A small car made by Australian, General Motors-owned automaker Holden. First introduced in 1985 simply as a four-door version of the Suzuki Swift, the Barina has evolved now into a sporty-looking small car based on the Opel Corsa, available as a three-door hatchback, a five-door, and a performance model, "SRi". The Barina directly competes against the Ford Focus.

The current generation Barina, called the SD, is an excellent car for city driving. Its small engine, a 1.4-liter ECOTEC dual overhead cam engine (60 kW/86 hp @ 6000 rpm) lends it excellent mileage -- roughly 36 miles per gallon in typical city conditions, with a whopping 53 mpg on the highway. The SRi model uses a 1.8-liter ECOTEC, increasing horsepower to 92 kW/120 hp @ 6000 rpm. It also uses a special sports suspension with an increased spring rate, fog lamps, and an Irmscher-designed sports body kit. It provides ample safety features and creature comforts such as a six-speaker CD audio system, among others.

The Barina is also inexpensive (at least by my high American standards!), starting at $15,590 AUD for the three-door, $17,690 for the fiver, and $22,290 for the SRi -- $8,782, $9,908, and $12,556 USD, respectively.

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