The new Holden Barina RS.
The new Holden Barina RS. Bandits and Co

Hey fellas - the Holden Barina RS has arrived

THE mission for the new Holden Barina RS is clear - increase male interest in the brand with a combination of an edgy sporty design, excellent handling and the latest technology on offer.

The Barina RS, available here at the end of the month, is already doing excellent business in the US in the guise of the Chevrolet RS, using its new looks and satisfying performance to wow a younger but harder to please audience.

It is that customer, the 25-35 year old up-and-coming professional with few or no family obligations and interested in a sports oriented performance and value for money that Holden has in mind for the latest addition to its stable.

To this end it has used a car already popular with the youth segment and paired it with a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with the option of a six-speed manual or six-speed auto transmission.

Developed through a global program run out of the head office in Korea, the Barina RS manages to offer an Australian feel thanks much in part to a unique electric powered steering calibration.

"While most of the RS has global specifications we have different priorities here in Australia and we have to consider that," said Michael Barber, Holden's specialist engineer for ride and handling, at the Australian launch this week.

"We place importance on communication from the car to the driver and also have to look at balancing urban performances with open roads and high-speed drives."

The Barina RS, more warm hatch than hot, certainly looks the part with a sports body kit including 17-inch alloys, funky front and rear bumpers and a larger rear spoiler. Inside, the changes are more subtle with a flat bottom steering wheel, leather seats with red stitching and the RS logo keeping things interesting.

It is the price that will most please motoring enthusiasts with the manual to retail at $20,990 and the auto at $23,190. Holden has adjusted the cost of the rest of the Barina range to stay with market trends chopping off a rather generous $800 on the CD auto ($17,190) and CDX auto ($19,690) and $1000 on the entry-level CD manual ($14,990).

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Inside the new Holden Barina RS. Bandits and Co