course this isn’t a performance car and can’t be judged as one, but the pick up on the highway and from traffic lights was satisfying enough to keep you moving comfortably. With the inclusion of cruise control makes highway driving a breeze and stability of the car at high speeds is excellent. Moving through back streets with chicanes and pedestrian islands is easy thanks to the great visibility and agility of the car.For the driver, the instrument gauges in the Barina are quite different from what you find traditionally in a car, as they are inspired from a motorcycle. The benefit of that design is that all the information you need is extremely easy to read on the digital display. Fuel economy as tested resulted in higher fuel economy readings than the stated 6.3litres per 100km, however our results were with four adults in the car adding more weight to than what would have been tested.

Livability

When it comes to a car like this, making the car livable is about visual appeal and ease to drive. Two things that the Barina CDX Hatch does quite well, and this is due to a few things:  
  • The 17inch alloy wheels fill the wheel arches nicely – it looks as if that was the intended wheel size when the car was designed.
  • Colour choices are great for those wanting to share a little bit of personality and stand out from the crowd.
  • The electric powering steering is light and easy to corner and handle in tight spaces.
  • Plenty of space for fitting all your friends and enough entertainment options to keep everybody happy.

Cost 

Being the top of the range model the Barina CDX Hatch is priced from $23,677 currently at Motorama. Which for the price your getting something which a lot of other compact/small cars don’t get including leather seats which make a world of difference once you’ve experienced them. All Holden’s come with a Holden 3 year or 100,000km warranty and Holdenwise Capped Price Servicing.  That means you know what its going to cost up front (currently $185) every time the car is due for a service every 9months or 15,000km's.

Conclusion

The package that the Barina CDX Hatch delivers is one that surprises you and comes in at a price that is quite competitive for the standard features. For those wanting a pocket rocket, this won’t be the car for you. If you’re wanting a practical yet versatile car to get you from home to class or to the movies on a Tuesday night, this is going to be a great car for you!