1997 Holden Barina SB Lambada 1.4 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Capable unit, all things working well


Due to the lack of education on these Barinas, the confusion over the temperature gauge moving up to the 100 mark in slow traffic, a lot of owners have been charged unnecessarily for new radiators and flushes etc... I was one. I was then advised by an auto electric man that this is normal... the handbook is very vague on this. Mostly my car runs around 90 to 94... on a constant run.

The main problem is the poor result from the air conditioner... had it all redone; still not great. Now this seems to be the case with these. Holden deny this... otherwise on 95 petrol it runs good. Also the electric fan being made to run constantly may help with keeping the temperature more constant... and running cooler

General Comments:

Not a too bad little unit.

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

Review Date: 9th September, 2017

1997 Holden Barina City 1.4 from Australia and New Zealand




Faded Body Plastics.

Engine flat spot at 2000rpm.

Useless aircon.

Inability to run on regular unleaded.

Squeaky front suspension.

General Comments:

I hated this car from the day I owned it. The biggest problem was that it would not run on regular unleaded very well and I had to run it on premium all the time. In hot weather it couldnt be driven due to this reason.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th June, 2004

23rd Oct 2013, 07:01

You should have bought the repair manual when you bought the car. This Barina has a plug in the engine bay; it's to the right of the driver's front suspension strut top mounting, and the left of the air mass meter, below the brake fluid reservoir, and above the air cleaner assembly. You have to physically unplug it and flip it around when you want to change from 91 octane to 95 octane, and vice versa. The numbers "91" and "95" are written on the plug in letters that are about 15mm high. The mechanics won't tell you that sort of thing, as people like you are their only source of income.

It's common sense to always buy an aftermarket independent repair manual for any car you buy.

23rd Oct 2013, 16:28

I would have thought it would be in the owner's manual.

3rd Apr 2014, 02:11

I have a 1996 SB Barina City and this information is definitely in the factory owner's manual that came with my car. However most buyers of this type of car would not be too mechanically minded, which when reliability problems occur often, then get unfairly blamed on the car rather than the actions (or inaction) of the owner.

6th Feb 2016, 12:00

I was the owner of this car. The switch in the engine bay was set to 95. Very crude though, you had to pull it off and turn around to choose between 91 and 95.

1997 Holden Barina City 1.4 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


A lemon!!!


I bought a new Holden Barina SB in 1998.

Had the flares replaced under warranty because they faded from black to almost white. When the Holden technicians replaced the flares, they damaged the vehicle. I was told that the technician slipped with a rattle gun/screw driver and dented the car.

Air conditioning leaked into the front passenger area. This caused minor flooding inside the car. This happened a number of times before the air conditioning was replaced under warranty.

Power steering started leaking and the entire power steering rack was replaced under warranty.

Front disc brakes were faulty and caused excessive wear on brake pads and brake disc. This was replaced under warranty.

The alternator died. This was replaced under warranty.

Build quality is very poor and the car rattles from a variety of places.

General Comments:

In general, Holden service is very bad. It would be an insult to Mazda to compare their service with the service of Holden.

When I was purchasing the car, I went to a number of Holden dealerships before I even got any service. Some dealers wouldn't give me the time of day. It was probably because I was only 19 at the time of purchase.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st July, 2001

29th Jul 2001, 20:33

No chance. I will never buy a Holden again!

This morning I drove to work and the accelerator cable got stuck on. I had to switch the ignition off, otherwise my car would have blown up.

I personally know a few Holden mechanics and they told me, that I was stupid to buy a Holden and that the new Barina is slightly better, but has a whole new list of problems.