4 December 2001
It's true! Good things do come in small packages: Holden Barina wins Wheels magazine Car of the Year 2001
Raising standards for Australia's small-car buyers, without raising prices - that's the winning advantage for the Holden
Barina, the Wheels magazine Car of the Year for 2001.
"With small cars, retail price is everything", said Ewen Page, Editor, Wheels magazine. "Often to the point where
technology, safety, efficiency, refinement and quality are sacrificed. The Barina doesn't take any short cuts, despite
its low price. And that's why it is a convincing winner."
Easily the least expensive car eligible for the award this year, the Barina scored highly against each of the five
criteria - Function, Technology, Efficiency, Safety and Value.
But it almost didn't qualify.
Launched prior to the announcement of the 2001 COTY award criteria which this year included the need for all cars to be
fitted with lap-sash seatbelts in every seating position, the Barina was offered initially with a lap-only centre-rear
seatbelt. Holden changed the Barina's specifications to include a lap-sash centre-rear seatbelt, thus getting a start in
Car of the Year 2001.
Why did Barina win? Because it scored highly against the Wheels judging criteria: Function: Excellent vehicle dynamics
(handling, steering, etc) and first rate interior space efficiency. Technology: electric power steering, electronic
throttle and advanced body structure. Efficiency: Low pollution engines, good fuel economy, good engine performance.
Safety: Unmatched list of safety equipment, four-star NCAP rating. Value: Low running costs, and class-leading safety,
excellent dynamics and performance.
"The Barina brings a new class of small car to the Australian market, with superior roadholding, handling, steering and
performance," said Ewen Page. "At the price, it sets a standard no other car matches."
Finalists for the title ? the BMW Compact, Toyota Prius and Mercedes-Benz C-class - provided stiff competition. But none
scored as strongly against the criteria as the Barina.
An award for excellence, Wheels magazine Car of the Year is Australia's most important automotive prize. And in its 39th
year, it's the longest continuous-running car award in the world.