1994 Holden Barina SB GSi 1.6 16v from Australia and New Zealand
A worthy consideration when looking at the hot hatch market
My air-conditioning compressor seal started leaking at 165,000km. Rather extensive repair required as part of the sub frame of the car needs to be dropped in order to get to the compressor.
Condenser needed replacing due to small leak at approximately 150,000km.
Due to the fact the vehicle is fitted with factory Recaro bucket seats, the lower side bolsters are inclined to wear over time due to passengers pivoting on the seat as they enter and exit.
Vehicle had a factory recall to fix a structural fault with the seat rails.
Dash light bulbs have blown on occasion. Apparently a common problem.
Rear wheel bearings have needed replacing twice.
Generally a reliable car. No major repair issues.
Generally a very good small hot hatch. Rather underrated in my opinion.
Handles well (but not as well as some cars in this class). Has similar driving characteristics to a large car on open motorways. Tends to under-steer when pushed hard into corners although it remains predictable. Also prone to lift off over-steer. Steering can be a little vague.
Fantastic fuel economy. Out of a 45 litre tank I average around 600km city driving.
Vehicle parts seem to be very expensive (which I put down to the fact the vehicle is an import model in Australia).
Air conditioning system is not one of the best around, but it does the job.
16 valve motor is lovely, with fantastic top end performance. Loves to rev hard and engines are known to be highly tunable. I believe Cos worth and Lotus had some design input into the early motors fitted to this car. However, these engines are known to snap cambelts if not maintained properly.
Nicely designed interior although some people would feel the seat cloth is a little dated. Clear, ergonomic dashboard layout.
Try to find one of the earlier GSi's fitted with the factory body kit. Later models had the bodykit deleted and lack the sporty look.
A good little hot hatch that performs extremely well and deserves a little more credit than it is generally given.
My vehicle was factory fitted with air-conditioning, power steering, Anti-lock braking system, power steering, electric/heated mirrors and a 60-40 split fold rear seat. Some GSi's came with electric windows, electronically adjustable headlight levels and a sunroof, but these were mostly sold on the European market.
Things to watch out for when buying are rust around the tailgate spoiler, cracks in the vehicle B-pillars and any strange noises coming from the engine. These cars need to be well maintained so look for a full service history.
Generally dissapointed with service from Holden dealerships. Then again, I think most people are generally unhappy with after sales service from any dealership.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th April, 2003