1996 Holden Barina SB 1.4 EFI from Australia and New Zealand
A great car if you like to get your hands dirty now and then
It was extremely noisy when I bought it due to the rear tyres and the clutch bearing (so I got it for a good price as nobody would look at it). I had to buy two new tyres and they were not cheap.
Clutch bearing was very noisy (95000 km) and I replaced the whole clutch kit (not very expensive), the water pump failed (97000 km) and the clutch cable broke (97000 km).
The aircon is not working properly (keeps on leaking gas). It was fitted by the dealer, so it's not an original Holden item.
The first owner had fitted a sport suspension (about 1.5 inches lower and much stiffer than the regular one), sports exhaust (decent one and still in perfect condition) and 15" low profile wheels (hence the price of the tyres). The car looks great and handles exceptionally well compared to similar cars.
It was not in a very good condition when bought. The previous owner (a lady, the second owner from new) used the car for short distances only and her husband serviced it poorly. He used low grade oil that left a lot of dirt in the engine. A good synthetic oil change fixed the problem and the car really came to life!
The spares are cheap and I managed to do all the repair work at home (the car is really simple and easy to service). If you can't do that I don't recommend going to the dealer, as the quotes I got from them were ridiculous!
Once I got everything fixed the car is a real pleasure to drive. It is very close to the ground, stable, the engine is good enough for it's size and the sound of it is quite nice. The thing drives like a go-kart around the corners and it can easily do 140 for long distances.
The interior is in very good condition for it's age and it has two airbags (which you don't see on many new cars of this class).
Fuel economy is reasonable for the age/class of the car (7.3 l/100km on the highway, 8.2 l/100km in the city). Thinner tyres may improve it, but the handling would most probably suffer a lot.
The body is in excellent condition, there is no rust anywhere. The flares are grey, but that is common for Barinas. At least they are all the same colour :-)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd May, 2005