January's Detroit Auto Show saw former Holden boss Alan Batey confirm its coming, and this week Holden has announced availability of the tiny 2011 Holden Barina Spark, the company's first offering in the small (but growing) city car segment.
Launched in Europe earlier this year, the Barina Spark is the Australian version of the globally-developed Chevrolet Spark that debuted in the US earlier this year. It is manufactured at GM's Daewoo plant in South Korea.
In Australia, the Barina Spark joins the Holden range as the company's entry-level model, with the Chevrolet Aveo likely to follow in the new year as the 2011 Holden Barina (although Holden has yet to confirm any plans on this front).
In the words of Holden Chief Designer Richard Ferlazzo, the Barina Spark has been designed with a focus on "fun and function," bringing a constant sense of motion while utilising small-car proportions to get the most of the city car segment.
That sense of speed is clear in the Spark's profile, with a diving belt line and sweeping windows, a sporting look accentuated by the hidden rear door handle that gives the Spark a three-door appearance.
That sporty feel is strengthened by the 'body-in, wheels-out' approach, with the wheels positioned at the far corners of the body - a design decision that helps more than a little with interior space too.
While the Spark is a global model for GM, Holden's corporate grille is prominent up front, its focus stolen only by the giant headlights flanking it.
An integrated rear spoiler sits above large tallights and a likewise integrated alloy exhaust tip - a feature not normally given any attention on an entry-level light car.
The entry CD variant is fitted with 14-inch alloy wheels and the top-shelf CDX gets 15-inch alloys. There is also a 15-inch 10-spoke wheel design available as an option.
Describing it as the "sexy 'gotta have' small car," Holden is aiming the Spark toward the 18 to 30-year female market. To give it a unique flavour, Holden will offer a range of personalisation options, including chrome mirror covers, side 'tattoos', graphic decals and racing stripes.
Pushing the personalisation angle even further, Holden has launched an interactive website dubbed Designer Spark, allowing prospective buyers to access colour palettes, shapes and patterns to design their own Spark.
Dimensions: Length 3595mm; Width 1597mm; Height 1522mm; Wheelbase 2375mm.
Inside, the most noticeable feature of the Spark's interior is its motorcycle-inspired instrument cluster, mounted directly on the steering column. Featured in the instrument cluster are the analogue speedometer, digital tachometer and minor gauges.
The centre stack offers a design again focused on a 'fun and functional' approach, lit with ice blue illumination.
Glossy inserts feature in the instrument panel and doors, available in red or silver - dependent on the exterior colour.
The seats are available in two trim levels; cloth for the CD variant and Sportec fabric for the CDX.
A major focus for the Spark's designers was interior storage, including front and rear cup holders, oversized front door pockets, small-item storage bins and a sunglasses holder.
Thanks to its 60/40 spilt folding rear seat, the Spark offers 170 litres of cargo volume with the rear seats up, and 580 litres with the seats folded.
The CDX model also gets a front passenger seat back pocket large enough to carry bigger items like books and laptops, along with a hidden tray under the front seat to keep valuables out of sight.
Two variants of the Barina Spark are available, in the form of the Barina Spark CD and the Barina Spark CDX.
Standard safety features include Electronic Stability Control (ESC), with anti-lock braking system, brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution and traction control.
Occupants are protected by a total of six airbags – dual front, front side impact and full length curtain airbags.
'Energy management' crumple zones exist at the front and rear of the Spark, designed to crush efficiently and maintain the integrity of the occupant compartment in a collision. Similarly, a special cradle distributes energy in front and side impacts, while the fuel tank is protected by a similar structure in the rear.
Feature highlights – Barina Spark CD
- 14-inch alloy wheels
- Sports body kit, front fog lamps, rear spoiler
- Body coloured, heated, power adjustable exterior mirrors
- Dual front, side and curtain airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners, breakaway pedals
- Electronic Stability Control
- Air conditioning
- Power steering and steering mounted audio controls
- Front power windows
- Four-way adjustable driver and front passenger seats
- Four-speaker AM/FM audio system, with CD player, iPod/iPhone® AUX input and a USB input for MP3 players
- Trip computer - includes distance to empty, outside temperature
- Headlamps on warning buzzer
- Remote keyless entry operates doors and rear tailgate; remote central locking
- Security immobiliser
Barina Spark CDX
(beyond the above CD features)
- 15-inch alloy wheels
- Larger rear body coloured spoiler
- Front and rear power windows
- Sportec perforated seat trim
- Sportec wrap multifunction steering wheel
- Under seat storage tray
- Exterior colour selection
- Olympic White; Chilli Red; Carbon Flash Black*; Nitrate Silver*;
- Cocktail Green; Luscious Kiss Pink*; Moroccan Blue*
- *denotes prestige paint
Safety Features Across The Spark Range
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
- Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
- Traction Control System (TCS)
- Brake Assist
- 6 airbags (driver, front passenger, front side and curtain)
- Collapsible pedal release system
- Driver and front passenger seatbelt reminder
- Three-point seatbelts in all five seating positions
- Seatbelt pretensioners in driver and front passenger position
- Child seat latching system at rear seating positions
Powered by a 1.2 litre DOHC four-cylinder petrol engine producing 59kW and 107Nm of torque, the Barina Spark lists fuel consumption figures of just 5.6 l/100km - making it the most economical car in the Holden line-up.
Among its features, the small engine's technology includes Port Deactivation technology, developed to induce a swirl charge motion within the cylinder that produces high
exhaust gas recirculation for more stability during idling and enhanced fuel efficiency.
Available with a five-speed manual transmission only, the Spark achieves a 5-star rating in the Federal Government's Green Vehicle Guide with CO2 emissions listed at 128g/km.
Suspension is handled by MacPherson struts up front - with side-load compensated strut modules and direct-acting solid stability bars. Rear suspension is comprised of a compound crank and a torsion beam axle.
The 2011 Holden Barina Spark is available now.
The Barina Spark CD carries a recommended retail price tag of $12,490 and the Barina Spark CDX is priced at $13,990.
Note: prices are manufacturer's list price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.