1994 Holden Barina 1.4i from Australia and New Zealand


No regrets


Serious overheating problems, changed thermostat, flushed radiator, serviced radiator.

Boot catch busted,

Leaking power steering pump,

Leaking sump,

Head blew at 210,000.

General Comments:

I still own this car, and it is so scary it's funny, but the little bugger is still going.

This is a ideal first car, because you learn so much about cars fixing it all the time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th September, 2010

1994 Holden Barina gsi 1.6 from Australia and New Zealand


It's a fun little car, economical, good looking and reasonable performance for a sports version.


Head gasket blew at 169000 kilometres. Head machined and new gasket & seals replaced.

Now has some wheel bearing noise left & right hand front. Will need replacing shortly.

At 168000 kilometres had brakes fully serviced, replaced all pads and had discs checked for wear which turned out to be minimal. Fluid also replaced.

General Comments:

Overall performance is very good for a 1.6 , obviously better than the standard 'Swing & 'city' models. It's not a Ferrari so one shouldn't expect that type of performance. It's very nippy, easy to park. My car, (red) has been well looked after, regular service, kept clean inside & out. Always garaged. I treat the little vehicle with respect by not over-revving or trying to make it do things it wasn't designed to do. I love driving it around the hills, it clings to the road very well because of it's wide wheels & tires. Very predictable when cornering, like most cars if pushed too hard into corners it oversteers. I've found it quite comfortable on long drives up to about 5 hours. It will sit on 110 kph all day and is surprisingly quiet at that speed.

It's economical as long as you just cruise around, if you go for some hard driving around the hills and use higher revs then fuel economy suffers. But, you don't get something for nothing. I took the car overseas to Canada some years ago, I was there for 3 years. Apart from the fact that the car was right hand drive I didn't experience any problems with it, even driving in the constant wet BC weather and in the snow. It is very similar to the Pontiac Firefly in looks, performance and size.I've been fortunate to own a variety of 'exotic' cars over the years. The most recent being a replica Shelby Cobra and a 289 1967 Mustang coupe, both now sold. My last run-about was a 1995 Honda Prelude which I recently sold as when I moved I only had garage space for one car.

As the price of gasoline has increased I think keeping the Barina was a wise move. From the comments I have read, I have been lucky to get a 'good one'. Thousands of these cars are sold around the world under different badges, so their popularity continues. I don't have any plans to get rid of my car, I'm even considering taking it back overseas.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th September, 2006

1994 Holden Barina Swing, 5dr 1.4 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


A bomb. Holden must have made better ones, but mine was no good


Timing belt broke at 103000km approx. Gave no warning. Mechanic had stamped the book for belt renewal at 80,000. My current mechanic replaced the belt after it broke, and he said the old one was the ORIGINAL! It's not the car's fault or even that of the dealer where I purchased it. It was a lazy, dishonest mechanic!

Injection computer failed at 82500km. Car was totally undriveable. Cost me $1600 for a new one from Opel/Holden as it was shipped from Germany.

Brake master cylinder failed at 126700km. This was probably not abnormal, but caused a near-accident and put me off the road for 3 weeks.

Finally, fan failed and the car suffered a cracked head. It is now off the road for good!

I've had enough! My Barina is now rusting in a paddock in my backyard. I don't trust her anymore.

General Comments:

She's been a good little car overall, but I have lost interest in keeping her going.

The engine was underpowered, but amazingly economical.

Dash was flimsy and fell to bits on dirt roads.

Suspension and steering were always excellent even on the worst surfaces.

I believe I bought a lemon. My mechanic certainly agrees, and he would never patronise me or lie to me. He is very honest with females and males alike.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 23rd July, 2006

26th Jul 2006, 04:59

I don't think Holden ever made any Barina's, but if they had it probably wouldn't have been much better. Unfortunately you bought the Opel version, with a Holden badge which looking at all these bad reviews, was the beginning of the end reliability-wise for these cars, and now they're Korean (Daewoo Kalos, unsafe car). The previous Japanese (Suzuki) ones were apparently heaps better and I recently read somewhere that they were the best built cars with the fewest warranty claims in the Holden line-up. How things change.

6th Nov 2006, 21:06

I have had no problems with my opel based barina!!! things like that happen due to poor attention due to the owner!!!