1996 Holden Barina Swing 1.6 from Australia and New Zealand


Very reliable and great first car


Very reliable; not a lot has gone wrong.

Gaskets replaced this year.

Gear changes are a little rough with this model.

General Comments:

Very reliable; travels up and down the coast without issues.

Fuel usage is very low and the car travels nicely.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st November, 2014

1996 Holden Barina Swing 1.3 from Australia and New Zealand


Maybe good for a first car for young people


Needed new front and back mufflers.

General Comments:

Slow running, slow uptake.

Accelerator and brake pedals too close together; causes wrong selection occasionally.

Cannot find under bonnet parts easily.

Where is the radiator to check water levels?

Apparently did not come with an owners manual.

No boot release-lever/switch inside car?

Uncomfortable suspension/roughish ride.

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

Review Date: 16th March, 2011

1996 Holden Barina Swing 1.4 from Australia and New Zealand


Disappointing - should have sold it long ago


2008 - Bottom bearing around crankshaft faulty. Costly repair (requires removal of sump).

2008 - Radiator plastic cracked where joining top hose.

2007 - Air conditioning unit need replacing.

2007 - Window winder knob on drivers door constantly pulls off.

2005 - Various oil leaks require $300 worth of repair.

2004 - Thermostat blocked. Car overheated.

2003 - Roof repainted as 2 large stripes of fade paint appearing running length of car.

2003 - Car constantly gets to 100C in traffic.

General Comments:

The performance of the car is what you would expect from a 1.4l engine - poor.

The car always looks (from the gauge) as though it is going to overheat in traffic or summer - apparently a common issue with the model.

The car's front wheels vibrate when you do between 100-110km/h.

Its small size is great for parking and it can fit surprisingly large objects in it.

Although I don't drive like a grandma, I have kept the car serviced according to schedule: and it still required major work done to it.

As other reviews all the external black trim has faded.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th September, 2008

1996 Holden Barina swing from Australia and New Zealand




Major loss of power associated with tappet noise, from ~80 000 km. Small holes transporting oil from the engine block to the camshaft became blocked, causing damage to the cams. Its therefore important to keep the oil clean on this car - not sure if that's a design flaw or due to exceptionally low maintenance effort by previous owners.

Car repeatedly overheated from about 100, 000 km, especially when travelling at low speeds. This turns out to be a common problem (e.g. 3 Barinas to our local mechanic within a fortnight) - the radiator gets blocked and needs to be reamed out.

Intermittent complete loss of power from about 124 00 km, during longer drives. This seems to be because a valve that equalises pressure into the petrol tank has failed. (In this model the valve is not on the petrol cap as in many other cars). Cheap solution: just don't screw in your petrol cap fully.

Difficult (or impossible) to start on wet mornings, sometimes. Seems to be a petrol or air problem rather than an electrical one. No suggestions for fixing that - mechanics can find no faults.

Failure of high beam switch at ~80 000 km.

General Comments:

Very fuel efficient, when it goes at all. Even more fuel efficient when stuck in the driveway.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th May, 2006

25th Jul 2006, 09:07

Your starting problems may be due to the oil.

It is very important on these cars to use a light weight oil - I think the correct grade is 10w30?? Castrol Magnatec is recommended. The handbook recommends 20W50 but this is wrong and causes starting problems in cold weather - Holden dealers should know about this.

We had severe troubles after I replaced the oil - car was almost impossible to start, it turned over fine, but wouldn't fire. I Phoned service dep't - their first question was, "have you changed the oil?" The heavier oil clags up the valve lifters in the engine when cold, so the lifters jam open, you have no compression and it won't go, or runs very roughly for a minute or two. Changed the oil to Magnatec - no further trouble.

Also the car runs much better with premium fuel - change the setting under the bonnet to "95" (details are in the handbook - octane selector) then or 98 grade fuel - runs smoother, much more get up and go, better fuel economy. It's not just the fuel, it's the engine settings changed by the octane selector, but you MUST use prem fuel if you have the selector on 95 or you risk engine damage.