Holden Barina Spark Review
By Daniel DeGasperi | November 29th, 2012
The headlines say Australians are deserting large cars like the Commodore, but they’ve also forgotten ultra-cheap hatchbacks like the Holden Barina Spark.
Despite a $12,490 entry sticker a full $3500 less than the Barina proper, the larger Holden hatch outsells its Barina Spark sibling by 10 to one.
Before it’s claimed that a lack of automatic transmission availability has affected popularity, the Barina Spark’s 1168 sales to October 2012 compares poorly with its also-manual-only Daewoo Matiz successor, which recorded 3148 sales in the first 10 months of the year 2000.
Even Daihatsu managed to shift 2038 Sirions to the month after the Sydney Olympics, and both numbers were recorded despite the market being substantially larger twelve years later…
Sales trivia aside, buyer tastes are clearly changing for the better, because until the arrival of the Volkswagen Up, the sub-light class has been evolving at turtoise pace – incremental improvements from a low base of ability.
The Spark – called Barina only to leverage badge cache – is now available with an automatic transmission, for the first time since its launch two years ago.
However, the Holden Barina Spark utilises a four-speed automatic, the same number of ratios eventually provided as an option in the Matiz a decade ago. Holden charges $2000 extra for the auto-shifter, the single-spec $14,490 CD priced $500 less than the Nissan Micra ST auto but $1200 more than the Suzuki Alto GL auto. Neither the (awful) Chery J1 or (brilliant) Up are available with an auto, though.