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Selwyn Times: July 26, 2016

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http://kaywa.me/Op1Vo My Kaywa QR-Code www.robertbrucemotors.co.nz 32 Tuesday July 26 2016 Motoring SELWYN TIMES Baby Holden provides a Spark • By Ross Kiddie THE UNDER $20,000 segment of the new car market has shown some resurgence in recent years. In recent decades it was an area where manufacturers didn’t place a big emphasis on – the margins were small and finding product wasn’t always easy. But being able to buy a new car at the same price as something pre-owned certainly has appeal, and there’s now a wealth of hatchbacks available here fresh from Asia – especially China, Japan and South Korea. One of the latter is Holden’s Barina Spark, which has been quite successful for GM Holden, with a new-generation model just landing. It arrives here in three variants starting at $16,490 for a manual LS variant (automatic $17,990), while an LT model tops out at $19,990 as tested. Although the Barina Spark shares its name, it is engineered a little differently to Barina; the Spark gets a 1.4-litre engine and continuously variable transmission, as opposed to a 1.6-litre unit and six-speed auto, and it sits on a floorpan with wheelbase and track just a little smaller than Barina. Nevertheless, the Spark appeals in other ways, it is most certainly designed to capture the imagination of the young, those buyers who want something new, as well as being trendy and funky. It comes with vivid colour schemes and an interior package which is bright and breezy, yet will also lure those from all generations who don’t have a big budget. The test car often captured attention, and not just from the younger set. Standard fitment on the high grade model is respectable given its price point. Major items include single-zone air conditioning, leather-like trim, keyless entry and ignition, electric windows all round, and Holden’s sophisticated MyLink infotainment system. The latter has been upgraded to include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the latter interacts with Apple product through a central dash panel screen. All of the mobile functions are available from there along with navigation and music accessibility. The Spark is also easy on fuel. Holden claim an Australian Design Rules combined average figure of 5.5-litres per 100km (51mpg). The fuel usage readout was constantly listing around 6.2l/00km (46mpg) with 5l/100km (56mpg) available at a HOLDEN BARINA SPARK: Appealing design. steady 100km/h cruise (engine speed 2000rpm). Powering the Spark is a brand new, four-cylinder, twincamshaft, 16-valve unit which displaces 1298cc. Holden claim power outputs of 73kW and 124Nm, both reaching their maximums at traditional points of the rev band, 6200rpm and 4400rpm respectively. Consequently, it’s no powerhouse, and this is reflected in slowish acceleration times – 11.2sec to make 100km/h from a standstill and 7sec to reach 120km/h from 80km/h. Realistically, I wouldn’t have expected anything quicker, the Spark is not here to scorch along, but to provide economical and comfortable travel like small cars are meant to do. However, you can stir the little engine up if you wish, the seamless gearing of CVT allows access to the upper rev band providing the sensation of sporty motion. One of the big surprises is the Spark’s handling and feel from behind the wheel. A lot of that has to do with the development work Holden has done in Australia for down under conditions. The steering and suspension calibration has been tuned for the type of roads we have • Price – Holden Barina Spark, $19,990 • Dimensions – Length, 3595mm; width, 1595mm; height, 1476mm • Configuration – Fourcylinder, front-wheeldrive, 1399cc, 73kW, 124Nm, continuously variable automatic. • Performance – 0-100km/h, 11.2sec • Fuel usage – 5.5l/100km down under, including acceptability when presented with gravel surfaces. When it comes to tackling corners, the Spark has reasonable steering accuracy and front end precision. It must be mentioned that the front-strut/ rear tube beam suspension isn’t sophisticated, yet it does a reasonably good job of soaking up the uneven road surfaces and containing body movement against the force of gravitational change. The Spark deserves to do well here, it’s a tough market to compete in but it stands out for its design appeal. 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