2003 Holden Barina SXi 1.4 from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Forget what the doom merchants say

Faults:

Left hand steering rack worn along with front engine mount. With a major service, total cost $650, so pretty good value & the car is now solid as a rock.

General Comments:

This little jigger was bought as a runaround to partner first a Holden SS ute I had, and now a LR Disco 2ES.

Being the SXi, it has loads of nice bits like leather steering wheel, audio controls on the wheel, metal interior handles, alloys etc. I've since upgraded the speakers, tinted the windows, added sound deadening plus a full K&N filter kit & slightly sporty muffler. Have also attended to a few broken clips etc.

The Barina (Opel Corsa C) beats the Japanese competition hands down for driving. It rides flatter, the seats are comfortable for longer trips & is very competently designed. I love the way the rear light design is integrated, as well as the thought that went into where all the shut lines should be.

We have a range of Japanese cars at work & I admit that they stand up to abuse better than the Barina would. But as a private buyer, I prefer to focus on the niceties of the design day to day. I get most of the benefits of a VW Polo or Peugeot 206, but without the costs a Euro badge attracts. Yes, it costs more to run than a Japanese car, but it's still inexpensive compared to some.

If you have a lemonade budget, I recommend one unless ultra rock bottom transport costs are your priority. I do low mileages, so that means the car gets very well looked after, & I realise that's not the case for all.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th June, 2014

2003 Holden Barina SRi 1.8i from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Great value hot hatch

Faults:

Absolutely nothing at all. It's been bullet-proof so far.

General Comments:

Barina SRi (Opel Corsa SRi)

Great looking little car. It's quick, although sometimes feels a lot quicker some days than others.

Very reliable, is faultless except for rattling seatbelt clips.

Excellent looking interior, easy-to-use stereo and steering wheel mounted controls, plus cruise control.

Seats can sometimes feel a bit hard on long trips.

A/C can lack of bit of chill on excessive hot days (35c+).

Low front spoiler is hard to live with, need to be extra careful pulling into driveways or parking in bays with a gutter in front.

Overall a great little hatch, underestimated by many.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st April, 2004

2003 Holden Barina XC 1.4 from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

A really good buy

Faults:

Nothing has gone wrong so far.

General Comments:

We test drove several other small cars, including the Renault Clio, Honda Jazz, Mazda 2, and Peugeot 206. Holden's Barina was more comfortable, zippier, & roomier than the others.

For a 1.4 L, the Barina has plenty of grunt. It handles hills very well indeed.

To our surprise, the Barina is at least as economical as our previous car (a Suzuki Alto) and is doing about 300 km per full tank of petrol.

After 2 months of trouble-free driving, we are extremely happy with our purchase.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th August, 2003

19th Sep 2010, 17:03

I'm looking to buy a 2003 Barina second hand and have seen a lot of negative reviews on this website.

I was just wondering if you've had any problems since posting this review? I'm hoping that it's possible to get a good Barina, that they're not all terrible.

20th Mar 2011, 19:39

The 2003 Barinas are the worst car in the world.

They have continual problems with all of them being expensive. My Barina has had two new exhausts manifolds and a new EGR valve. Just another $3000 added on to the price of the car.

NEVER BUY ONE.

11th Nov 2011, 00:09

Agreed. My Barina is second hand. It has only done 70,000kms, and I have had nothing but trouble.

Electrics in the dash i.e. all speedos and petrol gauge going to zero while I drive! Very unsafe. Loud clicking/ crunching noise when I turn around corners.

Continuous ticking noise coming from front right tyre.

My car jolts in and out of gear when I drive sometimes, had sparks plug changed, didn't fix it, so not sure what is causing this!

As I write this, my car is currently not starting and I am waiting for the RAA.

Worst buy ever! I kick myself every day for not buying a reliable car!

10th Dec 2012, 04:51

I've had a 2003 Barina 1.4 SXI for nearly four years now with no major issues. In that time it's ticked from 160,000 to over 185,000kms. The only niggle I have is sometimes the intake temp sensor gets itself in a tangle, and the engine won't start straight away when it is warm.

In that time I have also replaced the front sway bar links, steering rack ends, the water pump, cam belt (including tensioner and idler pulleys etc), all brake pads, front brake discs and both mufflers (they all rust out). The radiator has a slow leak that I'll fix one day (I don't go on long trips, so not a major issue yet). I service the car myself (oil, coolant, brake fluid etc) and the things I've had to deal with are pretty much expected given the mileage.

These cars are cheap now for what you get, and they feel much more substantial on the road than similar sized cars (Toyota Vitz, etc) that cost more! I think they are great.